Published on March 17th, 2015 | by Jaycen Saab0
Is God Subject to the Local School Board?
Do not make God out to be some sappy guy in a white gown with flowing, mousse-filled locks of hair sitting down crying because someone doesn’t like Him!
HARRISON COUNTY – As ludicrous as that question sounds to a Bible-believing Christian, it appears it must be asked by seeing some of the comments Christians are posting in response to the Harrison County Board of Education‘s controversial “Employee-Led Prayer Ban”. On March 11, 2015, a memorandum from the Harrison County BOE was distributed from the Harrison County Assistant Superintendent of Schools Anthony Fratto regarding prayer. This was in response to a complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Essentially the ruling states that employees may not engage in school-led or school-sponsored prayer.
Many folks have posted responses to defend Christian prayer that run the entire gamut from gentleness to flat-out hatred (ironic). A quick read from comments will find many Christians expressing such distress, you’d think they were missionaries in the Middle East being suppressed to a closet in a basement hiding from ISIS (by the way, THAT is persecution). There are a couple of considerations for the Christian to understand before getting all worked up, though no persecution in the least bit should be a surprise (2 Timothy 3:12).
Understanding the Situation
As with anything in the public eye (especially), the Christian should gather the facts and get as much information as possible before offering a verbal rebuttal. This will help the response be more intelligible and is actually kind of Biblical (James 1:19). The knee-jerk reaction to the memorandum was based on the misconception that this was an all out ban on prayer. However, Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin clarified the matter in a statement, “It can be led by students, it can be led spontaneously by students, several students can get together to pray to whoever they wish. There’s no banning of that,” he said. So according to Manchin, students can still pray as desired in schools.
Remembering Who We Serve
For fellow Christians, I offer somewhat of a rebuke to those who are allowing such things to sway them so easily as the wind blows. Christian, stop and consider who the God of the Bible is. Do not make God out to be some sappy guy in a white gown with flowing, mousse-filled locks of hair sitting down crying because someone doesn’t like Him! He is…
- Elyon – Most High
- Shaddai – Almighty
- Adonai – Absolute Lord of all things without exception
Does any of those names sound like someone that can be suppressed by a decision made by some secular group of individuals? Who could worship a god like that? Think about it Christian. You can trust Christ as Savior with your eternity, but when the local school board makes a ruling you actually believe they are capable of limiting His power or presence?!
Pastor, It Starts with You
For so long now, and it continues, we see Christians by the masses reacting like their God is some weak, impotent deity that can’t surpass some man-declared sanction against Him. Sadly, when many churches in the area are filled with soft, self-help sermons with “5-steps to this” or “3 ways to get that”, we see the result of Gospel-less preaching. It leads to a low view of God and faith that can be stood on its head by the smallest amount of persecution. It encourages such ridiculous cliches like “Let’s put God back in school”. Or my favorite, when asked why He didn’t help, God supposedly replies, “I’m not allowed in schools.” Pastor, what god are you preaching to your flock? Granted I’m making broad statements, but by and large such a low view of God is a result of Gospel-less preaching more concerned with people’s “Best Life Now” rather than their eternity.
Alternatively, Gospel-fed Christians respond with much more confidence and quickly dismiss such futile attempts to quench their faith. The old adage “Mist in the pulpit, fog in the pew” is applicable here.
One local teen, for example, came up big where many adults fell flat with their cliches and evanjellyfish responses. When asked her thoughts, local Bridgeport teen Imoni Saab responded, “It upsets me that it’s kind of a discussion to be open at all. It doesn’t affect me too much because I don’t think that right should ever be taken away from me so it’s not really going to stop me at all.” (emphasis added). Do you see that boldness?
Preach the cross and Christ crucified! (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)
Preach the life-saving, life-giving, power of the blood of Christ! (1 John 1:7)
Preach the awesome power of Christ in both redemption and sufficiency! (Romans 3:23-26)
Preach the power of the Holy Spirit emboldening believers regardless to their situations! (Acts 1:8)
Preach the burden of evangelism and proclamation of the Gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17) to Board of Education members afraid to take a stand, of which is the only way to true change!
PREACH THE GOSPEL!
Pray for Christian School Employees
The ones who are in need of much prayer are Christian employees of Harrison County Schools. They are the ones square in the cross-hairs of this ruling. Perhaps God will call a few out to boldly stand peacefully in opposition to this ruling and communicate to the immortal Creator of the Universe despite what a mortal man in a suit behind a desk says. Just as Clarksburg City Council refused to proclaim the God of the Bible as the reference to their “In God We Trust” slogan (read about it here), all evidence points to other local leadership following the same non-confrontational approach.
If a professed Christian truly put trust in the God of the Bible, wouldn’t they heed our Lord and Savior’s words in Matthew 10:32-33 when they face such situations? They read…
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
– Matthew 10:32-33
That seems much more believable and threatening than some silly group of individuals who think such an immovable Rock of salvation could be moved out of their schools. Perhaps those in charge of public education should take a moment to learn something as simple as Proverbs 1:7.
Soli Deo Gloria,