5 Ways to Combat the Subtle Messages of Secularism

2016 September Blog Post_TB

You’ve chosen to educate your children at home to protect them from secular influences during their formative years. But what about the books we bring into our homes? Sometimes a book’s agenda is obvious—you can tell by what authors put in or what they leave out. I recently surveyed a selection of secular textbooks and found the following topics of concern: the acceptance of evolution as scientific fact, the glorification of pop culture icons such as humanist authors and fierce feminists, and the affirmation of extreme environmentalism. These are obvious, but many books just leave God out, which is at the foundation of secular thought. So what can we do to protect our children from textbooks packed with secular philosophies?

Here are five ways Christian textbooks can support your goal of teaching your children to think biblically.

1. Redeeming the Minds of Our Children

As Christian parents, we want to redeem our children’s minds for God’s glory. We want them to acknowledge that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28), and that whatever is done must be done “heartily, as to the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). To achieve that goal, we need Christian textbooks—books that do more than merely purport to have a “moral emphasis” or tack a Bible verse onto the title page. A thoroughly Christian textbook helps a parent to support the spiritual growth of the child and to equip that student for God’s service.

2. Reaffirming a Biblical Worldview

A genuinely Christian textbook promotes a biblical worldview. For example, when discussing the women’s rights movement of the ’70s, a Christian history text factually discusses the positive and negative outcomes of the movement, basing its analysis of the movement on Scripture. In a secular book, students often encounter statements that deny God as Creator, such as “millions of years ago” or “before civilization got started.” Using a Christian text, a parent can spend time actually teaching, rather than un-teaching the errors.

3. Putting God Back into the Textbooks

Sometimes the danger lies in omission. One secular science textbook discusses babies and bees and rainbows but never mentions the God who made them all (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1–3). Daily bombarded with humanism, materialism, hedonism, and socialism, a student may begin to think, “God can’t be too important since He isn’t mentioned anywhere in this scholarly work.” Christian textbooks can effectively combat this God-omitting worldview.

4. Teaching Children How to Live Right

Christian textbooks emphasize the characteristics of God and principles of godly living. They reveal God in every branch of study. A writing textbook reflects a God of creativity and beauty, a science book reflects a God of infinity and order, and a Christian history text showcases events planned by an omniscient, omnipotent God. Students understand the conflict between righteousness and unrighteousness, explore real-life examples of the principles of sowing and reaping, and see illustrations of the providence of God.

5. Training Students to Think for Themselves

Christian textbooks further support and equip Christian students by encouraging discernment and teaching them to analyze content using biblical principles. For example, in one Christian literature text, students are asked to compare and contrast Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with various biblical accounts. The textbook also evaluates the advice of Sir Francis Bacon’s essays in light of God’s Word.

Choosing Hope for the Next Generation

How can we fight the philosophies that stunt our children’s spiritual growth and the secular texts that cram their minds full of the world’s wisdom? With God’s help, we can use Christian texts to give our children access to a higher wisdom. There is still only “one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5–6). Christ remains the ultimate answer—our one true Hope. Why use a textbook that undermines that Hope, subtly or not?

• • • • •

A word lover and grammar enthusiast, Kim Stegall writes for WORLDteen, a magazine from the publishers of WORLD. In her spare time, she serves as dramaturge for the Greenville Shakespeare Company, a non-profit theater. In addition to working on more than 20 writing, grammar, and literature textbooks for BJU Press, Kim has written a number of plays and published two children’s books with JourneyForth: Mumsi Meets a Lion and Rodney Robbins and the Rainy-day Pond.

PROPITIATION

Sin is not a popular topic nowadays. Churches that once dealt with it vigorously have become increasingly timid about focusing on it. But without the understanding that our sin has separated us far from a holy God, we will have no appreciation for propitiation—the total appeasement of God’s wrath against our sin. We cannot enjoy Christ’s work of propitiation until we know where we are without it.

cover image of Wonderful Words

The publican cried out, “God be propitiated toward me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13, Greek text). Sinful man has no plea but the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. Paul referred to Christ Jesus, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:25). “And he [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

GOLDEN THOUGHT: Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins.

[Excerpt adapted from Wonderful Words by Stewart Custer (August 24 reading).]

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