Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Obergefell v. Hodges, Part 3

Received a call today from a discipleship school who was picking up students from the closure of an evangelistic school in the same city.  The evangelistic school had accepted students from two homosexual families.  The discipleship school, following ASCI guidelines, had adopted a policy well beforehand to not allow admittance to homosexual families.  Naturally the homosexual families made a big deal of the discipleship's school refusal to accept them.  So far Facebook - but the press is probably not far behind. 

Well .... it certainly does matter, doesn't it, if you are an evangelistic or discipleship school ...   So here's the question:  Fundamentally, are Christian schools best evangelistically, or best at discipleship?  I have a missions degree from Fuller.  What we heard over and over again:  The best evangelistic strategy under heaven is to plant new churches. 

With all the research we've done, I could make a pretty convincing case that the best discipleship strategy under heaven is to start new Christian schools (or at least grow them.)  From a satisfaction point of view, discipleship schools tend to do better, largely because parents are "on the same page."   Whether a discipleship school or an evangelistic school, the families that stay year-to-year tend to be the church-going families.  (Not the buddhists or adherents to other non-Christian religions, or the "nones")  We can transform student lives more profoundly if we are starting with a family from a sincerely Christian home. 

Why do homeschoolers homeschool?  The number #1 reason is they think they can "do Christian" better than you can.  Not money.  Academics is #2.   When it comes to evangelistic schools, they are often right. 

My advice to the discipleshp school is that the sanctity of marriage is just one of many values a discipleship school embraces:  The sanctity of life, the sanctity of God's holy word, the need to instill strong Christian principles in students, Christian character, etc.  With a discipleship school, it is easier to make the case for what you embrace.  It's not what you are against, it's what you are for.  That makes life easier when the press shows up. 

A final thought - I have dealt with an awful lot of schools that say they are evangelistic, but in reality about 85%+ of all parents are regular church goers.  It would not be that difficult for them to convert to 100% church-goers, grandfathering in the 15% - many of whom won't be staying anyway.  

In light of the inevitable polarization coming with Obergefell v Hodges, maybe it is time to look into that.  Rest assured that homeschoolers in your area will be paying attention. 

(c) 2015 Dan Krause GraceWorks Ministries All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Obergefell v. Hodges, Part 2

Religious liberty: And So the Fight Begins
Besides a $135,000 fine, a baker has been forbidden to speak about their principled decision to refuse to bake a wedding cake for two lesbians:
The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation.
This is precisely what the dissenters in Obergefell v. Hodge expected and predicted.  Chief Justice Roberts wrote:
"Today’s decision, for example, creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is—unlike the right imagined by the majority— actually spelled out in the Constitution. Amdt. 1."
Judge Thomas expanded upon this concern:
"Numerous amici—even some not supporting the States—have cautioned the Court that its decision here will “have unavoidable and wide-ranging implications for religious liberty.” Brief for General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists et al. In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. 
It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples. The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability. It makes only a weak gesture toward religious liberty in a single paragraph. And even that gesture indicates a misunderstanding of religious liberty in our Nation’s tradition. Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for “religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” Religious liberty is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlated to the civil restraints placed upon religious practice."  Emphasis added.

Apply this thinking to government vouchers for K-12 private schools – which are tax dollars.  If a baker, who is getting no government funding whatsoever, can be forced to provide services to a homosexual couple, how is it that Christian schools will be able to say “No” – when Uncle Sam is footing the bill?  Can someone explain that to me?  

(c) 2014 Dan Krause GraceWorks Ministries All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 6, 2015

Charter Schools at 25

The Atlantic came out with a retrospective of the charter school movement soon approaching 25 years of history.   While 10% (suburban areas) to 33% (urban areas) of charter school students would otherwise be enrolled in a private school, charter school results are mixed.  The article links to a 2013 Educational Week article documenting academic performance no better than public schools.  
This article notes that charters can also increase segregation as well, a charge that has been raised against Christian schools as well.    By the numbers, it is not in question that the average charter school is no better than the average public school.  There are notable exceptions (KIPP, other NYC charters), and your average parent would like to believe the charter school they know is one of those exceptions.  
When do you present these facts to parents?  That would be your parent rally night in late January or February.  Bigger schools should do this with a free semester of tuition offered – to insure that 80-85% of current parents show up.  From a retention point of view, the parents who don’t show up are the ones you worry about.   An article from an outside expert in your newsletter is another possibility – perhaps a Ph. D. in education who is friendly with your school.  
Obviously any of this will seem self-serving to some of your parents.  But the research evidence is clear and unanimous.  In the words of my friend Dr. Dick Carpenter, charter school results overall are isomorphic with public schools. 

(c) 2015 Dan Krause GraceWorks Ministries All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 3, 2015

Obergefell v. Hodges, Part 1

Oh-Oh for vouchers.  I know of at least four ways vouchers can be vigorously challenged constitutionally.  One is so pernicious and apolitical I will not even share it privately.  
Two of the four ways now have to do with making gay marriage a constitutional right.  What if a homosexual couple wants to enroll their child into a Christian school in a voucher state?  It has already happened in a non-voucher state, and Davidson Academy’s turn-down made the Huffington Post . 
It was pointed out to me by Willie Brownlee in Nova Scotia that years ago, a number of Protestant Christian schools in Nova Scotia closed after a political sea-change eliminated vouchers for these schools in a very short period of time.  I intend to get the details of that for a future post.  
Now we don’t even need a political sea-change (which in itself seems likely). All we need is an unfavorable Supreme Court ruling.  Talk about bigtime risk!  Jim McKenzie told me about a young administrator planning to mortgage heavily to quickly build up a large school with the Florida voucher program.  Danger Will Robinson, danger!
GraceWorks is working with several voucher clients who are attempting to reduce their voucher exposure, with much more to follow on these pages.

(c) 2015 Dan Krause GraceWorks Ministries All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 2, 2015

How Barack Obama and ISIS helped start people-group evangelism with Muslims

How Barack Obama and ISIS help start people-group evangelism with Muslims.
Three times so far in various places in Pakistan, Muslim people have gathered in large groups to meet Jesus.  How large?  250,000 to 750,000!  (Imagine a group of people, standing, 3 miles wide and deep.)  When the call to accept Jesus was given, about 80% of the attendees raised their hands.
This is the first time I know of where Islamic evangelism worked the powerful, most effective “people group” way.  When families and clans have the opportunity to accept Christ in toto, together, without fear of being ostracized, then conversion becomes a spiritual act alone, rather than a spiritual and social decision.  (The social part is typically a show-stopper.)
Before, evangelizing a Muslim meant the new convert must practice Christianity secretly – with the continual risk of losing families, jobs, friends – essentially everything if found out.   Now Pakistani Muslims can accept Jesus into their hearts and stay with their families, and keep their jobs.  
This is an amazing breakthrough in world missions, utterly unprecedented.  There are three key reasons why this is happening.  First, Harold Eberle (Worldcast) is broadcasting a very solid evangelistic message into Pakistan (and the entire Middle East) in a popular radio program twice a day.  Second, ISIS.  Third, Barack Obama.
The ISIS part is fairly obvious.  Many Muslims’ confidence in their own religion has been shaken to the core by the blatant evil atrocities of ISIS.  
The Barack Obama part is more subtle.  According to Eberle, the #1 reason Muslims stay Muslim is “my father is Muslim.”  In the case of Barack Obama, his father clearly claims to be a Muslim – but the son, the leader of the free world, consistently proclaims his Christianity.  Many Muslims have concluded:  “If the leader of the free world can do it, maybe it’s OK for me as well …”
Here in Colorado Springs most everyone I know is an Obama-bashing evangelical Christian.  When I brought up the above in my Tuesday men’s group, the leader (my friend) didn’t even want to hear it.
Which got me thinking about Daniel.  Would your average Evangelical Christian want to work whole-heartedly, as to the Lord, for Barack Obama?

However bad you think President Obama is, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was 100 times worse.  Yet Daniel found a way to work with him, and if we follow the Biblical account, it appears Nebuchadnezzar is in heaven today (Daniel 4).  
In fact, God used the same wicked Assyrians to bring one of the most evil of Judah’s kings, Manasseh, to repentance (2 Kings 21:13 ff).  The account starts “They captured Manasseh, put an iron hook through his nose, bound him in heavy bronze chains…”  
Years later in 605BC, Daniel was likely treated the same way, with the distinct possibility that he was castrated as well.   Yet he found a way to go beyond mere survival to have HOPE (e.g. Daniel 2:16) in God’s faithfulness while working with one of the most egomaniacal tyrants in all of history.
The point:  In working with Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel was doing exactly what God wanted, even if it deeply offended the right-wing Jewish sensibilities of his day.  And God advanced the Kingdom of God through the evil Assyrians – even today, when we study Daniel or Jonah or the Prophets.
The same must be true for our kids – they must be willing, able, and wise enough to work with “evil” people (Rom. 3:23) while staying true to their faith, and even bringing bosses and colleagues  to saving faith in Christ.  I firmly believe that all our Obama-bashing does not set the right example for our kids.  Whatever he believes, Christian or not, evil or not – God is using Barack Obama to advance His Kingdom.  And so, as commanded in scripture (1 Tim. 2:2), we pray for him. 
Harold Eberle has written over a dozen books.  Christianity Unshackled is perhaps one of the most important, but I can hardly wait for his 800+ page systematic theology, which will be out in a few weeks.

(c) 2015 Dan Krause GraceWorks Ministries All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vision Driven

GraceWorks is a vision-driven ministry.  We are focused on an end result:  raising up young men and women who are as good as Daniel, Paul, Moses, and Esther.  The best way we know to do this right now is to partner with Christian schools, helping in every way we can.  However, we are open to other ways to raise up Daniels besides working with Christian schools; in fact we have long-term plans to do so.
As was true of Daniel, Paul, Moses, and Esther we are committed to understanding truth broadly.  While all truth is founded on the Bible, we will be actively seeking truth in research and secular sources as well – and integrating it with Biblical truth.
This blog speaks to current and future Daniels, transforming hearts and minds.  It will often, but not always, pertain to Christian K-12 schools.  It will sometimes be provocative and sometimes contra-cultural to the usual ways evangelical Christians think.  Your comments are welcome, and will be read carefully.  We will not delete comments unless they are clearly abusive or contrary to the advance of the Kingdom of God.

(c) 2015 Dan Krause GraceWorks Ministries All Rights Reserved