Teach the Bible in public schools so that students can learn to better understand the world around them

By Chuck Stetson, Chuck Stetson | Fox News

Most of the recent discussions about teaching the Bible in school miss the key points.

First, teaching the Bible in public schools is important for students because, without knowledge of the Bible, students can’t fully understand the English language, English literature, history, art, music or culture. For example, there are over 1,200 documented references to the Bible in Shakespeare’s 36 plays. If you don’t know the Bible, you really can’t understand Shakespeare. You can’t get past the first sentence of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick – “Call me Ishmael” – if you don’t understand who Ishmael was in the Bible.

Of the allusions that a student needs to know for Advanced Placement in English Composition and Literature, approximately two-thirds are Biblical allusions, according to AP Literature and Composition. If you don’t know the Bible, you won’t do well on this part of the Advanced Placement test.

Further, Essentials in Education, which has the only First Amendment Safe textbook for teaching the Bible in public schools, did a national survey of high school English teachers. The results revealed that 96 percent of English teachers believe that young people were disadvantaged when studying English literature if they didn’t know the Bible. At the college level, 39 university English professors supplied an aggregate of 72 books they collectively teach in freshman year that require a knowledge of the Bible.

Second, students in the public schools are kept from religious teaching of the Bible by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 1963 when Justice Tom Clark, who wrote the opinion, stated: “It might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”

We need to shift the conversation on teaching the Bible in public schools to what the students need to learn to better understand the world around them.

Further, there is the consensus document “The Bible & Public Schools, A First Amendment Guide,” which our Bible Literacy Project co-published with the First Amendment Center with endorsements from the National School Boards Association, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association as well as People for the American Way.

Third, in the most recent national survey that we conducted in May 2017, 80 percent of Americans wanted the Bible taught in public schools. However, we know from other surveys that only about 8 percent of public schools do so. Since Bible courses are almost all electives, where only about 25 percent of a class might take the course, the reach is 2 percent. Given that 80 percent of Americans want the Bible taught and only 2 percent are taught this is an eye -opening disconnect.

Fourth, given the lack of responsiveness of public schools to the documented needs of the students, legislation to encourage the teaching of the Bible academically in public schools has been enormously helpful in several regards. While schools, for the most part, ignore it, the legislation does provide protection for the school teachers who want to do what is right for students. It also encourages parents to ask the schools to do what is right for their students.

We have led that effort on a bipartisan basis from an academic point of view, starting with the state of Georgia passing legislation to encourage the teaching of the Bible academically in 2006, followed by South Carolina and Texas in 2007, Tennessee in 2008, Oklahoma in 2010, South Dakota and Arizona in 2012, Arkansas in 2013 and Kentucky in 2013.

We need to shift the conversation on teaching the Bible in public schools to what the students need to learn to better understand the world around them. Our textbook, “The Bible and Its Influence,” is currently being taught in 650 high schools in 45 states and has a ten percent market share in six states. It is the dominant textbook and, as noted above, the only First Amendment Safe one. We need all schools to focus on this. We are beginning to get a lot more momentum now and believe that we are not too far away from reaching a tipping point where instead of teachers and schools having to find a reason to teach the Bible academically, they will soon have to find a reason not to teach it. (Click to Source)

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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – 1 Corinthians 1:27 – November 11, 2019

1 Corinthians 1

 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

King James Version (KJV) Public Domain
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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STONE

Gary Wilkerson – November 11, 2019

“Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away” (Matthew 27:59-60).

When Jesus was placed in the tomb following his crucifixion, he left the disciples heartbroken and baffled. When the massive stone rolled in front of the doorway to seal the tomb, everyone had a sad sense of finality. After all, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and then he bowed his head and died.

Jesus’ faithful followers believed he was the hope of the world, the salvation of Israel, the light of the Gentiles. He was the great healer who raised the dead, set captives free, and preached the good news to the poor. And then he was gone!

When Jesus pronounced, “It is finished,” his followers must have thought he meant that it was completely over, the end of the story. Their reaction to his burial bore out their sense of hopelessness — but they did not know what was happening just on the other side of the stone.

Too often, as Christians endure the trials of life, they also experience feelings of despair. All they see is a stone permanently rolled into place, separating them from hope. But just like the followers of Jesus, they are looking at things from this side of the stone. Inside the tomb resides resurrection life — a miracle just waiting to happen!

The devil may declare victory, but a powerful shaking is beginning. Jesus is on the move and at some point, in his glorious timing, he will step through that doorway into your life and your trial will be changed in an instant. Satan does not have the last word. Death no longer has its sting. Light has conquered darkness and the love of Jesus has conquered all evil.

Is there a stone standing between you and God’s deliverance right now? God is present in your life at this very moment (he is never not at work), and the stone is being rolled away. He has triumphed over all the powers of darkness and by faith his victory is yours. (Click to Source)

 

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DRIFTING INTO DANGER

David Wilkerson (1931-2011) – November 7, 2019

“Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away” (Hebrews 2:1).

The sin of drifting away from Christ is the most tragic, dangerous sin of all — and no believer is immune. Even the most devoted believer can begin drifting by getting lazy and passive about the things of the Lord. Once that begins to happen, it becomes harder and harder to get back into intimate communion with Christ. You may know certain people who were once tender, loving Christians yet today they seem like different people. Most drifters do not recognize themselves as being in danger.

The history of God’s people has been one of backsliding, neglecting and forgetting God. Moses and the prophets seemed incredulous at the tendency of God’s people to quickly forget the Lord and drift back to their old ways.

Just before he died, Moses looked back over the history of God’s children in the wilderness. Nearly an entire generation of complaining, backbiting, unbelieving people had been wiped out by God’s judgment, consumed in the hot desert. But a faithful remnant — tried, tested, separated — remained true to the Lord. Moses told them, “Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal Peor; for the Lord your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed [idol worship]. But you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today … For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?” (Deuteronomy 4:3-4, 7).

Moses was essentially saying, “You stayed true in a time of great apostasy! You never gave in to idol worship, as those did who were destroyed. And no one has had God nearer to them than you have.” These were the ones who entered the Promised Land — into the Lord’s fullness.

Do you remember a time when you felt nearer to him than you do now? When you felt his presence more readily and heard his voice more clearly? It might be time to examine your heart to be sure you are continuing to press in with Jesus.

 

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Beth Yeshua International • Monday • October 14, 2019 Feast Service: Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)

 
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Jesus “Used to Be Jewish”? That’s Not What the Gospels Say

By Bernard Starr / HuffPost.com

When I interview Christians and Jews, I repeatedly hear “everyone knows Jesus was
Jewish.” But when I dig deeper, I discover that “everyone knows Jesus was Jewish”
really means “He used to be Jewish.”

Many believe that Jesus was born Christian and that He launched a new religion. For example, Jane, educated in Catholic school, agreed that Jesus was Jewish. But when I followed up with, “Did He remain Jewish throughout his life?” she answered, “Oh, no. He became a Christian and started Christianity.”

“When did that happen?” I asked. “When He was baptized by John the Baptist,” she answered confidently. “It says so right in the Bible.”

Noah, a young Jewish student at a small New England college, asked his Christian
fraternity brothers, “What was Jesus’ religion?” They stared at him as if he were an idiot.

After he pressed for an answer, they declared, “Christian, of course.” In fact, Jesus was born into a family of practicing Jews dedicated to Judaism. As prescribed in the Torah, He was circumcised on the eighth day after His birth. Throughout His life He was thoroughly committed to Judaism, the Torah, and Jewish practices.

He prayed in synagogues and taught Torah to “multitudes” of fellow Jews. And John the Baptist only baptized Jews to purify them for the expected arrival of the Jewish Messiah.

All this is stated clearly in the Gospels; Jane’s quote is not. To address the crucial question “Did the Jews kill Jesus?”—a charge that has echoed with deadly consequences since the crucifixion—we look at the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ arrest, trial and the events leading up to them.

The Gospels state explicitly who killed Jesus (John 10:17–18). Have you ever wondered what Jesus might say about virulent and enduring anti-Semitism? Indeed, what would the thoroughly Jewish Jesus have said to Church leaders, monarchs, and others who launched murderous acts such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, and genocides in His name?

Christians today, especially evangelicals, are eager to let go of long-standing
antagonisms and are reaching out to Jews in a spirit of reconciliation. But
memories of unspeakable persecution over many centuries are a barrier for
Jews to participate fully in the healing process.

Given this new environment, I appeal to my fellow Jews to drop the “Jesus”-phobia and accept Jesus as a faithful Jew—without having to embrace the claim that He was the Messiah.

To encourage this mindset, I point to the pantheon of false Jewish Messiahs
throughout history, many of whom were destructive to Judaism but are still
revered for their teachings, while Jesus is rejected. (Click to Source)

 

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PREPARED FOR BATTLE

Gary Wilkerson – August 12, 2019

 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places … Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:10-12, 18).

In the first five chapters of his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul recognized the wonderful things the Holy Spirit had accomplished and rejoiced at the spiritual growth that had taken place in their lives. In this concluding chapter, he issues a word of caution to them about the opposition coming their way — and their need to be prepared.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul very carefully instructed the Ephesians in spiritual warfare. First, he warned them that the powers of darkness would come against them to rob them of their inheritance — and he repeated the word against several times. It was not if the enemy would come against them, but when and how often and how hard. So, he told them to be strong in the Lord and depend on him because trying to fight in one’s own strength is never sufficient.

In Ephesians 6:14-17, Paul describes the whole armor of God that would fully equip them:

  • The belt of truth
  • The breastplate of righteousness
  • God’s shoes for your feet
  • The shield of faith
  • The helmet of salvation
  • The sword of the Spirit

You need to understand that you are fighting against spiritual forces of evil. You are a citizen of heaven, a Christian who believes in the truth, and will fight for the truth. To live the life of an overcomer, put on “the whole armor of God” and prepare for conflict. Study God’s Word, pray in the Spirit, and you will be able to stand as the victor after the battle, giving all glory to the Most High God.  (Click to Source)

 

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Keith Green – When I Hear the Praises Start (Lyrics)

 
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