The Time cover story “The Case for Teaching the Bible,” favoring Bible-literacy classes taught in public schools, is being positively received by many Christians, and some have been prompted to proclaim by it “God is alive and well.”[i]The phenomenon is not that a secular magazine would endorse on its cover that Bible-literacy, of all books, be taught in public school, but that so many Christians would misinterpret the news to imply that the actual Bible itself would be taught. That is not the focus of the article, and teaching the Bible is not the objective of the school districts that have implemented curriculum to cover the Bible. There is something far more sinister afoot, and Christians need to take note: what is taking place is a church-state government takeover of the Bible on a scale that hasn’t been seen for four hundred years.
The establishing of State Ordained Bible Teachers will inevitably lead to reenactments of the Oath of Supremacy and Test Act of seventeenth century England. In order to hold public or civil office back then, such as that of preacher, persons must have first professed allegiance to, the state established, Church of England. Originally designed to check the Pope, and so Roman Catholics, the Act was enforced against Nonconformists too. In essence, state ordinations were required in order for a person to obtain a pastorate, or to publicly preach the gospel.
Dissenters eschewed ordination on at lest two points. While the Anglican Church was a breakaway from the Roman Catholic Church, it was established by HenryVIII in response to the Pope’s refusal to sanction his divorce and remarriage; it retained, with the exception of its stand of transubstantiation, the formers corruption. (Always a condition that presents when ever state and church are subservient to each other so they may benefit of themselves.)
The second point emits from the sharp edge of that twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and capable of revealing to a man the thoughts and intents of his wicked heart; the word of God. That is, if the Lord is merciful to allow the scales to fall away from his eyes so he may see his need for salvation and the way thereof, and so become ordained by God in the new royal priesthood (1Pet. 2:9), he is called to preach to set the captives free.
The penalties for obeying God’s call, and thus refusing the ordination of the state, were unemployment, arrest, and imprisonment. Nevertheless:
They wished no ordination but the ‘call,’ and they could dispense with learning because they abounded in inspiration, inner light, and the gifts conferred by the Holy Spirit. In 1660, the Anglican Church began to persecute and silence the dissenting sects. Jails filled with unlicensed Nonconformist preachers, and Bunyan was one of the prisoners.[ii]
This was John Bunyan, the “eloquent and fearless Baptist preacher” and famous author of Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come (1678).[iii] Bunyan was imprisoned twice, once for twelve years, and in his second prison term he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress which remains the “most popular allegory in English.”[iv] Here also is an existing literary work among many that could be taken up in English classes to foster Biblical liertacy and cover literay devices too (i.e. allegory), and without the eventual conscription of students into state religion classes; under the authority of state credentialed Bible teachers using erroneous and derogatory curricula such as The Bible and Its Influence .
Throughout history, men and women of God have opposed religious tyranny, and by doing so have won liberty and preserved opportunity to preach the gospel. By the fire of their persecution a great spiritual refinement produced a witness to a dying world. For this reason, we must oppose State Ordained Bible Teachers and preachers. This campaign is one of the sluiceways leading into the same funnel of apostasy, and today it includes faith-based government co-opting of churches, with the help of the ordained pastors, to conscript church members into the ranks of a social-service army exercising the political will of atheist governments. In fact, it is the ignorance now perpetrated in the churches that emboldens the state to act. We have entered an age of Biblical illiteracy that may be, on a per-capita basis, an even greater pandemic that existed prior to the Reformation. Indeed, this is the age of the falling away (2Thess. 2:3).
We do not, by opposition, expect to stop it; indeed, the Apostasia must come. Our opposing its establishment is not the product of our effort, but the result of our steadfastness in the faith; and the compassion we have to make a difference, saving others with fear, “pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 1:23). And this we can do if we redeem the time, and remember the admonishment: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 1:21). What we may have to endure, we do not know, but if we are to look to our fellow man for positive reports, let us look to the likes of John Bunyan; and let us look to the author and finisher of our faith for the same strength.
[i] Doug Huntington, “Christians Pleasantly Surprised by Time’s Pro-Bible Article,”Christian Post, March 30, 2007.
[ii] Editors, “John Bunyan.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams, et al. 2 Vols. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2000. Vol I. 2132.[iii] Norton, “John Bunyan.”