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ONE GENERATION TO GO AND THEN THE END
Written By: Daniel J. Smithwick
President of the Worldview Alliance
525 North Halstead, Ste. 216, Chicago, IL 60622
Copyright 2004 Reproduction Strictly Prohibited
In Collaboration With:
King’s Way Classical Academy
For the past eighteen years our ministry has been conducting
a Christian worldview testing service used by Christian
schools, churches, home schoolers and various other
Christian ministries. The primary use of the test has been
with high school students but is also used at Elementary
grades, junior high and college level.
The test, known as the PEERS Test, measures worldview
understanding in Politics, Economics, Education, Religion,
and Social Issues (PEERS). Results from each category are
classified into one of four major worldview philosophies:
Christian Theism, Moderate Christian, Secular Humanism, or
In the mid nineteen eighties it was common to find Christian
youth both in Christian schools and public schools scoring
in the Moderate Christian worldview classification. Home
school students generally scored 15-20% higher than average
from day schools.
However, with nearly each subsequent year of testing, we
found the understanding of the Christian worldview by
students to be lower than the year before. This trend has
continued through year 2003, as illustrated here:
The only exceptions to the decline were Christian schools
that had adopted specific worldview materials in their
curriculum. These are primarily schools known as Principle
Approach or Classical Christian, and in some cases,
homeschool groups. I believe students from these schools
represent the true remnant and hope for the future, but
they represent less than 2% of total students tested.
From 1988 to 2003, average scores of Christian school
students dropped by 54.3%. Results of evangelical family
students in public schools dropped 80.3% in the same period.
Christian students attending public schools now regularly
score in the lower half of Secular Humanism with approximately
20% scoring in the Socialism category. Over 50% of youth
from non-Christian homes score in the Socialism worldview
category. This is not a pretty picture and raises grave
concerns for the future of the Christian church in America.
Pastors should be highly concerned about this matter in
that it specifically addresses the posterity of the church.
How will this generation stand against New Age and Islamic
forces in our culture?
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Many Christians are acutely aware that something is amiss
with this generation of youth. Principled values of
morality seem non-existent. Cohabitation prior to marriage
is now the norm, even in many churches. Tolerance for the
gay lifestyle is also widespread among Christian youth.
PEERS Testing simply quantifies this loss of morality and
lack of belief in biblical truth. Few are surprised that
this is happening in government schools, but it is shocking
to most Christians that the trend is nearly the same in
Christian schools. It appears that Christian education is
little more than baptized public secular education in the
majority of typical Christian schools. The foundations ARE
being destroyed; what will the Christians do?
We have established -20.0 as a “Danger Zone” benchmark for
PEERS Testing. This is based on test results of individuals
responding to ads in the Humanist Magazine and the New Age
Magazine for our worldview test. As a group, they scored in
the range of -20.0 to -80.0 in all PEERS categories,
expressing strong anti-biblical views of life. It is my
opinion that a generation of youth from “Christian homes,”
scoring this low, will surely lead America into a dark age
in the subsequent generation.
“All government originates in families, and if neglected there,
it will hardly exist in society…The foundation of all free
government and of all social order must be laid in families and
in the discipline of youth….The education of youth, [is] an
employment of more consequence than making laws and preaching
the gospel, because it lays the foundation on which both the
law and gospel rest for success.” Noah Webster
Based on projections using the decline rate for Christian
students, the church will have lost her posterity to hard-core
Humanism between 2014 and 2018. This is approximately one
school generation of youth, 12-16 years. If these projections
hold true, it won’t be the end of the world, but it will be
the end of America as we have known it for over 200 years.
One could argue with projections of worldview scores, but
the historical data is indisputable. The real question is,
What will the church do to reverse this downward trend in
Biblical worldview understanding? Unless we are dealing
with the problem of losing our youth to Humanism and
Socialism, does it really matter what else we are fighting?
Parents and pastors need to realize that their children in
public schools are being trained up into another world- a
world hostile to the Christian faith. Not only will this
produce a culture that will not be blessed by God, but also
one that His own faithfulness may require Him to destroy.
“Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and
a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore
you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD shall send
against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the
lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your
neck until He has destroyed you.” (Deuteronomy 28:47,48)
Such was the plight of Israel over and over.
In church after church one finds horror stories of how
children from good Christian families have gone astray.
We are personally aware of several situations where parents
had faithfully served their church, kept their children in
Sunday school and made sure they were active in youth groups.
And yet, upon graduating from public schools, the children
would leave home and turn against church/family values.
Often times the children were living in a manner bringing
much shame and hurt to their parents. We have prayed and
cried with close friends finding themselves in this
situation. The question asked is, Where did we go wrong?
It sounds cruel, but the real answer is that we have allowed
pagans to be substantially involved with the training up of
our children. With 2-3 hours per week of Christian training
at home and church, it is simply no match against 35 hours
per week of humanism found in most courses in public school.
Yet we are not without hope. God has always been in the
business of making something out of nothing. The Lord is a
master at redemption and restoration. If we will cooperate
and pick up our responsibility as parents, and as the Church
of Jesus Christ, education will be redeemed. But we are
going to have to make some hard decisions and walk away from
some bad situations.
If your family is actively involved in a Christian church
and your children are in public schools, I encourage you
to utilize PEERS Testing to begin the process of evaluating
where your children rank in worldview understanding (get
free Info Packet by calling 1-800-948-3101).
Martin Luther once said, “If we are correct and right in
our Christian life at every point, but refuse to stand for
the truth at a particular point where the battle rages–then
we are traitors to Christ.” I believe PEERS testing is
uncovering a ‘particular point’ for our age. Our youth are
being taken captive, especially at the junior high and senior
high grade levels in government schools, and the church is
being robbed of her future. Dear Reader, this is a battle in
which you must enter!
I am well aware that speaking against public schools from
the pulpit is difficult, if not ‘political suicide.’ But it
can and must be done. One of our dearest pastor friends is
senior pastor of a large Southern Baptist Church in Kentucky.
There are many public school teachers in his church and his
wife taught in a public school. Yet I’ve heard him speak
often about the battle that is raging in schools. A few
years ago this church opened their doors to a large Christian
school and now the transition from public to private education
is under way. Pastors need to educate their flock about
humanism and socialism, and about the church’s responsibility
to confront error wherever it is found.
Parents and grandparents must be told that ‘their school’
(the public school that didn’t hurt them?) doesn’t exist
any longer. They must be told that it was ‘their school’
which produced the seed that now has blossomed into a humanist
fruit-bearing tree. The history of what happened to education
in America must be taught and now the war must be fought.
Government-run education is bankrupt. It has exhausted
whatever spiritual/moral capital it once had. Government-run
education is living (and dying!) proof of Jesus’ claim-
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on
every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’.”
Matthew 4:4 No Word, no life.
Teachers, curriculum and control of education make all the
difference in the world- they make a worldview. Every
student is going to come out of school with some worldview.
It appears that a primary goal of the government school
(perhaps even from the beginning) has been to make sure
that it wasn’t a Biblical worldview. Each new kindergarten
class that enters into the government, humanist system of
education is being trained to go against the Christian faith.
If they stay through high school, most of them will live
their lives as trained. They will side with relativism and
shun absolutes. The Bible will be gone from their lives.
If at all possible, Christian families and Christian pastors
must make the decision to walk away from government-run
schools and place their children in an environment of
instruction in the Word of God by the people of God.
Only this will “train them up in the way they should go.”
WHO IS DAN SMITHWICK?
Dan Smithwick received a B.S. degree in mathematics/education
in 1972 from North Dakota State University. He subsequently
entered into business management with AT&T for 20 years and
then with several small business firms in upper management
positions. In addition to his business career, Dan has been
active in Christian education work for over 20 years. He
served as board member of several Christian schools and taught
in a private school one year. Dan also worked for Dr. Pat
Robertson’s Freedom Council doing grassroots training on
Christian worldview principles. In 1986 Dan founded the
Nehemiah Institute and authored the first version of the
To take the PEERS test go to http://www.nehemiahinstitute.com