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The case for Bibles / December 04, 2013

Dear Viewpoint:

Children are arguably the most easily influenced demographic in our society. Being exposed to a wide array of elements in our society, good and bad, children’s minds and hearts are shaped easily, often having their critical thinking and decision-making processes influenced for the rest of their lives. It is vital, for this reason, to inform and educate our precious children as early as possible with the values and skills necessary not just to survive in our world, but to sustain a healthy lifestyle necessary to maintain physically and morally healthy lives.

We believe that this can only be accomplished through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is within this context that we have recently been made aware of some concern regarding the display of Bibles in our Mecklenburg County Public Schools. It is our understanding that some parents were concerned with this practice, and in particular with open encouragement from school faculty to our hometown’s children to have these Bibles in their possession. It is also our understanding that our schools may not legally encourage students to possess these Bibles if made available, but that the Bibles may be passively available to students so long as other religious and/or cultural literature can be made available as well.

We are not qualified and therefore will not comment on the legal merits surrounding this issue. We therefore pen this open letter for two purposes.

Our hearts and attention are first and foremost directed to any concerned parents who would seemingly rather not have their children be encouraged to possess Bibles. It is very encouraging to know that these parents want to be sure that their children are exposed only to ideas that shape their future for the better. We feel that these parents should continue to voice public concern when they feel their children are in danger and commend the active pursuit of their children’s well-being. For that reason we respectfully extend a warm and heartfelt invitation for these parents to bring their children to any of our churches at any time! We would love to meet you, introduce you to our warm and welcoming congregations, and to invite your children to the numerous activities we have in place for them

In short we have broad networks of friendship, support, and fellowship. We want to stress that we are here as a resource to partner with you on behalf of your children. We affirm that all of our children need to have their parents, their school system, and the church to effectively help our children to be successful and well rounded.

Second, we affirm and encourage peoples’ active pursuit of truth, regardless of one’s age, and encourage people of all ages, races and genders to do so by visiting a local church and finding a Bible to read on a regular basis. We contend that the only way to Truth is through Jesus Christ who died for us over 2,000 years ago because He loved us enough to redeem us from disaster. Countless individuals, not just in our Churches but around the world, can personally attest to the power of Jesus Christ. There are not many things that can routinely bring mature adults to tears. However, when you sit down with an individual that has been exposed to the Scriptures, quite often these individuals have no response except that of overflowing tears, and that is because the work brought forth by the Bible is the missing ingredient in their lives. For this reason, we openly and publicly encourage our children in Mecklenburg County and the surrounding counties to find Bibles, to enjoy them, and to study them on a frequent basis. We commend the Gideons and other groups who take the initiative in going out into our community in these efforts, and encourage continued efforts to do so.

We agree with the courts that our children are extremely impressionable. However, we disagree that the Bible would seem to have an impact on our children that would not be desirable. The Bible teaches that we should love our neighbor and pray for our enemies. The Bible teaches to do unto others as you would have them do unto you (The Golden Rule). The Bible teaches to honor your parents and those placed in authority over you. The Bible teaches that we should tell the truth at all times and not steal from our neighbor. These teachings are the very fabric that holds our community together in a healthy and positive way. It should be allowed, even passively, to all of our children regardless of their age to make the Bible available if they and their parents so choose.

Romans 14:19 invites us to “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” We extend this always-open invitation to everyone in our community, especially our young and always-beautiful children, and encourage this invitation to be passed along in all public and private facilities.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Herman Lundy, Flat Rock Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Kevin G. Rosenfeld, First Baptist Church South Hill
Rev. Tim Irving, Tabernacle Baptist Church
Rev. Lane Spigener, South Hill United Methodist Church
Rev. Robert Lockhart, South Hill Church of God
Rev. Sandi Libhart, South Hill Presbyterian Church
Rev. Darryl Wise, Concord Baptist Association
Rev. Carl Walker, Exalted Word Church International
Rev. Richard Vaughn, Victory E. G. Church
Rev. Paul Sciotto, Mecklenburg Baptist Church

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