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Heritage Christian school in Ohio has suspended Tyler Frost for going to the prom with his girlfriend. Heritage Christian school has a statement up on their website that you may read for yourself.
Naturally this bad call will get a lot of press. When was the last time you read in national news about a decision that seemed odd on the part of a secular school? Well it happens, but does not create a feeding frenzy like this. The world is watching those of us in the Christian community very closely, as nothing can damage us more than the pain we inflict on ourselves. While we are taught not to generalize about nationality or race, it is acceptable in the world’s eyes to say, “There go those Christians again.” Prejudice against us is perfectly acceptable.
In an unsigned statement on their site, this paragraph may be found:
In the Old Testament, Joseph was in a place of temptation and he fled. Unlike this situation, he didn’t put himself in that place. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” II Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee also youthful lusts but follow after righteousness faith charity and peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” When the school committee, many years before I became the principal, set up the policy regarding dancing, I am confident that they had the principle of fleeing lustful situations in mind. The question as I see it is, should a Christian place themselves at an event where young ladies will have low cut dresses and be dancing in them? Isn’t it contrary to the example of Joseph and the verses that I stated?
I feel really bad for the author of that statement in particular, and for the culture of that school in general. In fact, more than ‘feel bad’ I dispair of the entire society that takes the Gospel of Christ and tries to shove it into a man-shaped box, instead of trying to grow people into a Gospel -shaped, Christ -shaped community. Is the author telling us that he struggles with lust issues due to a low cut dress? Is a little cleavage all it would take to have him fall into sin? If the sights at a Prom are so disturbing, how would he go to the beach, or even the Mall? I have an idea, let us put women in a coverall outfit, we will call it a burka, so that the sight of an ankle, or a thigh, or a breast will not cause us to sin, oh yeah, wrong religion.
I am trying to guard myself from sin and sarcasm and snarkiness, but failure is imminent. If Christianity had always had this attitude missionaries would never have gone into the topless peoples of the islands, we would let them burn for fear of temptation. If this attitude was the correct one we would not be doing teen outreach, as there are young women who have grown up in a culture of ‘sex sells’ and in appearance are dressing like a display case for Victoria’s Secret. If this attitude was correct our Savior would not have gone amongst the prostitutes and tax collectors.
Joesph fled a seductress, not a woman in sexy garb. It was not the woman’s appearance to be avoided, it was her behavior and intention. I hate it when people pull a verse from a story and say “Here you go, I am right!” Paul’s advice to Timothy had nothing to do with anyone’s outward appearance, but was wise advice to a young pastor on maturing past a point where the flesh has control, “youthful” is the word, and becoming strong in the Lord. What about the rest of the story?
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
And the Lord’s servant [fn] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
Does it seem to you that our administrator is heeding these words? Is this patiently enduring [what he thinks is] evil? Try to tell me that this man has not caused a foolish ignorant controversy. He did.
The point of the Christian life is not to leave the world, but to live in it by the Power of the Holy Spirit avoiding sin not by adherence to rules, but by the guidance of the very Heart and Mind of Jesus that indwells us by the Gift of the Spirit. Legalism in all its forms denies the Deity of the Holy Ghost and His power. This was not an orgy Tyler was going to, it was a Prom, with teachers and chaperons. The lesson Heritage has taught here is two fold:
One, we are weak and need to avoid situations that might tempt us. Two, we are better, or at least we think we are, than you Prom goers, oh yeah, and by the way, you are going to Hell.
There are rules to every organization. My point is not to flaunt rules, but this is a situation that should have been handled man to youth, in love, and in private. Christian schools need to prepare students for life, not act as a cult. The Amish do not require 17 year olds to give up the world, they get a choice when they are a little older. Maybe they trust their young men more. I have seen this type of legalism result in two very different but equally unfortunate situations. Unmarried men at 30 and 40 years of age, not bringing new life into the world to carry on the Christian traditions, and escapees of legalism who fall into the traps of sin in the world for which they were totally unprepared. Perhaps Heritage is promoting a culture that is not based on the freedom that is in Christ, but on the rules that are based on the weakness of sinful man.
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