This article originally appeared on September 26, 2022 at Baptist News Global.
The Baptist youth group I grew up in was made up of three main categories of students — the Christian school students, the homeschool students, and the public school students. Every fall, as we gathered on Wednesday evenings just a few short hours after our various schools let out, we were keenly aware of the differences that set us apart from one another and the dangers the others posed.
Our Baptist church had a small Christian school, which made up the vast majority of the kids in our youth group. We were taught the traditional evangelical theology that the universe was 6,000 years old, that Adam and Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit caused pain and death to enter into the world, that everyone deserved to burn in hell forever, that Jesus took the punishment on the Cross for those who would trust in him alone by faith alone, that everyone stands at the crossroads of heaven or hell, and that the rapture was going to happen at any moment to seal our fate for eternity.
The homeschoolers believed the same fundamental theology, but also believed the Christian school kids weren’t quite as protected as they were due to some worldly kids who were allowed to attend our school. And this was one form of protection our various Christian contexts felt was necessary to educate us about.
“Worldliness” was defined as a lack of separation from the values and desires of “the world,” which was a vague term meaning “the unsaved,” or non-evangelicals. It was based on 1 John 2:15-17, which states: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
“The holy trinity of threats to the Christian school kids and the homeschool kids in our youth group were considered to be sex, the Democrats and evolution.”
The holy trinity of threats to the Christian school kids and the homeschool kids in our youth group were considered to be sex, the Democrats and evolution.
“Whatever you do, don’t ever touch yourself,” was preached constantly. “What if the rapture happens when you’re in the middle of masturbating?” We couldn’t listen to rock music because it would remind us of sex. We couldn’t watch PG movies because they would remind us of sex. Our girls had to wear culottes over their wind suit pants in the cold or the shape of their legs might remind us about sex.
“Bill Clinton is going to declare himself president forever and hand the United States over to the United Nations to usher in the Tribulation,” was threatened constantly. Decades before QAnon conspiracy theories became the talking points of mainstream Republican politicians, they were forming in the womb of Christian schools.
“From goo to you by way of the zoo” was mocked constantly. Evolution was seen as a silly way for scientists to reject the authority of God in order to justify living however they wanted to, which of course we all knew meant having a lot of sex.
“Public schools were considered the breeding grounds of worldliness.”
So public schools were considered the breeding grounds of worldliness. It was there that liberals would have unmonitored access to teach our young kids about sex while handing out condoms and talking to them about the existence of gay people.
It was there that the federal government had taken away local control in order to indoctrinate our young kids in the values of big government and to rewrite our nation’s history from the glorious Christian roots it supposedly had to embrace multi-culturalism.
It was there that evolution would be taught as fact, while young earth creationism and the existence of God would be mocked. And where God’s existence is mocked, God’s authority is dismissed, which we all knew would lead to having a lot of sex.
So in our Baptist church youth group, the public school kids either were a danger to our souls and therefore were our mission field, or they were superhero missionaries resisting sex, the Democrats and evolution at every turn.