In her recent press release Evonne Paddison was quoted as saying

SRI provides students with the opportunity to learn about a particular faith and the values of tolerance, respect, serving others, integrity and looking after the less fortunate. “These values underpin our legal, health, financial and social welfare systems”.

However in her address to the Evangelical Communion, she said that:

“In Australia, we have a God-given open door to children and young people with the Gospel, our federal and state governments allow us to take the Christian faith into our schools and share it. We need to go and make disciples.”

Though these comments did attract some concern, the politics of this issue are to allow these parachurch groups to have the support and funding from the Government – and to buy into the argument in the former quote, and to ignore the agressive and self serving nature of the missionary intention of the second quote.

Make no mistake, the people who work full time in youth ministry are not simply promoting “good values” – like tolerance, respect, and serving others – they believe that they should convert others to “believe” in the tenets of the Christian Religion, and they know that young children are impressionable – so logically the best place to “make disciples” is among young children.

Here is a video of two Victoria based “child evangelists” having a chat about their desire to “go and make disciples” – both these men work for churches who are active in putting volunteers in Victoria State Schools.

This is the kind of theology that underpins what is going on in our schools.  Personally, if people want to believe that God cares about their hobbies, I say, “good on ya”” – but when people discover Jesus, decide that Macca’s isn’t for them and get to just waltz into a school and start a youth ministry, and are handed our school classrooms on the pretense that they are teaching about the values underpin our legal, health, financial and social welfare systems – we have a problem, because one of the things that makes sure that we have strong legal, health, financial and social welfare systems is that they are no longer based on this kind of self centered “God told me to sell my Holden” kind of theology.

Because of the history of Europe, many venerable centers of learning (eg. Oxford, Cambridge), as well as modern hospitals, and the courts, were once were “Church institutions”, but this does not mean that Stu Winn and Raff D’Agistino are respectable people who have anything interesting to say about law, medicine, or education.  In fact, listening to them talk about how God sends them on errands and suggests to them that “it is time to sell their Monaro HK”, one suspects that they are just evangelical missionaries out selling a kind of feel good self help theology – go for your life, just don’t expect us to hand our schools over to you because you say God wants you to minister to children.

The fact is that  while our institutions may have a Christian past, if your doctor, lawyer, or teacher was to talk like these two clownish evangelicals, they’d be barred from their professions.  Telling people that you get stock tips or advice on your auto collection from God, is not, for the most part, confidence inspiring in any sense.  Our greatness as a society includes the innovation of separating religious dogma from our public, legal and financial institutions – the outworking of this is our modern secular democracy – and the freedom to pick and choose not only whether or not to be religious, but what kind of religion to follow.

What these two clowns are on about … is nothing I’d willingly sign my kids up for, would you?.

How did the people of Australian become the funding source for the most shallow self centered theology on the planet?