When a Teacher Doesn’t Share Your Values
Guests: Doug Sharp and Rich Geer
Description: What do you do in the situation where you are taking a class for credit, whether it is in high school or university, and the teacher obviously does not share your Christian values and the materials presented are contrary to what you know to be true? This is commonplace in the secular academic world and often is true in Christian colleges.
First of all, make a wise choice as to what your career is going to be and what institution will give you the best education for your money. If you are paying somebody to teach you, you will want your best money’s worth. Choose a Christian college with a good reputation.
If you start with a firm foundation, it helps. Find a teacher or professor who shares your Christian values and ask them if they could be a mentor to you. Also, find other Christian students who can act as a prayer partner to you and meet with them regularly to hold you accountable. Both of these resources can be valuable to strengthen your faith while you are pondering the difficulties that might be raised. This will also be true and is quite valuable once you have a job.
In I Corinthians 10:13 it says “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
If you are in a class where the materials presented conflict with your beliefs, there are ways to respond properly so that it will preserve your grades. Like iron sharpening iron, learning about other beliefs in comparison to what you believe can be an exercise that will ultimately strengthen your faith. Learn the materials faithfully so that you can answer the questions on the test, but privately resolve in your own mind what the real answers are. It is not likely that God has called you to challenge your teachers and try to convert them. That often does not end well.
There can come a time where you are challenged to express your beliefs either in your writing or giving a speech. You can tread carefully here giving respect to the teacher who has authority over you, but when expressing your Christian faith, do so with logical integrity and well-thought-out arguments. It’s ok to ask pointed questions. Pick your battles and respond in love, knowing that Jesus ultimately is the one who can change hearts.
It is possible that you will not be treated fairly. I took an independent study on radioisotope dating and the geology professor did not take kindly to the treatise I wrote pointing out the flaws in the method. He would not give me a grade for the course until I rewrote the paper favorable to evolution. Which makes an earlier point: make sure you can thoroughly understand the other side and you are capable to present it without compromising your position.
If your test answers conflict with your beliefs as to what is true, answer the test according to what the materials presented are and what your teacher expects. It isn’t necessarily your place to correct your teacher. That often does not end well.
God does not shelter us from the experiences that challenges our faith. In those times, you can ask Him for guidance and for support from other Christians who can back you up in prayer and encouragement.