Last November the 50th anniversary of the Association of Christian Teachers was marked by an online lecture from Alun Ebenezer, executive headmaster of The Fulham Boys’ School and preacher at Amyand Park Chapel.
His subject was, ‘Is there a place for Christianity in Education? An analysis of the shifting cultural sands of the past 50 years.’
Alun spoke first of changes in education over the last 50 years. He singled out Sex and Relationships education as one area that’s undergone radical alteration.
Increasingly younger pupils are exposed to increasingly explicit content about sexuality. The teaching of LGBT ideology has also risen significantly in recent decades: ‘Probably one of the biggest changes over the last fifty years,’ said Alun.
More positively, Alun highlighted that equality, inclusivity, and tolerance have become established mantras in education.
‘Every child in our schools, no matter their ethnicity or background, has to be treated equally… the days of entitlement and privilege in education are coming to an end.’
Alun’s Christian faith came to the fore when he spoke of what has not changed over the last half century.
‘God hasn’t changed. He is still sovereign. The whole world, including education, is still in his hands,’ said Alun, ‘and God still speaks through the Bible, which also hasn’t changed.’
The reality of sin, even among children, also remains unchanged: ‘In my 24-year career, I’ve never had to teach a child to be lazy, lie, punch, kick, push in, answer back – children are “wonderfully made” but born in sin.’
Alun also remarked how Jesus Christ hasn’t changed. ‘He still doesn’t despise little ones. He’s kind, he’s loving, he’s forgiving. He still welcomes children.’
Speaking to an audience of Christians involved in education, Alun concluded his talk with some challenges.
‘What needs to change? We do. Christians in education need to change. We need to be better. We have a responsibility to do what we do well, because we are doing it in the name of the Lord Jesus.’
People, including children, are ‘looking for a better message’ than what secular society can offer, says Alun. ‘Children have questions about the environment, identity, Covid; and Christian teachers can shed biblical light on these issues.’
Moreover, Alun called upon Christian teachers to be ‘braver’ and to beware of a ‘bunker mentality’ because of the spiritual decline in society.
Referring to Romans 1, Alun challenged his hearers ‘not to be ashamed of the gospel… as a group of teachers we need to say to the education world, we are not ashamed of the gospel’.