The American Psychological Association reports that each year, about 250,100 teachers are assaulted by students in the public school classrooms of America. A September, 2014 article in Britain’s The Guardian states that every day, an average of 878 students are expelled from school for classroom violence. Another Guardian headline reads, “Millions Paid Out to Teachers for Classroom Assaults and Accidents.” Just last month, the CBC reported that in Winnipeg , hundreds of assaults on both teachers and staff occurred in the city’s public schools in the last two years alone.
Public school classrooms, once the bastions of order and discipline, are out of control. Teaching is becoming a scary line of work.
But James, the younger brother of Jesus Christ–Who, as God in flesh was the World’s Greatest Teacher– points out an even more perilous aspect of teaching in James 3.1:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
The real hazard of teaching, James says, is not assault. It’s assessment–and not assessment not by parents or peers or school boards or HR committees. The real hazard of teaching is assessment by God.
While James is speaking primarily about teaching the Scriptures, the indictments for teaching falsehood will be countless in the Judgment. In Evolution vs. God, his masterful exposé of Darwinism in the university classroom, Ron Comfort repeatedly asks students why they believe in evolution. Their answers are always, “I believe what the experts tell me,” or, “I believe my professors.” One of those professors actually says on camera, “Of course humans are fish.” This is a Ph.D. in a scientific discipline in one of America’s prestigious universities, and his students believe him! Shame on them, shame on him, and shame on their teachers–especially their parents–who neglected to instruct them in the art of critical thinking.
And while we’re talking about parents, allow me to point out that they are a child’s first teachers, and the ones who most profoundly influence his or her intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development. Do you think God will judge parents for what they teach their children? No? Think again.
And we haven’t even mentioned the teachers of the soul. I recently heard it said that to understand a religion–any religion–one must simply examine a country in which its adherents constitute the majority. Interesting observation, don’t you think? In most of Europe, it’s either raw secular humanism or secular humanism tossed with either Roman Catholicism or liberal Protestantism just for good luck. In the Middle East, it’s Islam (and don’t forget Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic country.) In Haiti, it’s Roman Catholicism mixed with voodoo. In most of Latin America, it’s Roman Catholicism mixed with any other -ism the user deems appropriate. In Israel, it’s Judaism. In North America, it’s pluralistic, materialistic secular humanism and cultural Christianity. And look where it has gotten us. Globally, nations are descending into anarchy, brutality, tyranny, and chaos. And who do you think God will hold ultimately responsible?
Teachers in homes who tell their children there is no God, that the Bible is untrue, and that the world’s most important person is I . Teachers in universities who tell their students that humans are fish. Teachers in churches and mosques and synagogues and cathedrals–and even under trees–who teach people to trust gods that don’t exist or teach them that they can somehow please God on their own, by doing this and not doing that.
Think carefully about what James says here. Anyone who aspires to be a teacher–and most of us are teachers of something and someone just by default–must recognize that God will hold teachers accountable for what they teach.
This is especially true of those who teach the Scriptures. In 2 Timothy 2.15-18, Paul admonishes Timothy,
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.
Peter’s indictment against First Century false teachers in 2 Peter 2.12,13a is spine-chilling:
But these [false teachers], like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing.
Teaching is a very scary line of work.
Image is from lipstickalley.