Economic Crisis, Globalization, our Students, and our Mission (Era of U.S. financial dominance at an end: Germany)

In view of the current financial crisis surrounding the U.S. economy, I sent the following email to my staff. I am sharing this with you in the hope that you may find it of some small value to you or your staff. Barrett Mosbacker


September 25, 2008

Dear Staff:

As you know, over the last several years, I have made a point of emphasizing the new realities of the global economy, its impact on our students, and what this means for our teaching and our academic standards. I would encourage you to take a minute to read the Reuters’ article at the end of this email even if economics and finance are not your “thing.”

I am obviously not an economist so I cannot assess the accuracy of every assertion in this article. What seems clear are the following:

1. The world our students are inheriting is vastly different than the world we have known

2. As was noted in the movie 2 Million Minutes, the U.S. no longer enjoys the economic monopoly that was ours after WWII

3. International competition in all sectors of society is increasing rapidly with the rest of the world catching up and poised to surpass the U.S.

4. All of the above adds up to greater economic uncertainly for our students

The question is, what does this mean for us and our students? I would like to suggest the following:

1. We need to remind our students that we are responsible for our decisions but God is sovereign so anxiety is not an appropriate response. Prayer, humility, trust, and obedience are the appropriate response to this or any crisis.

2. We must continue to enhance our ability to give our students a thoughtful, intelligent biblical worldview. Simplistic responses to complex scientific, social, moral, political, and economic issues will not prepare our students to be salt and light in this world. I am reminded of Dr. Machen’s insightful observation:

The missionary movement is the great religious movement of our day. Now it is perfectly true that men must be brought to Christ one by one. There are no laborsaving devices in evangelism. It is all hard work. And yet it would be a great mistake to suppose that all men are equally well prepared to receive the gospel. It is true that the decisive thing is the regenerative power of God. That can overcome all lack of preparation, and the absence of that makes even the best preparation useless. But as a matter of fact God usually exerts that power in connection with certain prior conditions of the human mind, and it should be ours to create, so far as we can, with the help of God, those favorable conditions for the reception of the gospel. False ideas are the greatest obstacles to the reception of the gospel. We may preach with all the fervor of a reformer and yet succeed only in winning a straggler here and there, if we permit the whole collective thought of the nation or of the world to be controlled by ideas which, by the resistless force of logic, prevent Christianity from being regarded as anything more than a harmless delusion. Under such circumstances, what God desires us to do is to destroy the obstacle at its root. Many would have the seminaries combat error by attacking it as it is taught by its popular exponents. Instead of that they confuse their students with a lot of German names unknown outside the walls of the universities. That method of procedure is based simply upon a profound belief in the pervasiveness of ideas. What is today a matter of academic speculation begins tomorrow to move armies and pull down empires. In that second stage, it has gone too far to be combated; the time to stop it was when it was still a matter of impassioned debate. So as Christians we should try to mould the thought of the world in such a way as to make the acceptance of Christianity something more than a logical absurdity …

Furthermore, the field of Christianity is the world. The Christian cannot be satisfied so long as any human activity is either opposed to Christianity or out of all connection with Christianity. Christianity must pervade not merely all nations, but also all of human thought. The Christian, therefore, cannot be indifferent to any branch of earnest human endeavor. It must all be brought into some relation to the gospel. It must be studied either in order to be demonstrated as false, or else in order to be made useful in advancing the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom must be advanced not merely extensive but also intensively. The Church must seek to conquer not merely every man for Christ, but also the whole of man. Machen, J. G. (1987). Education, Christianity, and the State. Jefferson, MA: The Trinity Foundation., pg. 50

3. We need to teach our students that the violation of God’s law leads to temporal and eternal loss. Although there are many interrelated causes for the current economic turmoil, it seems clear that materialism and greed are major contributing factors.

On the subject of materialism, did you realize that one of the major sins of Sodom was materialism and failure to care for the less fortunate? I believe this is a sin on Wall Street and Main Street (To whom much is given, much is required).

Eze 16:49-50 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. (50) They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

4. Our students need to be made to understand that the opportunities and relative prosperity of their parents may be much harder to realize in their lives.

5. There will likely be little job security for most.

6. Working hard and learning are not optional. They face global competition for university entrance and jobs and must prepare themselves if they are going to care for themselves and their families and have resources to share with the less fortunate.

7. We must teach our students to think and HOW to learn. Although this can be a cliché, our students will have to be life-long learners.

8. Our teaching must be active and engaging. Students need to master information/skills but they also must learn how to assess, analyze, synthesize, and present information. They have to be problem solvers, not just good test takers.

9. We will continue to develop our understanding and application of 21st century skills in our classrooms.

Please join me in praying that the Lord will:

· Use current events to spark a reformation in our country.

· Enable us to use current events as an instructional opportunity to develop our students’ sense of justice, charity, and a deeper understanding of economics and other disciplines from a biblical perspective.

· Be particularly merciful to the poor who suffer disproportionately during economic downturns.

Thank you for your commitment to excellence in Christian education—the Lord is using you to impact many lives! Barrett Mosbacker