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April 7, 99
My name is Dan Smithwick. I operate a private foundation called the
Nehemiah Institute, Inc. I am writing in response to Mr. Burcher's question
about 'Christian' youth dropping out of church and/or out of the Christian
faith. I have some answers, I believe.
Our work is in providing a worldview assessment service to Christian
educators (day schools, home schoolers, churches, colleges,ministries, etc.)
to help discern what 'worldview presuppositions' are being used by students
to frame their views of life.
Our test gives results in five areas: Politics, Economics, Education,
Religion, and Social Issues (PEERS), hence the name of the test- The PEERS
In each area we rate their views as coming from one of four 'worldviews-'
1) Biblical Theism, 2) Moderate Christian, 3) Secular Humanism or 4)
Over the 13 years of doing this, we have found a large majority of youth
from Christian homes, attending public schools, fall into the Secular
Humanism and Socialism categories. Not surprising. They are buying what
they are being taught, to the ignorance of their parents and pastors. The
have been trained to believe that the church and the Christian faith (by
default) are simply not relevant.
We have also found that youth from Christian homes, in Christian schools
(traditional type) score better, but not by much. A high percentage fall in
the low end of the Moderate Christian view. Where do you think they will
score after 4 years of "higher" learning from state colleges?
Just today we scored tests from a 'traditional' Christian high school in
Tennessee with results of: Moderate Christian- 35.6%; Secular Humanism-
61.0%; Socialism- 3.4%
Also today we scored tests from a west coast Christian college with the
following results: Moderate Christian- 7.7%; Secular Humanism- 61.5%;
Socialism- 30.8%. These were all seniors. The faculty (2 who took the
test) scored in the Biblical Theism category. The obvious question- Why are
these students, after 4 years of "Christian" education leaving college with
such strong anti-Christian views???
The bright spot is with youth who are enrolled in schools that have a
particular emphasis on 'worldview' education. Two particular programs doing
this are Principle Approach education from F.A.C.E. and the Classical
Christian school program.
Students from these schools regularly score in the high range of Moderate
Christian to mid-range of Biblical Theism. Based on discussions with
teachers/administrators in these schools, the 'drop out' problem is
substantially reduced from what is happening in 'traditional evangelical'
A full report of PEERS results, addressing the 'dropout' problem, is
available from us for $3.30, including s/h. Send to:
Nehemiah Institute, Inc.
1323 No. 3rd St., #200
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Ask for the TCC study. We will also send info on PEERS Testing.
If you care to visit about this, I may be reached at 1-800-948-3101.
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