100 years. Our world was such a different place a century ago. Tensions were building in Europe as, one by one, countries declared war on Germany in what would later be called The War to End All Wars. The average person’s lifespan was 47 years and a leading cause of death was influenza. Most Americans did not complete high school and few went on to college. The average wage was 22 cents an hour. 100 years ago, only 8 in 100 homes had a telephone and that was a communal affair. In one hundred short years we have gone from party lines to smartphones, from newspapers to the world-wide web. The privileged who had automobiles had to buy gasoline at the drugstore and today many of our students drive cars of their own. Every house has indoor plumbing and we all have access to vaccines and antibiotics, virtually wiping out major causes of death a century ago.
In 2016, there’s no doubt we’re healthier. A report from the CDC says that a child born in the US today can expect to live to be 78.8--a record high. Diseases like polio and tuberculosis are practically unheard of. We are also wealthier, possessing far more physical comforts than any generation before us. Even with adjustments made for inflation, the average family is far better off financially than middle class families in 1916. The US Department of Education reports that 80% of Americans currently graduate from high school and more than a third of those go on to receive college degrees. As we consider these contrasts and conclude that we are healthier, wealthier and better educated, I have to ask two questions: Are we better off? and Has the Bible become obsolete in our time?
In order to answer the first question I posed, we must first answer the second: Is God’s Word obsolete in 2016? This is the stuff we are about at Hillcrest Academy. Helping students answer questions like.
-Does society determine what is morally right or wrong?
-Is God interested in how I conduct myself with regard to his standards?
-Do absolutes exist, or are right and wrong open to interpretation by the individual and current circumstances?
As parents, we know that ours are not the only voices our children will hear. That’s one reason why many of you have chosen to send your children to Hillcrest. You care that your child is taught a biblical worldview. You care that she learns to interpret events and experiences with the timeless standard of Holy Scriptures. You care that he witnesses firsthand, mature believers in Christ who will model grace-filled, redemptive living. Never has this been more critical than an age where anti-God, pro-human wisdom messages are screaming at our children from every conceivable venue, 24/7. High school is a critical window of influence between childhood and college/career/adulthood. All too soon agenda-driven professors will tell their students, “College is a place where you learn to think for yourselves,” meaning, “We’ll tell you a new way to think that isn’t based on your parent’s archaic values.” Now, more than ever, our sons and daughters need to know what they believe and why--and where to go for the answers to the most important questions life will evoke. Can this generation, who has known only abundance and prosperity, grasp the deeper meaning of God’s purposes? Or will they fall into the trap of the fool who says in his heart, “There is no God?” (Ps, 14:1) Will they be seduced by the delusion of self-sufficiency of affluence and declare, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.'” when the truth is, “...you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Rev 3:17)
100 years ago, In Fergus Falls, a Bible school and Christian high school opened that was devoted to training young people in the truths and relevancy of the Bible. This year, Hillcrest Academy celebrates a century of God’s faithfulness. One hundred years later we see that God’s Word is as alive and active and urgently necessary as ever. Despite human advances of every kind, we are still as much in need of a Savior as any generation before us. Today, we are honored to partner with parents to maximize this window of opportunity in the lives of our young people. We take seriously Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Tim:3:16-17:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Here is the Best News for 2016 as we continue to face wars and rumors of wars, rampant natural disasters, corruption at every level of government, and a general malaise of uncertainty: God is on his throne and means to accomplish his will on the earth through his people. For our part at Hillcrest, our timeless statement of mission expresses it best--
“Equipping students to live lives of eternal significance.”
That’s just something that never goes out of style.