Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of ninety-six and more than seven decades as monarch of the United Kingdom. The National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that decades of progress in government schools were erased by government lockdowns. Meanwhile, theologians explained why they endorsed a declaration labeling secular totalitarianism as an affront to Christ and His Church.
Queen Elizabeth II Passes Away
“Fear God; honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).
Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday at the age of ninety-six following nearly seventy-one years as the monarch of the United Kingdom.
Elizabeth saw virtually every watershed moment of modern history. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service in World War II and worked as a mechanic before marrying Philip Mountbatten, with whom she would enjoy seventy-three years of marriage, in 1947. Under her reign, the British Empire dissolved and former protectorates gained independence.
Elizabeth oversaw the tenures of fourteen American Presidents, from Harry Truman to Joe Biden, as well as fifteen British Prime Ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill.
The late monarch reportedly held legitimate Christian convictions. As Grove City College historical theology professor Carl Trueman wrote in an opinion piece for First Things: “We British are diminished by her passing. And the world is surely diminished, too, having lost one of its precious few heads of state worthy of respect. May she rest in peace. We shall not see her like again in my lifetime, I fear.”
American Public Schools Continue to Falter
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress showed reading scores for nine-year-olds plummeting five points and mathematics scores dropping seven points. “This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics,” according to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The lackluster results come two years after state governments moved instruction online in reaction to the spread of COVID-19. Many districts—particularly those in urban areas with powerful teachers unions—did not return to classrooms until the end of last year.
In reaction to the phenomenon, as well as the accelerated spread of leftist ideologies through the education system, many parents have since opted to homeschool their children or find other alternatives. Homeschooling levels rose from 5.4% to 11% between March 2020 and September 2020 alone, according to data from the Census Bureau.
Some states have been more eager to embrace school choice than others. The Heritage Foundation’s inaugural Education Freedom Report Card showed that Florida dominated the country with respect to test scores, spending per pupil, and other factors.
“The Sunshine State embraces education freedom across the board,” the conservative think tank explained, as first unveiled by The Wall Street Journal. “Florida ranks first among states for academic transparency. Among other protections, state lawmakers set a high standard for academic transparency, and reject critical race theory’s pernicious ideas.”
The state of Arizona, which recently approved legislation providing $6,500 vouchers that parents can use for private schools, homeschools, or learning pods, placed second in the nation. However, New York and New Jersey were placed at the bottom of the index.
Theologians Discuss the ‘Frankfurt Declaration of Christian and Civil Liberties’
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10).
Pastors from multiple continents recently signed the Frankfurt Declaration of Christian and Civil Liberties—a document meant to serve as a prophetic witness against the rise of global authoritarianism manifested over the past two years.
Beyond banning Christians from gathering to worship, government lockdowns caused millions of people around the world to lose honorable work as they were forced to remain home, while weddings, funerals, the deaths of loved ones, and other milestones in human life were canceled.
In a series of interviews with The Daily Wire, multiple signatories—many of whom have fought legal battles or faced prison time due to their stance against totalitarianism—explained how Christianity is the only basis by which mankind may reject the abuse of power.
Dr. John MacArthur—the senior pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California—remarked that human authorities have “always tended to view Christ as an adversary and an inconvenience.”
“From Herod and Pontius Pilate until today, earthly governments have always sought to exert control over Christ and His kingdom,” he explained. “Caesar is not content with the things that are Caesar’s; he also wants control over the things that belong to God. So earthly rulers invariably try to seize as much dominance over the Church as they can possibly appropriate.”
Dr. James White—a pastor at Apologia Church in Mesa, Arizona—added that “the myth of neutrality” has hobbled evangelicals in the West and even permitted the compliance of Christian institutions with lockdowns.
“A consistent Christian understanding of the world begins with a recognition of God’s creatorship and the fact that all of existence, universally, is defined by His purposes, His law, His final glory,” White noted. “There is no neutral fact, for if it is a fact, God made it to be such.”