President’s Post – November 2022

President's Posts > President’s Post – November 2022

Earlier this week, our faculty and staff gathered together for a time of training and fellowship. Our teachers gained a new perspective: they had the opportunity to be students in Heritage classrooms as Mrs. Mamie Breaden led a Nature Studies class and Dr. Anthony Sciubba and Mrs. Michelle Bishop led a high school Humanities class. This professional development was followed by a time of fellowship aimed at ensuring we remain a tight-knit, supportive team.

My remarks at that gathering followed up on a book we all read this summer, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, where Dr. Carl Trueman, Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College, seeks to explain the human search for identity and how we arrived at the modern understanding of self. Understanding this is critical to understanding the world in which we live and the world we are preparing our students to impact.

Prior to the last half of the 20th century, Americans viewed things like home, church, school, and government as structures that propped us up and gave us stability. Our culture placed value and worth in these institutions because they brought us together and gave us a sense of place, belonging, and community. In the last half of the 20th century, we saw a seismic shift in Western culture, particularly America, around the rise of individualism. This shift was influenced by several factors; however, the tipping point was the rise of the philosophical movement of existentialism, which rose in prominence following World War II. Existentialism jettisoned the idea that there was an objective truth that needed to be discovered and instead installed man as the final arbiter of truth. Truth became whatever you, the individual, determined it to be.

Because the individual has supplanted community, any place that seeks to make you submit to a higher ideal is seen as bad. Whereas institutions such as the home, church, and school were seen as strengths 100 years ago, now they are the punchlines to late night comedians’ jokes and are reviled by the masses. They are now simply inhibitors to the discovery of who you really are.

Since the Garden of Eden, the enemy has sought to replace truth with a lie, the authentic with a counterfeit. That is certainly the case with one of the core characteristics of the Christian life: community. We were created and designed to do life together, not alone. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that has elevated the individual and his feelings, desires, and interests above all else. If it inconveniences me, it needs to change. What matters to the collective good is no longer a consideration. Because I determine my own truth, the only thing that matters is my truth.

Fortunately, as followers of Christ, we understand there is a transcendent Truth that exists outside and apart from our thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Even better, our Creator has given us a guide to that Truth, the Holy Spirit. The critical step in accessing Truth is dying to ourselves, which is in direct opposition to our culture’s obsession with the individual. We are called to die to ourselves every day. To set aside our wants, desires, feelings, and priorities to follow Truth. The sanctification process requires us to bring our thoughts, feelings, and desires in line with God’s Word.

One of the most unique distinctives of Heritage Prep is our community. As we strive to live in relationship with one another, it doesn’t mean we all agree or always get what we want. In fact, Christian community often means that we will choose to sacrifice our desires for the greater good. When we position ourselves to serve and sacrifice while living for an audience of One, we begin to live out authentic Christian community that in turn transforms the world.

We need each other. The life God has called us to does not work in isolation. I pray that we recognize the incredible gift of this community and the relationships we get to experience and find ways to nurture them. The enemy will always seek to create division. In those instances, it will be incumbent upon us to step back and seek His will, not our own.

As Paul urges believers in Ephesians chapter 4, may we “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

In Christ,

Matthew H. Skinner