Rethinking School Contractual Pledges after the Maddi Runkles Case

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Bert Perry's picture

Back when I was a college student who had just come to Christ, I was appalled at two things I learned about the local Christian high school.  The first thing was that a friend of mine had gotten through high school math there with As and Bs, but had nonetheless been placed in remedial math in college, where she was having trouble.  The second thing--which I learned while tutoring her--was that there was a culture of trying to see exactly how much kids could "break the rules", including fornication in the school parking lot.  She hadn't participated, but a lot of her friends had.

Which is to say that when we put rules on top of Matthew 18:15-19 for repentant sinners, we do inestimable harm by making the process of restoration more difficult.  If we believe that fellowship in a Christian community helps us to be sanctified, kicking a kid out of that community is going to end up keeping kids in sin.

Just like Miss Runkles noted, and just like I was told by my friend.  2 Corinthians 2, brothers; there is a point where we love the repentant sinner, not subject him (her) to further discipline.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

This section, in particular, is very challenging and at the core of the issue as I see it:

And that’s the thing about these signed school pledges: they validate condemnation of particular sins without providing a way of restoration. They don’t promote repentance. They leave a teenager in their shame because they are immediately cut off from their “Christian” community. And when we are talking about Maddi Runkles’ case, we are reversing over 2,000 years of Christian influence on the transformation of the moral sanctioning of sexual morality from the category of shame to sin. Runkles' growing teenage belly is a shame to the school and its “Christian” ethics. But the power of the cross tells us that Maddi isn’t permanently shamed. Christ has pursued her, and through her faith and repentance his blood covers her sin. She is restored. Both her body and her soul have dignity and honor. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells