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Martyn Iles On His Ministry’s Plans To Revolutionise Christian Education

by | Wed, Dec 6 2023

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The US-based new Executive CEO of US-based Answers In Genesis, Martyn Iles, has revealed his global ministry’s plans to revolutionise Christian education so that it survives and thrives. He believes authentic Christian schools are doomed in Australia and many other Western countries. The former head of the Australian Christian Lobby told Vision Radio that during his exposure to Australian politics in that role, he became pessimistic about the future of our Christian schools.

“There is going to be a time when we are beyond Christian schools. I hate to be the bringer of bad news. But I’m not someone who dwells on bad news. You know, even if I talk about the way the culture’s changed negatively, I always want to say to people: Yes, but it’s always in times like this that God raises up a remnant, does an amazing work. How about we be part of that? I want to bring the solution to the table and point people in an optimistic direction,” Martyn Iles declared.

“On the Christian schools thing, we have to deal with a negative reality to start with, which is that the government is going to change legislation in such a way that Christian schools are not going to be able to teach Christian ethics. Christian schools are not going to be able to enforce Christian codes of conduct. Christian schools are not going to be able to employ Christian staff. Christian schools are not going to be able to have Christian enrolment policies for the students. Therefore, in practice, Christian schools are no longer going to be very effective at being Christian schools.”

“That’s just where we’re going and they’re going to go through all those little adjustments I mentioned. But ultimately the fruit will be that it might be still called a Christian school, but it really won’t be able to function very effectively as a Christian school. And so that’s a negative reality that is going to happen. My time in politics made that abundantly clear. This current [federal] government is more than likely to do it. If not this one, the next one will.”

“Now what do we do therefore? Well, we need to come up with an answer. And the answer that we’re looking at, at Answers in Genesis is creating an education movement that enables Christian education to be available to families beyond Christian schools. And the way we would do that is we would kind of create a hybrid model of homeschooling and collective instruction with professional teachers. And you can do that under the law within certain limits.”

“So children are at home for some days and they come together to be taught as a group on other days in local community cooperatives around the country. We would probably have professional teachers and we would have a very sophisticated digital curriculum platform backing that up, to equip and resource parents and educators across the nation with a Biblical worldview, science, history and various other curriculum things. It would be an incredible thing.”

“It’s going to take a few years to put together. We’re against the clock because of the changes that are happening in the legislation for Christian schools, but really we want to create that at Answers in Genesis and we’re looking for people’s support to get that done,” Martyn Iles explained.

An operation similar to the hybrid model that Answers in Genesis envisages can be seen at The Firmly Planted Family Homeschool Resource Center in Vancouver, Washington State, just across the Columbia River from Oregon’s biggest city of Portland. Heidi and Jay St. John launched it 20 years ago, and after a huge boom during the covid pandemic it has quadrupled in size and continues to expand and now runs like a massive homeschool co-operative.

As the demand for homeschooling soars across the United States, it has already outgrown two locations and ballooned into a super-sized building with 200 dedicated classrooms where subjects range from the basics to specialist skills such as woodworking, music recording and dance. It includes a huge auditorium, a coffee shop and a bookstore. It uses a mix of professional and volunteer parent-teachers and seeks to match kids’ interests with the available teaching expertise so students can have more ‘lightbulb moments.’

The Firmly Planted Family Homeschool Resource Center promotes itself as a non-profit, full-time facility dedicated to equipping and encouraging homeschooling families. It offers students classes, field-trips, special events, tutoring, hands-on learning and chapel. For parents there are workshops, counselling, a curriculum store, classes, and fellowship. For families it provides a school community.

“We’re building Noah’s Ark, Noah’s educational ark. We’re saying get out of the waters of woke. Get out of these broken schools. If God can do it here in the Pacific Northwest, then He can do it anywhere,” proclaimed Heidi St. John.

To hear more of the interview with Martyn Iles about his work at ‘Answers In Genesis’ click on the link below:

Photo: Answers In Genesis