Dr. Todd Williams was recently featured on Stand in the Gap Today, a radio show led by the American Pastors Network that seeks to discuss cultural issues from a biblical perspective. One of the latest episodes, which aired on Tuesday, August 29, asked the question “Can Gen Z-ers Become Civic-minded?”
Stand in the Gap Today host Jamie Mitchell presented the issue that more and more academic institutions were neglecting to teach students about civics. The disconcerting statistics Mitchell shared shed light on students’ subsequent lack of civic knowledge, including facts such as only 12 percent of college students surveyed could articulate the relationship and difference between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment; only 15 percent correctly identified James Madison as the father of the Constitution; and 39 percent could name three branches of government, 14 percent could name two, and 25 percent could name only one.
These grim facts point out not only the problem of uninformed citizens, but it also reveals the problem of uninformed Christians. Dr. Williams discussed on the show how his own experience in teaching has made him personally aware of these sentiments and has given cause for him to address the problem at Cairn University, most notably by ensuring that the undergraduate curriculum includes a robust civics course for every student who comes through the University doors, regardless of their major.
As many accept an apathetic attitude toward American civics, Dr. Williams first cited the apostle Paul’s invoking his rights as Roman citizen as an example of the practical need for the knowledge of American government, ultimately to “instill a commitment to be an informed citizen.” But the importance of understanding American civics does not have implications just for practical knowledge. Dr. Williams also motivated students, parents, pastors, and other leaders to adopt this “civic-minded” attitude as they considered what it meant to be a Christian. Dr. Williams recognized that “what we can do is actually help our people understand that they have a dual citizenship and that they have an obligation to seek the welfare of the city that God has placed them in.” He concluded that “the Lord could have taken us home at the moment of conversion. He chose to leave us here as His ambassadors, to do good work. And that good work isn’t just carrying out ministry in the church or parachurch ministries, it’s being good neighbors and good citizens, people who are striving for a good society…to not take advantage of those things is to squander our resources.”
You can listen to the full recording of “Can Gen Z-ers Become Civic-minded” and other Stand in the Gap Today episodes here.