Evangelism vs. scholarship: Bible study in public schools

Last year the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) published a revealing study showing that most curricula for Bible study in public schools promote Christian faith more than they study the Bible. The study was done by a witty and amusing professor of religion from Southern Methodist University, Dr. Mark Chancey.

This week they followed up that study with a detailed look at Bible studies courses in Texas public schools, as they are actually presented to students. It’s not pretty.

In their press release, TFN said:

Clergy, Parents Voice Concerns About Public School Bible Classes

New Report Reveals Poor Quality, Bias, Religious Agendas in Texas Courses

September 13, 2006

AUSTIN – Clergy and parents are voicing serious concerns that Bible classes in Texas public schools are of poor quality and promote religious views that discriminate against children from a variety of faith backgrounds.

“The study of the Bible deserves the same respect as the study of Huck Finn, Shakespeare and the Constitution,” said the Rev. Dr. Roger Paynter, pastor of First Baptist Church of Austin. “But in some public schools, Bible courses are being used to promote an agenda rather than to enrich the education of our schoolchildren.”

Dr. Chancey is a solid scholar of the Bible. His criticisms are detailed and often understated, in a business where criticism is generally more hyperbole than substance. Especially if you live in Texas, you should read the report.

In the original study, Chancey noted that some nationally-promoted curricula for Bible studies had plagiarized some of their most important materials, in one case including the entire section on honesty as defined by the Ten Commandments. Dr. Chancey does not write drily — he really does a great job turning words. Both studies are well worth the reading.

First Amendment charlatans are fond of quoting the Supreme Court’s decisions in school-and-religion cases since World War II, in which the Court urges critical studies of scripture, saying such studies are legal and good. Then the charlatans go on to advocate Bible studies that are devotional, confusing a Sunday school class-style of scripture study with the critical literature study the Court actually urged. These reports leave little room for squirming by those advocates.

Last time around, TFN held a meeting here in Dallas featuring Dr. Chancey talking about the report and the reaction to it from the religious right (they were stunned into saying many really stupid things). It was a fun night, and I hope TFN will do it again.

Other coverage of the report:

If you see a particularly good story on the study, will you please send me a link?

Patriots and Christians don’t let children take crappy Bible studies courses:

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81 Responses to Evangelism vs. scholarship: Bible study in public schools

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Dawit Beyene, this site is a blog for discussion. This is NOT the place to find scholarships to study theology.

    Whoever told you to come here should not be trusted.

    Good luck.


  2. Dawit Beyene says:

    iam 28 years old .my name is Dawit Beyene. i want to study theology in degree. please find me free scholar ship full time or class attended.


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Why not study medicine and fight malaria in Uganda? That would be a very high form of mission work in your own country.


  4. Oundo Wa Kerera says:

    Am Oundo Wa Kerera (mature) Ugandan citizen, holding advanced Diplomas in Christian ministry, Pastoral counseling, Theology etc.Iam seeking for a Degree course scholarship either on distance or full time programmes. My interesting field of study is child and youth counseling ministry study course / Bible study.


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    No, I think some scammer in Africa is trying to get people to pay for help to get to the U.S. and get money for schooling — and that site listed this post as a source. I don’t think it qualifies under the “Nigerian prince” model — I’m not a prince, no one alleges anyone is, and there is really no promise of massive wealth for simply giving up all your credit card and bank account numbers.

    It’s a scam aimed at people who sincerely want to do good, but who don’t have the reading comprehension to realize that “vs.” is an abbreviation for “versus,” which means it’s “evangelism against scholarship” in the headline.

    That’s why I keep telling people to read the post and the letters. So far only one has posted twice. Maybe they do read it, after being told to do so.

    Were I the guy who put up the URL on this post urging people to write here for money, I’d worry that five or ten of these people would get together and take turns punching him in the nose. One punch each, he’d get the message. I don’t urge that they do that, but it’d be hard to convict them in a U.S. court. Can’t say about courts in various African countries.


  6. JamesK says:

    So this is the new form of the Nigerian prince scam…


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Wosenu Kefyalew,

    The first test here is, “Can you read and understand this post?” To pass that test, you would have had to have read the post, and read the comments, and understood that there is no scholarship money available here.

    Notice, for example, that the title of this post is “Evangelism versus scholarship.” “Versus” means “against,” as you know.

    Whoever gave you the URL of this blog and told you to write here, is a charlatan, and does not deserve your trust or friendship. Whoever did that is trying to scam you.

    Tell all your Christian friends that you just missed being bilked, and warn them not to listen to the guy who gave you this address — and warn them that if they write here, they well be laughed at by other readers and they will not get any money.

    That would be the Christian thing to do, as Mark Twain might have said.


  8. wosenu kefyalew says:

    Beloved of Jesus,
    I am from Ethiopia in east Africa and i am student in addis abeba(capital of Ethiopia) university in engineering(mechanical)filed. in my night and break time i want to study bible(learn) in distance and serve my Jesus in university fellowship so ,pleas would you help me with some fiance or materials . thank you for all your support and God BLESS YOU ALL.
    MY PO.BOX is 1176 at 6kilo
    my name is wosenu kefyalew or E-mail wosenukefy@gmail.com


  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Dear Abera,

    Scholarships are awarded only to those who can read the rest of this thread, and comments. Awards are not made here.


  10. I am from Ethiopia & the followers of Jesus Christ & I am searching Scholarship to know more about & the bible to save the life of the community.I have BA Degree in Business Management with Academic excellency(4 point)……………
    Good bless you


  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Dear Joseph,

    In order to get a scholarship and do well in a seminary in the U.S., a student must have a good command of the English language, especially in reading it.

    Please read all the comments on this post, and the post itself. You will quickly determine that I have no money to give, for scholarships or other Bible study, and that suggests that you have been misled by some fly-by-night group to think that this post has anything at all to do with the granting of scholarships to Africans to study Christianity or other theology in the U.S.

    You have been played for a sucker by someone, Joseph. No money is available here. No scholarships are available here. Perhaps you can take some solace in having learned hard lesson the harsh school of life: Not everyone who claims to be a Christian and interested in helping you, is either Christian or interested in helping you.

    I hope you paid no money to get this blog’s address, but if you did, let me know and I’ll notify appropriate authorities (not that I think they’ll do anything).

    P. T. Barnum, a famous American impresario of circuses and freak sideshows, once said something like “there is a sucker born every minute.” One of your goals in life should be to demonstrate that you are not one of those suckers.


    The Management, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub


  12. Praise the lord Jesus

    I am Joseph a Tanzanian citizen with 33 years of age from East Africa. I am served and Jesus is my Saviour. I have a call I want to save my lord for the rest of my life. I expect to graduate first degree next month in BA( general) public administration. I can’t think about working in other career but thinking about serving my God. every my holy spirit make my brain to think about preaching. I am completely dedicated to save my God and every day I pray so Jesus may provide me scholarship for bible study so that I may save him. Please I will be so happy if you can provide me this chance so that I may save Jesus my Lord.

    Yours faithfully Joseph


  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Can’t any of you guys who “want to be on scholarship” read English?


  14. tambe stanley nkongho says:

    Beloved of God.
    I want to study more on how to evangelize the lost
    and dying world.Please put me on you scholarship


  15. Jim says:


    I would like some money too. But for strip clubs and beer. Is this where I apply?



  16. Ed Darrell says:

    Can you read English, Boniface? Please review the previous six or seven comments here.


  17. Boniphace Sospeter says:

    My name is Boniphace Sospeter from Tanzania, i am 26 year’s old and Born again Christian. I need a great support in oder to get a schoolarship so as to study bible in order to spread the word of God in African Countries.

    My Phone no. +255 653-399-207


  18. Ed Darrell says:

    You can’t get a scholarship if you can’t figure out that this is a blog on history and education that has zero money and little interest in finding scholarships for people to study woo.

    Does that help?


  19. shewangzaw says:

    how can I get scholarship? I want to study bible very well to glorify God and help my society !


  20. enderias says:

    I enderias from Ethiopia.I am 27 yrs old young man i need study Bible so i am looking bible scholarship.If i will get the bible college in scholarship it is very nice.But most of the people are driving in wrong direction in application of Africans b/c most Africans in cause of bible scholarship they need want out .even we Africans have different colors and different minds thank you please don;t look many as one think dynamically .I wish to serve God word so need capacity building. thank you.



    Iam silvester from INDIA i need scholarship to study and preach to my nation kindly help me in india,


  22. Theophile Bama says:

    Very blessed in the way i relate with people (local people), I want to use that opportunity to thank God.


  23. Ed Darrell says:

    Mark Jean, carefully read the post at the top of this column. Now carefully read every comment.

    There is no money available here.


  24. Mark Jean says:

    Hello Dear,

    Due to the death of my Father, I have been thrown into a state of hopelessness by the present administration.I have lost confidence with anybody within my country. I got your contacts through personal research, and had to reach you through this medium. I will give you more details when you reply.

    Due to security network placed on my daily affairs,I can’t visit the embassy so that is why I have contacted you.

    My Father deposited the sum of 12.7 million dollars with one of the international banks here in Cote D’Ivoire whose name is witheld for now till we communicate and i know your seriousness to assist me. I will be happy if you can receive this funds and keep it safe.

    I will need your telephone/mobile numbers so that we can commence communication.I await your urgent response.

    Yours truly,
    Mark Jean


  25. Ed Darrell says:

    Rugare, please read all posts in this thread. There are no scholarships here. I write posts on education, history, science and politics. I don’t educate on religion, except for what you pick up reading the posts.


  26. Rugare Mutsau says:

    Hey, im a senior pastor in a pentecostal church because of the call of God in my life but i really desire educate myself to improve my skills and knowledge in ministering the Word of God. I request for an opportunity to be assisted with a scholarship to achieve that. I’m in Zimbabwe and my phone number is 00263713045285. Iam willing to work or rather to serve in any pentelcostal church whilist i’m pursuing my vision


  27. Ed Darrell says:

    Ericson, please read all posts in this thread. There are no scholarships here. I write posts on education, history, science and politics. I don’t educate on religion, except for what you pick up reading the posts.


  28. ericson says:

    praise God sir,its a great blessing to those who are seeking for scholarship and i one of them to look for as scholarship because as of now its so hard to study in bible school with out supporter finacially.im belong to the poorist family in our cummunities here in philippines so that im living in an island small..or it calls which a remoted area..sir can u help me to get scholarship there..i have a passport.i want to response the calling of God but i dont know if how..because here in philippines the school of bilbe school is very expensive the tuition fee..actually i enquired to the school of bible school here in manila 26,000 php or $500 U.S tuition fee every semester not included the dorm,food,alowance..i’m always crying to God..sir thanks u so much..Godbless u in all the days of your life..hope u able to help me regarding this matter..

    its me ericson beoncio
    of philippines manila.


  29. Ed Darrell says:

    Or perhaps just persistently delusional.


  30. Nick Kelsier says:

    Ok these people are either incredibly delusional…or incredibly persistent.


  31. Ed Darrell says:

    lameck nkambule,

    Keep looking. You won’t find scholarships or grant money here.


  32. lameck nkambule says:



  33. Ed Darrell says:

    Mr. or Ms. Selegio,

    Study your tail off. Get to a library, read a book a day. Find a good teacher at a good school, use that person as a mentor.

    Get smart, then ask for help getting education.

    You’re welcome,



  34. i really want to study theology how can i get a scholarship ? am 21 yrs old ugandan. thanks


  35. Ed Darrell says:

    I have a Bible college? How come no one tells me these things?!!!


  36. Daniel Essuman says:

    Please i went to attend your bible College,if i can be asisted with a scholarship


  37. Ed Darrell says:

    This post, especially. Some scam organization posted this as a site where African Christians can get money to come to America. Africans keep trying.



  38. Nick Kelsier says:

    Geez does this blog get a lot of scam attempts.


  39. Teshome Getu says:

    Dear Men of God,

    I am blessed becaouse of jesus christ i am now working in UNWFP and a bible teacher in Solomalia region full gospel church ,if i get free scolarship to study further more WORDs OF GOD ,i would be very happy so as to graw in GODs word .

    Teshome Getu


  40. I am a 28 years old boy.Single,a native of Burkina Faso in West Africa.
    I am attending Assemblies of God church of Peodogo in Ouagadougou.
    I have a deeper committement for the ministry of God.
    I want to be trainned and be equiped with the word of God in an adaquate seminary or university…I pray that the spirit of God lead me and use me to help the ministry in my country and every place it need to be…
    If god put in your heart to help me to make it real please contact me 0022678810840 or 0022676657970.
    If you need any document concerning me from my church authorities do not hesitate…
    God bless you


  41. Ed Darrell says:

    Has someone maliciously listed this site as offering free Bible study scholarships?

    You’ve been lied to. Do not trust anyone who says you can get a “free” scholarship here. That is not so.

    If you wish to study religion in the U.S., you’ll have to contact a seminary. This site is not affiliated with any seminary.


  42. I would like to bring up to date you that i am one of the Eritrean refugee in Sudan,i have received Christ as my personal sevior and studing bible in the naphtali faith church but it is very difficult to stay in Sudan being as a refugee and christian. therefore ,i would like to ask you to consider my case anmd allow me to the free bible scholarship.

    God bless you.


  43. Dear,Sr/Madam

    I am one of the Eritrean refugee in Sudan,and i have received Christ as my personal sevior and studing a ible in the naphtali faith church in Khartoum. However, it is very difficult to stay being as a refugee and christian in this country.

    Therefore, i would like to ask you to condsider my situation and allow me to the free bible study apportunity.

    God bless you.


  44. Yusuf says:

    I am Yusuf Abdo From Ethiopia. I have great ambition to study theology. So I need free scholarship to study theology, please help!


  45. Ed Darrell says:

    This site is not a clearinghouse for scholarships to seminaries. If you wish to study theology in the U.S., please contact schools of theology directly.


  46. DEREJE ZIGALE says:

    my name is dereje zigale from ethiopia i am 3 red year law student in wollo university i want to serve the juses by minister in oreder to achive thise aim i need schoolarshipe and contact me by the following address dereje zigale wollo university dessie campus p.o.box 031145 dessie ethiopia


  47. Nick Kelsier says:

    Ok, that’s a level of insanity/idiocy I didn’t expect.


  48. dereje chala says:

    hi! i love jesus b/c i have must be learning bible,it is life ,but ihave note many my parents are poor if you have place pleas giveto me this chunce
    from dereje
    thank yuo


  49. Pastor, Kakooza Mulumba says:

    Iam Pastor, Kakooza Mulumba , from Uganda ( East Africa ) called to pastor without any trainig and iam requesting for a scholarship of Masters in bible studies, i have a diploma in business studies and a degree in accounting. May God bless you


  50. Ed Darrell says:

    Pastor Fanuel, write to schools of theology. Write to seminaries in America. Write to colleges you want to attend. Read the rest of the comments in this thread.


  51. Pastor Fanuel says:

    This is pastor Fanuel and i would like to study more of the Bible,Am from Africa Kenya, Please how can i be helped so that i may join studies?


  52. Ed Darrell says:

    Africans looking for a way to get to the U.S. They do a search for “scholarship +evangelism.” See the headline on this post? They only show once. But — damn! — they keep coming!


  53. Nick Kelsier says:

    Oh for pete’s sake. It’s a troll. Ban him.


  54. Ed Darrell says:

    I have stopped giving scholarships to people to study the Bible. They never are grateful enough. Plus, we have to teach most of them to read, first.

    Did you notice any of my posts previously in this thread?


  55. Application for a bursary in Bible studies.

    Iam a Rwandan Pastor 36years old looking for a bursary degree in Bible studies . So as I come and build other SERVANTS OF IN THE REGION.

    I would be grateful if you would kindly grant me this opportunity.

    Pastor John Laurent GATERA



  56. Ed Darrell says:

    Please read all the comments in this thread. If you want a scholarship to study theology, you should probably contact a theology school that offers scholarships, and not a blog on history, education, politics and a little science.

    This is not a theology school (though you can learn a lot, if you read).



    I wish to apply to attend your bible institution I am from Cameroon South west Province and a youth leader in the Apostolic Church Cameroon Limbe


  58. thanks for making your website avelible am call PASTOR FIDELIS from Cameroon i am pastor in christ life ministry buea sir i discover that without study ministry will not grow sir i want to further my study i want to do my bachelor degree so if you can help me scholarship for me to study in your school i will be grateful sir i need your help in my ministry here in Cameroon pl you people shell come and partner my ministry if you can approve my petitions then pl reply me balk THANKS


  59. Besnitha Ria Siregar says:

    Mr. Ed Darrell, eligion, education, politics and science are closely related to theology. I just hope that there’s someone who could help me find a scholarship for bible study.


  60. Ed Darrell says:

    Besnitha Ria Siregar, please read all the comments in this thread. If you want a scholarship to study theology, you should probably contact a theology school that offers scholarships, and not a blog on history, education, politics and a little science.


  61. Besnitha Ria Siregar says:

    I,m seeking for a scholarship to study Bible in US as I want to learn to motivate people to live a life based on their spiritual understanding.


  62. Ed Darrell says:

    Pay attention to the post itself, and to the previous posts in comments. In my school, I can only take people who read and understand.


  63. NASARA JALLO says:

    My name is NASARA JALLO i want to do online bible school and i came across your school, and i need more information about the school and the scholarship.


  64. Ed Darrell says:

    My institution, Molina High School, does not offer anything beyond a high school diploma. See comments already in this thread, Tema Frederick Andusa.


  65. Tema Frederick Andusa says:

    Praise the Lord .Iam Tema Frederick Andusa i wish to apply for a full bible study in your institution i have had a Diploma in theology while eeking and believing God for an opportunity to study there. I am in Cameroon and i need details about the scholaraship program in your area.
    God bless you as you supply me with the necessary information .
    I remain your humble ssssservant and brother Tema.


  66. Ed Darrell says:

    I have no connections to any divinity school, and no connections to any source of scholarship monies. See the post above, with addresses to the Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, and the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. There are other good seminaries in the U.S.

    Good luck.


  67. Prabhu Ram Baniya says:

    Dear Sir

    i like to study the bible for full scholarship , i am from nepal presently i go to church and learn so iwant give my life for god jesus so could you kindly advice me where i can apply for my dream.

    your truly



  68. Ed Darrell says:


    See the post above, with addresses to the Brite Divinity School at TCU, and the Perkins School of Theology at SMU. There are other top notch seminaries in the U.S.


  69. PETER OWUSU says:

    Please I need scholarship to study Bible and Preach and win souls for God


  70. PETER OWUSU says:

    Please I need scholarship to study Bible and Preach and win souls for God


  71. NIRAJ KHADKA says:



  72. Ed Darrell says:

    See the previous post, with addresses to the Brite Divinity School at TCU, and the Perkins School of Theology at SMU. There are other top notch seminaries in the U.S.


  73. Ed Darrell says:

    To study in my establishment, check here, or here, or here.

    If you really need a theology degree, check the institutions listed in my post above.


  74. i would like to further my biblical study in you establishment please give me me you admission conditions looking forward to hear from you soon thank you and God bless you.


  75. Ed Darrell says:

    I am not at a Bible school, nor can I offer scholarships.

    I recommend you contact Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, or the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

    Brite Divinity School:

    Perkins School of Theology:

    There are other good theology schools out there. For missionary work in Africa, I recommend a mainline school at a major university, so you can get public administration, business, public health and political science courses, too.


  76. Eva Natongo says:

    Dear Sir,

    I wish to Apply for a free scholarship studies at your bible school
    I have attended other bible schools:
    All Nations For Christ Bible School NIGERIA BININ CITY
    Missions and World Evangelism Bible collage DOUALA CAMEROON
    School Of Christ international ASSEMBLIES OF GOD CHURCH

    The best way to contact me is:

    Phone: 237-99187147—– Email:eva24na@yahoo.com


    Eva Natongo
    Central Africa region (Cameroon)


  77. daniel talu says:

    i wanet to give all of my life time for jesus as his faith full full time srver.


  78. DavidD says:

    I imagine that anyone who knows the Bible well enough to teach it likely gained that knowledge from a religious point of view, so of course it’s easy to teach it as if the students are in Sunday school instead of public school. I read the section about the three districts that were found to be acceptably neutral in their courses. I’m skeptical that that is the case, that neutrality is possible somewhere between those who say the Bible is God’s Word and those who say it is just the mythology behind part of our culture.

    When I was senior in high school in 1970, we read the book of Job along with Greek philosophers and plays, Dante, and Shakespeare. It was not neutral. The teacher ridiculed Job for his acceptance of God saying, “Who are you to ask?” The teacher spoke as if such surrender is inexplicable and foreign. He may have done me a favor, as he convinced me he was wrong on this one, as he was on other things, something that didn’t bring me back to religion then, but might have been a factor in how ready I was to surrender to God in my thirties. I had rejected many teachers by then.

    I’m not sure if that was right or wrong on the part of my high school teacher to speak his mind, but it wasn’t neutral. Whatever is done on this issue, plenty of people will be unhappy.


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