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Monday, May 11, 2009

Tyler Frost gives his girlfriend a "great" night at her prom... and his "Christian" principal punishes him for it

This is gonna be another one of "those" posts that lately are coming all too frequently. The sort where I succumb to the angels of my lesser nature and resort to vernacular that in days of enforced polity would have seen me heavily fined or banished from the Realm.

(But hey, I figure that I've earned enough cred as both a serious writer and a follower of Christ, that I can open up the proverbial "can o' whup-ass" when the situation demands bringing out the heavy guns. So it is here...)

I wrote here on Saturday about Tyler Frost of Findlay, Ohio, the 17-year old high school senior who was excited about taking his girlfriend to the prom. But alas! Young Master Frost's dear lady is a student at a public high school... while Frost is weeks away from graduating from Heritage Christian School.

And the merciless, soul-less automaton of cultish Churchianity named Tim England - the principal of Heritage Christian - gave Our Hero an ultimatum: deny your girlfriend her senior prom or you don't walk with the other graduates.

Heritage Christian School bans dancing, hand-holding, "rock music" (whatever that means these days), and basically anything else that was verboten in the days of Puritan extremists. And this doesn't mean just on school grounds but everywhere the students might happen to be.

Frost had to get a form signed by England so that he could be a guest at Findlay High School's prom. England signed the form, then told Frost that he would be suspended for the rest of the year if he went.

So what did Tyler Frost do?

He took his girlfriend to her prom.

Behold the photograph of the beautiful young couple, holding hands and having what Frost called a "great" time!

(Photo credit: KENT TARBOX/ The Courier/AP)

Tyler Frost chose to sacrifice graduation with his classmates (a group that was only going to number four students anyway) so that he could have memories of a wonderful night that would last him and his girlfriend the rest of their lives.

Tyler Frost chose to put the happiness of the one that he loves over the ridiculous and non-biblical rules of Heritage Christian School.

And in doing so, Tyler Frost, as his principal Tim England put it: "In life, we constantly make decisions whether we are going to please self or please God. (Frost) chose one path, and the school committee chose the other." Frost is now suspended, as England had threatened.

But you know what? I think it's very obvious who in this situation is pleasing "self", and who is pleasing God.

We are told in all four Gospels that one of the biggest reasons why the Pharisees sought to have Jesus killed was because He broke "the rules". Jesus healed the sick and lame on the Sabbath, and because He violated "the law" that was enough motivation for His enemies to want to see Him dead.

Someone in the previous post commented an extremely powerful point: "If his girlfriend were in a car accident and lay dying, would Heritage Christian School expel Tyler because he chose to hold her hand in loving compassion?"

Hey, according to "the law" of Heritage Christian School, it would have to expel Tyler or any other student who committed such an act of sympathy... because they broke "the rules" and according to Heritage Christian and Calvary Baptist Church that runs it, such a student would have to suffer the penalty for it.

Tim England and the "school committee" of this so-called "Christian" school are completely ignorant of the fact that the penalty has already been paid for... by the very One that they profess to be followers of!

Jesus came to do away with the rule of law, which had enslaved mankind to ritual and empty "religion". He died so that we might instead live under the rule of love!

And it is love which is completely absent from the actions of Tim England, Heritage Christian School and Calvary Baptist Church of Findlay, Ohio.

Tyler Frost chose to honor Christ in his actions, though he may not realize yet how much so.

And Tim England, his school and his church have chosen to serve themselves!

Mr. England and Calvary Baptist Church turned their stone-cold hearts to glorifying their own understanding (didn't they ever read Proverbs 3:5?). They put the demands of their doctrine above humility and prayer.

Tim England and Calvary Baptist chose to worship their own church... and they are proud to be persecuting Tyler Frost for it.

These people are not practicing Christianity. They are practicing Churchianity.

Look at this picture. Here is Tim England, the principal of Heritage Christian School...

See those heartless, pitiless eyes? I have seen such men too damned many times in my life. That is the look of a man who has no grasp at all of the mercy of Christ... and he probably doesn't want to understand it either. That's the visage of a man who demands that "the rules" be followed without exception, because in his mind that is how "God" is pleased.

"Christians" such as these are the sort that turned on the gas at Bergen-Belsen and then went home to dinner.

Tim England and Calvary Baptist are of the same mindset as the Pharisees that demanded Christ be put to death.

These self-professed "leaders" and "authorities" have set themselves up in the place of God. They and countless more like them across the centuries have caused more suffering and misery to the body of Christ than have the combined efforts of such persecutors as Nero and Stalin.

I will not hate them. But I have no sympathy for such people as these. They are not of Christ, and it's way past time that they be recognized and called out for what they are.

I'm not asking anyone else to hate them either. But I am gonna do everything I can to speak the plain truth...

...that Christ's sacrifice tore the temple curtain in two. People like Tim England are trying to put that curtain back up.

And we as followers of Christ have no business at all following the lead of such "authorities" as Tim England and the leadership of Calvary Baptist Church.

Should we, as followers of Christ, rebel against people like Tim England, Calvary Baptist Church and anyone else who dares lord over us in the name of Christ?


And people like England oughtta study 1st Corinthians more, if they are going to be in the business of running a "Christian" school.

As for Tyler Frost: my hat's off to ya, good sir! You've already done more with the heart and mind that God gave ya than a lot of people ever do. And so far as this blogger's concerned: you, Tyler Frost, are a real Christian leader!


Wendy said...

This is what I wish someone had the courage to say when I was in private Baptist school years ago. I and many others were driven away from God by people like the ones at Heritage Christian and it took me years to find Him again.

Preach on brother!

Anonymous said...

Tyler and his date were on television. He was excited about the prom smiling and said that because the school disagreed that it didn't mean it should force him not to be there. He is an upstanding outstanding young man who did more for Christ last night than his school / church did by trying to stop him.

Anonymous said...

He's live on Andrew Z in the Morning outside the school right now. Tyler said it was worth getting suspended over! GO TYLER!

Anonymous said...

Heritage Christian School has canceled classes for today. 92.5 Kiss FM's Andrew Z show is broadcasting live outside the school and they just announced it. Principal Tim England stopped the whole school. Tyler Frost is on the show. They came up with a Footloose spoof song for him!

Lars Denny said...

Tyler Frost's dad said on the Andrew Z show from outside Heritage Christian that Heritage Christian LYING ABOUT what it put on its website about the school having no pregnancies etc and that students have gone to Christian rock concerts. He's offering a thousand dollars for anyone to come forward with proof that the school is lying.

Anonymous said...

Guy on radio said principal is projecting his own inadequacies, trying to make up for his own bad teenage years LOL

Brent Brighton said...

The people defending the school's decision to suspend Tyler are saying Tyler and his parents signed the agreement at the beginning of the year. But what if its been since then that Tyler and his girlfriend started dating? She shouldn't have to suffer for the agreement and it would be unfair to ask Tyler to break up with her for it. The school and church members should have taken that into consideration but their own stupid rules must have kept them from thinking.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I love your style!

Anonymous said...

Look, I agree the rules are puritanical, I graduated from the school and chose to send my kids to a different Christian school here in Findlay. However, since when does it honor the Lord to break your word? I don't send our kids there precisely because I do not want to be in a position such as this, and Frost and his parents would have been well advised to do so.

If someone signs an agreement to join the military and then decides he is against fighting, we all rightly condemn him for that. Why is this any different?

We can all question the nature of these rules, and challenge those who attempt to impose them on others in the name of Christ, but I do not believe Frost should be lauded as a hero for knowlingly breaking his word.

Chris Knight said...


Looks like a lot of folks in Ohio are visiting the blog this morning. To all of y'all, from down here in north-central North Carolina we give you a hearty hello!!

To a few of y'all who've commented...

I know exactly what you mean. I've seen a lot of people thrust away from having a faith in God because of stuff like what this principal and his school and church are doing. One of the reasons why I'm so honked-off about this kind of thing.

To you folks that have been relaying what's been going on the radio there: thanks!

Very good point. One of many that I've heard since this crazy situation started.

To "Anonymous" at 8:26 a.m.,
Thanks! Hope you'll enjoy the rest of the blog. It's eclectic... and I like it that way :-)

To "Anonymous" at 8:53 a.m.,
This church and its ministers and school administration are making adherence to rules more important than love, mercy and grace... which are at the heartmeat of what following Christ is supposed to be about. What they are doing is not serving the cause of Christ and in fact is only serving to drive people away from Christ.

Legalism is a very bad thing. This situation, demonstrates that immensely.

Heterodoxy said...

Tim England needs to show us where in the Bible:

1. Does it command that dancing is a sin.

2. Does it command that hand holding is a sin.

3. Does it command that any type of music is a sin.

If he can not show these then Tim England is adding to the Word of God and is sinning.

The Happy Catholic said...

Don't Christian weddings have dancing? Don't Jewish weddings have dancing? If the latter is true, wasn't Jesus present at a wedding with dancing? He didn't condemn it, so it must be okay.

Hand holding? Jesus physically embraced people.

The Bible says "praise the Lord with stringed instruments" in the Book of Psalms, so God loves the guitar, the crucial instrument in rock music. I've heard that God loves the cymbals as well.

I hope people realize that England does not represent Christianity at all. We need to follow Jesus, whom also broke the rules (he even had some alcohol). This is why we are supposed to follow Christ, and not Christians.

Anonymous said...

To "Anonymous" at 8:53 a.m., didn't Chris write that the principal had given Tim PERMISSION to go?

Anonymous said...

sorry - I meant to write:

Didn't Chris write that the principal had given Tyler PERMISSION to go?

Anonymous said...

We all know that the actions you're looking for scriptural basis for CAN lead to situations where the "lust of the eyes" might lead one to thoughts of committing fornication or adultery. That would clearly be sin by the Scriptures. Check out what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28 . . . . "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Jesus even followed this thought up with those about plucking out our eyes or cutting off our hands if they "offend" us. Since no one, not even Jesus, was in favor of body mutilation over personal sins, the only way one can rationally interpret these statements is in a "body corporate", or social-behavioral context. That body corporate can take many forms, as a family, church congregation, school, civic club . . . . you name it.

Since, in such a body corporate, those who are members are the organs of such a body. The body corporate, then, is within its rights to "pluck out" a member who offends. In the case of this school, its administrator, Tim England, set the standard of offense. It was well-known in advance and agreed upon by both parents and student (they signed the paper).

Proverbs 28:26 gives us an idea of where this school principal is going . . . . "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." Tim England is only trying to help Tyler frost to "walk wisely". Perhaps he should allow Tyler's parents to perform their responsibility to raise Tyler in " . . . . the nurture and admonition of the Lord", but for whatever reason, he has chosen to take this responsibility himself, and he is within his rights.

The principle of school administration demands that those in such administrative situations are, as the Latin puts it, IN LOCO PARENTIS, or "in the place of parents". That gives school administration the ethic (and probably the legal right in Ohio) to require of students at that school to do things that are beyond normal legal limits on authority "for the sake of the students involved."

For example, if Tyler Frost had been exposed to a contagious disease, Tim England could have not only forbade him to come on school grounds, but restricted him to his home until it was proven that he had not actually contracted that disease. In that case, society would have applauded England for his actions in "protecting the community."

Now suppose that, in the opinion of the elders of Calvary Baptist Church of Findlay, Ohio (and the school by inference) a member of that "body corporate" had been exposed to a sin that the body considered to be heinous (like committing adultery in the heart). Using the same principle (and not even going as far as the first example), Tim England is taking steps to protect that body corporate from a menace he considers to be more harmful than a physical disease (after all, physical disease can kill you, but unconfessed sin can send you to hell - SCRIPTURAL). Yet the community literally calls him Adolf Hitler Jr.

Tim England is not a megalomaniac. He is simply trying to use solid, Biblical principles to guide the students under his care in making the important decisions in his life. One of those is that our decisions in life carry consequences for others. We may call his actions legalism, but that is an easy charge to make when we want to come to a quick judgment (yes, I used the word) on the matter.

Considering the situation from all angles is what we are called to as believers, and in doing so you might find that those you condemn the strongest might just have rational, justifiable and SCRIPTURAL reasons for doing what they do.

Think about it . . . .
Ol' You-Know-Who

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you people get into such excruciating detail about who's a "Christian", what's a "sin", etc. Religion is a personal issue that can't be proved one way or another, so why don't you just have faith in what you believe and not be so concerned with what someone else espouses ? Both sides of this are nuts. As long as a specific belief is not being forced on you, just let it go. Religion, by nature, cannot be "proved" by any scripture on which it is based. That is circular logic.

Lee Shelton said...

Chris, I must respectfully disagree with you on this issue. Let me just say that you will find no stronger opponent of legalism than I, but when we find ourselves under the authority of others (family, church, work, etc.), we are sometimes required to submit in humility whether we agree or not. Paul writes in Eph. 6: 5-8, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free." What a radical departure from our concept of individual liberty.

In this particular case we're talking about a minor who is under the authority of his parents -- parents who, with full knowledge of the rules, entrusted him to the authority of the school. I think it would have been more Christ-exalting for Tyler to put his personal pride aside and stay home from the prom. I also think that if his girlfriend truly cared for him, she wouldn't have insisted he go with her.

Personally, I have a big problem with these kinds of legalistic lifestyle statements. I went to a private Christian college and know the hypocrisy that kind of atmosphere can breed. But Heritage isn't asking anything of its students that would force them to go against the teachings of scripture. Were that the case, then Tyler and any other student would have an obligation not to obey. After all, "we must obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29).

Anonymous said...

Ol' You-Know-Who..... Tim England doesn't care about helping Tyler Frost walk justly. He wants him to conform and obey the church like all the other students and family in Calvary Baptist. Are you from Findlay because you have never seen Christians as depressed and miserable as the ones at Calvary. Gordon Dickson runs a cult and he has England beating the next generation of members into obedience. Chris is correct they are about churchianity and not Christ-ianity.

former calvary baptist member said...

To the person who called Calvary Baptist a cult you are so right! Calvary Baptist Church and Heritage Christian School are the BIGGEST hypocrites in town. If you are in Dickson's family you can do whatever hell you want in the school or church. Dickson's children used to steal from other students but they were never punished. I am glad this is at last getting out into the open where everyone can know about it.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be a lawyer's dream because Tim England broke the contract first! All of this started because he wanted to 'cover my ass' to the church leadership when he found he had messed up. Tyler's family is going to sue and they are going to win big.

Anonymous said...

People like Tim England would have kept America from breaking away from England and would have said it's a sin to fight slavery.

Anonymous said...

Christians should question the authority of those who claim it.

Thanks for writing this Chris.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I love this post. I actually attended Heritage Christian way back in the day. Luckily, we moved, so I was not there for my entire schooling. Some of my old "friends" on facebook from Heritage are giving me shit now, because I posted an article similar to yours (not nearly as articulate and awesome though) on my facebook. Its nice to hear another Christian out there share my thoughts. I will post a link to this from my facebook and twitter. Thanks man!

jordan said...

why don't you guys lay off England. similar situation happen at that school years back and the school was going to fire the principal for not punishing the student . so what is england to do? make everyone happy and lose his job or keep his job and look like an ass. you people should look more at the school and less at the principal. Do you blame the who enforce the law or the who wrote the law,THINK ABOUT IT.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

true! Tyler showed the love of God for TAKING her to prom and choosing her over the CHURCH! What happens if he marries a young lady who wants dancing at their wedding (tradition). Should he choose his CHURCH over her -- nope. God. Family. Church. in that order.

Chris Knight said...

Jordan, if this has been a chronic problem then the school and church have apparently long forgotten that the grace of Christ is far more important than any "law" or "rules".

It does not cease to amaze me how man is capable of twisting Christ's love and mercy - which are supposed to free us - into more shackles and chains so as to bind up his fellows.

More and more I am convinced that Tim England, the "school committee" and the entire church have no grasp at all of real liberty in Christ. Many have compared them to the Pharisees, and that is not an improper assessment at all.

Anonymous said...

On the ABC station here, Tyler Frost said that the point of being a Christian was to go out and be a light to the world. He understands what real Christianity is better than Tim England and the Calvary Baptist cult have at all.

Anonymous said...

Chris! What kind of church do you go to because I want to go to one like yours too!

Chris Knight said...

Anonymous at 10:14 p.m., can't think of any church that would necessarily endorse a lot of things that I do with this blog, LOL! :-)

I'm just a guy who realized a long time ago that I have fallen, and that I still fall often in spite of myself. But that I am saved by the grace of God through His son and that His grace does suffice.

Salvation is once and for all. But the process of sanctification goes on for the rest of our life in this world. We aren't perfect once we embrace Christ... but He does begin the work - which will be completed in due time - that will see us perfect as He is. To assume that we are perfect already is to diminish what He has done for us, and robs us of that precious ongoing sanctification.

So, I am saved. But I'm not perfect... and I ain't gonna pretend to be. Doesn't bother me that other people are also not perfect...

...because if Christ's grace is enough for them also, then it should be enough for me too.

HCS Student said...

I am a student at Heritage Christian School.

Mr. England and the teachers watch what we put on the internet. They have suspended students for having pictures of music artists on their Myspace pages. They will be reading your blog and the messages people leave on it.

People are afraid to smile, laugh, be happy at the school. Most students are here because their families are members of the church and Tyler Frost is only a student because his grandmother is a teacher. She took Mr. England's side because she is afraid of losing her job.

Mr. England is lying about there not ever being any students pregnant. He expelled a girl because she got pregnant.

Pastor Dickson has let his children get away with music and dancing and stealing from other students. They should have been expelled but they were excused because they were the pastor's own.

Mr. England, you don't know who I am but I will never forgive you for how you have made so many of your students be angry at God. Chris I know what you have said but I do hate England. I can't help except hate him for what he and his church have done to people. Mr. England is a hypocrite. He is a liar. He is like you said a complete bastard. I hope he reads this and knows that many of his students never want to see his evil face again.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Frost must be an idiot to go through all this for some dame. As soon as the spot light is off, she will dump him for the next guy.

Anyone hear of that Palin girl? Her man dumped her as soon as the spot light was off.

Calvin said...

Chris, there's a photo going around of Tyler Frost kissing his girlfriend outside of Heritage Christian School! Beliefnet has it. Way to go Tyler for sticking it to your school! :)

M.C. Stevenson said...

The time of so called Christians like Gordon Dickson and Tim England is over.

People like Tyler Frost and Chris Knight are the real followers of Christ that we should look to as models for living the Christian life!

Anonymous said...

This is very wrong. The school is sinning by adding to the Bible.

Anonymous said...

School created a set of rules for the students. You choose to go to this school you agree to the rules.

He was warned ahead of time, again, about the rules and what would happen.

If you don't like the rules don't go there, but don't complain about the rules when you don't like them.

School Did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

So the school can run his life when he's outside of the school? He's abided by the school manual but that manual doesn't cover his home life!

Anonymous said...

Funny. We fight the Taliban over there only to have the Tali-born-again over here.

John said...

Tyler Frost, his parents, and all the people making a huge deal over this non-issue are a bunch of tools. I love how tolerance only works for the people you want to be tolerant to.

Anonymous said...

Look, his parents enrolled him in that fruit-cake school. What did they expect? Anyone that would actually go to their principal to ask "permission" to do something as banal as attending a prom is subjecting THEMSELVES to control. He's just a kid (although seeming enjoying his 15 mins. of fame) he doesn't know better. His parents should have their asses kicked for subjecting him to that crap.

Anonymous said...

Tyler HAD to go see his principal! He had to get the form from Findlay High signed so he could go to their prom. He could have tried to forge the signature but he did what he was supposed to do. Now why did Tim England sign the form at all!!?? If dancing is sinful and if he thought Tyler was going into "temptation" then England should have done his good "Christian" duty and denied Tyler that at all costs but he DIDN'T.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Tim England look like a cold blooded shark with those eyes?

Anonymous said...

Newspapers are going out of business because of the Internet. Churches like Calvary Baptist and the schools they run will be next. If this happened 20 years ago it would not be known to anyone outside the Toledo, Ohio area. But today everyone knows about what has happened to Frost and his family and girlfriend. Heritage Christian School has lost most of its students because the families sending their kids there began seeing what was going on and started thinking for themselves. I don't mean that in the secular sense. I mean they saw that for a Christian school it wasn't Christian very much at all. Heritage Christian School is dying and in a few more years the church will have to shut it down.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Everyone on this blog likes to go on ad nauseum about these little ultra-fundamental congregations citing scriptures about who is "right" and "proving" them wrong. In fact, they represent a tiny portion of religion that no one would have even heard of previously. Just don't pay any attention to them. I guess that wouldn't be dramatic enough. This place loves a villain to joust so Chris can be a hero.

Anonymous said...

I would say, Chris you are taking the wrong tact with these people. But as I thought about I think you are doing the right thing by calling attention to how they are wrong. Some Christians will say we should reason with Tim England and Calvary Baptist. But there is no reasoning with them. They can be reasoned with no more than the Taliban can be reasoned with. Fundamentalism is an excuse to not have to be compassionate toward others and there has been no compassion given to Tyler and his girlfriend for going to the prom. Which is not a sin.

Anonymous said...

Tim England doesn't have to compromise the school's beliefs so that a willful, contract-breaking seventeen-year-old gets his way. Tyler Frost and his dad are either having a public tantrum or are looking for the money. They are very disappointing "Christians."

Anonymous said...

the truth is nowhere in the
Bible is slavery ever called a sin. in fact, some Christians may be shocked if they look in the Word of God in Lev. 25:44-46 that the south had an understanding of these verses and exercised it compassionately as the law of the land, standing in the counsel of the Lord.

why did the student make a big deal about it. if he had kept his mouth shut, he could have gone to the prom and his school would never have known. he wanted the attention this brough on.