SES President Reacts to Student-Led Prayer
Moment in Tennessee: ‘These Young Athletes
Serve as a Courageous Example to All of Us’

‘At SES, We Encourage and Defend This Type of Response to Attacks on Christianity,’ Says Judge Phil Ginn

September 27, 2021

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An inspiring moment of prayer on a Tennessee high school athletic field has attracted the attention of the nation. After a school district prohibited its teachers and coaches from leading students in prayer, young high school football players took it upon themselves to do so.

After witnessing the moment, one alumnus of Putnam County Schools and a fan of local football commented, “Satan’s power was defeated tonight, as the threat of a legal action to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player-led prayer supported by parents and fans,” according to a Fox News report. A nonprofit group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, had notified the district earlier in the year about instances of prayer at school events—and the school had said it understood “the importance of prayer” to its students. Yet it maintained teachers and coaches could not “lead or participate” in any instances of such prayer on campus. 

Judge Phil Ginn, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, ses.edu), responded to the student-led prayer action with forthright commentary.

“A couple of questions often come up in my conversations with folks,” said Judge Ginn. “The first is, ‘What can a Christian do when faced with attacks on our faith from the culture?’ The second is as much of a complaint as it is a question: ‘What in the world is going on with this younger generation?’ These are both troubling questions on the minds of Christians who are more ‘old school’ like myself.”  

Added Ginn, “Both questions were emphatically answered recently in the grand old state of Tennessee, where the local school board had ordered all staff and faculty to refrain from leading or joining in public prayer at sporting events. This came to a head because the nefarious group Americans United for Separation of Church and State had written the board with grave concerns about instances of prayer and proselytizing at various school events. The response to the ruling was swift and sure. The parents rightfully protested—but the young football players led the prayer themselves, notwithstanding the absence of the leadership of any faculty, staff, or even an adult.

“The word from one observer was ‘Satan’s power was defeated tonight,’” Ginn further noted. “All of this was accomplished because a fine group of the younger generation did what they believed was right and just. They prayed to God Almighty in the face of persecution. In doing so, these young athletes serve as a courageous example to all of us. At SES, we encourage and defend this type of response to attacks on Christianity—and we will we continue to strive to give our students the tools to stand in the gap when their faith is challenged by a godless culture.” 

SES recently held the important livestreamed event, “Awaken,” on August 7, 2021. The event examined issues related to systemic racism in America, police violence, and people of color; the nature of true social justice; and how individuals can escape today’s “wokism.” Featured speakers included SES President Judge Phil Ginn, former police officer Eric Muldrow, and Monique Duson of the Center for Biblical Unity.

The mission of SES is to train men and women, based on the inerrant and infallible written Word of God, for the evangelization of the world and defense of the historic Christian faith. SES offers the 15-hour Certificate in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE).SES believes that one must minister to the present generation according to its needs—and to do so with truth and power. Students need training in the ethical, political and economic implications of the unchanging Faith “once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The PPE can also be used as a concentration within most master’s degrees (excluding Master of Arts in Religion).The combination of PPE training and classical seminary education can be a potent one in combating the new heresies and false doctrines rooted in a secularist, progressivist worldview.

For more information on SES, visit its website at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (704) 847-5600.

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To interview a spokesperson for Southern Evangelical Seminary, contact Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.