Why entrust our children to the state school system, where they are indoctrinated in the secular humanist worldview, when there is a better way?
Christian education, properly understood, is not the teaching that is done by Christian teachers in the state schools. We are thankful for such Christian teachers and believe that they stand as one of the last bulwarks against the flooding in of secularism, lawlessness, and the breakdown of family, and society today. But Christian education means more than having Christian teachers in state schools.
Christian education is education that is completely and consistently Christian. It is education that is Christ-centred and Bible based. It is education that is controlled not by civil government but by Christian parents. That is not to say that a Christian school is merely a glorified Sabbath School. It is and ought to be a school which teaches the same subjects that are taught in the state schools, but all form a biblical perspective and with a Christian emphasis.
A Christian school is a school in which history is taught as HIS-story, the story of God’s dealings with the nations. It is a school which teaches science in light of the fundamental truth that the universe in which we live is created and ruled by God. It teaches mathematics never forgetting that mathematics “works” because God is a God of order and harmony. It teaches reading so that the students can read the Bible as well as other books, and judge all they read in the light of Scripture.
A Christian school is a school in which the teachers are all men and women of sound minds, filled with the Spirit of God, who can be examples of godliness and holiness to the students, and who will not teach the filth and false philosophies of the world in which we live. In such a school not only the instruction but also the discipline are controlled by the teachings of God’s word. In it the students are brought up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 4:4).
Put very simply, a truly Christian school is a school in which Jesus Christ is King and Lord of all that is done. This is the kind of education we believe this province and this country need. We invite all those who are of the same mind to join with us in the work of providing such education for our children.
The Need for Christian Education
Are Christian schools necessary? We believe they are.
We believe they are necessary because only through Christian schools and Christian education can Christian parents fulfil their calling to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
This calling does NOT belong to the civil government, but to parents. Search the Scriptures and you will not even one passage that suggests that the civil government has any calling to instruct the children.
That calling, which God has given to parents, does not end when the child walks out the door in the morning to go to school. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 makes it very clear that it is a full-time calling: “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest in the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.”
Nor is the calling to bring our children up in the word and fear of God, and in the nurture and admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ, fulfilled by a few hours of religious education each week, especially when that religious education presents Christianity as just one other religion among many and teaches many anti-christian values and philosophies.
Instruction of children in the home and bringing them under the ministry of the Word in the Church are not our whole calling as parents. Home, church, and school must work together: “A three-fold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Sadly, the third strand of Christian education in Christian schools is usually lacking today. So the cord is broken, and our children lost to the influences of the godless world in which we live!
The spiritual well-being of our children is at stake. Psalm 78:1-11 tells us that the failure of Israelite children to keep God’s covenant and their refusal to walk in His law was due to the failure of their parents consistently to teach their children the Word of God. The distressing days of the Judges came about because there had come a generation which knew not the Lord nor the mighty works He had done for His people. Shall we not learn from these examples?
Is Education Neutral?
Those who oppose the idea of Christian education often argue that Christian schools are unnecessary.
Their first argument in support of this claim is that the state schools are not opposed to Christianity but are neutral. The schools themselves and the government which supports them often use this same argument to justify their existence. Is this true? We do not believe it is.
We believe that any organization that is not actively promoting Christian teachings and values as an organization is actually opposing them. Jesus Himself says this: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathered not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30). We believe, therefore, that in spite of some Christian influence the basic philosophy and aims of the secular schools are anti-christian. They are scattering rather than gathering our children.
For example, a school which teaches evolution in the science classes is not neutral. In teaching that the human body is merely a product of evolution, our children are taught that their bodies are their own to use or abuse as they please. This ignores the Bible’s teaching that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). Such teaching is therefore not neutral.
Another argument against Christian education recognizes that we live in a corrupt world, but insists that it is good for our children to be exposed to the world around them, even from a very young age. But this is no the teaching of scripture. Scripture says that it is our calling to be spiritually separate from the wicked world (II Corinthians 6:14-18).
It is especially important for our children, who are compared in Psalm 128 to young olive plants, to be protected from evil influences. No young plant can be immediately exposed to the elements and to the full heat of the sun and be expected to live. Nurture (Ephesians 6:4) is not exposure.
For the sake of the children themselves, then, and for their spiritual good, we as Christian parents must provide the protection of Christian schools for our children. Only in that way will we be faithful to them and to God who gave them us.
Who Should Educate Our Children?
The most powerful argument for Christian education is the fact that it gives Christian parents full control of the education of their children. This is according to God’s own command to parents. To them, and to them alone belongs the responsibility for bringing up their children.
This is clear from such Bible passages as Genesis 18:19, where God says of Abraham, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord;” Deuteronomy 6:7, “And thou shalt teach them [God’s commandments] diligently unto thy children;” and Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers … bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Nor will it do to argue that this only applies to the religious education of our children. All the education of children ought to be religious, and our calling to bring them up religiously does not end for six or seven hours when they leave for school in the morning.
There is not the least suggestion in the Bible that the civil government has any responsibility to educate our childe. When we give them our children to be educated we are abdicating our responsibilities as parents.
Nor does the church have this responsibility, though it does help us fulfil our responsibilities. Parochial, that is, church-controlled, schools are not the answer either. Parentally controlled schools, in which the teachers and the curriculum are all chosen by the Christian parents who send their children to the schools, are the only thing that will allow us to fulfil our responsibilities.
But are we not denying parental education if we have hired teachers for the education of our children? Not if the teachers are Christian men and women chosen by the parents and answerable to the parents. Then the teachers can and do stand in the place of the parents, as they ought to.
We believe, therefore, not only in Christian education, but also in parentally controlled education. We believe that this is God’s command for parents, a command that they may not disobey. May God move many parents to take up once again their calling to bring up their own children!
Is Christian Education Worthwhile?
Even if we agree that Christian education schools are necessary, there is still the difficult and daunting task of actually setting up Christian schools. The sacrifices required of parents in terms of money, time, and commitment must not be minimized. The cost alone is enormous. In fact, it is probably the cost of Christian education more than anything else that led to the demise of nearly all the Christian schools that once existed in this country.
Is Christian education in Christian schools worth such a high cost? Ought parents be asked to make such a huge commitment not only in money, but also in time and effort to the cause of Christian education? We believe that Christian education is worthy of our best efforts and of the greatest sacrifices, especially when its benefits are considered.
What are the Benefits of Christian Education?
The first and most obvious benefit is that out children receive a thoroughly biblical and Christian upbringing. The importance of this is seen in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” That is God’s sure promise and our only hope for our children in this corrupt world in which we live. How can we be sure that our children will not depart from God’s way (as so many of them are doing today) when they are trained for over six hours a day, five days a week, ten months of the year, in other ways, even in ways that the ought not go?
Another obvious benefit of Christian education is that our children are sheltered, as they ought to be, during their formative years of their life form many evil teachings and influences. Not only we but we and our children are commanded in Scripture to “come out from among them and be separate” and to refuse even to touch the unclean thing (II Corinthians 6:17). To those who do, God promises to be a Father and have them as His sons and daughters. As much as we desire that for our children, by so much let us come out and be separate in this matter of Christian education! And when the cause of Christian education looks to be beyond our resources and strength, let us remember that “our help is in the Name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.”
Christian Education and the Church
Christian schools are essential for the future of the church of Jesus Christ. Without them the cause and kingdom of Jesus Christ as it is represented by the church will continue to decline. Those who love the church that Christ bought with His own blood ought, therefore, to love Christian education also.
Church and school depend on each other because parentally controlled Christian education is part of their calling that parents have to bring up their children in the fear of the Lord. Only when parents fulfil that calling to the utmost of their power can the church prosper.
The Christian school is an extension of the Christian home is one of the most powerful influences we have for producing Christian young men and women. God Himself promises that He will bless the godly instruction of children, but the church alone cannot do the job. At best it has the children for only a few hours a week, and that is not enough to counteract all the other things that influence our children, especially if they are in the care of the unbelievers and exposed to ungodly influences for the greater part of each day.
Believing that Israel was the church of the Old Testament, we ought to take words of Psalm 128:6 to heart. The Psalm speaks of a godly home (of which the church is an extension) and ends with a wonderful promise concerning both that home and the church: “Thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel [the church].”
Children who are taught in the unbelieving world and by the unbelieving world will seldom be a blessing to the church of Jesus Christ. Even if in time they come to faith in Jesus Christ, they will be beginners in the faith, having learned little or nothing about the Christian doctrine and of the Christian life. And how few of them do turn from the ways of the world! How could it be otherwise when they were raised in and by the world for the better part of every day!
Can we allow such a situation to continue to ruin the church and the loss of our Protestant Reformation heritage? May God grant us stirred up spirits to do the work of training our children every day and all day in the fear of the Lord!
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
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