Why Christian Education?
Does God’s Word tell me how to educate my child?
The first part of this answer has to do with the role of the parent. The parent is the God-appointed leader and teacher of a child. This should come as no surprise to everyone including a non-Christian. The overwhelming task of raising a child is in the hands of the parents. Ps. 127:3: “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” Eph. 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” But teach them what? Clearly, God has a great deal to say about this. And before that question is answered, another must be dealt with: “What or who is the most important thing or person for the child to know?” The answer is, “God is the most important person for a child to know.” The goal of Christian parents is for their child to know God in a personal way and to know all about God. Nothing could be more important.
With those two simple facts in place as the foundation of our discussion, we can now look at what God has to say more specifically. God says that the education of children and youth is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week process that must take place from birth through maturity. Note the Deuteronomy passage below and the context. God is instructing His people how to live as they prepare to go into the Promised Land. Critical to the life and health of His people is the teaching of the Word of God by parents on a daily basis in every situation.
- Deut. 11:18-21: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”
- Proverbs 22:6: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” As you can see above, the education of children and youth must be based on God’s Word as absolute truth.
- Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
- Psalm 119:89: “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”
I think my child has a Christian teacher this year in the public system. Does that fulfill my responsibility of making sure my child is instructed and trained in the Lord?
Christian teachers in a school that are not allowed to teach about God are in an incredibly difficult position. They are trying to be an influence for the Lord, but the most important tool that they have they are not permitted legally to use – the Word of God.
Children and adults alike must learn and be changed by the Word of God. It is the very basis for all truth. In John 17:17 Jesus prays for His people and says, “Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth.” Christians grow and are made more like Christ as they hear the Word of God. This is why a Christian education is critical.
Many of my friends say they want their children to be “salt and light” in the public school. Shouldn’t I do that?
I appreciate their concern. We should be “salt and light” in the world. However, I think a closer look at the passage and the context will help us see who that mission is actually directed to.
In the gospels where this is written, salt and light are meant to be Christian influences in a dark and sinful world. It is only logical that in order to be a Christian influence in the culture, you must be a Christian. So, first you must ask yourself if your child is a born again believer.
Second, we must ask, “In what way can my child be salt and light?” “Is my 1st grader or 5th grader or 8th grader able to have an effect for Christ in the school?” “Can he effectively explain the gospel?” “Can he disciple a believer?” “Can he defend his faith when under attack?” “Can he withstand the constant bombardment of non-Christian teaching, non-Christian thoughts, and non-Christian acquaintances?”
In the vast majority of cases the answer would be no, and if the answer is no, then your child can’t be “salt and light.” In a rare case the answer may be yes, but you are obviously putting your child at great risk. Sending a child into an environment that is anti-Christian in philosophy is subjecting the mind of your child to daily teaching that is determined to replace God in every subject and every area of life. How many young Christians can even discern that they are being fed worldly ways of thought?
You might ask why the vast majority are not able to be “salt and light?” It is really quite simple – they are just kids, and kids are not the ones that Jesus told to be salt and light – it is adults. It is the same reason that children do not lead Bible studies, become pastors, or go to foreign countries as missionaries. They are not mature enough emotionally or spiritually, and for that matter, can’t even provide their own physical needs. They are at a time in their life when their primary function is to be a good student, not someone who teaches or disciples others. They are still being trained for adulthood and are still in the care and direction of their parents.
That goes full circle back to the Christian parents’ responsibility. We are called to protect and nurture our children in the ways of Christ so they can grow up to be world changers for Christ – no longer little saplings, but instead, strong oaks for the Lord!
Will I be sheltering my children from the “real world” if I send them to a Christian school?
There is a common misconception that Christian schools shield children from every temptation and sinful exposure. This is not true, nor is it even possible. Christian schools have the same types of kids non-Christian schools have – sinners! Because all children come into this world with a sin nature, they are all prone to selfishness, anger, malicious talk, coveting, and the list goes on. In addition, they are exposed to many of the worldly influences that all children are exposed to in movies, books, television and more.
The difference in the Christian school is that the Christian school brings the Word of God to every situation in the lives of the children. The Christian school is able to apply the Word of God to every instance of sinful thought or action, and by God’s grace, renew the mind of the child. Hence, the goal to produce adults that have been trained unto godly living and thinking in a world full of temptations and their own weaknesses as a fallen human being.
Private schools are expensive. How could I ever afford it?
First, take an honest and careful look at your finances. Can you make some adjustments to how you spend money? Remembering that all of your money is actually God’s money (He owns it and you are just a manager), pray to God to help you know if you are spending His money in a way that honors Him. Look to see if you are spending money on things that only bring you short term pleasure rather than things of eternal value. In light of all that and all that we have discussed here, ask yourself if you have placed less important things above the awesome God ordained task of educating your children the way God wants you to rear them. Remember the words from Jesus in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
You may come to a sobering conclusion that you know that your child should be in a Christian school, but you have put your family in a position that makes it impossible to do so. If that is the case, make plans to make changes that will enable you to afford a Christian education, even if it will take 2-3 years before you accomplish the goal.
If you review your situation and simply can’t afford it, and you can’t make any changes to your personal budget/spending habits, pray that God will make a way. Some schools offer financial aid to qualified applicants.
I went to public school and I turned out fine. If it’s good enough for me it’s good enough for my kids, right?
It is difficult to know what “OK” means. If you are saying “OK” means that you became a Christian, and you are a “nice” person with a “normal” life, give thanks to God. But if you are saying that “OK” means that you are the same person today that you would have been if you had attended a Christian school, then we must think about what is assumed behind that statement.
God says that His word does not return void, that there is power in His word, and that it is the tool that He uses to change and mold a person’s mind and heart. If that is true (and God cannot lie), then it is impossible that you could become the same person whether you were or were not in a place where His word was taught and studied for as much as 13 years (K through 12th grades).
Imagine where you might be in your Christian walk if you had daily study of the Bible from Kindergarten through high school! Think of how God’s word might be more readily available to your daily thoughts and struggles. Think how you might have been used by God for His glory if you were better versed in God’s truth.