Is Christian Education a Must?

Rev. Steve Schlissel - September 13, 2002

The Question…

Dear Rev. Schlissel,

If there are no Christian schools in a particular region, and if home schooling is not an option because both parents believe themselves inadequate for the task, is the local public school, though not ideal, a justifiable alternative for parents in such a case? Can churches rightly keep from church council membership a man who sends his children to the local public school? And one final question, when the cost of Christian education becomes prohibitive–forcing a mother with young pre-school children to enter the workforce to make ends meet–can the public system be considered preferable to such a scenario?

Wondering in North America

The Answer…

Dear Wondering,

If there is no food in the supermarkets of a particular area, and gardening at home is not an option because no one in the household feels adequate to the task, should the family eat from the local garbage dump or forage from the sewer? Perhaps, but that is a very desperate decision, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be better to move? Wouldn’t moving be on the option-board before the others? Migration patterns throughout the world tell us that the answer to that question is yes.

You see that the answer to your first question is completely wrapped up in the value one places in the education of our covenant youth. If covenant ed is seen as an appendage that we can live with or live without, obviously the “less than ideal” mentality will seize control of the decision-making process. But if one understands the true place of education in the whole fabric of the Christian life, one could no more seriously consider sending their children to government schools than they could consider sending their children to a quack to receive a tainted transfusion.

In an 1886 address treating of Christ’s Kingship, the great A.A. Hodge sought to defend our Savior’s interest in the education of His covenant children. It was being argued by many that the government could take care of education while the churches could take care of morals. Hodge argued that it was “no answer to say that the deficiency of the national system of education…will be adequately supplied by the activities of the Christian churches. No court would admit in excuse for the diffusion of poison the plea that the poisoner knew of another agent actively employed in diffusing the antidote….But, more than all, atheism taught in the school cannot be counteracted by theism taught in the Church. Theism and atheism cannot coalesce to make anything. All truth in all spheres is organically one and vitally inseparable.”

Rev. David Feddes of the Back to God Hour has noted that the “average person spends 15,000 hours in school from kindergarten to grade twelve. If students turn out to be like their teachers, then shouldn’t we ask who is doing the teaching and what is being taught during those 15,000 hours of official godlessness? Face it: public schools are not designed to make people more like Jesus Christ or bring them to heaven. Most of these schools are designed to make atheists feel at home.”

At a time when Bible studies in government schools are forbidden but homosexual tolerance is demanded, can we really question the absolute necessity of Christian education? Is not education the inculcation of what a child ought to know, what a child ought to believe, and how a child ought to behave? Can atheism tell us what these oughts ought to be? No wonder “the Bible speaks very forcefully about education,” Rev. Feddes says. “One of the most important statements comes from Jesus himself. He says, ‘Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher’ (Luke 6:39-40).

“What is Jesus saying? He’s saying that you’d better have the right teacher. Where your teacher goes, you will go. What your teacher is like, you will be like. If your teacher knows God and looks at all of life in light of God’s Word and is walking the road to heaven, then so will you. But if your teacher is blind to God, he’s headed for disaster, and he’s leading you to disaster.”

This has been the course of our entire culture, has it not? We have been led to the brink of moral disaster by government education. I plead with you to consider the prophecy of Rev. Hodge and tell me if it has not been proved true: “I am as sure as I am of the fact of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social, nihilistic ethics, individual, social, and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.”

If it was wrong to send children to government school when this prophecy was uttered, how much worse to send them when the prophecy has been fulfilled? You ask, “though not ideal,” may you send your child into this system? My answer is no. Realize that many who have thought they could not homeschool have discovered they were wrong; they were merely caving in to the intimidating and fraudulent propaganda of the statist monopoly which insists that parents are inadequate to the task, despite the abundant evidence to the contrary. But if, for whatever reason, you truly cannot homeschool, move.

As to your other questions. A man who does not provide Christian education for his covenant children is, by that very fact, disqualified from serving as a leader in Christ’s church. And as to cost, our forms for baptism remind us of the communal responsibility to provide Christian education. If parents cannot afford it, or if the cost would drive mommy from the home to “make ends meet,” after checking to see that the “ends” are in their proper location, the covenant community must stand in the gap and help pay the costs.

Covenant education for young covenant members is non-negotiable.


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