Christian or State Education:

A Parental Choice?

by James A. Boyes, Host

Christian Education Awareness Network (CEANet)

November 7, 2004

Often I hear from a variety of Christians, that education of Christian children should be a matter of parental choice.  Christian parents have the choice of whether their children will be educated in public schools, private schools or in the home.  Christians who feel this way seem not to discern (or simply ignore) indications in Scripture concerning this issue.  According to this line of thought, there should be no pressure from pastors or church leadership concerning education.  Thus, many, many churches sit silent when it comes to this so-called “choice.”  Regardless of content, worldview philosophy, location and providers of education, the freedom of parents to choose should not be questioned nor contrasted with Scripture.  Why is this so?

Christians traditionally viewed education as a part of their faith.  Education was seen as a means to learn every subject in light of God’s Word and purposes.  We used to educate Christian children so that they would see and understand their roll in the glorification of the Lord.  Education was very much a ministry directly tied to their admonishment toward the Lord (Eph. 6:4).  Education was seen as something to be controlled and influenced for Godly purposes, training for the Lord’s service.  Christian worldview thinking pervaded every corner and facet of life, including education.  Education was not a separate component of life, to be accomplished outside of one’s faith by those who neither knew the Lord nor understood the world according to the Biblical worldview.  

Yet today, due to humanist training and post modern cultural influences, Christians have spiritually and intellectually compartmentalized education as something independent of their faith.  Sunday School and “Monday through Friday School” are viewed as spiritual and academic, respectively.  The church is viewed as the source of Christian education, to be accomplished on Sundays, while the world takes care of K-thru-12 “academics.” 

In other words, it is okay for Christian children to remember the Lord on Sunday, but forget He exists Monday through Friday.  Why is He forgotten?  The Lord is banned from American public schools.  He is not allowed to be mentioned, considered, nor spoken to, during a major portion of the week.  The Lord’s intellectual and spiritual influence is limited to Sundays and what little the family may accomplish during devotions at home.  Is this situation Biblical?

Contrast and compare Christian children receiving faith-free education with the following Scriptures:

“4. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  5. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  9. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deut. 6:4-9)

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8)

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  15. And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Cor. 6:14-15)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  4. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ...” (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  2. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Pet. 2:1-2)

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  5. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:1-5)

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:  21. Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” (1 Tim. 6:20-21)

“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 6. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hos. 4:1, 6)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  8. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:  9. For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” (Prov. 1:7-9)

“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.” (Jer. 10:2)

“Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!  12. And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.  13. Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” (Isa. 5:11-13)

“16. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  (Col. 1:16-18)

Why are we here?  Why are parents allowed to live, if not for the raising, nurturing and admonition of our children toward the Lord?  Each and every generation must be taught the things of the Lord, and to be continually concerned with the Lord’s will and service.  R. L. Dabney said something nearly 170 years ago which captures the whole reason why we find ourselves here, and what we are to be doing:

“The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel, every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God--this is his task on earth.” --- (R. L. Dabney, 1820-1898, quoted in _On Secular Education_, Douglas Wilson, Ed., 1996, Canon Press, Moscow, ID, p. 3.)

This question comes to mind concerning this so-called “choice” of education.  Does the Bible give Christian parents the option of allowing their children to be educated with false doctrine by false teachers who ignore and (in many cases) deny the Lord Jesus Christ?  Is the education of Christian children really a matter of individual parental choice?  Is this freedom of “choice” supported in Scripture?  Or rather, does wisdom, knowledge, and instruction begin with the fear of the Lord?

In closing I’d like to offer this final thought by Mr. Dabney which captures the reason Christians must educate Christian children:

“Christianity must be a present element of all the training at all times, or else it is not a true and valuable education. The human spirit is a monad, a single unit, spiritual substance, having facilities and susceptibilities for different modifications, but no parts. Hence, when it is educated, it is educated as a unit. The moral judgments and acts of the soul all involve an exercise of reason; so that it is impossible to separate the ethical and intellectual functions. The nature of responsibility is such that there can be no neutrality... between duty and sin. It follows that any training which attempts to be non-Christian is therefore anti-Christian. God is the rightful, supreme master and owner of all reasonable creatures, and their nearest and highest duties are to him. Hence to train a soul away from him is robbery of God. He has not, indeed, committed to the State the duty of leading souls to him as its appropriate task. This is committed to the family and to His church. To educate the mind without purifying the heart is but `to place a sharp sword in the hand of a madman.' Practically few do recognize and obey conscience except those who recognize the authority of the Bible. There can be, therefore, no true education without moral culture, and no true moral culture without Christianity.”  (Robert L.Dabney, 1870, _Discussions Vol. IV_, published by Ross House Books, Vallecito, California, and Sprinkle Publications, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 979.)

To Access Related Articles, Etc., Click on the Following Links:

Train Up a Child

Restoration of Education: The Role of Parents and the Body of Christ

Education: What Parents and Pastors Need to Know

Teachers, Curriculum, Control: A 'World' of Difference in Public and Private Schools

Warning!  Public Schools Aren’t for Christians

Let My Children Go

Exodus Mandate

“Let My Children Go”: A Christian Exodus from Government Schools

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