Training up a child in the biblical nurture and admonition (discipline) of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4) is a HUGE responsibility that every Christian parent should take very seriously and obey. I realize there is good debate among evangelical Christians as to how children should be schooled, and I do not wish to “cast stones” at any true Christian parent’s decision. I do not wish to cause division among believers, but to sow unity. In Romans 14, Paul writes how we are to maintain unity among believers, even if we hold differing views on issues (such as education) that are not core doctrinal issues. I just ask that we respect those parent’s decisions with love, and look to your own understanding of what God is requiring of you, and obey that. By reading this blog, you most likely fall into the camp of agreeing with Christian schooling or Christian home schooling. If not, I encourage you to continue following this blog, so as to not quell the opportunity for God to speak to you (I am not claiming to be God, only a conveyor of what I have learned), to understand the Christian schooling point of view, or to relate your opposing views without misunderstandings.
Christian schoolers should refrain from condemning the public schools, but should instead solidify in their mind why they choose Christian schooling over public schooling. So when asked, they can provide a patient, loving, clearly understandable description of their decision. Christians are to be humble (but not weak or shy) loving witnesses for Christ as lights in the world, not arrogant or self-righteous, condemning others for their decisions that may differ from ours.
The Bible was written over a span of about 1,500 years, and when reviewing the Bible for references to education of children, I came to the conclusion that the only times godly families sent their children to government schools was when they were forced to while in bondage. All other times it seems that they home schooled or schooled together with other godly families (although specific references to that are vague, we can assume so with relative validity), and at their church or synagogue. Holman’s Bible Dictionary covers education in biblical times very well, and I encourage you to look it up.[i] We do know for sure that God placed education of children squarely on the shoulders of parents, and that schooling must include the oracles of God such as His truths and doctrines, and include them in all aspects throughout the day. In other words, bible based education. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
Only recently in our country’s history has the major form of schooling not been based in the bible. I assume you would agree that our public schools are the major form of education today, and although it may include some biblical references, and employ some Christian teachers or administrators, public schooling today is no longer squarely based on the Bible, and certainly not considered “Christian education”.
Today, Christian parents fall into one of three categories:
The first group are those Christian parents that neglect or dismiss the requirement of biblical based education all together, or at best, relegate bible based education to a few family bible devotions and/or Sunday school, assuming that will suffice as well for “Monday school, Tuesday school, etc.”. I have many dear Christian friends and relatives whose decisions place them in this group, and still applaud some of their efforts. If you are a parent in this category, I encourage you to please read this blog anyway.
The second group of Christian parents are those that look into their options of bible based/Christian schooling that is available to them, (which is either to home school, or to send their children to a Christian school) and find that the choices are either burdensome, or prohibitively expensive. (I would suggest for consideration that both of these could be construed as either selfishness, or lack of trust in God that He will enable them and provide for them to obey His requirement. However, I am not oblivious to the few situations where public schooling is the only option). So they do one of two things: Opt for public education anyway and resolve to make the best of it as God would lead, such as evening devotions or other after school Christian teaching. Or, they give up (or give in) and choose public education and leave it at that. Most of those parents come up with reasons, excuses, or rationalizations to excuse their choice. If you are a parent in this group, I hope you will continue to read this blog, I believe God has plenty of help for you in it that will benefit you and the children of yours that He loves so dearly.
The third group is parents that choose to home school their children, or send them to a Christian school. I know that most of these parents sacrifice to do so. If you are a parent in this category, or an educator that this group of parents have entrusted their children’s education with, then this blog is definitely for you. Please don’t miss a post.
This blog will cover a lot of biblical guidelines for training and schooling children either at home or at a Christian school, as well as qualities of sound Christian education to look for in a Christian school, or to attain if you are involved in Christian schooling; however, this book’s primary purpose is not to present the reason for choosing Christian education. There are many excellent organizations, books, blogs, or web sites devoted to those reasons. One that comes to mind (because it was the first one that grabbed my attention as I pursued obedience in this area), is “WARNING! PUBLIC SCHOOLS AREN’T FOR CHRISTIANS! A Biblical Perspective by Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler”.[i]
Another great resource is DiscoverChristianSchools.com. There, you will find biblical information on such topics as “What the Bible says about education”, “Why money is never an issue”, and “10 reasons to send your child to a Christian school”, as well as resources and links to a plethora of useful information for parents and educators.
So “stay tuned” some great information coming for sound Christian schooling!
Copyright 2012, Kevin Brownlee
[i] Holman Bible Dictionary: Education in Bible Times http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T1737