Faith-based Considerations for Parents and Leaders Regarding Education
Dear Christian Leader or Parent,
Has God entrusted anything more precious to our care and responsibility than our children?
Above all else, God has commissioned us to raise our children to walk and commune with him, to love him and serve him. Before we reach out to our neighbors and the wider world, we are to secure God’s kingdom through our children.
But we’re seeing a crisis in the church today. Christian youth are losing themselves to the world, and churches are devoting increasing time and resources to trying to repair the damage. The new mission field of the church is its own children.
This collection of reflections was compiled with the hope that Christian parents and leaders will take the time to carefully think through and discuss the implications of education by the state. There are few subjects more important today — for both families and the church.
May God bless and guide you as you read, think, discuss and make decisions regarding this most important topic.
1. “We must face the reality that every person will leave his or her education and enter adulthood with a worldview. This worldview will be either man-centered or God-centered.” – Glen Shultz, Kingdom Education, p. 49
2. “When the Pharisee admitted the coin was made in the image of Caesar, Jesus told him to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. I ask my fellow Christians, ‘Are your children made in the image of Caesar? If not, why do you render these innocents to Caesar for six hours per day, 180 days per year, for 13 years?’” – Marshall Fritz, Alliance founder
3. “As parents, we only get one opportunity to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” – Bruce N. Shortt, The Harsh Truth
About Public Schools, p. 291
4. “[T]he sorry state of public schooling has been achieved with a majority of Christian families still enrolled. We are living with the daily result of Christian children being “salt and light” in public schools…” – Bradley Heath, Millstones & Stumbling Blocks, p. 53
5. “There is something dreadfully wrong when the church, without compulsion, pushes its children into the arms of a secular state to be nurtured, discipled, and trained.” – Bradley Heath, Millstones & Stumbling Blocks, p. 62
6. “The world’s system digs a pit and then creates a myriad of industries to reclaim the tragic lives that fall into it. Classroom education for the young is a pit. The psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, Planned Parenthood, policemen, social manipulators, juvenile courts, drug dealers, penal institutions, and medical doctors stand on the edge of the pit competing for the business generated by the shovels of the National Education Association.” – Michael & Debi Pearl, To Train Up a Child
7. “[T]he child’s academic success in a government school is measured by how well he has mastered the non-Christian curriculum. Thus, not only does the child have the perception from his earliest years that education is something to be provided and controlled by the government, but he also believes that education and knowledge are separate from, perhaps even alien to, Christianity.” – Bruce N. Shortt, The Harsh Truth
About Public Schools, pp. 52-53
8. “I would say to you, dear friends, it may require some sacrifice, but I urge you to send your children to godly schools… to Christian schools that they might receive a godly Christian education. If you send them off to some public school, keep in mind that you are shooting dice with your children’s eternal souls. It is a gamble that no Christian should be willing to make. Don’t send an eight-year-old out to take on a forty-year-old humanist. … I have never seen any more unhappy people than fathers or mothers who have come to me and said, “Where did we go wrong? We gave him everything, and now he’s turned his back completely on everything we believe.” Yes, you gave him everything but a Christian education.” – Dr. D. James Kennedy, Training Your Children
9. “I don’t want my children fed or clothed by the state, but if I had to choose, I would prefer that to their being educated by the state.” – Rev. Max Victor Belz, pastor, founder of Cono Christian School, father of eight children
10. “When the church separated itself from the education of children and youth, it forfeited the opportunity to have a strong influence on the spiritual transformation of future generations. The church’s role in education became trying to counteract the negative impact of a secular educational system.” – Glen Schultz, Kingdom Education, p. 99
11. “The truth is that millions of Christian parents, with the full support of their churches, have turned their children over to the world to be taught what and how to think and how to behave. The church now consists of several generations of Christians who have been raised by the state’s schools, each generation imbued with a worldview even more godless than the previous one.” – Alliance for the Separation of School & State Literature
12. “God does not give Christian parents the right to a free education for their children. Instead, he gives them the solemn responsibility to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, to keep before them his commandments day and night, to saturate them in his word and way that they may be holy even as he is holy.” – Anonymous
13. “I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt…I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.” – Martin Luther
14. “Ultimately, I learned these lessons from my public school teachers: Faith is private, subjective, and compartmentalized. Truth is relative, situational, and individualized. The greatest virtues are openness, tolerance, and diversity, and the worst wrong is to ever think you’re right.” – Bradley Heath, Millstones & Stumbling Blocks, p. 17
15. “Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents….” – John Taylor Gatto, The Underground
History of American Education
There are basically two kingdoms: a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness. It seems strange to have those who walk in darkness educate children of light. It doesn’t fit.
If Jesus Christ is Lord, then He is Lord of all. We cannot divide things into secular and sacred.
Deuteronomy 6 tells parents that, in all they do, they should provide a godly education 24/7.
Three key institutions that shape a child are the home, the church and the school. Children are served best when all three institutions point them in the same direction.
Only an education that has the liberty to address the whole child — social, intellectual, emotional, physical AND spiritual — reaches the possibility of excellence.
The best preparation for effective service is to be well grounded in one’s mind before direct engagement of the culture.
From Christian Education Awareness Network
“These questions remain: Can darkness teach light? Should the lost teach the saved? Should we allow our Christian children to learn and practice humanism with a darkened worldview? Will we continue to put our young ones in front of those who have not the Spirit of Christ within? For the Christian, your answers to these questions should help decide not only who should teach your children, but what they learn as well.”
– James Boyes, Can Darkness Teach Light?
A Federal court speaks out on public schools’ rights
Consider this excerpt from the Nov. 2, 2005 opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (and note that it confirms the opinion of another court). The Ninth Circuit case was specifically addressing interviews conducted with children in a California public school in which first, third, and fifth graders were asked explicit sexual questions as well as other disturbing and intrusive questions. The parents who sued lost their case.
Excerpt: [O]nce parents make the choice as to which [public] school their children will attend, …their fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished. The constitution does not vest parents with the authority to interfere with a public school’s decision as to how it will provide information to its students or what information it will provide, in its classrooms or otherwise. See Yoder, 406 U.S. at 205. Perhaps the Sixth Circuit said it best when it explained,
“While parents may have a fundamental right to decide whether to send their child to a public school, they do not have a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child. Whether it is the school curriculum, the hours of the school day, school discipline, the timing and content of examinations, the individuals hired to teach at the school, the extracurricular activities offered at the school or, as here, a dress code, these issues of public education are generally ‘committed to the control of state and local authorities.’ ”