This article is a guest post adapted from a talk Theron gave on 08-11-22 for an event our church hosted on Christian education.
How rotten are the public schools in your area? This question weighs heavily upon your mind as a Christian parent. Even if a public school looks great on the surface, like a fresh and delicious-looking apple, you rightfully worry about what sort of worms are buried deep and out of sight, eating away at its core, rotting it from the inside out. However, rather than being a negative, the rotting apple of public education is just the motivation you need in order to give your children the education they truly need and deserve. That is, a Christian education.
WHY CHRISTIAN EDUCATION?
Now, if you’re a naysayer, you’re probably thinking, “The public school system my kids go to is fine. Nothing too crazy could ever happen there.”
First, the public schools in your area most likely have enough insanity to give San Francisco a run for its money. The public schools in our supposed red state sanctuary have everything from mandatory LGBTQ+ class sessions and litter boxes for kids who identify as animals. (Yes, litter boxes for children. After all, it’s part of Junior’s Individualized Education Plan.) Also, even if your kids’ public school system doesn’t have any of this craziness yet, rest assured there are people currently working there who desperately want that craziness and are working to make the craziness a reality.
Second, education can NOT be religiously neutral.
Your children are receiving a religious education. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Which worldview are my children being educated into? A Christian worldview or a secular worldview?”
By the time a kid graduates high school, he will have spent approximately 16,110 hours in school and 845 hours in church. Let that sink in for a moment. 16,110 hours at school versus 845 hours at church. Quick caveat: Christian education does NOT make a kid a Christian. Likewise, public school does NOT make a kid an unbeliever. However, think back to those numbers, 16,110 versus 845. With numbers like that, which worldview will most likely be dominant in molding your child’s thoughts and actions? The secular worldview of public education or the Christian worldview you actually want them to have? Any family trying to straddle both sides in the imaginary “middle ground” of educational neutrality is as doomed as a family of polar bears on a melting ice floe.
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN EDUCATION?
Now that the naysayers have been addressed, let’s look at what Christian education is. Rather than getting into the weeds of all the different types of Christian education, let’s focus on an umbrella definition that can be applied to any educational model. And, of course, scripture provides that definition. Ephesian 6:4 (KJV) says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Let’s zero in on the second half of the verse, “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
The phrase “nurture and admonition” refers to the whole child. His mind, his body, and his eternal soul. It includes his education but is much more than that. Bringing up a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is enculturating him so fully and so deeply in the gospel that the things of the world taste bitter and feel unnatural while the things of God taste sweet and feel natural. Of course, a child’s salvation ultimately lies between him and God, but bringing up a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord softens and prepares his heart to receive Christ as his savior.
“Of the Lord” means that the nurturing and admonishing being done is uniquely Christian. Of course, secular parents can instill good morals and behavior in their children and raise them to be successful adults. However, Christian parents should strive primarily for their children to know the Lord and serve Him. Besides, once a child knows the Lord and walks with Him, he’ll be able to see his college and career path much more clearly.
Based on Ephesians 6:4 and the whole counsel of scripture, a good working definition of Christian education is this, “Directing the moral, rational, and spiritual development of your children towards Christ-honoring maturity.” Anything you do with your children simply ask yourself, “Is this directing them to Christ-honoring maturity or not?”
HOW DO WE DO CHRISTIAN EDUCATION?
Now that we’ve defined Christian education, the question that naturally follows is, “How do we do Christian education?” An article of this size cannot possibly address all of the different schooling options available. Just know that nowadays it is easier than ever for families to find an educational model that fits their unique set of circumstances.
Also, God has most likely blessed your church with a number of families who have done or are currently doing faithful Christian education, and, among those families, almost every conceivable educational model is probably represented from home school to private school and everything in between. More likely than not, each one of those families is more than happy to offer advice and guidance.
Your best resource for Christian education may be sitting in the pew beside you on Sunday morning.
And, if you’re not a part of a local church, then you need to join one right away.
In modern-day America, many public educators hiss and sneer at the idea of parental rights. They haughtily believe that their educational “expertise” entitles them to absolute sovereignty over your children. Well, they’re wrong, and let me give them the first lesson of Christian Parenting 101. A child’s education begins and ends with the parents. As Christian parents, take that lesson to heart as well. May Christ reign in the hearts and souls of our children.