“Give me your four-year-olds, and in a generation I will build a socialist state.” –Vladamir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution
As long as I have been a Christian (twenty-two years), there has been a debate among Christian parents in regards to sending Christian children to public school. A recent article by Carolyn Curtis on byFaithonline.com, the online publication of the PCA denomination, strongly tries to soft sell the idea that by sending Christian children to public school, they are “transforming their communities for Christ.” I could not disagree more.
Carolyn Curtis begins her article by asking,
Despite our history of antagonism toward public schools, especially as a cultural darkness seems to have settled on them, it’s intriguing to wonder: what if Christians flooded public schools with practical help? What if Christians became more willing to enroll their children in public schools? And what if the lines between public and private educations began to blur?
What antagonism? The vast majority of Christians in America are enthralled with the public school system. They move to “good school districts,” revolve their lives around the school sports teams, and associate their families with the mascots of the high schools. “What if Christians flooded public schools?” News flash: ninety percent of Christians send their children to the public school system and have done so for the 100 years or so since its inception.1 The Church has been flooding the public school system with cannon fodder for the humanist machine for some time now, and the only thing we have “accomplished” is establishing generations of apostate secular humanists. Why would we expect a radical change now? Furthermore, the first couple of generations of Christian children fed into the public school systems comprised a vast majority in the public schools and lived at a time when Christian values held sway over most of the country — and yet they failed to halt the slide of the public school system into the abyss. Why in the world would feeding more children of Christian parents into a system now, where they would be a minority and where Christian values are openly reviled, have any different effect?
She goes on,
[L]aypeople and pastors… see more reasons to rejoice, fewer reasons to grumble. They are tired of finger pointing, eager to serve. They are rewarded with a softening of their attitudes toward what they still may perceive as the sorry state of America’s public schools, because they see specific ways they are making a difference in lives of students, faculty, families, even the physical campus where they volunteer. These people see God at work in that environment, and they feel hope.
The only reason modern Christians have “a softening of their attitude toward public schools” is because they’ve gone soft in the head too. And this is the end game? That we soften our attitude toward public schools? What are these specific ways where they see they are making a difference? Are students from non-Christian homes becoming regenerated, living their faith with repentance unto life? Are the Christian children experiencing a transformation in their sanctification by being a part of this great commission to save public schools? I didn’t read that part; all I read was vague and unquantifiable feelings and emotions. Worse, in public schools I perceive none of the tangible signs we see in Scripture of God at work.
Curtis quotes Pastor Warner from the Atlanta PCA Church,
I think churches now have a perspective that is accurate, one that says, “You know what? We can preach the gospel in the public schools, and the way we’re going to do that is through our lives, by allowing teachers, students, families, and administrators to experience the love of Christ through our actions, with a goal of provoking them to ask questions, provoking them to curiosity.” Once that happens, you can talk about whatever you want.
This statement from this pastor is a bald-faced lie! Yes, we are called to live godly lives as Christians, and the heathen will know we are Christians by our love of one another (John 13:35). But the primary way we are to spread the gospel is by actually, you know, spreading the gospel (I Corinthians 15: 1-4)! Calling people to believe in the resurrection, faith in Christ, and repentance unto life is our duty, and anyone who attempts to do this in a modern public school setting will quickly find themselves disciplined, suspended, expelled, or fired. I don’t care how much you love — and I get the feeling that they have a very wrongheaded and esoteric view of “love” — and engage in the public school system, you will not be able to “talk about whatever you want.” Can any Christian layperson, pastor, teacher, or student within the public school system do any of the following?
• Invite any student to believe in the gospel? In other words, declare that Jesus is the only way to spiritual salvation, and that all must repent and believe in Him or face everlasting judgment?
• If asked by a gay student their views on homosexuality, respond that it is a sin that needs to be repented of?
• Tell students that creation is the truth and evolution is its own religion?
• Explain that premarital sex is not only dangerous, but a sin to the living God?
• Let the students know that modern hip hop and most popular music is ungodly and unhealthy to listen to?
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. If any layperson, pastor, teacher, or student attempted to engage in any conversation as listed above, at the majority of public schools in America, they would be in a heap of trouble.
Pastor Warner tells a heart-tugging story about a troubled child whom the public school’s administrators allowed him to mentor for thirty minutes a day. There appears to be a positive response to the counseling for the boy. It was so positive that Pastor Warner decided to send his child to the same public school, even though he had a voucher (as a clergyman) to send his child to a reputable Christian school. The Warners believe that by doing this, they are giving their child “a biblical worldview and kingdom perspective.” Mentoring a child in the community is one thing (we are not given any indication that the child converted, or anything else tangible), but sending your child to a public school when you have the opportunity to send your child to a Christian school for free is insane. To put it another way, this pastor saw how much damage the public school system had done to the child he was mentoring and so he decided to put his own child into the same damaging situation — what a wickedly irresponsible decision! How will they teach a biblical worldview in the public school when it is against the law to teach a biblical worldview? How will the child get a kingdom perspective, when she will be getting an anti-Christian worldview hammered into her for many hours a day?
The article goes on to give stories and examples, none of which bear any solid fruit. Softening our attitudes towards and helping a struggling anti-Christian system is not what God has called us to do as Christian parents. I find it ironic that most Christians, who are completely against God’s law as the supreme law of the land, nonetheless think that somehow they’ll be able to “storm the gates” of the public school with their “softened attitudes.”
If we are going to truly transform our neighborhoods and communities, it will have to start with the Christian Church and Christian families. I would suggest the complete antithesis to this article. What if 90% of Christians pulled out of the public school system and homeschooled them, or sent them to a good private Christian school? What would that do? Would the public school system actually have to compete at that point? Maybe we really could offer the gospel to an unbelieving community in school? As it stands now, the Church is a toothless tiger. Ninety percent of the Church sends their kids to be indoctrinated with humanism, egalitarianism, and a complete disdain for biblical Christianity, not to mention that the public school system is built on a system of thievery. Stealing from one family to pay for another family’s education is not Christian, nor is it proper in a free republic — but that is for another article.
The prevailing teaching on public schools is false, and it is sad to understand that Christian children must bear the burden of the masses of the unregenerate in the public school system. Our children are children. They are not adults and do not have the responsibility of adults, and it is therefore our direct responsibility as parents to protect them until they reach a level of maturity. Jesus made it clear that we are to not keep them from coming to Him. We as covenant families are to rear our children in the admonition of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6; Joshua 24:15). Children are spiritual babes and still figuring out who they are in Christ. They are maturing and growing. It is a false idea to think that we can purposely throw our children to the ocean of sharks and not expect them to get eaten. And if the salt loses its saltiness, what use is it to Christ’s kingdom (Matthew 5:13)?
And the children sent into the public school system are falling away in droves:
According to a comprehensive study entitled Home Educated and Now Adults, “94% of homeschoolers keep the faith and 93% continue to attend church after the high school years. But a shocking 75% to 85% of Christian children sent to public school drop out of church, and do not hold a Christian worldview after high school graduation.” The National Home Education Research Institute also found “94% [of homeschoolers] strongly agreed/agree with and practice the faith of their parents”. Likewise, the results of research by Drs. Rhonda Galloway and Joe Sutton, released in 1997, demonstrated the strong faith of homeschool students. Their four-year study compared the success of homeschoolers in college to students in public and Christian schools. Homeschoolers ranked first in 7 out of 11 spiritual indicators, and first in 42 out of 63 total indicators (including Spiritual, Academic, Cognitive, Affective-Social, and Psychomotor). Clearly, homeschoolers demonstrate a high level of spiritual development.
Remarkably, 94% of homeschooled children keep their faith, while only 25% to 15% of public-schooled children do so. Even if we’re charitable and use the 25% mark, what this in essence means is that any parent who sends their child to a public school has loaded a gun with three live rounds and one dud, spins the cylinder, puts the gun to the head of their child’s soul, and pulls the trigger. I would be willing to bet that these Christian parents would not be willing to send their pets to a veterinarian who irreparably damaged 75% of the animals they saw, but they are perfectly comfortable with those odds when it comes to their own children. I really do not see any way to biblically justify such a decision, and I think it is despicable that the PCA would publish an article presenting a few bleeding-heart sob stories as the rule when the raw numbers clearly show that they are the minority.
My wife is a public school teacher, my mother-in-law is a retired public school teacher, and my father-in-law was a public school principal. They all agree: our children should not attend public schools. Ignore the cultural Marxists running byFaithonline.com, do your duty as a Christian parent, and love your children by keeping them as far away from the public school system as possible.
- http://www.capenet.org/facts.html ↩