I ended my last article with a call to parents, church leaders and Christian educators to address the issue of education biblically and to do so with a sense of urgency. I believe that we must get back to following biblical principles on how we are to educate future generations if we are going to be successful in raising a generation of young people who can impact the culture by thinking and acting from a biblical worldview.
This must begin in the home. There is no question that God expects parents to take on the primary responsibility for the education of their children. Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78, Proverbs 22, and Ephesians 6 are just a few of the passages found in God’s Word that make it clear that God gives this responsibility to parents. So, we must start in the home and parents must address the issue of education biblically.
Recently I read an article that was sent to me by my good friend, Christian Overman. The article was written by a Christian mother on why she chose to enroll her child in a public school. As I read the article, I was looking for biblical reasons for this mother’s choice of schooling. Unfortunately, I only found one biblical reference in the entire article. She gave several “benefits” of having her children in public schools and why she believed “her faith” drove this decision. The benefits of her decision included:
- Her children were learning from a secular perspective. It is true that our children will be confronted with the reality of a secular worldview and must be able to know how to address this way of thinking from a biblical worldview. However, to send one’s children to a school so that they can be taught from a totally secular perspective is equivalent to Israelite parents sending their children to a Philistine or Egyptian school so that they can be taught from these pagan perspectives. God’s Word makes it clear that we should avoid being under the influence of false teaching at all costs.
- Her children were learning compassion by dealing with kids who are jerks. One does not have to sit under secular teaching in order to learn compassion. Wherever a child goes to school they will have to learn how to live with children who have a sinful nature. This is the reality that we all face because we live in a fallen world. However, godly compassion can best be learned when the home, church and school are united and committed to teaching truth to our children.
- Her children were learning people skills by being “tossed in with a new group of students each year and must problem-solve to successfully function daily with people who are very different from them.” This mother’s reasoning was that adults have to learn how to work with people who do not think the same way they do and that requires them to have to experience this as young children growing up. One of the things that I believe is extremely important in life is to have a consistent theology in all of life. I wonder if this mother would toss her children into a church that does not believe God’s Word to be true or into a home where the parents are very ungodly?
- Her children are experiencing independence and “have an opportunity to see how the world at large works.” Needless to say, our children have the opportunity to experience how the world works each and every day. Having the “independence” to do so without the godly support of the home, church and school may cause them to conform to the world’s way rather than to reject it.
- Her children are practicing evangelism and this is “probably the most exciting benefit – that they get to be a light in the darkness. Of course, this is one of the most common rationalizations that parents often give for sending their children into secular educational programs. I dealt with the “salt and light” issue in past posts and time does not allow me to address it here.
As I read this article several times, I kept asking myself the following question. What Scripture is being used to backup or justify each of these so-called “benefits” of having one’s child in a secular educational program? It led me to be even more convinced of the need for parents to address the issue of education biblically. Parents must take a couple of important steps that will enable them to do this.
- Parents must understand God’s purpose for educating children. The world has us chasing after some false gods when it comes to why we want to give our children a good education. Too many see education as a means of getting into “good” colleges so that our children will get “good” jobs and can achieve the American Dream. Parents need to understand that the education we give our children needs to instill in them what Dr. Tony Evans calls a theo-centric, God-centered worldview. John Milton had it right when he said, the end of education is to repair the ruins of our first parents; to know God aright, to love Him, to be like Him, to imitate Him.
- Parents must develop a biblical worldview. In Romans 12:2, we are instructed to “renew our minds” so that we will not be “conformed to the world.” For many of my early years as a parent I did not have or operate from a biblical worldview. However, once I engaged in the spiritual warfare of renewing my mind (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), I started looking at life very differently. It was then I started to understand what God’s Word says about how I was to educate my children. Parents can get help in developing a biblical worldview through such programs as Focus on the Family’s Truth Project or through resources found on sites such as Summit Ministries, Renwanation or Worldview Matters.
- Parents must follow God’s principles on how they are to educate their children. I have found 10 biblical principles that provide guidance to the home, church and school on how we are to educate our children. Kingdom Education is a good resource for helping parents understand these important principles. Knowing them is not enough. We must be willing to follow them consistently in the entire process of educating our children.
Parenting in today’s world is difficult. The pressures that face parents today can be overwhelming. However, with God’s Word as a guide and His Spirit enabling them, parents can address the issue of education biblically and see their children grow up to be dedicated followers of Jesus Christ.