If we are going to provide our children with a good education, there are two textbooks that are absolutely necessary. These two textbooks must be the foundation of the education we give your children at home, the church and the school. In this post, I will talk about the first of these two mandatory texts – the Bible.
I can remember reading a comment by Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, when he stated:
Christian education that is not driven by the centrality of Scriptures is ‘a lie!’
Our Founding Fathers understood that God’s Word had to be central to all educational efforts. Benjamin Rush, one of the most prolific writers among our Founding Fathers, made this clear in the following statements.
In contemplating the political institutions of the United states, [if we were to remove the Bible from schools] I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.
No man was ever early instructed in the truths of the Bible without having been made wiser or better by the early operation of these impressions upon his mind.
The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of removing Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible in schools.
Fisher Ames proposed the wording for the First Amendment of our Constitution. Ames saw that there was a growing trend to de-emphasize the use of the Bible in children’s lessons. In 1809 he stated,
Why then, if these books for children must be retained, as they should, should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples, captivating and noble; the reverence of the sacred book that is thus early impressed lasts long, and probably not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.
Daniel Webster also was concerned that the Bible would be treated as merely another school textbook; equal in value to other text books. He believed that if this happened the Bible would be trivialized.
Will not a familiarity, contracted by a careless disrespectful reading of the sacred volume, weaken the influence of its precepts upon the heart?…My wish is not to see the Bible excluded from schools but to see it used as a system of religion and morality.
There is no question that in the early days of our country the Bible was considered to be the foundation textbook of all the education that took place. Over the years, as education became more and more secular, God’s Word was removed from the education of our children and youth. Even in some Christian schools, the Bible has not been the central textbook used throughout the educational process. Many times it is merely relegated to the Bible class and chapel.
As the Bible was removed from the foundation of education, we have seen that the Bible has lost its influence in society and the church. If fact, Barna did a study many years ago and found that only half of born again parents mentioned anything related to their faith (including the Bible, church, or religion) as a significant influence on how they raise their children. That means that parents have gone to the world and its ideas on how to educate or raise their children.
We must get back to giving our children an education that is Bible-based at home, church and school. Author Kevin Swanson understands how important the Bible must be in the education of our children. In his book, Upgrade, he writes:
The content of education must be literally bathed in God’s Word…God’s Word is to be, literally ‘in their faces’…they [our children] should never get the impression that the Word is something they run into in some religious ritual on Sunday while the rest of their education, entertainment, family time, and so forth is completely void of the Word or even opposed to it.
As parents, pastors, church leaders and educators do we view God’s Word as the foundational textbook of the education we give our children at home, church and school? We must get this textbook back to its foundational influence in the education we give our children and youth. Next week, I want to look at what I believe to be the second most important textbook used in educating our children.