I’ve Been Thinking

By September 20, 2021Public Blog

In the 1800s something took place that Francis Curran, a professor of the history of American education, referred to as a revolutionary development in the history of education and in the history of Christianity.  What was this revolutionary development?  According to Curran, it was the surrender by American Protestantism…of the control of popular elementary education to the state.

He went on to predict that once one area of education went under state control, it would simply be a matter of time when all levels of schooling follow suit.  The results of this monumental shift in who educates our young has been catastrophic to say the least.  I have written about the devastating results of secular education for years.  It has been sad to see the predictions of men such as Robert Lewis Dabney come true.

I am thankful that many Christians have tried to right the ship through the modern Christian day school movement.  It was exciting and encouraging to have been part of this movement when Christian schools literally were exploding on the scene in the 1970s and 1980s.  However, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what has been accomplished and what hasn’t taken place over the years.

Almost two years ago, our entire lives were turned upside down by the Covid virus.  One result of this pandemic was that just about all schools went virtual.  This meant that children and youth were, once again, at home receiving their education.  Because of this, parents started realizing what their children were being taught in the state school system.

Many parents were shocked to learn that schooling was not just about the 3 Rs.  There was something else going on.  G.K. Chesterton understood what education is really about when he wrote the following.

Every education teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma, then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere.

It has been amazing to hear how Christian school enrollments are increasing all across the country.  I continually read reports of how homeschooling is also exploding at an unprecedented rate.  However, these occurrences have also caused me to give a great deal of thought to where the movement is headed.  As I have been contemplating the current state of our country and Christian education, I find myself asking more questions than I have answers for.

Recently, a pastor asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks and I am still trying to find an answer to it.  We had been talking about the reality that the home, church and Christian school have not done a good job on making disciples of Jesus Christ.  It is true that there has been a strong emphasis on evangelism but we seem to have come up short on actually making disciples who are impacting the culture.

His question was, “what would a Christian school look like if it were totally built on a biblical discipleship model?”  At times, I have wondered if, at the beginning of the modern Christian day school movement, we had done it all wrong?  Did we take a secular model of what a school is and bring it under the auspices of a local church or Christian school board and simply attempt to Christianize it?

I have found myself asking a lot of other questions like these.

  1. Are we trying to just have a more “excellent” program than the neighboring public or private school?
  2. Has the effort to be “college prep” Christian schools caused us to adopt the typical course offerings that all other forms of schooling have thinking that God’s will for 98% or more of our graduates must be to go to college?
  3. Is there a better way of bringing the home, church and school together in a unified effort to make disciples of the next generation?

As I have wrestled with these questions, I have wondered if it is even possible to change how we do schooling to better fulfill the Great Commission?  How do we get parents to take the time and rethink how God wants them to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?  Are church leaders willing to do whatever is necessary to assist parents in fulfilling their God-given responsibility of educating their children biblically?

As you can tell by the title of this blog, I have been doing a lot of thinking.  I am not saying that a lot of good things are not happening in Christian schools all across the country.  I also realize that many homeschooling parents are doing some wonderful things as they educate their children at home.  As one of my former pastors once said, I simply have a “holy discontent” to want to do more.

I don’t have the answers to these questions but I share them with you to see if there are any other parents, pastors, administrators and teachers who may be thinking similar thoughts.  If so, I would love to know your thoughts and, hopefully, some answers you have found to these all-important questions.  Please leave a comment below and let’s pray that God will give all of us wisdom and direction as we strive to provide Kingdom Education™ to future generations.



Author RenewaNation

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Rick Yost says:

    I have recently witnessed the efforts of a large evangelistic association, focused on bringing a community wide stadium event to our city in order to introduce Christ in a powerful way to the lost. What I have seen is a relatively small number of pastors and churches (perhaps 20 out of 250) who are willing to partner with other churches and denominations for this desperately needed event. That said, if churches cannot come together for the most basic purposes of the gospel, how will we get them to come together for the cause of Biblical education? I’m not sure it can even be done. However, I am not discouraged. The other area of emphasis that you bring up, Glen, our parents, is where our efforts may need to be focused. I believe that communicating with parents the need for truly Biblical education and the making of disciples is a field of great opportunity for harvest. Parents who are new to our schools, having come recently in significant numbers, seem open to the message of what we truly do because they are sufficiently weary of the messages of the culture……………..so that they are receptive to hearing not about college, but about Christ in the hearts of their children. We need to win them with this message, but we need to do it NOW.

    • Glen Schultz says:

      I share your concern of trying to get churches to address the issue of education biblically. There is no doubt about the need to be intentional in connecting parents to the purpose of biblical education. Thanks for sharing.

  • I am in complete agreement. I believe we have fallen short because we have often failed to teach the whole counsel of God. One thing we have changed is moving from topical chapel messages to expository teaching focused on one book from the Bible each year. Another thing we have introduced this year is an intentional focus on doctrine. This information is communicated with our parents each week after it has been taught in the classroom. The results are ultimately left to God and that is why in everything it is essential to pray individually and as a staff.

  • Pattie Perry says:

    Making disciples is what we are here for.
    Roanoke Valley Christian Schools makes disciples of Christ in obeying the command of God to train students in truth. (Psalm 78:4-7)

  • susan mcdonald says:

    We at Cathedral Academy in North Charleston, SC have the privilege of hearing Dr. Schultz most every Wednesday in our staff development meetings. Dr. cShultz, even with hearing your wisdom every week, your question in this blog stopped me in my tracks. Are we (as Christian schools) trying to follow the organizational structure of secular schools but just “Christianizing” it? I ask this because well-meaning Christian parents are asking me questions lately that make me think they are very concerned about their children getting into the “good” colleges, with possibly no regard to what they will be taught in those “good colleges.” I have been asked, “Are you college prep?” “Do you follow state standards?” I find these questions troubling, but, I know the parents mean well when they ask. I wonder how many families would continue in Christian education if we boldly proclaimed we were focusing on academics within the biblical model of discipleship? Like you, I don’t have the answers. But, I would love to continue the conversation.

    • Glen Schultz says:

      Thanks for the comment. It is going to be a challenge to help “re-educate” parents as to what their God-given responsibility really is.

  • Alan Fredrickson says:

    I appreciate your thoughts and your honesty. I don’t have answers either, but my current study of the Christian principles of liberty (II Cor. 3:17) give me hope. One of the key principles is conscience, and I don’t think as a church we’ve done a good job of teaching those we disciple to keep our conscience tuned to God’s voice. It’s pretty easy to override that with an educational (or even parental) agenda. Only God has the answers, and we will find liberty as we obey His voice, His spirit, as individuals, families, churches, and even as a nation.
    God bless and thanks again. (a Psalm 119:45 disciple)

    • Glen Schultz says:

      Thanks for being part of the conversation. You make a good point and we do have be intentional in hearing God’s voice through His Word & Spirit in a very noisy world.

  • Lynnae Hadaway says:

    As someone who works daily with Christian and private schools, and where I have been deeply convicted of my own personal self absorption, is in the area of prayer. I have often heard the phrase, “Trust and Believe as if it all depends on God, but work as if it all depends on you.” Starting to believe this statement is in error. Yes, we need to trust and believe our God can do anything in the lives of our young people. Yes, we are commissioned to “do the work.” The key component I have been personally convicted about is prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Reliance on a method or system to produce a product is flawed. We/I must daily place my complete dependance upon Him, seeking His wisdom and guidance through the difficulties of the day, and realize these are ultimately “His testimonies.” Taking time to “pray without ceasing” for these moments and days that He has granted to us in His kindness and “do His work” through the perspective of Galatians 5:22-23.
    Psalm 119-11 “His testimonies are my heritage forever, they are the joy of my heart.” It is all about Him and I/we must “pray without ceasing.”