Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
Reasons for Christian Education
by Scott A. Leone
December 7, 2001
Pastor of The Baptist Tabernacle
1618 Waycross Highway,
Jesup, GA 31545
Some people may wonder, why would Christians be interested in starting their own schools when public education is free and available to all? Christians may ask themselves, should we be considering Christian education for our children? Or, what might be the benefits of a Christian education for my children? Well, this article is a brief introduction to reasons for a Christian education. Let me begin by stating some typical reasons for Christian education and then state what I believe to be the most compelling reason for Christian education. These reasons apply to Christian home schooling and private schools, but I will mainly address this article with reference to Christian schools.
First of all some would say that Christian education protects their children from many of the excesses that abound in our society. Although Christian schools are generally freer from things like drug abuse, profane language, sexual abuses, and uncontrollable classrooms, they are not immune to them. However, Christian schools are generally freer from abuses because orderliness and discipline are considered virtues to be cultivated and not shied away from. Therefore in a Christian school, there is a good possibility of providing a better learning environment for children, with less distractions and a more serious academic focus, and with an environment that is safer and that represents the kind of atmosphere Christians strive for in their own homes.
Secondly, some would say that Christian parents highly value good education and admire the high academic standards set by many Christian schools. This is true, although we must add that most parents value good education for their children, whether Christian or not. For the Christian, knowledge is not something that is merely imparted to our children so that they can ďmake itĒ in the world; knowledge is God-given and we receive it because we are made in the image of God. Knowing God, self, and Godís world all flow from being made in the image of God.
Thirdly, some would say that Christian education generally produces better results. This too is a fact. Christian education generally produces children with higher achievement scores than public education. Why? Well, to some degree we can say that private education in general prospers because of smaller classes, orderly environments, diligent parental involvement and so on, but I would add that God blesses the sincere, caring, and prayerful efforts of His people. These achievements are in no small part the result of Christian educators having an environment where God can be openly honored. God said, ďThose who honor me I will honor.Ē With such an environment, is it any wonder that Christian education generally yields students better able to read, write, calculate, and analyze?
Fourthly, some would note that with Christian education the Bible can be freely taught. Teachers are free to read Godís Word and talk about the gospel, to lead their classes in daily devotions, to teach Bible classes and chapel services, to have Scripture memory programs, and just to be there to help when children have those inevitable little questions about God that impress their young hearts.
All of these are legitimate reasons for Christian education. But the most compelling reason for Christian education is that with Christian education children are exposed to a Christian worldview.
A worldview is simply what you believe, a personís way of explaining how the world works and what part he plays in it. All of us have a worldview, whether we can articulate it or not. The main worldview today is not Christianity, but naturalism. Naturalism is the belief that all things evolved without the design or controlling hand of God. To the naturalist the universe came prepackaged with the label of the box, "No God Required!"
It is beyond the scope of this article to explain all the details of naturalism and its implications for the way people live. But, the naturalistic worldview dominates public education, politics, the news media, and is even making inroads into the family. Therefore it behooves us to at least introduce ourselves to some of the aspects of naturalism.
First of all, naturalism is a faith-based presupposition (something one assumes beforehand). Naturalism is a belief system that supports a personís worldview by framing the way he thinks about the world and himself. Naturalism is presented as "science", unbiased, objective, and observable, but is actually none of these things. It is not a neutral unbiased view of the world, and it has some very real consequences.
Naturalism results in some very significant ethical and moral implications. The presupposition of naturalism results in the ethics of evolution, "survival of the fittest", to situational ethics, where what I do depends on my circumstances without reference to an overarching moral code. And it results in forsaking moral absolutes, in moral relativism, in "values" that change with personal preferences, and in the pragmatic value system of "if it works, do it." Naturalistic ethics are essentially self-oriented. Self-interest becomes the basis for morality. There is no absolute authority for morality but what "opinion" dictates. Authority comes from a personís will and not some objective absolute standard.
Furthermore naturalists claim Constitutional authority when they attempt to remove all references to "God" from public institutions. But I remind you that nowhere in our Constitution are the words "separation of church and state" ever used, and our Constitution nowhere dictates a de facto presupposition of naturalism. Our Constitution guarantees and protects the right of religious freedom, and hence the freedom to choose oneís own set of underlying beliefs about life.
By favoring naturalism our public schools are simply imposing one worldview upon children without debate, and indeed, are even intolerant of debate. Children get an underlying current of secular humanism and moral relativism. My friends, this is not neutral and unbiased!
Finally, with respect to the importance of ethics in the real world, consider that all knowledge carries with it moral implications. Science can build a gun, but what I do with it is a moral issue. An engineer may design a bridge, but designing it to be safe is a moral imperative. Knowledge carries with it responsibility and responsibility is predicated upon morality.
The Bible says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." Christian education promotes a Christian worldview. This is also a faith-based presuppositional view of the world. It is founded upon the presuppositions that God exists and that He has revealed Himself in the Bible. The Christian worldview is God-centered and Bible-centered. It promotes Christian character and ethics, and addresses the whole man, body and soul. It views the world as a complete system, with God as the ultimate reference point of all things (including math, science, and history). It provides children with a moral and ethical framework to view the world that accurately reflects Godís Laws, human nature, and our responsibility to those Laws.
The naturalistic ethics of "survival of the fittest" cannot hold a candle to the moral laws of God in the Ten Commandments, the virtue of love expressed in 1st Corinthians 13, the ethics of the Godís Law expressed in loving God and loving your neighbor, or the mercy of God in the gospel. It is not enough for our children to simply acquire knowledge; we want them to make the right choices with that knowledge. Christian ethics, embraced in the Christian worldview, provides a solid foundation for taking knowledge and morally expressing it in culture. If self-interest is the basis of morality, or even if any mere human interest is the basis of morality, then what happens when lying, hatred, murder, anger, or cheating serves that interest? Naturalism has no moral foundation. For instance it says, "If guns can kill people then guns must be responsible, therefore get rid of the guns." Christian ethics puts the onus of responsibility upon the people, because we are ultimately responsible to God, and that is a worldview that can be applied to any situation.
Which belief system is right? It is a matter of faith! But we must not kid ourselves into thinking that naturalism is neutral. It is a faith-based presupposition, just like Christianity. So why not educate our children from a Christian presupposition? Why shouldnít Christian parents seek to educate their children from a Christian worldview and buttress their knowledge with a solid moral foundation?
Christian education is more relevant and needful today than it was fifty years ago. At one time in America the Christian worldview, with Christian character and ethics that are expressed in the Bible, was at least respected and openly allowed in the public forum. Today, while there are well meaning people, the bias of naturalism has created an atmosphere of intolerance toward the Christian worldview in our public institutions. Therefore, we need Christian education.