Christian Education & Cultural Transformation

As I mentioned briefly, one very important application of my recent sermon has to do with education. I know full well that it's very unpopular to criticize government education (aka "public schools"). Most people around here (including me) attended public school for part or all of our primary education. Many people in our area (including many of you) have worked in public schools. I'm not saying that anybody's in sin for attending or working in a government school, but we do need to face the hard facts: taxpayer-funded, government-run schools are one of the biggest factors in the unraveling of our churches and our whole culture. Until Christians come to terms with that and start to make some real changes, nothing will improve in our society.

Over the past few years, many parents are realizing that their children are being indoctrinated with socialist ideology in government schools, but many parents still don't realize that government schools are socialistic by definition. One journalist gives the insight of a great economist into the situation (click here): "Some years ago I asked Nobel economist Milton Friedman why it was, given the appalling and obvious failures of socialism everywhere in the world contrasted with the stunning successes of market capitalism, that most American students still graduated from high school with such a surprisingly socialist perspective. His answer was characteristically clear: 'Because they are products of a socialist system—namely public education. How can you expect such a system to inculcate the values of free enterprise and individual entrepreneurship and competition when it is based on monopoly state ownership, abhors competition, and survives only through compulsion and taxation?'" The economics of government education are only the tip of the iceberg. Click here for an excellent summary of the arguments against putting Christian kids in public schools.

As the courts slowly but surely removed catechisms and Bible reading and prayer from public schools, they have operated under the illusion of neutrality for the past 60 years. But there is no such thing as neutrality in God's world. Trying to educate children without reference to God is not religiously neutral--it's a secular, anti-God education. This is the exact opposite of the sort of education that Christian parents are commanded by Scripture to provide for their children (Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:4). A truly Christian education requires a curriculum that is explicitly Christian that is coupled with moral formation according to the Word of God. Canadian pastor Joe Boot has written in his recent book Ruler of Kings, "We need not only Christian lawyers, but a Christian approach to law; not just Christian artists, but art rooted in a scriptural world-and-life view; not merely Christian doctors, but a Christian philosophy of medicine; not only teachers who are Christian, but a truly Christian curriculum; not just Christians in politics, but a scriptural political philosophy. In other words, we must apply our faith and organize against pagan secularism." CREC pastor Douglas Wilson launched the Christian classical education movement with his 1991 book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (click here).

As the great Presbyterian R.L. Dabney wrote, "The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the only business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel, every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God—this is his task on earth." Click here for a brief article that summarizes Dabney's view of education as a religious task that parents should not hand over to the State.

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