“The end of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him.” – John Milton
“Above all, the foremost reading for everybody, both in the universities and in the schools, should be Holy Scripture…I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme.” – Martin Luther
There is a modern myth in our day that has been widely accepted and that is the idea that education is neutral. However, nothing in this world is actually neutral. As a matter of fact, neutrality is a by-product of humanistic thought because it presupposes an autonomous cosmos that is meaningless and purposeless.1
When the State takes over the realm of education, declares authority over it, and claims that it does not promote any religion, it is not disowning all religions, but simply eliminating any opposing religions in favor of its own statist humanistic religion.
How should the Christian household respond to education when surrounded by “free” education run by the State? Do Christians really need to give their children a Christian education?
Jesus requires His people to love the Lord with all their minds (Matt. 22:37). If the faculty of our mind must be devoted to God, then can we with a clear conscience send our children to an educational system that is taught to think agnostically? Education either presupposes that Jesus is Lord over every area of life or He isn’t. It either presupposes the belief that all truth comes from God or the belief that there is no objective truth. Every subject, whether it’s math or history, science or English, is taught from an ultimate standard. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for Christian parents to give their children an education that embraces the Lordship of Christ in every class.
In the Old Testament, the family was the first educational institution God established among His people.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deut. 6:4–9).
God never assigns the task of education to civil leaders even in a nation like Israel. It is crucial to understand that teaching children the Law of God under the God-given authority of the family is also never limited to only cover “spiritual” matters. The Christian life cannot be compartmentalized into “two kingdoms”: sacred and secular. The outcome of knowing and applying the Word of God is to be educated to have a God-centered worldview in every subject. The Apostle Paul commands, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). The word “training” is the Greek word paideia, referring to the “whole training and education of children.”2 The Christian household must recognize that the whole training and education of a child must be from a worldview where Jesus is the Lord.
Christian parents also must protect their children from the lie of the statist humanistic religion behind every government system. There is a clear distinction between children learning humanism from a biblical worldview and children learning in a humanistic system as the standard of truth. One of the joys of teaching Integrated Humanities at an online Classical Christian school is teaching some of the most influential worldviews such as Marx, Darwin and Orwell under the authority of Christ and His Word, and why these humanistic worldviews are fundamentally religious and as a result don’t work.
A common objection from Christians to the responsibility of protecting their children from the government educational system is that Christian students can be salt and light in these schools. It is presumptuous to think we are training our children to go into the world, but in reality, we are helping the world go into our children when they are not under an educational system that declares Jesus is Lord.3
Paul writes, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4–5). The government educational system contains ideologies and philosophies that are against the knowledge of God. As thinking Christians, we are called to pull down these high places and use our minds in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.4
Non-Christian education is by definition an education by another god. Why? Because Jesus Christ is not regarded as Lord and His Word is not the standard of how we are to think about every area of life. Cornelius Van Til states, “Non-Christians believe that insofar as man knows anything, he knows apart from God… Christians believe that everything is dark unless the current of God’s revelation be turned on.”
To be truly educated is when all things are understood in the light of God and His revelation. Jesus powerfully states that “a pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). As Voddie Baucham famously said, “If you send your kids to Caesar for their education, don’t be surprised when they come back as Romans.” God’s Word gives the task to parents as their biblical responsibility to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
This view of education is radical to many Christians. Unfortunately, it is because of the loss of preserving our Christian heritage and adopting the progressivist education that makes this view seem abnormal. Christian family, understand the glorious calling to train up your children in the way they should go! Know that the sacrifices you make to give your child an education that makes much of Christ will advance the kingdom of God for His glory.
The government educational system admonishes and teaches the doctrines of their false god. Think of the family as a nuclear powerplant. This powerplant has incredible heat sources and energy to take down the strongholds against the knowledge of God. The world knows this is a threat because whoever controls the schools rules the world.
1. Joseph Boot, The Mission Of God: A Manifesto Of Hope For Society (Ezra Press, 2016), 434-435.
2. Douglas Wilson, Standing On The Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Childrearing (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1997), 95.
3. Wilson, Standing On The Promises, 101.
4. Wilson, Standing On The Promises, 98.