Christian Education – Is it Worth it?
Undoubtedly the decision to place one’s kids into a private Christian school is fraught with financial angst. The heart of the decision is clearly the desire for the spiritual well-being of our kids, but for most folks, the decision still boils down to a “cost-benefit ratio” analysis. The “benefit” aspect of the ratio (as I hope to outline in part) is easy to determine; the “cost” aspect is a private affair since it is dependent on one’s individual monetary resources and potential life-style sacrifices. What I would like to do here is share my own personal experiences of the benefits of a Christian education, and thereby encourage those who have indeed made the necessary sacrifices to put their kids into Christian schools.
- A Christian education includes education in Christianity. Again, based on my own experiences, Bible will be a required daily class for every grade. While Sunday school is a good thing, based on recent data it has been shown to be largely irrelevant in preventing our children from abandoning the faith in their college years. This is hardly surprising if one hour (two, including church) of biblical instruction per week is all one gets. However, attending a Christian school will reap another 4 hours (or so) of instruction. Also, since Bible class is in fact a class, there will be homework, reading assignments, textbooks (in addition to the Bible), and exams. This yields a more intensive and detailed study of Scripture compared to Sunday school. Hopefully the child will experience a deepening appreciation of the reality of God and His acts in history and thereby a deeper understanding of the basis of his/her faith.
Additionally, even if the school is identified with a particular church or denomination, the faculty and student body will likely span multiple denominations, and that experience can enrich your child’s appreciation of the diversity of Christian theological thought and biblical interpretation within orthodoxy.
- 2. A Christian education includes critique of secular dogmas. Government schools exist to train “New World citizens”; hence, political correctness and the doctrines that ground the secular humanist worldview must go without serious challenge in these schools. If you believe the Christian worldview to be the one that corresponds to reality, then you will want your child to be taught the philosophical, ethical, logical, and evidential fallacies, errors, rationalizations, and canards that are at the heart of the secular agenda: atheism, Darwinism, scientism, multiculturalism, relativity of truth and morality, etc. Hence, Bible instruction should include an introduction to apologetics by which your child will learn to appreciate the rationally demonstrable superiority of the Christian worldview over all rivals. The first item in the “armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13-17) is the belt of truth. It is the piece upon which the rest of the armor is secured. If the concept of truth is forsaken, then culture will necessarily spiral into chaos as each does and thinks “what is right in his own eyes.” The world will get its turn at your kids in college and/or the workplace where Christianity and truth are marginalized and denigrated respectively. If you have put your kids into a Christian school, then take some comfort: Your kids will stand a much better chance of resisting seduction by “hollow and deceptive” philosophies and holding on to (and sharing) their Christian worldview if they have come out of high school grounded in truth.
- A Christian education includes a Christian environment. The first two points lose most, if not all, of their vitality if this point is missing. In fact, in my opinion, if a Christian school fails here, it fails, period. After all, at the end of the day, Christianity is more than merely a philosophy or a set of metaphysical assertions. It is more than reasons and knowledge; it is a way of life – in fact, it is life itself, life in abundance, life eternally.
My children had the privilege of being taught – at every grade – by teachers who were competent in their academic fields and who were also kind, caring, loving, Bible-believing, and God-honoring. Undoubtedly, there are many Christian teachers in the public school system, but that system, by definition, cannot and will not encourage these teachers to share their Christian testimony – let alone pray — with a student.
We meet together in church to worship and praise our Savior but also for mutual edification and encouragement. But actual church services are only a few hours a week. A Christian school can provide this environment for your child for seven or so hours a day – even more if they participate in after school activities and sports. Secretly held beliefs can whither when there is the threat of ridicule if spoken aloud. (And the state-sponsored and increasingly culturally-enforced secularism of modern America exploits this fact as its thought police intimidate into silence those voices who dare speak out in celebration of Christian values, Christian freedom, and the Christian founding of our nation.) On the other hand, there is something affirming in the process of freely speaking aloud one’s heartfelt beliefs to a sympathetic and encouraging audience –in this case, Christian classmates and teachers. By putting your kids in a Christian school you have privileged them with a faith-affirming environment – and spared yourself the worry of wondering what politically correct, profane nonsense they have been subjected to on any given day.
- Christian education encourages a love of this country. The secular worldview adheres to three critical errors: the nonexistence of God, the natural goodness of mankind, and an inevitable upward “evolution” of civilization. The culmination of these errors is utopianism – the belief that mankind will eventually save itself by constructing a scientifically engineered perfect society. Despite the plethora of genocidal failures of such attempts in history (particularly, the 20th century), the utopians of every age breathlessly anticipate – on blind faith – that utopia is just around the corner: All we need is a little more reeducation, a little more socialization, a little more elimination of the naysayers, and, of course, a lot more centralization of power. And if mankind is to be saved, the utopia must be world-wide; hence, the secular view is globalist in scope. (Islam is a theistic equivalent.)
What does this have to do with love of this country? Christians reject the secularist premises. We know that a global utopia is not remotely humanly possible, and the final attempt – that of the Antichrist — will be the worst of all. True worldwide utopia will occur only when Christ returns. In the meanwhile, we struggle to construct civil structures that protect “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and, at the same time, restrain the sinful nature found in both the citizenry and the leaders. This country was settled by Christians and our founding documents strongly reflect the Christian worldview – and this country has, by God’s grace, survived its occasional failings and prospered like none before it. But a lone superpower that honors God, Scripture, His moral law, and the dignity of human life and freedom is a stumbling block for secularist global utopians; it must be humbled if the secularist nightmare is to be realized. And we see their efforts every day in the news. Christians, however, knowing that God was instrumental in America’s founding, consider America worth fighting for and preserving as it was founded. It is the world’s best hope in human governance – until Christ comes. Hence, love of this country should come naturally to the Christian heart – and so patriotism is encouraged in Christian schools.
A Christ-based education is hardly a guarantee your children will remain true to Christ (and a public education hardly guarantees they will not – the home is still critical in both cases.) The world system is relentless in its self-promotion in the after-school hours – in movies, TV, pop music, etc. But if one has been able to make the necessary personal sacrifices in order to put your kids in Christian schools, take heart – you’ve made a big step in giving your kids a fighting chance. Now, pray for them . . . every day.