WHY A CHRISTIAN EDUCATION?
Covenant believes in Christian academic education. We know that isn’t a universal belief even among Christians. We also know it can be a divisive issue among Christians. So let us say a few things right off the bat. We do not think less of any believer because he has chosen not to send his child to a Christian School. We don’t think sending children to public school is a sin. We don’t think the choice of what kind of school to which we send our children is anyone’s decision but the parents of those children. We support the children at public schools and hope everyone can be as involved as possible in every facet of children’s schools. We write this not as an attack, but as a defense. So many friends simply don’t understand the main reasons why many people send children to Christian schools. Some think it is to make sure children learn Bible every day or to protect them from the sin of the “real world.” Others think it is an attempt to be in an exclusive private school setting. Those reasons are not part of Covenant’s reasoning. We have written this to make sure it is known why some Christians chose to support and establish a Christian school.
Most individuals go to public grade school, junior high, high school, and college. As they grow into their adult lives, they began realizing they have missed something. People profess to be a Christian, but on so many issues discover that they thought just like someone who never believed in Christ. Slowly but surely, discovering that though they are a Christian they do not yet have a Christian mind. Meditating and studying the Bible and the world around helps one realize we are taught both directly and by example to isolate spiritual things away from nearly all of the other areas of thought. Reflecting on parenting and the choices we have for children’s education has caused CCS parents to have decisive views on their child’s education. These views make changes where and how children should attend school.
Here is a list of some of the basic discoveries that has come to Covenant Parents:
God’s world is the real world.
“I want my kids educated in the real world.” You may immediately recognize this common argument against Christian education. That proves how many people think the way we did when we were in school. At CCS we want children to be educated in the real world, too. The real world is God’s world. A world that leaves God and His word out of any part of life or learning is the unreal world. The real world is where God is the pivotal truth saturating every subject in all our lives. So the argument is right! We want children educated in the real world, that is, where God’s views are in every subject, every value, and every goal.
There are no neutral facts.
This may sound like an odd statement. But it is consistent with what the Scripture teaches about the world. God is the sovereign interpreter of everything in His world. God has created all things, and He defines and interprets that which He created. He is not the sovereign interpreter of church issues only. He is not the creator of only religious things. Every fact in the world (even 2+2!) has a surrounding context and point of view that defines it and puts it into its rightful place. Which point of view and values surround a fact makes that fact complete. In some cases the wrong context, values, and point of view can make a fact lead us to a wrong interpretation. Biology facts and their interpretation are not altogether complete without the proper context. History and its interpretation are not complete if they are not taught with proper values.
Every book read in literature has a point of view. Every teacher who teaches it has one. We don’t expect every author our children will read will be a Christian, and we don’t require every child to have the same point of view. But in a Christian school, facts, books, poems, and all creation will be analyzed from a Christian point of view. Education never has and never will merely teach facts. It interprets, analyzes, and even “spins” the facts. The issue at hand is this: which spin do you want for your children?
Thinking about the world in a Christian way is essential to Christian growth.
Romans 12:1 and 2 tells Christians to be transformational in the way we think about everything. Ephesians 4:17-24 warns not to think in the same way the world does, but to be renewed in our minds. It does not say we should think like Christians just about religious things. We need to think like Christians about everything. School is about learning facts but also about learning to think. Learning to think like a Christian is a high priority for children. And, at a Christian school like CCS, working side by side with the church and family is the best way to do that.
Our children’s daily personal associations impact their lives exponentially.
Children spend more talking, thinking, and sharing time with the people at school than with their parents. It is just a fact. That leads me to 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Parents in every school worry about who their children’s best friends are. Certainly, Christian education does not solve that problem. There is sin in every school. But at a covenantally based Christian school, every parent has declared his allegiance to the faith of the Bible. That is an incredible advantage when finding the right friends for our children. Let me state another similar principle: secular learning ruins Christian thinking. In this regard, an even more profound personal association for my child is the teacher. Thank God that most schools have many Christian teachers. But Christian schools have all Christian teachers who have been trained in how to think Christianly. In a Christian school, Christian kids are taught academic subjects from a Christian point of view by Christian teachers. For a young and developing mind, that advantage is priceless!
The state has no Biblical mandate to educate our children.
The government began to be involved in education in most states in the middle of the 19th century. Theologians from various denominations in that era split on what they believed about the trend. Some prophetically warned that the end result of state education in a pluralistic society would be a lowest common denominator value system in the schools. They felt the spiritual point of view which was generally present in all American education would slowly but surely be watered down to the lowest and most secular values of society. Only Christians working in the system have been able to stem the tide of secular thought in our state schools. They alone cannot make up for the curriculum and general secular point of view of the material they teach. Compounding the problem, many educators who are Christians, like myself, were steeped in a secular mindset while growing up and don’t always see the problem clearly themselves. The Bible never gives the government the mandate to train up a child. It belongs to the parents.
Most parents cannot consistently analyze and apply these academic truths for their children.
Sometimes parents say, “I will be able to teach my kids all they need in the way of values and point of view at home.” Can we? Children receive 30 or more hours with instructors, curriculum, and other children. These things impact their values and point of view every week. Can most Christian parents re-instruct their children in biology? Can most parents analyze Poe’s writings from a Christian worldview? Can most parents tell their children about the creational foundations of math and logic? Can parents review all that their children have heard and teach them God is sovereign over all they have been taught? It is a rare parent and an even rarer child who is up to that task. Christian school is about teaching our children how to think like Christians. It is a full-time job, partnering with a Christian home and school environment.
There are some obvious, though secondary, advantages to Christian education.
Covenant has not mentioned the benefits of Bible classes, Biblical rules of discipline, weekly chapel, innovative yet traditional classroom techniques, and smaller class sizes. Many Christian schools boast higher test scores than most public schools. Some parents send their children to Christian schools for these reasons alone. In reality, these are but icing on the cake. At CCS we can certainly say all of these things are true!
To me, Christian education is worth tuition, moving a family to a location near a Christian school, smaller facilities, and less advanced athletic programs. Covenant’s desire is to help children think like Christians about their lives, their ambitions, their values, their friends, their future work, their role in the world, their nation, their hopes and dreams, and even the world itself. Then they will not only be informed and educated but able to analyze the truth and translate it into proper action. In other words, we want CCS Students to not only be smart but to be wise. In the Christian world, wisdom does not come without the integration of Biblical values into the teaching of facts. All this can be done in Christian schools working with Christian families and churches. Even when the job seems daunting and the road to excellence is long and hard, and when the process of forming and maintaining a school means sacrifice and hardship, the goal of developing young minds toward the wisdom and character that will help transform this world is worth it all.
Adapted from the article written by
Dr. Randy Thompson on Why Christian Education.