In the last two years of laying the groundwork for the launch of Agape Christi, we’ve had the opportunity to listen to many families regarding their school choice decision. We rejoice to have the freedom of school choice in our country, knowing that Christian schools and homeschools are illegal in many parts of the world. As we approach our opening day of school, we wish to address some of the objections we have heard from well-intentioned families. We hope to encourage and edify families through our responses, and we would love for you to contact us if you wish to discuss these ideas further.
Objection #1: The Public School Our Kids Attend Isn’t That Bad
Our answer to this objection is, by what standard are you measuring your child’s school? What makes a school “good” or “bad”? Is it a good school because no one has been murdered? Is it good because they’ve learned how to read, write, and memorize the multiplication facts? Is it good because the football team is allowed to pray? Or because some of the teachers are Christians?
God declares, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” What is good? No one is good, except God alone, says our Lord Jesus. To be good, then, there must be a foundation of Christ. An institution that is not built on Christ, stands condemned already. How then, can any humanistic government schools be called good?
Objection #2: We have our children in public school to be salt and light
A logical response to this position is to ask, “Is it working?” Do Christian kids impact the culture through public schools? The research all says no. Christian children are being more influenced by the culture than influencing it. And the cost is devastating. By the time they reach adulthood, many leave the faith, while the transformational impact of those that stay is effectively crippled because they are saddled with the same false worldview as their non-believing neighbors.
My response is not a faithless one to be refuted with cries that God is bigger than these problems, and we just need to pray more. Of course He is (and of course we should). But God won’t bless what He isn’t in. Should we send our children to Islamic schools to be salt and light? Or Mormon ones? Neither is it appropriate to send Christian children to government schools that necessarily must espouse the religion of the State, in our case secular humanism.
It can be easy to discount this response, thinking that as long as we parents train our kids in “Christian things” and make sure they know evolution is bad, all other subjects are neutral. I say it is easy, because it is how the world thinks, and such cultural lies are always strong. But the Bible clearly denies this possibility. Jesus declares, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23). Neutrality in any realm is a myth. So we are told to bring EVERY thought captive unto Christ (2 Cor 10:5) — not just those that the secular world deems appropriate “matters of faith” (i.e. arbitrary feelings unconnected to real truth in the real world). Any area that is taught without Christ as its center is implicitly (if not explicitly) proclaiming that Christ is irrelevant and may safely be ignored. Thus any school that does not place Christ at the center of all learning, using Him as the standard for all truth, instead teaches falsehood.
The Bible tells us a student will be like his teacher. How do we tell a child, “Listen to your teachers except when they are wrong”? Certainly even a child can recognize the problem when a teacher says, “Jesus is bad.” But can we expect a child to ferret out the subtle, godless presuppositions that are at the root of secular teaching? Before asking our children to sit under the authority of a secular teacher and combat an anti-Christian worldview, let us train and equip them. Have our children learned how to love Jesus in math? Do they recognize God’s sovereign plan through studying history that includes the work of the church in western civilization? Can they distinguish the author’s worldview in a novel read for English class? You cannot combat the secular worldview with the Christian if you do not know the difference, and a child cannot know what they have not been taught.
Let us be mindful of our children’s frame, as the Lord is mindful of ours (Psalm 103:14), so that we do not place stumbling blocks in front of them. This does not mean we should react against the anti-Christian environment of public schools by placing our children in a bubble to prevent contact with any worldly influence. (It wouldn’t work anyway –sin is already inside them.) Rather, we should equip them with the Truth, so that they can unleash it for the glory of God.
**This post contains the first two objections and responses from our Common Objections series. These were originally published in our April and May e-newsletters, along with additional articles and resources about Agape Christi and classical Christian education. If you would like to receive our e-newsletter, send your e-mail address to [email protected].