I have been more than a little involved with the revival of Christian education in America over the past 35 years. Its growth and development have been remarkable and powerful. Many parents have recognized the essential nature of a Christian education and have made the sacrifices to provide (when possible) both home schools and Christian day schools as some of the means of achieving this important work. R. L. Dabney is worth hearing again on this:
The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one 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.
And so, I must start with a commendation to all those who have done what they can to provide a Christian education for their children, often under difficult situations. Having home schooled as well as been the founding chairman of two Classical Christian schools, and served on the board of a classical Christian college, I know firsthand that the dedication and sacrifice of many people is required to accomplish this “most important business done on earth.”
Commitment to inculcating a biblical worldview is a long-term construction project. We take our children to church, instruct them at home, and (in many cases) enroll them in co-ops or schools where they will be immersed in, not only Christian instruction, but also in Christian culture. We are concerned about what they will be taught, who will teach them, and also with the environment they will live in. I am aware of some Christian families who have successfully negotiated less than ideal educational situations, but they are the exceptions to the rule.
Continuing the Challenge
Running 15 miles in a 26 mile, 385 yard race is impressive, but it will not win the marathon. Graduating high school is no small accomplishment. Raising Christian children and preparing them to be life-long followers of Christ is a daily struggle. It saddens me to see how many come to the end of this particular phase of education (i.e., high school) and then seem to stop thinking about what is necessary to continue the race. I know that life is complicated, every child is different, and that some young people are better prepared than others. A variety of opportunities present themselves. I want to challenge parents and students to think through all these options carefully and to maintain the biblical principles that God requires. I want to see them finish the race.
The goal is to raise children to the glory of God, which means that their faithfulness to Him and their maturity in Christ is the single most important thing. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” We do not have to look far to see many shipwrecks of Christian young people who headed off to the college or university for a lot of wrong reasons. At the top of the list of considerations were things like: proximity, jobs, scholarships, football teams, prestige, friends, etc. Much further down the list of considerations (if they were considered at all), were things like: who is going to teach my children, what are they going to be taught, what kind of culture will they be immersed in, and is this place likely to produce mature and faithful Christian adults who are prepared to engage our culture, who will establish great Christian families, and who will be dedicated members of the Body of Christ? Now I am not opposed to the items on the first list, but I am suggesting that these two lists should be reversed in the order of their priorities.
Every education is selling something―it might be from God or from the devil―but they are all selling something. Do you know what they are selling in the classroom and in their cultures? Is that really where you want your young adults to do their shopping? You sacrificed early for your principles. Don’t stop now!