As Western culture moves from a once Christian culture through a post-Christian culture to an anti-Christian culture, there always arises the question of just how believers are to live and act in such a culture. We are called to be salt and light in all cultures, but how exactly that pans out can depend on how much freedom we have, how bad things are, and so on.
Christian participation in ungodly cultures can vary, depending on how hostile and inimical the culture is in terms of Christian values and beliefs. Some things a Christian simply cannot be a part of, as they are far too idolatrous or immoral.
For example I trust that no genuine Christian would seek employment in the pornography industry, plan to work at an abortion clinic, get involved in various areas that have basically been taken over by militant homosexual activists, and so on.
One issue that often arises, especially as the times get darker and more inimical to Christianity, is whether Christian parents should keep sending their children to public (secular) schools. I have written about this previously. One short answer I have given in the past is each family must prayerfully and carefully weigh up the options here.
Until recently most Christian parents could consider the public school system as one option, or look at others, such as a Christian school or home schooling, etc. But as state education gets increasingly hostile to all things believers care about, it may not be so clear anymore.
Indeed, many are now arguing that no Christian parent should be sending their children to the cesspits of public education. While I still think each parent must pray and think through this, I feel the case is becoming stronger by the day as to why parents should seriously look for alternatives.
More and more Christian leaders today are calling for this. But this is not just a recent point of view. Numerous Christians over the centuries have also spoken to this. Let me just cite a few of them, from five centuries ago on up to today:
-“I am very much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.” Martin Luther
-“To leave our youthful population in the hands of secular teachers, will be to sell them to the Ishmaelites.” Charles Spurgeon
-“Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist.” J. Gresham Machen
-“To control the future requires the control of education and of the child. Hence, for Christians to tolerate statist education, or to allow their children to be trained thereby, means to renounce power in society, to renounce their children, and to deny Christ’s Lordship over all of life.” R.J. Rushdoony
-“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.” Voddie Baucham Jr.
-“Just as the purpose of Christian seminaries is to produce committed Christians, the primary purpose of most Western universities is, consciously or not, to produce committed secular leftists. The major difference between them is that Christian seminaries declare their purpose, and Western universities do not.” Dennis Prager
-“Your children will go to public school … and they will be trained for somewhere around 15,000 hours in ungodly secular thought. And then they’ll go to Sunday school and they’ll color a picture of Noah’s ark. And you think that’s going to stand against the lies that they are being told?” Paul Washer
-“It’s well past time for Liberalism to be declared a religion and banned from public schools. No other religion has the right to propagandize children for 12 years, six hours a day.” Ann Coulter
-“America seems to be happily plunging itself and its children into the tyranny of Statism – primarily because professing Christians have proudly led the way. Rather than lead the culture in repentance and tearing down the enemy stronghold that is the satanic, State-controlled children’s ‘education’ system, it is professing Christians who are among the most vocal and ardent defenders of this child-eating, culture-corrupting abomination.” E. Ray Moore
One of the most recent voices calling for a mass exodus from public education is commentator Matt Walsh. His new piece is entitled “Christian parents, your kids aren’t equipped to be public school missionaries”. He refers of course to the oft-heard objection that we need our Christian kids in schools to share the gospel.
But as Walsh – and the quotes above – indicate, it far too often works the other way: Christian kids go into secular schools and perhaps more often than not end up losing their faith. That is because the modern secular left school system has become every bit as evangelistic and keen on proselytising as any evangelical Christian is – often more so.
Walsh begins by noting all the transgender crap being pushed so aggressively in our state schools, then goes on to say this:
If we have not yet reached a point where a mass exodus from the public schools is warranted, when will that point arrive? Are we waiting until they start bringing in nude hermaphrodites to teach sex ed? I suppose even that wouldn’t be enough incentive for some of us. “I can’t shield my kid from what’s going on out there!” “Be in the world, not of the world!” “Naked she-males are a part of life! I can’t keep him in a bubble forever! He’s 9 years old, for God’s sake!”
Look, I know that public school may really be the only option for some people. There are single parents of little economic means who find themselves backed into a corner where government education appears to be the only choice. And if a parent can’t or won’t homeschool, a private Christian education can be prohibitively expensive. Not only that, but some Christian schools are as bad as, or worse than, the average public school. Abandoning the public school system is not an easy thing, and it presents many hurdles that, right now, may be impossible for some people to get over. The collapse of the family unit, not to mention our recent economic woes, have contributed to creating a dependence on public education. Not everyone can break free all at once, I realize.
But we should certainly all agree, at this point, that public school is not an option for those of us who have another feasible option. We should agree that public school is a matter of last resort and necessity. We should agree that public education is inherently hostile to true Christian values, and for that reason it is not anywhere close to the ideal environment for our kids. We should agree on these points. But we still don’t, incredibly.
He deals with the “But we need Christians there” line as follows:
First of all, “the system needs our kids” is just a weird and creepy statement. It reminds me of something someone would say on Black Mirror or the Twilight Zone. Here’s the truth about “the system”: It’s not my job to give it what it needs. Even less is it my kid’s job. There’s nothing in the Bible that says we must dedicate ourselves to maintaining a government-run education system at any cost. My first responsibility is to my family, not to the community or the school system or my kid’s classmates. I will never put the interests of “the system” above that of my own children. Whether “the system” lives or dies is not my concern. My family is my concern. I have an obligation to them, not to the local superintendent.
Second, anyway, if I did put my kids in “the system” for the sake of “the system,” I’m not the one making the sacrifice. I’m forcing my kids to make it. At least face what you’re doing. When it comes down to it, the burden of public schooling is something your child will have to shoulder, not you.
Third, yes, my kids will eventually be exposed to all kinds of strange and terrible things. As much as I’d like to keep them shielded from the evils of the world forever, I know that I can do no such thing. The question is not whether our kids will be exposed to this or that depravity, but when and how and in what context? Are you prepared to trust the school’s judgment on when Junior is ready to learn about concepts like “transgenderism”? Do you trust their judgment on how he learns about it, and what he’s told about it? If you do, I suppose you aren’t even reading this post right now because you’ve been in a vegetative state for the past 30 years.
Fourth, when a kid is sent to public school, he’s expected to navigate and survive and thrive in a hostile, confusing, amoral environment, basically untethered from his parents, 6–8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year, for 12 years. Is a child ready for that challenge by the time he’s 5 years old? Is he ready at 8? At 10? No. Our job as parents is to “train them up in the way they should go,” equip them with the armor of God, fortify them in the truth, and then release them into the world….
Fifth, related to the last point, your child is not ready to be a missionary. He cannot be a “witness” to others until he himself has been properly formed in the faith. It’s no surprise that most of the young “missionaries” we commission and send forth to minister to the lost souls in public schools quickly become one of the lost souls. We don’t need to sit around theorizing about whether the missionary approach to education is wise or effective. We already know that it isn’t. The vast majority of the parents who think their kids are being “salt and light” to their peers in school are simply oblivious to the fact that their little Bible warriors have long since defected and joined the heathens. You can hardly blame the kids for this. They’re just kids, after all. They aren’t warriors. Warriors are trained and disciplined. Children are neither of those things. I imagine this is why St. Paul didn’t travel to Athens and Corinth recruiting toddlers to help him carry the Gospel into pagan lands.
As I have said several times now, parents must be really cautious and in close communion with God about all this. Some parents may have no choice but to send their children to secular schools. But it is high time we realise just how dangerous that has now become.
If you feel you must send them there, and no other choice is a genuine option for you, then don’t you dare send them without around the clock prayer cover and spiritual intercession. Failure to do this will almost ensure that they fail big time, and join the ranks of the godless.