CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Christians, Public Education, and an Increasingly Anti-Christian Culture

Apr 5, 2017

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.

education 10For 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.

www.theblaze.com/contributions/matt-walsh-christian-parents-your-kids-arent-equipped-to-be-public-school-missionaries/

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17 Responses to Christians, Public Education, and an Increasingly Anti-Christian Culture

  • Actually in my experience of 3 supposedly Christian independent schools they are following the state system very closely. They continually cower to the PC agenda including the homosexual one, I think it is extremely naive to think a Christian school is much better at all.
    Homeschooling is really the only option for Christian parents.
    Thanks Bill,
    Roseanne

  • Thanks Roseanne. Yes Christian school options need to be checked out carefully as well, since some can be really problematic – eg, running with the “Safe Schools” program and plenty of other worrying secular left agenda items.

  • I am of the opinion that my kids’ days at a public school are numbered. My kids know to inform me and ask questions about what they are being taught at school. My gr 5 child has told me her teacher has openly stated SRI is a waste of time and God is a myth. My Gr 8 is now getting hit with evolutionary dogma. The big problem where I live is the only private schools are Catholic schools and neither my wife or I are suitable candidates to homeschool Gr 9 onwards. So, I look to my Lord to provide the answer. If it means moving to somewhere there is a reasonable christian school, so be it.

  • Hi Bill, finding the right Christian School is probably a better “hit or miss” option than sifting through the public school options. Let’s just say that you did succeed in finding a good secular public school if that was your only financial option. You then have to do battle with the area zoning around that school. It may mean relocating your family to be in the “right zone”. Maybe it’s high time that all the Evangelical, Charismatic, and Pentecostal Fellowships right across the country all banded together to address this as a national issue. Even saying that they did, you would still be looking at a lead time of up to 5 years to get a national wide spread affordable Christian Education infrastructure in place. As a side issue, I’ve talked to quite a few Muslim parents over the years. If they couldnt access a Muslim School for their children’s education, then they would opt for a Christian School over a secular school every time. Unfortunately Bill, even Christian Schools are now under attack by the state. I’m not sure where all this is going to end up. Regards, Kel.

  • The title of my book in progress is: God doesn’t want you to send your chidren to school, He wants them to receive an education. I argue that the problem is school and has always been school. School, especially when funded by public money, is a a sitting duck for take-over. It is not about an education, it is about being schooled. Christian school is a misnomer. There is nothing Christian about school. Cite me one verse in the Scriptures that describes a school in the modern definition of the institution. I have searched for 44 years and not found one. “School of the prophets” is not about locking children away in jail for a twelve-year sentence and schooling the love of learning out of them. No, there is not one verse that advocates schooling as God’s way of educating the next generation of leaders in God’s kingdom. When we disobey God in such a fundamental issue as discipling our children in the ways of God, then we should not be surprised when the enemies of God take control of the institutions we built to baby-sit our children while we pursue our debt-ridden pusuit of personal peace, affluence and leisure. And this includes the single biggest contributor to children deserting the Faith, Sunday School.

  • Thanks Bill for your posts. They are always valuable and it is important to me that I read widely, especially people who are willing to work with others and not isolate themselves.

    The topic here is one that I agree with, especially the concept that children need to be trained first in the ways of the Lord (through the Bible in their family, their daily education we provide at home, our church, friendships and the situations in life that God puts them in according to His wisdom) before they are put into this sinful world to be an effective light and witness. Putting them into public secular schools too early is counter-productive to that.

  • Hi Bill. I enjoy your articles and this is the first one I’ve replied to. Dennis Prager’s comment -“Just as the purpose of Christian seminaries is to produce committed Christians…” may not be entirely correct if the research that Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has done is anything to go by. There are apparently a lot of Christian seminaries that are Christian in name only. They have jettisoned the truth of God’s Word and taken on secular teaching.

  • Thanks Ian. Yes sure, there are all sorts of things that are Christian in name only: seminaries, churches, denominations, even many Christians!

  • Bob Stephens, you and your wife don’t have to homeschool alone. There are plenty of homeschool associations and curricula. Maybe check out Homeschooling Australia and Parents Corner on Creation Ministries International.

  • John Dewey is considered the father of modern education. In his book Revolution via Education, Samuel Blumenfeld states, “Dewey realized that if the scenario in Bellamy’s Looking Backward was ever to be realized (a Utopian Socialist America), it would have to be done by preparing the young not only to accept a socialist way of life but to want to bring it about. Since reading Blumenfeld’s book, I’ve been wondering just how John Dewey achieved his goal. Kevin Swanson in his book Apostate, sheds more light on this. Swanson, like Blumenfeld, recognizes that although Dewey seldom uses the word socialism, socialism is his goal.

    Quotes from Apostate page 162, John Dewey’s Educational Theory
    Dewey’s educational theory is really quite simple: education is all about training by individual to fit into the social entity of the state. 60 years earlier, Karl Marx set out to ” replace home education with social,” in the communist manifesto.
    In agreement, Dewey writes,
    “the school is primarily a social institution. Education is the regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness.”
    Swanson explains,
    All educational content is subservient to the social element – training the young person to belong to the social unit and pursue the objectives of the social unit (however unwise, ungodly, and unintelligent that may be).

    All home schooling families will be aware that any and all conversations about home-schooling with the uninitiated, always begins with the question, “but what about socialization”.
    This is incredibly revealing. It proves the genius of John Dewey, in that all Australians see social connectivity as the number one educational priority. People WANT socialised education and they want their children to be part of the only machine they know of that can produce a successful individual. Christians are totally unaware that this is in complete violation of God’s teaching in the book of Proverbs, that moral training is primary.

    I am surprised to discovery is that socialization and socialism has understood here, are one and the same.

    When considering home education, most parents exclaim, I could never do that! There are two problems here. The first is that they are assuming that the school they know is the right way, in fact the only way, to educate. It isn’t. Secondly, most parents feel they don’t have the patience and tenacity to train their own children. But this is exactly why God wants them to do it. They need to grow in the process; this is not just for the children. They need to grow a lot and it may hurt, but if they seek to do it God’s way they will produce a Christian culture that is all but forgotten and that the world is desperately trying to destroy.

  • Lance, I’m looking forward to your book. I suspect my family would appreciate it. You may remember Dominic, a Grade 6 student. By the way, I have a 2nd hand copy of Australian Education in the Twentieth Century with your name stamped in it.

  • Take the biblical books Proverbs and Deuteronomy as starting points: One is bound to conclude that parents must always be their children’s educators of first resort. The usurpation by other persons and agencies of parents’ divinely-appointed role in raising godly offspring can only tend towards future generations where it is the done thing to be “righteously wicked”…

  • Hi Bill I have read all the comments and all the other web pages in your article. Yes what is called “THE LEFT” is in control of most state and religious schools in the western world, and those that have made comments are aware of the spiritual damage that is being done to the child. Andrew Snowden reference to John Dewey being the father of modern education is spot on. His method of education is structured to remove all christian beliefs and values from the minds of our children, and his method has been very successful. Now Bill lets explain how this method of Dewey’s works (reference to humanistic manifestos NO 1-2) Humanist do no believe in God , there is no life after death, evolution explain our existence, science will solve our problems , consensual sex encouraged, they claim every one is autonomous, etc.
    Now that is the basis of Dewey’s method, which is the opposite to all Christian beliefs.
    To indoctrinate the child to believe that he is autonomous starts at grade one and goes through to years twelve, by using such method of Value Clarification and other humanistic techniques. The child is told he is master of all his own decisions, creates his own values, please himself in what he does, and no one has the right to tell him different
    The effect on the child s intellect is where all the damage is done. Lets explain this from a christian perspective. We are all made in the image and likeness of God, to know Him, to love Him, and serve Him. Therefore, God is the origin of all TRUTHS and they have to be taught into our intellect. When the child is deprived of God or religion are apparently limited in their cognitional skills and openness to transcendent truths. For the intellect cannot live in a vacuum, , deprive it of the Author of truth and truth dissipate. The ” I ” factor takes over
    So when the intellect is deprived of Gods truths, the intellect goes looking and being taught to please himself what he does, what happens ?
    In our society today we have young people with mental problems, some succumb to suicide , some to drugs. family violence, and the list goes on.
    Soon after Dewey’s method of education was introduced in the late 1960’s sex education soon followed, and it has played a major roll in destroying christian morals
    Well Bill I hope this does explain a little bit as to how the Dewey method is so destructive, and as some won has said, it is time for all Christian organisations to come together as one, and expose this evil method of education.

  • Brilliant article!
    Read these quotes too, then read my book on the Sufficiency of Scripture for God’s Discipleship model of education.
    • Charles F. Potter wrote, “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?” (“Humanism: A New Religion,” 1930)
    • John J. Dunphy said, “The battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: A religion of humanity — utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to carry humanist values into wherever they teach. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.” (“The Humanist (1983”).
    • John Dewey said, “You can’t make Socialists out of individualists—children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.”
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “Submit yourself to the State, and my philosophy will liberate you from submission to intermediate authorities like the Church and the family.”
    • John Dewey said, “There is no God, and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or permanent moral absolutes. More than that, supernatural Christianity is basically and radically anti-democratic because it holds to a God and an ultimate unchanging law in terms of which men shall be saved or lost. Christianity by separating the saved from the lost is committed to spiritual aritacracy and is thus an alien creed. I cannot understand how any realisation of the democratic ideal as a vital, moral and spiritual ideal in human affairs is possible without the surrender of the conception of the basic division to which supernatural Christianity is committed.” (John Dewey (1859-1952) “Soul-Searching,” Teacher Magazine, Sept. 1933, p. 33.)

  • Andrew Snowdon, send me an email – Bill can pass it to you if interested.

  • Both State and Christian schools vary enormously. My wife, a devoted Christian, taught for years in state schools and often the majority of the teachers were Christians and they, fairly easily so far, managed to ignore the nonsense and immoral agendas that are sometimes put on them. There is a huge amount left to the discretion of the teachers and principal which means that, as I said, there is huge room, both ways, for how schools will perform. Parents need to be very aware that, just because a school is a state school, it is not necessarily particularly bad and just because a school claims to be Christian it is not necessarily particularly good. My children went to three different Christian schools (as well as one state school) and the standards between the schools varied enormously. The worst one was, supposedly, a specifically Anglican school.

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