By Pastor Voddie Baucham
Anyone who has kept up with my blog knows that I am no fan of government education. I have made it a point to carry The Continuing Collapse on a regular basis, and I try to make biblical, philosophical and theological arguments in favor of Christian education as often as possible. However, I recognize the obstacles those of us on my side of the street face. As many as eighty-five to ninety percent of professing Christians send their children to the government for their education. That is simply an astonishing figure considering the fact that the Christian community fought mandatory government education tooth-and-nail for its first fifty years of existence. Since then we have gone from fighting against government schools to fighting for them and implying that those who fight against them are fundamentalists, anti-intellectuals, and racists.
In the meantime, our schools grow progressively worse. As fall approaches, I want to appeal to those of you with children in government schools. Please don’t send them back! I beg you to consider what you are doing. As Dave Black has written: “No academic skepticism, no secularist authors, no blatant materialism can so undermine the spiritual life of the country like the completely secularized training of the child under the authority of the state… Bible-based education is mandatory for Christian parents. If we think we can keep our children in a secular school system and escape the dumbed-down, amoral, and immoral results of secular humanism in schools, we are sorely mistaken (See: http://daveblackonline.com/our.htm).”
With that, here are the top five reasons not to send your kids back to government/public school.
5. You Don’t Have To
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people ask home educators the ‘authority’ questions (i.e., to whom do you report? Who approves your curriculum?). These questions are the byproduct of statism. The Gramscian, neo-Marxist influence is so prevalent in our culture that we don’t even recognize it anymore. We actually believe that children are wards of the state when in fact they are not. As a result, some people have a hard time believing that they have the right to educate their children in a manner of their choosing. Well, I’m here to tell you that you are free. Your children are yours. They do not belong to Caesar. You don’t have to take them back to the local government indoctrination center next semester. And in some states (thank God for Texas), you don’t even have to tell them you’re not coming back!
4. America’s Schools Are Among the Worst in the Industrialized World
One of the issues that many Christians seem willing to ignore is the fact that sending children to American schools represents extremely poor stewardship. American students continually rank at the bottom in math, science and reading compared to other industrialized nations. That’s right, our educational system is among the world’s worst! Of course everyone says, “Our schools are different.” News flash… that’s a lie!
One of our elders taught honors math at one of the ‘best schools’ in one of the ‘best school districts’ in Texas (you know, one of those schools people lie and cheat to get their children into so that they can get a ‘better education’). His advanced geometry class was filled with a bunch of imbeciles who could barely do basic arithmetic. As a result, most of them failed their first major test. You know what happened next? The principal called him into the office and told him to make things right. One of the things he was told was to employ a grading technique called “Square root times ten.” Thus, a student who made a 49 on a test ended up with a 70 in the grade book (for those of you who went to government schools like me, that’s the square root of 49 times ten).
This is what’s happening at our ‘best’ schools. Don’t believe me? Ask a college admissions worker how many students coming from our ‘best’ schools with grade point averages hovering near 4.0 need remediation when they get to college. It’s an absolute joke. The overwhelming majority of children in our schools have a B average or above (mostly for self esteem reasons), which serves to give them and their parents a false sense of achievement. It also results in people who ‘feel really good’ about their schools.
Please don’t buy the lie. Your child’s school is probably terrible. If you really care about the stewardship of you child’s mind, don’t send them back to the worst schools in the industrialized world.
3. America’s Schools Are Morally Repugnant
The headlines speak for themselves. Student-teacher sex scandals, student-student sex, immodesty, foul language, drugs, alcohol, radical homosexual agendas, teachers taking students for abortions, “sexting” leading to suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, brutal beatings, and school shootings. These are just some of the headlines that have become the norm. And that does not include things like cheating, disrespect for authority, impropriety towards the opposite sex, and other moral behaviors children learn regularly and repeatedly in school.
Van Til said it better than I ever could: “Non-Christian education puts the child in a vacuum…. The result is that child dies. Christian education alone really nurtures personality because it alone gives the child air and food…. Modern educational philosophy gruesomely insults our God and our Christ. How, then, do you expect to build anything positively Christian or theistic upon a foundation which is the negation of Christianity and theism?…. No teaching of any sort is possible except in Christian schools.”
Moreover, the system itself is funded by virtual theft. Homeowners are forced under threat of the loss of their property to pay for the education of other people’s children. How is that appropriate? The government tells everyone that they have to send their children to school, then tells homeowners that they are going to be the ones to foot the bill whether they like it or not. Not only is this a form of welfare, it is also a form of theft.
For those of you ready to read me the riot act and yell and scream about paying for roads and bridges, hold on a minute. Why is it that we get all up-in-arms about our tax dollars being used to fund abortions (while our opponents make the roads and bridges argument), but we don’t see this one? Our schools are morally repugnant. They are also neo-Marxist, secular humanist indoctrination centers. Why should I as a Christian be forced to pay for children to have every vestige of Christianity beaten out of them? Americans are not forced to pay for Mormon schools, or Muslim schools; why should we be forced to pay for neo-Marxist schools (remember, all education is religious in nature)? And why should any Christian contribute to such a system by sending their children to such schools at the expense of others? And before you yell, “I’m just using the tax dollars I spent,” ask yourself if you’re willing to take advantage of all that abortion funding going to Planned Parenthood, or those tax dollars going toward fetal stem cell research.
2. Government Education is Anti-Christian
“I am as sure as I am of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.” (A.A. Hodge)
Jesus made it quite clear when he said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30 ESV). I am amazed at how many Christians refuse to acknowledge this fact as it relates to the government school system. Our education is either based on biblical truth, or some other ‘alleged truth.’ There is no such thing as neutrality in this regard. All education is religious in nature. Since it is illegal for students in our government schools to be taught from a Christian perspective, then it follows that they must be taught from a non (or anti) Christian perspective.
As Hodge pointed out, the result of non-Christian education is anti-Christian education. Government schools must be anti-Christian. They can be nothing else. Therefore, to send a child to a government school is to have them trained in an anti-Christian environment for 14,000 instructional hours. To get that much instruction from church a child would have to attend two hours a week for one hundred and forty years!
1. The Bible Commands Christ-Centered Education
“This whole process of education is to be religious, and not only religious, but Christian…. And as Christianity is the only true religion, and God in Christ the only true God, the only possible means of profitable education is the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Charles Hodge)
I recognize that educational antinomianism is the norm in the modern American church. According to the common refrain, “It doesn’t matter what educational choice you make… you just have to pray about it and do what the Lord leads your family to do.” However, I must confess I find this concept disturbing on a number of fronts.
First, this kind of thinking denies the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible speaks either directly, or principally to every aspect of life. There are no grey areas. Sure, there are things that are difficult to discern, but education is not one of them. Though you won’t find the word ‘education’ in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, there are a number of passages that speak directly to the issue of training ourselves and our children intellectually, spiritually, philosophically and morally (See Deut. 6:6,7; Prov. 1:7; Eph. 6:4, etc). We also have numerous warnings against allowing others to influence us intellectually, spiritually, philosophically, and morally (Psalm 1; Rom. 12:1,2; 2 Cor. 6:14ff; Col. 2:8, etc.).
Second, this line of reasoning smacks of mysticism. Instead of making an argument with an open Bible we dismiss all opposition with the flippant, trite, overused, and theologically problem-laden phrase, “we prayed about it and this is what the Lord told us to do.”
The Lord ‘has spoken.’ (Heb. 1:1-2) We are not awaiting new revelation. Instead of doing what the Lord ‘told us,’ Christians are commanded to do what the Lord ‘has told us’ in His Word.
The London Baptist Confession speaks to this matter rather poignantly: “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving Knowledge, faith and obedience; Although the light of Nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable [sic.]; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will untoHis Church; and afterward for the better preserving, and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment, and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the World, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of Gods revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.”
The Cambridge Declaration states: “We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience [i.e., “the Lord told me”] can ever be a vehicle of revelation.”
There’s enough here for an entire series of posts (so many posts… so little time), but for now let me simply say that the “the Lord told me” line of argumentation has serious theological problems. We must make our educational decisions with an open Bible. “The Lord told me” is no substitute for ‘the Bible says!’ Please don’t make a decision about your child’s education without consulting (and obeying) the Scriptures.
How I long for voices like Hodge, Van Til, and Machen (who called government education a “soul-killing system”) to be heard among my Southern Baptist brethren. However, with over eighty-five percent of our children in the government schools and more government school teachers and administrators than any other ‘denomination,’ it is highly unlikely that our side will prevail on this issue any time soon. One wonders what the schools will have to do to our children before we are willing to acknowledge the folly of our choices. In the meantime, I will continue to watch, fight, and pray, and try to convince as many of you as I can to liberate your children from Caesar’s indoctrination camps.
I have quoted John Wesley on this issue in previous posts. However, his words are far too pertinent for me to ignore on this issue: “Let it be remembered, that I do not speak to the wild, giddy, thoughtless world, but to those that fear God. I ask, then, for what end do you send you children to school? Why? That they may be fit to live in the world? In which world do you mean, — this or the next? Perhaps you thought of this world only; and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will last forever! Pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes. Otherwise, to send them to [a government] school (permit me to speak plainly) is little better than sending them to the devil. At all events, then, send your boys [and girls], if you have any concern for their souls, not to any of the large public schools, (for they are nurseries of all manner of wickedness,) but private school, kept by some pious man, whoendeavours to instruct a small number of children in religion and learning together.”
I can’t help but wonder if people called Wesley divisive or extremist for making the aforementioned comments. Perhaps not. Perhaps they simply said, “That may be right for you, but it’s not what the Lord told us to do.”
Voddie Baucham is a husband, father, pastor, author, professor, conference speaker and church planter. He currently serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church inSpring, TX. He has served as an adjunct professor at the College of Biblical Studies in Houston, TX, and Union University in Jackson, TN. He has also lectured at Southern Seminary. To contact Pastor Baucham visit his website at www.voddiebacham.org or call toll free 1 (877) TRUTH-58.