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Issue and Interchange

Simonds Responds

The argument that it is immoral to educate a child in public schools certainly has the high moral ground of Scripture, when evaluating the immorality children are exposed to in our public schools today.

However, we must be careful to keep our thinking clear and unclouded by our own beautiful Christian prejudices. Public schools are, at present, such an immoral and academically bankrupt system that we would find it difficult to recommend the public schools as a solution to educating our own or our nation's children. I have never recommended that anyone send their children to public schools. However, ninety percent of our church children still go to public schools.

We must clearly differentiate between an immoral school system and an immoral parent. Nothing could be more immoral or academically and politically bankrupt than our college and university system today. However, please observe how many of our Christian college professors and even our pastors have received a good portion of their education in these secular institutions of corruption. Are they all immoral because of it? The truth is, sadly, that you are "distinguished" if your degrees are secular.

Most of our Christian colleges and day schools accept and honor secular degrees over Christian college degrees, sad as that may be. The Christian colleges urge all Christians to send their children to them for a Christian education. But do they only hire professors with Christian college degrees? Hardly. They are almost an exception in some Christian colleges and day schools. So we are not too consistent in our argument for "only" Christian school education.

A hundred years ago education was for the soul and character of a child. George Roche's A World Without Heroes describes the need to educate Christian heroes who rise above their conditions to transcend even selflessness. Those were the days! Today we are struggling to produce literate graduates among our general student population.

Real education, with Scriptural morality, will civilize the "fallen nature" of man's proclivities. It will not save it or transform it. That is quite personal and individual. We must get back to this in the public schools. We can. Almost everyone you talk to wants to return to a fundamentally cohesive value-system based on the Christian (Biblical) ethic. Those controlling the system do not.

Francis Schaeffer and other solid Christian thinkers advocate that Christians infiltrate all areas of our culture and society -- the arts, education, and government. They believe in Christ's gospel of salting the earth and the power of light to dispel darkness. We and our children can do this, together, as God directs.

I'm not saying that Christian schools are a cop-out. I advocate them to all parents. If your children are in public schools, however immoral the system, neither you nor your children are made immoral by going there. You can change them and completely turn them around.

We do not advocate making Christian schools out of our public schools. We do advocate restoring our Western culture of traditional values (Christian) and academic excellence to our public schools. All 44,000,000 K-12 children will be evangelized by this process of morally civilizing the human spirit to a receptive plane of moral consciousness capable of receiving the incredible experience of "faith" -- producing the new birth in Christ Jesus. I call this "Impact Evangelism."

Our public schools are an old world institution relying on a "consensus" of values. That consensus is now lost in the fragmented public arena. The withdrawal of Christian influence has allowed every cult, religion, and philosophy that is foreign to our faith and culture to flood in. Christians have abdicated their mandate to be salt and light. We must not "sacrifice" our children -- we must nurture and train them in our homes, while they receive their formal education.

We have slowly merged into a Christian ghetto mentality. Blacks cry out for all black schools and colleges; gays and feminists want to rewrite the curriculum; Christians want their Christian agenda. In a word -- fragmentation is now a reality.

Can we restore to our public schools this Western culture of Judeo-Christian core values as that base of all positive productive education? The answer is a resounding, Yes! We are doing it. Many of our school districts are now coming closer to our ideal for education. To do less would be aiding in the demise of our Western (Christian) culture. Every Christian parent should be involved in this process -- not only to protect their own children (our number one priority) but to affect our entire society. The same is true for all Biblically based churches. Ironically, the non-Biblically based churches are the ones most involved. May God awaken and unify all evangelicals to "faith" not "fear." We can conquer the forces of evil and save our church children. But we must believe God. "For the wicked shall not rule the godly, lest the godly be forced to do wrong" (Ps. 125:3).

Christians today are condemned enough by the world. Let's not perpetuate the spirit of condemnation to one another by saying that we are immoral to send our children to public schools. Let us say that our public schools are immoral -- not parents (Christian or non-Christian) who send their children there. It is not immoral to send a child to public school, but it may not be the wisest thing to do, if another alternative is available.

We are all "in" the world (society), but we are urged in Scripture to be not "of" the world. Our children must learn that and live it. We must train them in that daily, in our homes, no matter where they go to school.

In summary, let me congratulate my brother colleague for his commitment to Biblical education for all children -- especially all Christian children. It would be more comfortable for me to be debating his side of the issue. But, nothing so important is simple.

My hope is that we Christians will be charitable to each other's views and totally committed to restoring good education to our public schools. It's the largest mission field in the world today. What a great victory it will be to win them back to Christian control (it only takes three out of five school board members to control an entire local system).

For that very large majority of Christians (ninety percent of all Christian families) who have their children in public schools, I would suggest: (1) Home school your children if you feel competent, both parents do not work, and you want the safest method for your children's education; (2) Put your children in a private school if it is available and you can afford it. But monitor everything carefully; (3) Keep your children in a public school, but go over every assignment and textbook, pointing out errors or misleading information. Train them in Christ's way at home and in church. Spend more time than most with your children. Keep your conscience clear! Walk in holiness. In His light may the joy of faith overcome your fears. Pray for every church to open a Christian school, if possible. Pray for God's blessing on all innocent children. Pray that men of God will weep for our fallen nation.

Copyright © by Covenant Community Church of Orange County 1991
1-17-96 tew
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