08 August 2011

Should Christian Parents Send their Children to Public School as Salt & Light?

When I talk with Christian parents about providing their children with a thoroughly Christ-centered education, one of their main objections is that they believe they should send their children to public school to be "salt and light" in the darkness. In other words, one of the most frequently heard arguments for sending Christian children into the darkness of government schools is that we should try to save the lost in those schools by sending our precious young children there as little evangelists. Does this argument sound familiar?

Here is my reply after an in-depth study of the issue using the Biblical, theological, historical, and educational evidence that is available to anyone who has ears to hear.

The "salt & light" command (and the "Great Commission") were given by Jesus to His trained and adult disciples, not to young children. This is a common misunderstanding in the church today. As an example of the fallacy of this kind of thinking, you'll never find a Christian family sending their 8-year-old son off to Africa to be a missionary to evangelize the lost. Missionaries who are sent to foreign lands are mature disciples and adults, who have been trained theologically in ministering the Gospel and fighting spiritual warfare, who have been trained in the foundations of the faith and in apologetics, etc.

Another problem is that when Christian parents send their young children into the humanist religion government schools, what actually happens is that most of them (85%) have their salt removed by the world (via teachers & peers & curriculum indoctrination) and most of them have their light extinguished. This has been documented by the Southern Baptist Convention's Council on Family Life, by Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, by George Barna's Research Group, and by many others. When the church tries to apply the "salt and light" argument to putting their children in government schools, the world ends up converting the Christian children and conforming them to the world, not the other way around. And yet God's Word says, "Do not be conformed to this world..."  It simply does not work and is not only counter-productive but actually destructive to Christian children and their families. Sure, there's the admirable exception here and there, but the vast majority of these kids actually lose their faith because they are not adequately trained and grounded in their faith before being sent out into the darkness to be light.

I, for one, am not calling for anyone to pull up stakes and head for the hills. I am all for engaging the culture, challenging the culture, and transforming it through Christ & the Gospel of the Kingdom. We are truly called to be a city set on a hill and a light in the darkness, but the city is not a small untrained and unprepared child - it is the "called out ones" of the church who are gathered together as mature disciples of Jesus and who know how to give an answer for the hope that is within them. It is the collection of Christian families that make up the local church.

As parents, our primary purpose is to train up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, to teach them the commandments of God (see Deut 6), to teach them our spiritual history and the great wonders of God, to disciple them and educate them for God, AND to protect them from the wiles of the enemy and the world that would seek to destroy them and turn them away from God. We protect them while we disciple them and while they mature in their faith and in holy character. Eventually, we they are grown up and mature, we release them as arrows that shoot into the future and God goes with them and makes them His salt and light. However, it is unwise and unBiblical and contrary to the teaching of Jesus and the apostles to send these precious little ones out into the hostile world prematurely, untrained, immature, and not prepared to overcome it by the blood of Jesus and the word of their testimony and by laying their lives down for their King.

I'm in no way "condemning" a lost world or saying that we shouldn't seek to save the lost. As grown disciples of Jesus, yes, of course we should and I do. This is one of our primary purposes. As we raise our kids "in the Lord," we can model this to our children in the safety of our family and home and church as we reach out to the lost. However, this does not mean we are to send them out into the enemy's camp as young children by putting them in government schools where their faith will be assaulted for 13 years and where they will be indoctrinated by and into a new religion - the religion of secular humanism. No, that is not God's purpose or plan for our children.

Nowhere in Scripture does he command parents to do anything so unwise. Instead, everywhere in Scripture He commands parents to teach their own children and train and raise them in the fear of the Lord, at home in the safety of their own families, with assistance from the church. Institutionalizing our children in state education is the most dangerous, unwise, and destructive thing any Christian parent can do, and it plays right into the hands of the humanists and their goal of destroying our children's faith and their parent's authority in their lives and replacing it with the new religion of secular humanism, post-modernism, moral relativism, and evolutionary Darwinism, so that they will become good submissive "dumbed down" socialized citizens who will worship the State as their "god" and look to the State to parent them and to provide them with everything they need. This leads to idolatry, Statism, and socialism, and the complete loss of freedom, independence, and educational freedom.

I pray that you would consider the points I have raised as you think through your philosophy on these things. These are not just my thoughts on the subject. I am sharing what I have learned over the past 3 years of intense research into Christian education and the history of modern education in America. There are many other Christians, including some well-known Christian pastors and leaders, who have done their own research and have come to the same convictions and conclusions. These include: Samuel Blumenfeld, Voddie Baucham, Erwin Lutzer, E. Ray Moore, R.C. Sproul, Jr., Doug Phillips, Herb Titus, Geoff Botkin, Gary North, Kevin Swanson, Stephen McDowell, Bruce Shortt, David d'Escoto, Israel Wayne, Bradley Heath, T.C. Pinkney, R.J. Rushdoony, If you are interested in the titles of a few excellent books on the subject, I would be happy to send them to you. For those who have "ears to hear," there is a vast amount of Biblical, theological, historical, and educational evidence that supports what I have shared.

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  1. Thank you for this. We are homeschoolers and have been discouraged from seeking religious exemption in our state. This just cemented why we do not want our children in public schools. God bless!!

  2. Thank you for such a great article. I too have educated my children at home for many, many years now (my oldest is 31 down to youngest at 13). Protecting my children from the violence and ungodliness was just a couple of the reasons I brought them all home. A huge one was that I just loved them so much and missed them terribly while they were away! lol I will be sharing this article with others. Thanks.

  3. We just pulled our kids from a Christian school and couldn't be more pleased. It has given my kids a chance to put their faith into action.
    Sadly the comment my daughter who is in junior high made after the first day was that the kids are so much nicer at this school compared to the christian school.
    I was a christian school kid and loved it, but I don't think its the only way to go.

  4. Dear Anonymous parent,
    Thank you for your comments about your kids' experience. Unfortunately, there are a lot of not very Christian "Christian" schools out there that are not very different from the public schools. As a parent, it's up to us to wisely choose only a high-quality Christ-centered school with a godly atmosphere & godly teachers. I would encourage you to find such a school or to begin homeschooling them yourself, both of which choices are a thousand times better than handing them over to a godless humanist government school system. Please don't make that mistake because your children will pay a price that will be too high & affect not only them, but their children and grandchildren. Your children don't need to be in a public school to put their faith into action. Through your family, you can lead them into putting their faith into action in many ways such as hospitality, evangelism outreaches, mission trips, ministry volunteering, etc. Their childhood is a time to teach and train them, to form God's character in them, to discipline & form them - not to throw them out into the world and hope they swim. After they've been trained correctly, they will be like their teacher (you), and they will then be prepared and ready to go out into the world as salt and light.


I would love to hear your comments. Please share your thoughts with me in a respectful manner. Thanks:)