What About Christian Schools?
As a father who has increasingly come to believe that home education is the
best method of raising children, I am very interested in the reasoning of
those who support public schooling or private Christian education.
Recently I saw a book called The Christian School , by Noel Weeks, and I
bought it in order to find out the biblical basis for sending children to
Christian schools. What I found was some great reasons for home education!
In his first chapter, entitled "Why Schooling?", the author raises the question of the basis for Christian schools. He begins with this statement:
"Part of the problem is that the Bible does not mention schools. Hence Christians have a tendency to accept what is believed and practiced in the
society around them." This is true.
He continues: "In both the Old Testament and the New Testament the responsibility for the training of children is placed upon the parents."
Support is offered from Deut.6:4-7 and Eph.6:4, and additional Scripture is presented to demonstrate the nature of the training parents
are supposed to give their children. Among other things, it is to be "comprehensive in its scope," meaning that it must be carried on "all the
time. There is no part of the day's activities upon which the truth of God
does not impinge."
What about the role of the church in education? The author acknowledges the
church's educational role since the children are part of the congregation,
but he again affirms, "Whenever Scripture singles out people as responsible for
the training of children it places that responsibility upon the parents."
Again, "...when both Testaments deal specifically with the training of
children, then they give the parents that task."
In a section with the heading "The Bible and Schools" Mr. Weeks discusses
various arguments that are sometimes heard as to whether there were schools
in biblical times and how that may impinge on God's direction for us today.
The bottom line, he concludes, is that we cannot use the possible existence of
something the Bible does not even mention to put aside what the Bible clearly
sets before us. "Hence we have to try to work out the implications of what
we actually find in Scripture."
This brings him to consider home education. "Obviously those who argue that
parents should educate their own children are trying to take seriously the
biblical teaching." He even sets aside the arguments of those who do not
believe parents can do the job. "We must not use our supposed incompetence
or lack of time as an excuse for disobedience to a biblical command. If we
have problems and difficulties in obeying the commandment, then we should seek
ways to overcome them. Our responsibilities as parents cannot be simply brushed
He even dismisses the broad assertion of some that parents are simply not
competent to teach in a day of expanding knowledge. Rather, he writes, "Some
educators have built a mystique around education to justify their own employment to train teachers." His conclusion: "...then we would say that
most parents could teach their children. They may have to do a little study
themselves but they could do it."
By now as I read this I am asking myself: What basis then is there for promoting schooling instead of home education? He has, in effect, proven an
able apologist for homeschooling. So I read on. As to the obstacles to home education:
The greater problem is time. This problem particularly concerns fathers.
For while Scripture does refer to the role of both parents in training the
child (Prov. 1:8) there is a definite tendency to place particular responsibility
on the father (e.g. Eph. 6:4). We might wish for Eph. 6:4). We might wish for
a return to a situation in which small farming or cottage industry gave men
time to be with their families while working and considerable flexibility in
their hours of work. Though it may seem like an impossible dream, we as Christians
need to think and work towards a work style that is more conducive to
However, in the interim, we must find a way of reconciling our need to work
to support our families and our need to train our children comprehensively in
the ways of the Lord. Mothers can fill some of that gap but they will not fill
all of it.
When we as Christians have difficulty meeting our responsibilities we
naturally turn to our fellow believers for help. This is the point at which he introduces the need for Christian schools.
They are a means of parents helping each other to fulfill their responsibilities,
though he admits that "most Christian schools do not meet this ideal. There
is a strong tendency for them to ape the state schools in which the parents
effectively hand over the children to the 'expert' teacher and have no say
or role in education."
Did you follow the reasoning? Fathers are busy supporting the family, and
mothers cannot do the job by themselves, so we need Christian schools, even
though most of them reinforce the tendency of parents to abdicate their responsibilities.
But all his own arguments, including his final appeal for working toward
patterns that are more conducive to family life, should lead to another conclusion: we should make whatever sacrifice necessary to do what God has
called us as parents to do. We cannot just "brush aside" the responsibility
Scripture gives us. Again, "If we have problems and difficulties in obeying
the commandment, then we should seek ways to overcome them." We cannot allow a
"lack of time as an excuse for disobedience to a biblical command."
Christian schools are a commendable alternative to the degenerate state schools, but they are not (even according to this advocate of them) what
God wants. Fathers should seek to creatively overcome whatever impediments keep them
from training their own children! God's ordained educational institution is the
got the pencil, the darling schoolhouse, and
teacher at the chalkboard at:
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