We have been examining education in light of Scripture. We found previously that the Bible instructs parents to instruct/educate their own children in the way of the Lord (e.g. Ephesians 6:4). Some delegation is allowed as long as the educator is instructing the child in a thoroughly biblical worldview. Therefore, Christian schools are an option (if they are Christian indeed in their curriculum). Although many Christians think that public schools are neutral, we found that this is certainly not the case and is impossible according to the Bible (Matthew 12:30). Education, by its very nature, cannot be neutral. It will either be for Christ or against Christ.
Public schools in the United States are currently required to teach a curriculum that is anti-biblical and atheistic in nature. The curriculum was designed by secular humanists to inculcate a secular worldview into students as slaves of the state. That system has reduced teachers to facilitators of a secular curriculum that trains students to think that God either doesn’t exist or is irrelevant to everything (even though many teachers do not share that conviction). Since Jesus taught that students will become like their teacher, and the secular curriculum is the real teacher, children placed in secular schools will generally become secular adults. The statistics confirm that 90% of children from Christian homes placed in public schools will graduate with a secular worldview. The majority will not be attending church when they are in their 20s.
In the last article, we looked at two objections in which Christians defend placing their children in a secular school, and we found that these did not stand up to scrutiny. In this article we will examine practical objections that many Christians raise as to why they think government schooling is acceptable or even better for their children than homeschooling or Christian education.
“But so-and-so went through the public school system, and they are still Christians. So it can’t be that bad.” Or alternatively, “But so-and-so were homeschooled, and they no longer profess Christ.” Students of logic will recognize these as sweeping generalization fallacies: the failure to recognize that many generalizations have exceptions. We already established that Proverbs 22:6, like all proverbs, explains what typically happens. Generally, children will not depart from the curriculum/worldview in which they were brought up. But there are exceptions. Some children will be trained in an anti-Christian environment, and God will save them anyway. God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy (Romans 9:15).
In fact, about 10% of Christian children in public schools will maintain some semblance of a Christian worldview when they graduate. But, of course, 90% will not. Every Christian parent thinks that his or her children will be in that 10% bracket. But 90% of them are wrong. And for some reason, they are always surprised: “We sent our children to be educated in a secular school system. Why did they walk away from Christianity?”
Moreover, just because 1 in 10 children maintain some resistance to secularism and continue to profess Christianity does not mean that no damage has been done. They have received fourteen thousand hours of secular indoctrination. That does have an effect. It may not always lead to apostasy (although it usually does). Being trained to think in a secular way for 12-13 consecutive years (during childhood when the mind is most malleable) makes it very hard as an adult to retrain your mind in the way of the Lord and to take captive every thought into obedience to Him (2 Corinthians 10:5). Sin always produces damage. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Fortunately, God can use damaged people to accomplish good things. He is sovereign. He can heal. He can take adults who have been thoroughly propagandized into secular humanism and transform them into effective Christians. But how much better would it have been for such persons to have been trained to think rightly from their childhood?! Imagine parents who gouged out their child’s eyes and then begged the Lord to restore the child’s vision. Wouldn’t that be absurd? Likewise, would it be proper to give a child to a secular system to be trained as a secular humanist and then pray for the Lord to undo that damage?
I do not know the statistic for the percentage of students homeschooled in a Christian family who graduate with saving faith in Christ and a biblical worldview. But from my experience meeting and talking with thousands of Christians in my travels, I would estimate it is at least 95% if not higher. The existence of counterexamples does not disprove the general trend. Generally, students who are raised in a Christian curriculum will graduate as Christians; generally, students who are raised in a secular curriculum will graduate as secularists. The statistics overwhelmingly confirm this. Jesus was correct when he said that the pupil will eventually become like his teacher (Luke 6:40).
Some parents will say, “I am not qualified to teach my own children. So, I need to send them to a public school where they will be taught by people far more knowledgeable than I am.” Ironically, the reason many people feel that they cannot educate others is because they went through a public school system that failed to educate them effectively. So, is the solution to send their children into the same system that failed to give them a good education? How would that make any sense?
First, in general, parents are indeed qualified to teach their children. That is why God expects them to do it (e.g. Ephesians 6:4). God would not command people to do something impossible for which He has not designed and prepared them (1 John 5:3). In some cases, the parents may have to study a bit to bring themselves up to speed in a weak area. Often one parent is better educated in a particular subject than the other parent, and vice versa. So, keep in mind that parents share this responsibility. And remember that people at church and homeschool co-ops may provide additional teaching support from a Christian perspective.
“But my children surely will not get as good an education from me as they would at a public school. Right?” Actually, the statistics overwhelmingly confirm that homeschool students perform better on standardized tests than public school students by 15 to 30 percentile points! That’s an amazing difference. Many research studies confirm that homeschool students perform better than public school students particularly in reading, math, and language. What about those parents who never graduated from high school? The studies show that their homeschooled children also do better on average than public school students. God knew what He was doing when He called parents to teach their children.
Second, Christian school is certainly an option as long as the curriculum is truly Bible-based and God-honoring. In most situations, this may not be as ideal as homeschooling. But there could be some situations where a Christian school is actually the better option. Parents who have immigrated and do not speak English well might prefer that their children learn from those who are fluent. If one or both parents have a severe learning disability such as dyslexia, a Christian school for their children might be the best option.
Some people might respond, “That’s fine for us, but I know a family that should never homeschool because both parents (although both are Christian) are horribly uneducated. Government school would be better.” I have actually heard that argument from professing Christians. But it is not biblical. We are not to give children who bear God’s image to Caesar (the government) to be trained as secular humanists (Matthew 22:17-21). Ever. Perhaps such children would learn the mechanics of reading and mathematics better from a secular school than from their parents. But what good is that if they reject Christ as Savior and Lord? We need to carefully examine our priorities from time to time. Furthermore, a Christian school would certainly be a good option for such a situation. In any case, the worst education from a biblical perspective is better than the best education from a secular humanistic perspective. It is better to know a little truth than to be an expert in error.
Time and Money
“But I don’t have the time to homeschool, nor the money to send my children to a private Christian school.” There are some situations where both parents are employed outside the home for 40+ hours a week. That would indeed make homeschooling nearly impossible. Two questions are worth asking: (1) Is it absolutely necessary for both parents to be employed 40 hours a week outside the home? (2) Is there a good Christian school in the area?
To the first question, it may be helpful to assess how much income is really necessary. Those of us educated in a secular school are taught to seek the American dream: financial prosperity. We want to live comfortably with material wealth. And while there is nothing wrong with having nice things, is it appropriate to sacrifice a child’s biblical education in order to have those things? When their children become adults and walk away from the church, parents who sacrificed their children’s biblical education in order to have more possessions and material comforts might wish that they had made a different choice (Mark 8:37).
To the second question, if both parents are employed full-time outside the home, the best use of this extra income would be to send their children to a Christian school with a biblical curriculum. If they genuinely cannot afford this, it would be proper to ask the church or extended family for financial help. This is particularly the case for single parents who must work a full-time job in order to provide for their children. Such individuals should ask their local church for financial or other assistance, and the church should provide. Family should also provide support when possible. This is appropriate and biblical (James 1:27, 2:15-16; 1 Timothy 5:8, 16; Deuteronomy 14:29).
“But the government has already taken some of my money through taxation to provide education. It is not fair that I then have to pay someone else to educate my child from a Christian perspective.” I agree. It is sinful for the government to tax citizens for the purpose of educating their children. Those who enact or continue to support such policies will have to answer to God. But that doesn’t mean that we should sin too by sending children to be trained by a secular state. After all, the United States government also uses tax dollars to support abortion in organizations like Planned Parenthood. Should we encourage people to go ahead and have abortions since, “Hey, you’ve already paid for it?”
“How will my child be able to participate in sports if I homeschool?” First of all, this doesn’t seem like a serious objection at all. I recall in my youth often meeting up with my church friends of similar age and energy levels. And when we had nice weather, we would often go outside and play touch football, kickball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, or ultimate frisbee. Why would we need a classroom setting for that?
Second, we might assess how important sports really are in life. Like any good thing, sports can be elevated to the level of an idol. If it is more important for a parent to have a child participate in sports than to be trained in the instruction of the Lord, some re-evaluation of priorities is in order. The same can be said for any activity or hobby that people enjoy. Is it worth sacrificing a biblical worldview?
Children do need physical activity. But there are many ways to provide this that do not require them to be part of a formal, institutional sporting event. Physical activity has health benefits, but only in this world. Training in righteousness benefits us both in this present world and for all eternity. As the Apostle Paul explains, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8 NKJV)
Hey, Free Babysitting!
Perhaps the most common reason why people give their children to the state to be trained up as secularists is because it is simply much easier. It’s been the “norm” in American culture for nearly a century. It is free (or rather, you’ve already paid for it via compulsory taxes). And it is very convenient. Why not let someone else babysit your kids for free, and spend that time doing what you want to do? Let’s be honest. Educating children is hard work! It’s just easier to let someone else do it.
Many Christians want the blessings of children, but are unwilling to take responsibility to train them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Essentially, Satan says, “Not a problem. Give them to me. I’ll do it for you!” And make no mistake; the curriculum in government schools in the United States is grounded in secular humanism. It opposes the authority of God by training students to ignore Him in all aspects of life. And then we wonder why 9 out of 10 students from Christian homes graduate with a secular worldview. They became like their teacher – the curriculum – just as Jesus said they would (Luke 6:40).
“I am as sure as I am about Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separate from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of antisocial nihilistic ethics individual, social and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.” A.A. Hodge,
Priorities matter. I submit that any possible objection to following the clear teaching of Scripture is always due to misplaced priorities. We know from Scripture and from experience that students trained to think as secular humanists in government schools will tend to graduate with a secular humanistic worldview that denies the sovereignty of God in all areas. Whatever reason people have for giving up their child to the state, it is always because something else is more important to them than training their child to think and behave in a way pleasing to God. How could that not be the case? If we want to see the people of this nation (and others) repent of sin and turn to Christ, we must break the cycle of sin. We cannot expect God’s blessings if we fail to heed His instructions to train up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The way children are educated today will determine the world we live in tomorrow. Fortunately, many Christians are beginning to recognize this and are pulling their kids out of secular schools and training them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
 I speak from experience. Although I graduated from a public school as a Christian, my thinking about the world was mostly secular. I did not have a truly biblical worldview. I had only islands of biblical light in an otherwise overcast mind. I have spent that last ~30 years attempting to unlearn worldly thinking, and replace it with a truly Christian perspective on all issues.
 Some may say, “What an absurd analogy! Gouging out a child’s eyes is inhumane! Allowing them to be trained in a secular system is not nearly as bad.” Isn’t it? I put it to you: is it better to have a blind child who loves the Lord, or a sighted child who doesn’t care about God? To see how Jesus answers this, consider Matthew 18:9 and Mark 9:47.
 Ray, B., A systematic review of the empirical research on selected aspects of homeschooling as a school choice, Journal of School Choice, 2017, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 604-621
https://doi.org/10.1080/15582159.2017.1395638 <<accessed 3/2/2022>>
 This is an example of the unbiblical practice of giving to Caesar that which belongs to God (Luke 20:25). God has not authorized the government to be responsible for the education of children. Therefore, money extracted by the state for this purpose is outright theft.
 Hodge, A.A., Evangelical Theology
 Interestingly, A.A. Hodge was not against government education as long as that education was distinctly Christian.