Questions about Christian Education
1. What is meant by a philosophy of Christian school education?
As those who shape the next generation, it is our responsibility to inspire children to know and love God. The purpose of a Christian education is to present students the truth about God’s relationship to them personally, to life, the world, and everything in it. Students are shown that the Word of God is the authoritative source upon which to build a life that has both purpose and meaning. The philosophy of Christian education calls for an educational process that puts the Bible at the center of all learning and asks the student and the teacher to evaluate all they see in the world – through the eyes of God. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). In Christian education, students learn to use the Bible to evaluate all of life – including what they learn in the classroom.
2. How can Christian schools be as good as public schools if they don’t have the money and facilities?
Unfortunately, our society has been led to believe that money and facilities will ensure a quality education. Think back to 1983 when “A Nation at Risk” was published. This document reported the results of the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the quality of education in America. The conclusions of that report awakened the nation. American education was in trouble and our nation was at risk.
One of the most interesting conclusions from that report was the lack of correlation between the amount of money spent on education and the quality of education the student received. As a matter of fact, numerous studies continue to show that the quality of education is still declining while the cost of education continues to soar. It is true that most Christian schools do not have the same level of funding as their public school counterparts. As a result, some Christian schools may rent facilities rather than own them. Regardless of the funds available, Christian schools strive to provide the best programs and facilities possible. Christian schools offer a small-group, Christian-based education which is often superior to programs provided by public school institutions – not just in Bible but in all disciplines. According to recent testing data, Christian school students score at least two grade levels higher than the national average. Christian school educators realize that quality is primarily the result of shared values and goals, not money and facilities.
3. Shouldn’t Christian children remain in public school to be a witness?
The idea of sending children to the public school to be a witness for the Lord is never found in the Bible. As a matter of fact, scripture focuses on “nurturing” children “in the Lord.” Sending children to be a witness in a secular society was never practiced in the early history of the Christian church or in the early years after the founding of this country. Christian education trains a child to become an effective, unwavering witness before they are faced with environments and experiences that could possibly weaken their faith.
4. Won’t children be sheltered from the “real world” if they attend Christian schools?
This is an interesting question because it contains two false assumptions. The first false assumption is that children “sheltered” will be weaker, not stronger, Christians. The purpose of a greenhouse is to nurture seedling fruit-bearing plants during the cold winter months. Plants in the greenhouse grow rapidly and become much stronger than those that have to brave the elements outside in the winter storms. When the spring comes, these “hothouse” plants will be stronger and ready to face the outside world.
Dr. Mark Fakkema wrote, “We do not put young plants in hothouses to make them weak. We put them there because they are weak – too weak for outdoor exposure. To train our children in Christian homes and then to expose them to non-Christian training in a secular school is as nonsensical as to keep a houseplant in the proper temperature in the house for part of the time and then to expose it to freezing temperatures outside the house for the rest of the time.”
Noted Christian psychologist, Dr. Clyde Narramore, said, “A tree that is planted in poor soil doesn’t have the advantages that one planted in the good earth has. Contrary to some beliefs, we do not grow through resistance. Growth comes as a result of good food and care.” Sheltering is not only good for children, it is our responsibility as parents.
The second false assumption is that students who are not in the secular school are not in the “real world.” Dr. Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, noted, “The ‘real world’ is where God is. God was expelled from the public school years ago. It is the children in the public school who are not exposed to the ‘real world’ because they are not taught about God, the One who created this world and all that is in it.”
5. How can I be assured that the religious training in the Christian school is compatible with what I believe?
For the most part, Christian schools are not parochial schools. In other words, their intent is not to promote one church denomination over another. Typically, Christian school students come from many local churches and denominations. What they share is a common belief in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. For example, a Christian school statement of faith would acknowledge the absolute authority of the Word of God and the personal need of salvation that only comes by trusting in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian schools are not churches; they are educational institutions. But, they are educational institutions that have been established upon the principles of God’s word. The local Christian school is a place where believers can set aside denominational differences to experience God’s blessing through their children.
6. What are the right reasons for enrolling a child in a Christian school?
Many parents enroll their children in Christian schools because of the high academic standards or to provide them with a safe and secure environment. While these are important issues, they should not be the primary reasons for sending children to a Christian school.
A Child should be enrolled in a Christian school . . .
. . . in order to understand the centrality of the Bible and its importance in their lives.
. . . in order to be taught by the role model of Christian educators.
. . . in order to be in an environment that supports the Biblical values of the home and church.
. . . in order to receive an education that not only prepares the student to make a living but to live a
life that is pleasing to God.
. . . in order to strengthen their faith and their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.