Topic Article #21: The Education of Christian Children
by Dr. Eugene Clingman, Executive Administrator
Copyright 2006, International Church Council Project
(This article may be freely distributed so long as it is not altered
and the above information remains intact.)
The work of the Church and of every Christian ministry, including the International Church Council Project, will be effective into the next generation only as the good results of our efforts are carried into the future by the next generation. In other words, any progress we make in this generation, that gets God’s will done on earth, as in heaven as much as is possible before Jesus returns, will be established or lost depending to a great extent on the generation that comes after us. We can build and restore, teach and disciple, but only as the next generation has a clear vision of what it means to be Christian, and how Christianity should play out into society as salt and light, only then can the progress we make survive.
May I ask you a question? Would it have been acceptable to the God of Israel for the Jews to take their children to the priests of Baal to be trained and groomed for effectiveness as Jewish adults? What about taking the Israelite children over to the Philistines so the priests of Dagon could train them? Or maybe bus them back to Egypt so they could attend the schools of the Egyptians! To each of these the answer is emphatically, “Of course not!” Yet close to 90% of children who attend evangelical churches in the U.S. attend schools of a faith other than the faith of Christ, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. These schools are overseen primarily by those who teach a worldview just as opposed to Christianity as Dagon worship was to the worship of the God of Israel.
The Southern Baptist Council on Family Life reported to the 2002 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention that 88 percent of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return. Is there anything wrong with this? Is this the plan and purpose of our God who told us he would be God to us AND to our children, if only we would obey him?
Education is inherently religious. Why? Because the subject matter being taught cannot be taught from a neutral point of view, it is always couched in a worldview and worldviews are by nature religious. The quintessential question every worldview answers is this – “Is there a God?” The next question that must be answered is “Who is that God; is it the God of the Bible?”
The government school system in America (AKA public school) emphatically insists that there is no god, and particularly emphatic is the insistence that the God of the Bible does not or could not exist. Sometimes this is done by outright denial of God, other times by subtly ignoring the reality of God who is all around them and who speaks to them in every fact and experience they encounter in the God-created environment in which they live and move and have their being!
The religion of the government school system is humanism; it will allow no other. What is humanism? It is the belief (faith) that there is nothing above man; man is the highest form of intelligence. Humanism believes man will save himself and his world by education, social and economic engineering, and his self-perfecting efforts.
Humanism is religious faith because it holds to the concept of “no God” which is a statement of faith. The worldview in which government school education is couched is the religious faith of Humanism. Moreover Humanism is the religion of fools, for “the fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.”” And the Scriptures assure us that “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). Indeed, 88% demonstrates the harm that is suffered.
The humanist establishment understands the religious nature of the battle and is deliberately using the government schools to destroy Christianity. This comes to light in such statements as this by John Dunphy published in The Humanist Magazine (Jan/Feb 1983): “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their roles as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever they teach, regardless of the educational level – preschool, day care, or large state university.”
When I asked whether it could possibly have been the will of God for the Israelites to send their children to the priests of Dagon for training, did you say, “Of course not!?” I trust that you did. Can’t you also see that sending our children to the religious training compounds of the government schools must surely be just as odious to God who commands us to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? “And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-7). “…so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged” (Deut. 6:2). Can we honestly say we are training our children “diligently,” as God commands, if they spend 30 or so hours a week with the priests of another faith? Is it not presumptuous to hope a few hours of Sunday school, church service, and youth group will repair the damage?
This issue is critical for the future of the Church! Indeed, it is critical for you descendants. Can you say it is not when 88% of evangelical kids are leaving the faith never to return?! The vast majority of Christians have been giving their kids to the priests of another religion, and those priests have done a marvelous job of removing from them a truly Christian worldview.
A burden has been growing upon my heart. As I ponder the ministry of the International Church Council Project, I become increasingly aware that unless we preserve the next generation, the work of restoration we do will likely be lost. Several months ago I suggested to Dr. Jay Grimstead, Director of the International Church Council Project, that we take on another topic. That topic deals with the subject of this article. We anticipate this topic will especially focus on two key areas: 1) the Scripture’s command to train Children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, into a Christian worldview, 2) the fact that civil government has no God-given jurisdiction to indoctrinate or train children. Government does indeed have a God-given jurisdiction, but education of children does not fall within that jurisdiction.
Some of you may now be angry. Many of us have schooled or are schooling our children in the humanist institutions fondly dubbed “public schools.” My prayer is that this might be a trumpet call sounded clearly so that many realize it is time to make a change. A time for confession and repentance, for faith and courage for God to lead us out of the entanglement of a lifestyle in which we have allowed the government schools to train our kids in a humanist worldview. Whether we have done this willingly or in ignorance, it is time for change! Shall we continue to make our children stand in the path of sinners and sit in the seat of scoffers? It is time to change.
We are in good company when we speak of these things. National leaders calling for an exodus from government schools include: E. Ray Moore of www.ExodusMandate.org; Bob Simons of Citizens for Excellence in Education (www.nace-cee.org). And recently Dr. James Dobson said, “In the state of California, if I had a child there, I wouldn’t put that youngster into public schools” (www.family.org).
The Executive Committee is still in the process of deciding whether or not we will add this topic to the effort of the International Church Council Project. Pray that we and you will, by God’s grace, do what he calls us to do in the area of training our children into a Christian/biblical worldview. God’s grace to you.
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Read the official ICCP document The Education of Christian Children