Challies on educational methods

The enemies of God see clearly that education is a means to an end. It is not neutral. Throughout history, they have unabashedly used educational systems in their attempts to steal the hearts of the next generation.

When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side, I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already…What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community…
…This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”
Adolph Hitler

Tim Challies has posted a lengthy article graciously rebutting my own answer to why we homeschool. Although he broadly denied the applicability of Deuteronomy 6 and seems to doubt the godless foundations of the modern public school system, he said little of what he actually believed about either point.

I’ll be composing an answering post, but in the meantime don’t miss the lively discussion over there.

I have to confess that I’m at a bit of a loss as I try to understand how Mr. Challies and many other Christian parents can reconcile their opinion of the public school system with their choice to send little ones into it.
On the one hand, they openly admit that the system is indeed teaching children a different worldview, one that goes against what Christians strive to teach their children, a worldview that careful Christian parents must actively guard against and unteach their children.
They may even praise the particular school that their own children attend and the Christian teachers in the school. They assure us that this school is better than most. And some parents provide an extra layer of protection by volunteering at the school to keep an eye on what they are being taught so they will be aware of issues that need to be addressed from a better perspective.
I love comment #55 from Mr. Challies’s post:

The only Christian kids who I have seen maintain their witness are those who had parents agressively discussing with them, interacting with them, and who remained very involved in their childrens lives throughout their public schooling. In many cases, this would be much more work than placing your kid in a Christian school or homeschooling them. It’s like receiving little bits of venom, so you can build up an immunity. You are definitely protected against it but you could always just carry the antivenom with you and forgo all the painful steps of building that immunity.

Even if he and others deny the roots of the system, we do seem to agree on the nature of it today.
So tell me again, how can we say that we are doing our utmost to fulfill God’s charges to raise our children in the training and admonion of the Lord (Eph 6:4), train them up in the way they should go (Pr. 22:6), teach them His words (Deut 6:7), not cause them to stumble (Matt 18:6), and so on…how can we send them into that system and say we’re doing our best?

I ask this in all honesty: Knowing that the system as a whole works in opposition to a Christian worldview, how can a Christian parent believe, based upon Scripture, that public schools are an obedient option, let along The Best Way to train up their children?


  1. Hercules Mulligan says:

    In one of these comments, someone criticized Kim C.’s post by saying that she was judging others by presenting such insurmountable barriers against lame excuses for relying on public schools to raise and “educate” Christians’ children. The Romans passage was atrociously misused in this case. Are not you, who criticize, “judging” the author of this post? Furthermore, was Jesus sinning when he called the Pharisees (of all people) hypocrites and vipers? Was Paul ripping apart the “unity of the body of Christ” when he stiffly rebuked the Corinthian Christians for their lethargy and lack of Godly fear? Were the Old-Testament prophets not being “positive and encouraging” when they foretold of God’s judgment upon Israel?
    Why is it that we Christians take cigarette-smoking as a sin for granted, but get all offended when someone presents GOD’S (not man’s) instructions as far as something as basic and yet as important as education? If we really loved God and wanted to be in unity as the body of Christ, then we would lay aside our own selfish prejudices, lay down our lives, and become more involved in the educational process. If iron is to sharpen iron, it is not always going to feel good at first.
    BTW, if you consider yourself are a soldier in the “Culture War,” then I might add that taking away the power of the education of your children from the public school system is the best way to fight and win the war. 🙂

  2. I agree whole heartedly that Christian parents are commanded by God not to send their kids to a humanistic government school.

    Jeremiah 10:2a “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen”

    Does it get more clear than that?

    Here’s where I discussed the same topic on my blog back in April:

    I don’t know how to link it, so you’ll have to copy and paste.


  3. Homeschool and Etc. Blog says:

    Thanks Kim! My obedience isn’t always sweet though LOL! PS. about the bag of chocolates… I think the BAG condensed making it look like the AIR expanded. They should be fine!

  4. Mrs. C,
    Thank you for your comment. Let me make something clear to you: I don’t flag down professing Christians and tell them that if their children are in public school they are in sin. As homeschoolers, we are nearly always on the receiving end of school inquisitions. So this discussion is usually in the context of “Why don’t you send your children to school? What’s wrong with public schools?”
    We don’t stand in judgment and superiority over our Christian brothers (though they may feel that way because we sincerely believe we are right and they are wrong). Rather, we do our best to encourage public school proponents to think outside the box, to examine the issue and their own choices scripturally, and to realize that there are viable alternatives.

    Our prayers are with you and other wives whose husbands don’t yet have a problem with public schools. God will bless your sweet obedience in the meantime and maybe your husband’s convictions will change as he grows. And, as with Joseph, Daniel, and his friends, be assured that God uses all things for good.

  5. Homeschool and Etc. Blog says:

    I’ve been thinking a long time about whether to respond. I have been praying for the right words to give you as well.

    I do see where you’re coming from, Kim. I oftentimes feel the same way myself. It is difficult b/c dh does not “see” things as I see them, and several of my children are still in public school. It is very difficult for me to send them out the door.

    But then I need to remember that dh is a much younger Christian than I am. When I first became a Christian I had NO IDEA that Halloween was wrong. It simply hadn’t occurred to me. It took some patient explanation from an older Christian about why she didn’t do that in her house to plant that seed in me. I looked up those ideas for myself and reached the same conclusion. I’m sure though that if she were to express revulsion at my taking my child trick-or-treating I’d have had a different reaction though.

    I also didn’t see the spiritual side of homeschooling until relatively recently. Please pray for those of us who still have children in the public schools. Your prayers and the support of new homeschoolers, I believe, will really change things. The passion for the cause is already there.

    It is very, very difficult to submit to my husband on this issue to begin with, without the support and caring from fellow Christians.

    Holly, your words were a great encouragement to me. Thank you.

    Mrs. C

Don't just think it: say it!

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