Education That is Christian

And all thy children shall be taught of Jehovah; and great shall be the peace of thy children. –Isaiah 54:13

September brings the days that are commonly known as “back-to-school days.” Travel and summer vacations have ended for most families and schoolwork and homework will take their demanding and dominant place. Public and private, parochial and parentally-controlled schools will open their doors. In the large majority of schools students will again be presented with a wholesale range of ideas, cafeteria style, and all under the guise of freedom. Education has not been immune to society’s problem, namely, it is glutted with its own secularism.

However, as far back as 1956 an article appeared in The Banner which contained the solemn warning that we cannot assume that we have Christian education merely because we have  Christian schools. That warning of over 20 years ago may have seemed premature at the time and gone largely, if not totally, unheeded. Especially so when the respected National Union of Christian  Schools reprints without comment the text of an address given at the close of the 1976 NUCS-ACSA Convention last August, 1976. The speaker expressed the opinion that “there are a lot of people in our churches for whom new is bad, change is automatically suspect, and the old is always better.” I undoubtedly belong to that large “lot of people in our churches,” especially so when it is declared that taking a new look at Scripture we must admit that “I was wrong” particularly in the two areas of study mentioned, namely, women in the church and creation, etc. A careful reading of “Our Commitment” in the March, 1977 Christian Home and School magazine is urged upon all readers of THE OUTLOOK.

Therefore, as school doors open again, and particularly the doors of our Covenantal schools, we turn to the Word of God for its wisdom and direction. Isaiah, the prophet 700 years before Christ, looking specifically to the members of the Covenant, and knowing that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom,” bids them have their children “taught of the Lord.” For each of us, whether parents or grandparents or the community of the faithful, that spells does it not a very SPECIAL PRIVILEGE? Christian education conceived as a “Communion of the saints” experience in the establishment, maintenance, and furtherance prayerfully and financially, becomes a privilege of working harmoniously together as Covenant homes, schools, and churches, etc. For we are working in the training of our children not as isolated family units but as a community of believers in the training of HIS children! In reality the boys and the girls growing up among us really do NOT belong to us, do they? God help us that we never get beyond that viewpoint of our children which was heed by Jacob on that day when he met his estranged brother. Esau asked Jacob, “Whose are the children with thee? And Jacob answered, these are the children whom God has given your servant.” In short, they are Godgiven trusts held by us for a very brief time, one day to be returned to Him, and woe be to us if we misuse our sacred privilege.

For that privilege many will have to sacrifice. Financially, for some there will be no sacrifice but for the majority it may mean driving the already old car an additional year or more. For others it may mean wearing last year’s suit, dress, coat, etc. For still others it may mean no trips or expensive vacations and for others mother‘s working. Are we willing to make the sacrifices necessary? When we may be tempted to complain that the sacrifice is greater than the privilege, and the burden too heavy to be borne, may the Lord God remind us that:

the Christian school is the ONLY school (particularly in the U.S.A.) that can teach the “fear of God” to all students without fear of breaking the law of the land;

the only school that can teach “Creationism” versus the evolutionary hypothesis so rampant in our day;

– the only school that can teach the providence of God versus the chance philosophy of our day;

– the only school that can teach Christ at Christmas, gratitude at Thanksgiving, Christ during Lent and Easter instead of bunnies and colored eggs, etc;

the only school that can teach that 2+2=4 because we live in a world of perfect order and mathematical certainty because God created it so!

To the privilege a GREAT PROMISE is appended: “And great shall be the peace of thy children.” What a promise! It needs no explanation, does it? But that promise is worth everything because the sovereignty of our faithful Covenant God stands eternally behind it.

As another school year begins, may the Lord God bless every school, parent, student, and congregation as we work harmoniously together in the education of His children.

Garrett H. Stoutmeyer is pastor of the Faith Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan.