Tuesday, June 22, 2010

They Are Not Yet Missionaries

Education (part 48)

Young children have not yet been taught to think like Christians. We don't send out eight-year-olds to the jungles of Africa to be missionaries, so why do we send them the jungles of government schools to be missionaries? We are arguing geography, not culture. People who can't see the need for Christian education think their five-year-old is ready to be a missionary. Would we send a soldier to do battle without first training him and giving him the weapons to win? "Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits" (1 Cor. 15:33). Preparing our children to be missionaries is exactly what a Christian education is all about.

It matters what our children are taught. We cannot (and should not) keep our children out of the world, but we must keep the world out of our children. Our children are going to be taught from some perspective—it's only a question of which perspective is going to teach them. God has given us (especially fathers) the responsibility for what they are taught. Parents are often far more concerned about the football team, the cheerleaders, and umpteen other things, than they are the question: What are my children being taught and is Christ the center of their universe? You see, there is no possibility of a neutral education: Professor Dennis Johnson describes the root of the problem: 

One might even dare to hope that Christians are recognizing that there is in fact no neutral ground, in education or anywhere else; that nothing can be taught apart from some religious orientation, whether it be Christianity, Hinduism, secular humanism, Marxism, or some other. To be sure, some parents place their children in Christian Schools in the hope of avoiding the world's obvious temptations: drugs, premarital sex and the resulting spread of teen pregnancy and life-threatening disease, violence and other crimes. We must look for a deeper rationale that plunges to the root of the issue. For the superficial fruit that so alarms the observer of the public high school must be traced to its root in a world view that takes man as the measure of all things. The purpose for the Christian school is not to facilitate flight from surface symptoms but to counteract the source of the infection that attacks the educational system, as it does our society generally, from within. [Dennis E. Johnson, Foundations of Christian Education, p. vi.]

1 comment:

  1. I would hasten to add that the purpose of homeschooling is also "not to facilitate flight from surface symptoms." It fails to produce young men and women of valor when the parents internalize that kind of purpose.