Our old pastor, a great guy, once gave a sermon on what he called the two great demonic ideas of today’s society: moral relativism, and atheistic evolution. Before this sermon, the pastor and my dad had a discussion about public education. They agreed that they didn’t like what was being presented to influential children in public schools, but our pastor didn’t want to talk about it at the pulpit for fear of offending church members with kids in public schools. When Dad heard our pastor’s two demonic ideas, he grabbed a bulletin and wrote in the comments section “What other demonic ideas should we expose our children two for eight hours a day?” Moral relativism is the most blaring self-contradiction I’ve ever seen. Yet many public educators believe this notion unquestioningly.
I’ve actually hear Christians argue that sending your child to a private Christian school like Concordia, or my high school Lincoln Christian, is not the best thing to do. They cite these reasons: your child’s faith won’t be tested in a Christian school and your child can be a witness for Christ in a public school. Here are my thoughts: how can someone defend their beliefs if they don’t even know what they believe? Grade school kids don’t think about the paradoxes of Christianity; they have a simple, childish faith (which is great). How can we expect them to fend off the one-sided arguments of rabidly liberal, but intelligent adults? Second, you can be a witness to Christ anywhere you are. When I’m a father, I’m not going to send my five-year-old to deepest darkest Africa, which is full of lions and strange diseases, to be a witness. My kid can do a great witnessing to people right here in America. Similarly, I’m not going to send an impressionable kid to a public school, which is full of spiritual diseases, and where the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). Not everyone in Christian schools are Christians; my kid can be a witness for Christ there.
Now, let me just clarify this: I don’t want to diminish the good work of Christian public school teachers (we need as many of them as we can get). It’s also great that God can use kids in public schools to be a witness. I know that some people simply can’t afford private education (we need school choice!). Let me clarify where I’m coming from by sharing another story about my dad (by now, you can probably tell he’s one of my spiritual heroes). When my dad was asked to teach a Sunday school class to help parents who had questions about this issue. He asked the parents there to raise their hand if they wanted their child educated in a way which reflects the mind of Christ. Of course, every parent raised their hand. Next, he asked if anyone thought that the public education system reflects the mind of Christ. No hands were raised. Dad did his best Columbo impression and said, “Well, I’m confused. You asked me to help you decide if you should be sending your child to public school, but you all seem to know the answer.”