I still hold that the most biblical way to educate your children is to homeschool. Unfortunately, not everyone has the resources or training to do this, much less do it well. Christian schools are the next best alternative. Christian schools are not universally excellent, and I would encourage parents to be selective in their due diligence process. Still, God has worked powerfully in and through Christian school since their inception. Christian schools have come a long way since the little red schoolhouse model. A rapidly increasing percentage of Christian schools, while remaining committed to Biblical principles and truth, are committed to providing an excellent education stemming from research-based best practices. The misperception that the academic product offered by the Christian school is somehow cheapened due to its ministry component had some validity in the early days. Now, however, quality Christian schools understand that they must be excellent in everything because Christ is excellent. For these schools, long gone are the days when it was acceptable to sacrifice or compromise the quality of academics, athletics, and/or the arts as long as we were teaching the Bible.
Schools like Cambridge Christian School understand that Jesus is still the most important thing we will teach our students. If our academic offering is perfect, and only high caliber scholars are graduating from our school, but they do not know (or know about) Christ and have no interest in pursuing His will for their lives, we have done them a disservice. That being said, while Jesus is #1, everything else is #1a. Providing knowledge and inspiring thinking in the separate disciplines must be done through a Biblical worldview lens and must be done with excellence. All truth is God’s truth; therefore, scientific facts math proofs are subsets of God’s truth. Our students must be armed with truth to face this world, but the addition of wisdom, knowledge, and critical thinking will make them world engagers, confronters, and changers.
Understanding the identity and direction of Christian schools in America today, what if there were none? If a national mandate came down prohibiting both Christian schools and homeschool, and we were given no choice but to comply, what would be the impact? The 3-legged stool (home, church, and Christian school) that represents Kingdom Education would fall. The training of our children (16,000 hours in K-12) would be delegated in large part to the state. Children from homes that partner with the church and prioritize Christ would face an ongoing battle of contradiction in terms of worldview development. Children from homes that do not partner with the church and do not prioritize Christ would have zero exposure to Christ and truth short of God revealing Himself in a completely different way (which He certainly sometimes does). Outside of those choosing church, the entire nation, specifically, its future leaders, would be trained with a secular worldview.
To what would this lead? I hope it would lead the people to rise up and return to church, but that is not the current direction of our country. This generation is leaving the church and not returning at rates never seen before even with Christian school firmly entrenched (1). Even self-proclaimed Christians hold to a Biblical worldview on the key issues of our day at rates that are abysmally low and dropping (2). Surely, the eradication of Christian schools would not help these trends. If anything, it would accelerate them.
The Christian school must stand as a bastion of truth and uncompromising excellence while it has the freedom to do so. Cambridge Christian School is committed to doing just that. Generally, children spend a third of their lives sleeping, a third awake at home, and a third at school or school-related activities. Some are involved with school life far more than that. This doesn’t account for employment or social time away from the home. In the competition for time with our kids, the school wins. As a parent, I am thankful mine have spent their school years being trained with consistency and excellence on the things that are the most important.
The posed hypothetical of the end of Christian schools may seem a reach to some. Thankfully, we do not expect any such mandate any time soon, but can we, with great confidence, say it could never happen? I can’t. In the meantime, let’s do this right!
- Kinnaman, David, and Aly Hawkins. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church A?’ and Rethinking Faith. Baker Books, 2016.