Should Christians in America still be involved with the public schools? Absolutely. We are called to be salt and light in dark places. The public school system needs Christian teachers and administrators to model Christ-likeness and share the gospel. But should Christians send their students to the public schools?
Absolutely not—but not for the reasons you think. Some Christian parents eschew the public schools to protect their children from the immorality that can be rampant there; but steps can be taken to mitigate against most of that immorality. Some Christian parents want to “protect” their children from “dangerous” ideas like evolution; but a robust Christian faith can wrestle with entrenched unbiblical ideas and emerge stronger than ever.
The reason Christians need to keep their children out of the public schools is ultimately a worldview issue. In reality, the Christian faith is relevant to every discipline, but every public school classroom must assume that faith is irrelevant to its discipline. On Sundays, we teach our children that God is sovereign over everything, including His creation and the laws that govern it. The rest of the week, in the public schools, we implicitly teach our children that God has nothing to do with biology or chemistry or physics—His Word is intentionally ignored. Because of the modern interpretation of separation of church and state, God and His design must be closeted as we consider literature or algebra or history—even though there is nothing more central to those disciplines. Eventually, public school students get the message: God is relevant to Sundays and church, but He has nothing to say to the “real world” as it exists in the public schools and the workplace. Voila! The sacred/secular dichotomy is established in another generation of young minds.
This is not a screed against pluralism; freedom of religion is one of the greatest of American ideals. But when the government oversteps its jurisdiction and begins to concern itself with education (properly the role of the family), pluralism requires skewed teaching, downplaying the one true God to accommodate other faiths. In a flash, the God Who is sovereign is relegated to the sidelines and becomes, in students' minds, a god who is sovereign over almost nothing except Sunday school.
To hear this argument fleshed out, listen to the latest podcast from Cross & Gavel, a production of the Christian Legal Society: http://crossandgavel.libsyn.com.
- Jeff Baldwin