Arminian Today

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A Short History of Public Education

One of the failures of the modern Church is that we have so taught people that if they come to a Sunday morning gathering or a Sunday night Bible talk or a Wednesday night family night then that will ensure that people will hold firmly to the core doctrines of the faith.  The problems with such a view are many.  First, most churches in the United States these days seem to not be teaching sound doctrine and most avoid doctrine at all.  They seem to hold to the idea that if you don’t teach doctrine than a) there will be no divisions since doctrine divides and b) they will make their “seekers” feel welcomed as they won’t hear a dry, boring, lifeless, pointless message about a doctrine.  Of course, such thinking produces many false converts who believe they are saved because they said a prayer or believe in God or attend this church.

The problem also is that since the average evangelical doesn’t spend much time in prayer (less than 2 minutes per week) and even less time in the Bible, the world fills their minds with worldly thinking.  Sin, compromise, visual images, violence, sex, language, postmodernism, relativism, etc. all are what people are filling their minds with and not the Word of God.  Even in solid churches where the Bible is taught, if there is no one-on-one discipleship taking place (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 3:12-13) then it follows that people fill their minds with the world.  When you are only spending a few hours a week with disciples of Christ but are constantly in the world, it is inevitable that you’ll sooner or later begin to reason like they do.  We become like those around us (Proverbs 4:26-27).

Take public schools for example.  You might be shocked to learn that it was Martin Luther who first proposed state funded public schools where children could come to learn.  Luther advocated towns paying for children to come and be commonly taught in one building.  Luther believed that the children could then be taught Christianity as well as reading, history, math, etc.

Luther’s ideas were passed on to others during the Reformation.  When the Puritans came to America in the 1600’s, they set up a public school system where children could be taught how to read by using the Bible.  The Puritans wanted all their people reading the Bible and so they wanted to teach all their children to read.  They recognized that some parents were more trained than others on how to teach their children to read and so they asked them to teach the common children to read.  The schools were all free and anyone could send their children to them for a few hours a day while the families worked.  This ensured that the children were learning to read while work was able to get done.

Eventually the American public school system came into play.  Towns set up schools and funded them with their own money.  When taxes begin to be leveed, the towns begin to tax the people to pay for the schools.  The modern public school system today is a beast.  It is a monstrous federal government agency that is very liberal.  The complete separation of Church and State ensures today that the ideas of Luther and the Puritans, to teach children the Word of God, are gone.  In fact, when I was in public school I actually was told by a teacher to put my Bible away when I had it out reading it.  I refused citing my freedom to read it if I had done my school work.  She stated that because of the separation of Church-State, I could not have a Bible out.  I went to my high school principal who stood with me and said I was free to read whatever I wanted to on my free time.

Public schools are full of sin.  I know that not all students are bad nor are all teachers but let us face the fact that Christianity is not loved in public schools.  No religion is.  I am not advocating that Christianity be the main reason children attend public school but public schools begin with that idea in mind.  Luther wanted public education for the purpose of evangelism.  The Puritans believed that public education would help all people read and apply the Bible.  Today, pubic schools do none of that and largely are not very good at teaching basic skills either.

I am proud that my wife and I home school our children.  We have taken responsibility for our children’s education.  Some people reply, “I don’t have that luxury.  My wife and I have to work.”  My advice would be to reassess your focus.  If your lifestyle requires you to have both parents working, step back and downsize.  Your children (and their salvation) should be your focus.  Public schools are not teaching your children how to be better disciples of Jesus.  If anything, due to the reality that we spend so little time in the presence of the Lord, public schools corrupt our children.  1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'”  

One final comment.  I find it humorous when people say that home schooled children are lacking because they have less social interaction than public school children.  Do I keep my children in a cave or something?  My boys are all fine and can talk just as well as any other children.  We regularly attend church meetings where my boys play with other children (mostly home schooled children there too) and we meet with other home school families on a regular basis.  My family is associated with a home school group which includes about 50 families and we have field trips, sports teams, etc.  My boys are learning and they are studying the Bible at the same time.  That is comforting to my soul.  I would gladly work for that.

A final argument is often that if we take our children out of the public schools, who would be there to be a light to them (Matthew 5:13-16)?  Here is my answer.  First of all, salvation is of the Lord and God will save sinners as the church goes out to preach the gospel in all places (Mark 16:15-16).  Simply because no Christian is in a public school does not mean that God will not send His people to other places where those children will be to preach the gospel.  Secondly, most public school children I know are corrupted by the sinners than vise versa.  I know there are exceptions to that rule and I personally was saved while in public school (11th grade) and sought to evangelize my school through Bible studies, prayer, tracts, etc. but most children are not that bold (sad to say).  Let’s face it, most children are followers than leaders and its easier to be a Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) than a Luke (2 Timothy 4:11).  The idea that we need to leave our children in a public school to be a light often is based on the parent’s unwillingness to do what is necessary to ensure a better education complete with the Bible.

And those are my thoughts.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/26/2012 at 11:29 AM

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for sharing. My wife and I have also made the decision to home school our children even though we both wen to public school. I am thankful that God has provided for us financially as we have made this decision. We often get the same questions regarding socialization and have a similar response to the one you outlined. I pray that our children will be disciples from an early age and learn to make disciples as Christ commands.

    Travis Squires

    10/26/2012 at 11:56 PM

    • Home schooling is an honor. It allows us to teach our children as families did for thousands of years before the creation of public, non-religious schools. Do we indoctrinate our children? Yes! But so do public schools but with the wrong things.


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