The Christian School

NickImage

Christian primary and secondary education (sometimes called “Christian Day School”) became popular among fundamentalists during the 1970s. While some have alleged that the Christian school movement was a response to racial integration,1 it was more likely a reaction against the increasingly vicious secularism of public education. For a generation, many Christian parents sent their children to Christian schools, even when the cost of tuition meant significant financial sacrifice.

Over the past decade, however, most Christian schools have begun to decline. Administrators speculate about the reasons, but at least a few seem pretty obvious. These are generalizations that will not hold in every instance. Certain tendencies, however, can be observed more often than not.

First, Christian schools have not typically produced a better academic product than public education. True, the average test scores from Christian school students are higher than those of public school students. That is partly because public schools are required to accept students (including special education students) whom Christian schools uniformly reject. Take the top ten percent of graduates from the typical Christian school, and compare them to the top ten percent of graduates from the typical public school, and you will likely find that the public school graduates are better prepared.

A second reason that Christian schools are in decline is because they do not generally produce a better quality of Christian. Granted, the environment of a Christian school does shield its students from the most brutal influences of the secular school environment, such as rampant drug use and open promiscuity. It also grants Christianity a normative status, so that a student’s faith is not overtly and constantly under attack. Nevertheless, graduates of Christian schools do not seem to be noticeably more spiritually minded than Christian graduates of public schools. The real test is in what happens to Christian school students after they graduate. How many of them are walking with the Lord five years later? The proportions do not seem markedly higher for Christian school alumni than for other Christians of the same age.

A third reason that Christian schools are declining is the massive amount of resources that they consume. Hiring qualified teachers and maintaining excellent facilities takes money—lots of it. Both parents and churches have grown fatigued by the constant expense, but somebody has to bear the cost. Though exceptions do exist, few churches are actually able to operate a Christian school at a profit. Budgets are often balanced on the backs of teachers, who are pitifully underpaid. Consequently, hiring qualified faculty becomes exponentially more difficult, with the result that unqualified individuals are sometimes placed in the classroom. This in turn affects the performance of the school, and declining performance only exacerbates the problem.

In view of the foregoing, does the Christian school still have a place? If so, what is the contribution that it should be expected to make? A preliminary answer to these questions can be deduced from two observations about the nature of the Christian faith.

First, Christianity is a religion of text, and Christians are people of the Book. True Christianity derives its entire faith and practice from the written Word of God. No authority is higher than the Scriptures.

Second, Christianity affirms the priesthood and soul-liberty of the believer. Among other things, this means individual Christians are responsible to know and understand the Scriptures for themselves. Spiritual authorities may help believers to interpret and apply the Scriptures rightly, but they may not take over the duty of Christians to know and obey the Word of God.

These two considerations have powerfully shaped Christian ministry. They have led to massive dissemination of the Christian Scriptures. No other ancient document was as widely copied as the Bible. No other book has been as widely translated, printed, and distributed. Throughout Christian history, believers have given their lives to protect, translate, and publish the Scriptures. This work has been paramount because Christianity is a religion of text.

Since Christianity is a religion of text, it can thrive only where believers are skilled readers. In order to know and apply the Scriptures for themselves, Christians must be able to read and understand with precision. This is not so much a matter of any special unction as it is a matter of good preparation. The tools for understanding the Bible are not significantly different from the tools for understanding any serious literature.

Biblical Christianity survives only where people read skillfully. Necessarily, then, every Christian church has an interest in ensuring that its members are skilled readers. Unskilled adults, however, usually resist efforts to foster new intellectual skills. This leaves children and teens as the target constituency for fostering the proficiencies that are necessary in order to prepare skillful readers.

What are those skills? The ordinary reading and understanding of serious literature requires, at minimum, a mastery of the disciplines known as the Trivium. Grammar deals with the way that words are connected so as to constitute communicative units. Logic examines the relationship between ideas to determine whether one idea necessarily arises from or gives rise to others. Rhetoric structures communicative units so that the connections between them are readily followed and grasped. The Trivium ought to be the core of a Christian school curriculum.

The standard interpretive method used by Protestant readers of the Bible is called “grammatico-historical.” The idea is that texts must be understood according to both their grammar and their historical location. Historical interpretation assumes and relies upon knowledge of history. To the Trivium, Christian schools must add history.

The Scriptures contain literature from a variety of forms and genres. Skilled readers must be comfortable dealing with diverse sorts of writing. This skill is gained only by broad exposure and wide reading. Literature has its place in the curriculum of the Christian schools.

For generations, Western Christians have relied upon public institutions to prepare their children. Over the past several decades, however, public education has de-emphasized literacy in favor of ideology. Unfortunately, Christian schools have spent much of their effort constructing and emphasizing an alternative ideology rather than fostering excellence in those skills without which Christianity cannot survive.

Does the Christian school have a future? The above observations imply that it does, if it takes seriously the work of preparing Christian readers. Most of a twelve-year curriculum could be derived from these considerations alone—and other considerations could be offered that would justify a fully liberal education in the arts and sciences.

Christian schools do have a future and they ought to be perpetuated. They have no reason for existence, however, if they merely offer “less of the same” thing that students can get in public institutions. Christian education ought to be different. The difference should not lie in making every course a stale tract for Christianity. The difference ought to lie in the gravity with which Christian educators take their task and in the thoughtfulness that they foster in their students.

Notes

1 For references see William J. Reese, “Soldiers of Christ in the Army of God: The Christian School Movement in America,” in Leslie Francis and David W. Lankshear (eds), Christian Perspectives on Church Schools (Leominster, England: 1993), 274.

Hymn 1:1
Behold the Glories of the Lamb
Isaac Watts (1674 –1748)

A new song to the Lamb that was slain. Rev. v.6-12

Behold the glories of the Lamb
Amidst His Father’s throne.
Prepare new honors for His Name,
And songs before unknown.

Let elders worship at His feet,
The Church adore around,
With vials full of odors sweet,
And harps of sweeter sound.

Those are the prayers of the saints,
And these the hymns they raise;
Jesus is kind to our complaints,
He loves to hear our praise.

Eternal Father, who shall look
Into Thy secret will?
Who but the Son should take that Book
And open every seal?

He shall fulfill Thy great decrees,
The Son deserves it well;
Lo, in His hand the sovereign keys
Of Heav’n, and death, and hell!

Now to the Lamb that once was slain
Be endless blessings paid;
Salvation, glory, joy remain
Forever on Thy head.

Thou hast redeemed our souls with blood,
Hast set the prisoner free;
Hast made us kings and priests to God,
And we shall reign with Thee.

The worlds of nature and of grace
Are put beneath Thy power;
Then shorten these delaying days,
And bring the promised hour.

[node:bio/kevin-t-bauder body]

13333 reads

There are 99 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Strong point...

Quote:
Unfortunately, Christian schools have spent much of their effort constructing and emphasizing an alternative ideology rather than fostering excellence in those skills without which Christianity cannot survive.

Though I don't buy the "survive" part. Replace it with "thrive" and I agree completely.

FWIW, last year, my kids began attending a Christian school where the trivium is the core of the curriculum. We feel very blessed to be within almost-reasonable driving distance of an option like that.

Want to point out, tough, that another huge factor in the decline of the Christian school is homeschooling. Not equipped to put a number on it but I have to think that a large percentage of homeschooled kids would be in Christian schools if homeschooling was not an option (many are only homeschooled because a Christian school is not available nearby).

And the beauty of that is that the homeschool can teach the trivium. It's tougher for parents without that background to teach it to their kids, but you have the same problem in schools... teachers who want to teach classical rarely had a classical education themselves.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Quote:
A second reason that Christian schools are in decline is because they do not generally produce a better quality of Christian... Nevertheless, graduates of Christian schools do not seem to be noticeably more spiritually minded than Christian graduates of public schools. The real test is in what happens to Christian school students after they graduate. How many of them are walking with the Lord five years later? The proportions do not seem markedly higher for Christian school alumni than for other Christians of the same age.

That would be because the students are not necessarily Christians to begin with. Many, if not most schools, accept students based on the parents signing a SoF and agreeing to uphold the policies or the school, and only the custodial parent/guardian is required to sign.

Christian schools use Christian curriculum and have a Christian staff- that is why they can call themselves a Christian school. But they do not have a regenerate student body.

The problem with education overall is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U&feature=player_embedded ]the modern assembly line/manufacturing model . Until we deal with the fact that the traditional classroom is a dinosaur, reform is pointless.

This applies to how Christian schools operate- quality materials and inspiring teachers need not be cost prohibitive. Many homeschoolers have learned that given quality materials, enthusiastic guidance, and minimal supervision, children can and often will become autodidactic.

Barry L.'s picture

"First, Christian schools have not typically produced a better academic product than public education. True, the average test scores from Christian school students are higher than those of public school students. That is partly because public schools are required to accept students (including special education students) whom Christian schools uniformly reject. Take the top ten percent of graduates from the typical Christian school, and compare them to the top ten percent of graduates from the typical public school, and you will likely find that the public school graduates are better prepared."

You could argue the academic gap between Christian and nonChristian is wider at the university level than at the day school level.

rogercarlson's picture

I am a product of the Chrsitian School. I was never in the top 10% of my class. I have 2 of my kids in public school and two in a LCMS school. My oldest will be a junior at the public school and is in the top 10%. I have to say that I know she is much more prepared then the average Christian school kid. There are good Christian Schools out there, but there are many sub-par ones. Dr. Bauder's idea here is good. We would consider that as an option if we could.

I was terrified of the public school, but know that God has done a great thing putting us in the mix of it. I have way more respect for public school teachers than I did before. They have to deal with things that I never put up with at the Christian Schools I worked at. I am not just dealing with the sins. I mean kids and parents who don't care. In my daughters freshman Bio class, there was a guy who did nothing but text. He was 18 and still taking freshman biology. The teacher would send him to the hall. He told him he would have a conference with his parents. The studen said, "Why? I am 18 and have my own apartment." Even among that, he is a great teacher and helped my daughter love science that year and that is not one of her passions. She always does well, but has only enjoyed it that one year.

I think many Christian Schools have focused so much on saying they are a better alternative instead of proving it. Following Dr. Bauder's advice will go along way in actually proving it

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Shaynus's picture

I'm a product of Bob Jones Academy (from pre-school on. I got my BJU ID number at six weeks old!). I'm very blessed to have gone there, and wouldn't trade the experience. I went on to intern for the American Association of Christian Schools in college, so I believe in Christian education as one option open to parents (along with homeschooling and public school).

One thing that has bothered me is how church-run schools can distract from the church's main goals. I wish Christians had more of a vision to partner together as groups of churches to create Christian schools that aren't connected with churches directly. I wonder how many pastors out there with Christian schools, if asked in total privacy and honesty, saw their church school as a distraction.

Ron Bean's picture

I have over 30 years experience as a Christian school teacher and administrator and this article has ignited a number of points of interest with me. I'll try to deal with one at a time.

Most schools find it extremely difficult to assure a regenerate student body. Requiring a signed profession of faith is no guarantee and adding a personal testimony does little to improve the situation. A pastoral recommendation was seldom a guarantee. Because of the problem being able to accurately "judge someone's salvation", some simply required that the student be amenable to discipline and the rules of the school.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Shaynus's picture

Ron Bean wrote:
I have over 30 years experience as a Christian school teacher and administrator and this article has ignited a number of points of interest with me. I'll try to deal with one at a time.

Most schools find it extremely difficult to assure a regenerate student body. Requiring a signed profession of faith is no guarantee and adding a personal testimony does little to improve the situation. A pastoral recommendation was seldom a guarantee. Because of the problem being able to accurately "judge someone's salvation", some simply required that the student be amenable to discipline and the rules of the school.

Agreed. If churches already can't "assure" an entirely regenerate congregation, what makes them think they'll assue the professions of kids? It seems like a losing battle.

I liked the approach of BJA, which was to have self-described non-Christians able to come to school for up to a year, then move on if they can't say they're a Christian. But I don't think it was a requirement to attend that you had to say you were a Christian.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Ron Bean wrote:
Most schools find it extremely difficult to assure a regenerate student body. Requiring a signed profession of faith is no guarantee and adding a personal testimony does little to improve the situation. A pastoral recommendation was seldom a guarantee. Because of the problem being able to accurately "judge someone's salvation", some simply required that the student be amenable to discipline and the rules of the school.

Which means this
Quote:
the environment of a Christian school does shield its students from the most brutal influences of the secular school environment, such as rampant drug use and open promiscuity.

and
Quote:
It also grants Christianity a normative status, so that a student’s faith is not overtly and constantly under attack.

are not necessarily the case. When I went to Christian school, drug use was rampant, and fornication was taking place in every nook and cranny. The student body knew who was doing whom and how often. There were pregnancies and abortions, unbeknownst to the staff, usually because the parents were trying to preserve the status quo, so it wasn't uncommon for the girl who got an abortion last week to get a Christian Character Award next week.

That was 27 years ago. Do any of us think things have gotten better?

I have no objections to Christian schools as long as parents don't abdicate their responsibility to educate, disciple, and train their children, and the school doesn't attempt to make any guarantees about its role in forming a child's character or equipping them spiritually. That primarily happens in the home, but can be reinforced in a school with consistent values- which is where the attraction to a Christian education usually lies. IOW, the parent assumes that they won't have to do a significant amount of 'deprogramming' when their child gets home from school.

dmicah's picture

Quote:
I have no objections to Christian schools as long as parents don't abdicate their responsibility to educate, disciple, and train their children, and the school doesn't attempt to make any guarantees about its role in forming a child's character or equipping them spiritually. That primarily happens in the home, but can be reinforced in a school with consistent values- which is where the attraction to a Christian education usually lies. IOW, the parent assumes that they won't have to do a significant amount of 'deprogramming' when their child gets home from school.

good point, and could simultaneously be argued for public education

SDHaynie's picture

dmicah wrote:
Quote:
I have no objections to Christian schools as long as parents don't abdicate their responsibility to educate, disciple, and train their children, and the school doesn't attempt to make any guarantees about its role in forming a child's character or equipping them spiritually. That primarily happens in the home, but can be reinforced in a school with consistent values- which is where the attraction to a Christian education usually lies. IOW, the parent assumes that they won't have to do a significant amount of 'deprogramming' when their child gets home from school.

good point, and could simultaneously be argued for public education

I taught in a Christian School for 10 years. It was a board run school which was primarily supported by 5 churches. The church that I attended (one of those five) had an interesting mix of Christian school students/families and teachers, public school students/families and teachers, and homeschool families. In each of these "groups" I saw wonderful, bright students with clear Christian testimonies and a deep understanding of the "Trivium," as well as a fair share of "scorners," "fools", and floaters . The difference? Parental involvement. When the parent took "their responsibility to educate, disciple, and train their children" seriously, the product was almost always top notch, regardless of where they went to school. When the parent abdicated his/her responsibility, the result was just as predictable in the negative direction.
While I agree with the main points of the essay, I agree wholeheartedly with Susan and Micah. Parental involvement is a major influence in a child's education. This is another point the Christian School must keep in mind if it is to succeed.

Shawn Haynie

JGHenderson's picture

Somewhere in the Christian School discussion, I think the reason for the Chrisitian school and/or Christian
education should be considered. Years ago, I heard a leader quoting Proverbs 19:25, "Cease my son to hear
the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge." In our pursuit of Christian education for our
daughter, we always rejected "government" schools for the philosophies lurking in the classrooms. Christian
parents should understand the "molds" to which the child will be conformed. Joe Henderson

rogercarlson's picture

Joe,
It is possible to know follow the Word and put ones kids in public schools.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

JGHenderson wrote:
Somewhere in the Christian School discussion, I think the reason for the Chrisitian school and/or Christian
education should be considered. Years ago, I heard a leader quoting Proverbs 19:25, "Cease my son to hear
the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge."

I think KJV has the grammar wrong here, though that rendering is not impossible.
Some alternatives:

Prov 19:27 NKJV 27 Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge. (ESV, NASB virtually identical)
Prov 19:27 NIV Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

(Interestingly, Keil & Delitzsch say it translates more like "Cease from hearing instruction if you are going to depart form the words of knowledge." That is, you might as well quit learning if you're not going to use it.)

All the same, though I try not to be judgmental, I never have understood why we'd want to educate kids in an anti-Christian context when we could do it in a Christian one. Worldviews are more caught than taught. I've seen parents successfully see to it that their kids "catch" the Christian worldview while being educated in a mostly antichristian one, but it's hard for me to understand why this is worth attempting (given the available alternatives).

I'm heavily biased, though. I attended Christian schools every year after 1st grade. The experience wasn't always positive, but overall it was. It's true that many of my classmates are not living for the Lord now. The percentage is better than that of the local high school, though! The elementary school I attended was especially strong in grammar... and I'm grateful for that just about every day.

RPittman's picture

rogercarlson wrote:
Joe,
It is possible to know follow the Word and put ones kids in public schools.
Roger, would you agree that the closest thing to Scriptural mandate for fathers is ". . . bring [your children ] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)." Although the application of this is not specified, would you say the PS or the Christian school would more likely help you obey this command? What do you think?

RPittman's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
All the same, though I try not to be judgmental, I never have understood why we'd want to educate kids in an anti-Christian context when we could do it in a Christian one. Worldviews are more caught than taught. I've seen parents successfully see to it that their kids "catch" the Christian worldview while being educated in a mostly antichristian one, but it's hard for me to understand why this is worth attempting (given the available alternatives).

I'm heavily biased, though. I attended Christian schools every year after 1st grade. The experience wasn't always positive, but overall it was. It's true that many of my classmates are not living for the Lord now. The percentage is better than that of the local high school, though! The elementary school I attended was especially strong in grammar... and I'm grateful for that just about every day.

Although worldview is important, it is not the only, or even the main argument for Christian education. Depending on theological persuasion, there are many Christian worldviews, not just THE Christian worldview, out there.

However, a more important matter, IMHO, is the personality development of the child. Children develop their personalities by imitation and patterning the personalities of significant others. And teachers are significant others rivaling the significance of the parents. Now, why would Christian parents be willing to place their children under teachers who may or may not be saved? Their children may be replicating the personalities of unbelievers. Attitudes, behaviors, etc. that make up the person are generally stable over the long-term. This is a more subtle influence than the overt teaching of a false worldview.

RPittman's picture

Susan R wrote:
Ron Bean wrote:
Most schools find it extremely difficult to assure a regenerate student body. Requiring a signed profession of faith is no guarantee and adding a personal testimony does little to improve the situation. A pastoral recommendation was seldom a guarantee. Because of the problem being able to accurately "judge someone's salvation", some simply required that the student be amenable to discipline and the rules of the school.

Which means this
Quote:
the environment of a Christian school does shield its students from the most brutal influences of the secular school environment, such as rampant drug use and open promiscuity.

and
Quote:
It also grants Christianity a normative status, so that a student’s faith is not overtly and constantly under attack.

are not necessarily the case.
Susan, we don't disagree often but this is one time when we do. There are good Christian schools and poorly run Christian schools. Now, I don't care to discuss all the problems of the poorly run ones because their problem is that they just aren't doing what they ought. It's not that the concept is faulty. But, I must disagree with you in that Ron Bean's post is right-on for a well-run Christian school.
Quote:

When I went to Christian school, drug use was rampant, and fornication was taking place in every nook and cranny. The student body knew who was doing whom and how often. There were pregnancies and abortions, unbeknownst to the staff, usually because the parents were trying to preserve the status quo, so it wasn't uncommon for the girl who got an abortion last week to get a Christian Character Award next week.
Well, whose fault is this? The parents! Unless the drug use and fornication occurred on campus or under school auspices. Christians schools are not the guarantors of students' spirituality, moral purity, or freedom from drugs. This is the parents' responsibility. However, no Christian school worth its salt will knowingly tolerate these things.
Quote:

That was 27 years ago. Do any of us think things have gotten better?

YES! I can quickly name several schools where your description is totally off-base. However, there are schools still like this. We must remember that around 30 years ago or more, many of the students, especially high school, were essentially products of public schools. Christian schools had their tremendous growth spurt due to the sexual revolution, drug culture, etc. of the 1960-70's. There were problems due to students having already been exposed to these vices before matriculating at Christian schools. Now, it appears that majority of Christian school students have been there long-term.

A large problem today, though, are the parents who attend church and send their kids to a Christian school meanwhile allowing their kids to run indiscriminately with a worldly crowd, go to teen clubs, imbibe the world's music, standards, media, and dress, hang out unsupervised at the mall
on the weekends, etc . On Monday morning, these kids bring the world and PS into the Christian school classroom.

Quote:

I have no objections to Christian schools as long as parents don't abdicate their responsibility to educate, disciple, and train their children, and the school doesn't attempt to make any guarantees about its role in forming a child's character or equipping them spiritually. That primarily happens in the home, but can be reinforced in a school with consistent values- which is where the attraction to a Christian education usually lies. IOW, the parent assumes that they won't have to do a significant amount of 'deprogramming' when their child gets home from school.

Even the best home cannot guarantee a child's character or behavior either. There are very good families having three kids with shining spiritual lights and serving God while the fourth growing up in the same home is living a life of sin and wickedness. This is not what Christian education is all about. It's not about measurable results, because no one can produce spiritual results except God but it is about our faithfulness as parents and teachers in teaching the Word of God by mouth and example. We plant, water, and fertilize but God gives the increase.

RPittman's picture

SDHaynie wrote:
I taught in a Christian School for 10 years. It was a board run school which was primarily supported by 5 churches. The church that I attended (one of those five) had an interesting mix of Christian school students/families and teachers, public school students/families and teachers, and homeschool families. In each of these "groups" I saw wonderful, bright students with clear Christian testimonies and a deep understanding of the "Trivium," as well as a fair share of "scorners," "fools", and floaters . The difference? Parental involvement. When the parent took "their responsibility to educate, disciple, and train their children" seriously, the product was almost always top notch, regardless of where they went to school. When the parent abdicated his/her responsibility, the result was just as predictable in the negative direction.
While I agree with the main points of the essay, I agree wholeheartedly with Susan and Micah. Parental involvement is a major influence in a child's education. This is another point the Christian School must keep in mind if it is to succeed.[emphasis added ]
Whereas parental involvement is a great influence, it is not a necessarily a determinate factor. Great parents, who are heavily involved, sometimes have rebellious and wayward children that turn out badly. On the other hand, kids coming from a terrible family situation with almost no family support often are great students who go on to serve God.

rogercarlson's picture

Roland,

Honestly it depends....Where I live, the closest Christian school that you would be comfortable is over 50 miles away. So that isnt even a choice that I have. Also, I think it is important to note that I was in Christian School all the way through. In my freshman preacher boys class at BJ, Shanes dad asked how many of us came from public and Christian school...very few homeschoolers back then...and it was about 60% from public school.

Aaron,

We did home school for a time. Then the Lord gave us our 4th child with autism. We didnt know he had it...but we knew something was wrong...my wife was going nuts homeschooling and careing for him...I came home one day at lunch and said we had to do something different.....we found th LCMS school that only went to 8th grade....thus why our daughter is at the high school...our youngest needs to be in public school...because like Bauder said...most Christian schools are not equipped to handle special needs kids....Some even dont acknowledge autism

We put our kids in PS, because God sovereignly made that our only choice....it is difficult, but in some areas it is actually easier.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

rogercarlson's picture

Roland,

Wayward kids come out of Christian School all the time as well!

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

RPittman's picture

dmicah wrote:
Quote:
I have no objections to Christian schools as long as parents don't abdicate their responsibility to educate, disciple, and train their children, and the school doesn't attempt to make any guarantees about its role in forming a child's character or equipping them spiritually. That primarily happens in the home, but can be reinforced in a school with consistent values- which is where the attraction to a Christian education usually lies. IOW, the parent assumes that they won't have to do a significant amount of 'deprogramming' when their child gets home from school.

good point, and could simultaneously be argued for public education

Really? I don't see how. Public education, which is secular by public policy, is a competing factor for anything Biblical or theological. Public education is not just non-Christian but it is anti-Christian by teaching a competing worldview, which is necessarily secular by public policy. So, how can a parent obey the mandate to " . . . bring [his children ] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)" and subject them to a continual teaching of an opposing belief system. Would you send your children to a Muslim school? Hindu school? Buddhist school? Communist school? If not, why to a public school that is every bit as antithetical to Christianity as any of the above? Is it enough to teach Christianity and the Word of God at home and send them to a Buddhist school?

rogercarlson's picture

One other thing....I know a guy who got the Christian Character award 4 years in a row at a Christian school...He was a asistant prayer captain as a sophomore...prayer captain as a Jr and sr...chaplain of soceity and still unsaved. That was me...i was a good pharisee but I was not saved by God's grace until I was a Senior at BJU

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

RPittman's picture

rogercarlson wrote:
Roland,

Wayward kids come out of Christian School all the time as well!

Of course! You have them in your church too whether home-schooled, public school, or Christian school. In fact, don't you have some wayward adult church members? And these are KIDS! Regardless of what R. J. Rushdoony with his Post-millennial views or others have intimated in their Christian school philosophies, I do not share their beliefs. As I stated, Christian schools are NOT guarantors of students' spirituality, morality, etc. This old shoe has grown rather worn and thin. The problem is that people are asking the wrong questions and trying to set the wrong standard for judging success. Like the Apostle Paul advised, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God (1 Corinthians 4:5)." In fact, 1 Corinthians 4 is very applicable and instructive in this whole matter.

I've seen wayward Christian school kids become godly adults with a zeal for serving and honoring God. By the same token, I've seen exemplary Christian school kids who turned to a life of sin and wickedness as adults. Not everyone who receives the Word bears fruit. Christ explained it in Mark 4.

Quote:
"Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred (Mark 4:3-20)."

In Christian education, whether college or K-12, the standard is whether we have been faithful in sowing.

RPittman's picture

rogercarlson wrote:
One other thing....I know a guy who got the Christian Character award 4 years in a row at a Christian school...He was a asistant prayer captain as a sophomore...prayer captain as a Jr and sr...chaplain of soceity and still unsaved. That was me...i was a good pharisee but I was not saved by God's grace until I was a Senior at BJU
Yeah, I know . . . heard of this before . . . heard of preachers being saved . . . but what does this have to do with Christian schools? No one, at least me, is arguing these points against you, Roger. This has nothing to do with the viability and need for Christian schools. Our purpose is not to produce a certain model student; that's akin to classical humanistic views. Our purpose is to faithfully preach and teach the Word for the Holy Spirit can to deal with the student's heart and bring him or her to faith in Christ and begin molding him or her into Christ-likeness. The results are out of our hands. It is God's doing!

Are you going to resign your pulpit and disband your church because a deacon is having an affair with the pianist, the treasurer has embezzled $10,000, and the your head usher left his wife this week? No, you're going to stay on the job and continue to preach the Word. In the same way, the Christian school staff is still going to be faithful in their ministry and obedience to God even if the girl with the Christian Character Award is pregnant. After all, a Christian Character Award is simply a recognition of observable traits that are considered positive characteristics of good Christian character--it is NOT about spirituality, which is not observable. This does not negate the value of Christian education.

Ron Bean's picture

What if parents ask, "Do your teachers have degrees in their teaching fields?"
How many schools have math, science and foreign language majors on their faculty?
How many would replace their current history teacher with a history major if they had the opportunity?

And while we're asking questions; how many men does your school have as faculty to serve as role models for young men?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

rogercarlson's picture

Roland,
I was responding to your statements that indicated there was no Biblical justification for sending kids to public school. I am not anti Christian education. I am saying that for some,public school is the beat option. It is for us with two of our kids and if God keeps us here will be for all 4. I am resting in God's plan for us.

Do my kids have battles Christian school kids don't? Yes. But they also have privileges. My oldest daughter has respect of her peers. They know her stand and many admire it

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

rogercarlson's picture

Roland,

Can you really deny Bauders critique? He is not anti..just trying to make the movement better

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

RPittman's picture

rogercarlson wrote:
Roland,

Can you really deny Bauders critique? He is not anti..just trying to make the movement better

Wow, Roger, I really hate to get into this. Honestly, yes, I disagree with some points that I will be addressing later. Let's just leave it at that.

rogercarlson's picture

I look forward to you airing your disagreement. It is actually what the thread is about. But as someone who has seen every aspect of all types of education, my experience agrees with his views. I have found them to be accurate.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

RPittman's picture

Bauder wrote:
First, Christian schools have not typically produced a better academic product than public education.
What is the basis for this statement? Achievement test scores? College performance?
Quote:
True, the average test scores from Christian school students are higher than those of public school students.
This would contradict the previous statement. After all, it is academic achievement that tests measure. How else do you propose to measure "academic product?"They do NOT measure other factors in determining later success such as personality, drive, ambition, independent learning, study skills, goal orientation, etc.
Quote:
That is partly because public schools are required to accept students (including special education students) whom Christian schools uniformly reject.
This is a red herring. Public schools do not test their special needs students with the general school population. Furthermore, although many Christian day schools have cut-off entrance test scores, my last school with no entrance tests and a 14% students qualifying for some special needs (same percentage as PS) averaged 88%ile to 92%ile using the group (school) norms of the Standford Achievement Test for a decade. What is perhaps more indicative of academic achievement and quality of instruction is that students scored at a higher percentile in their achievement tests than their mental ability test taken concurrently.
Quote:
Take the top ten percent of graduates from the typical Christian school, and compare them to the top ten percent of graduates from the typical public school, and you will likely find that the public school graduates are better prepared.
Well, Dr. Bauder, how do you propose to make a value comparison of academics. Standardized testing? You've already tossed that with a disclaimer. College performance? Whereas subsequent academic performance in college seems to be a valid comparison, it really is not. After all, there are more complex factors in college success than simply academic achievement, which is what we're discussing. In college, you have a mix of backgrounds from different geographic regions. It would not be valid to compare SC Christian school students to public school students from MI or NJ. Also, you have a different type of learning and social structure in college. Many Christian school students may have problems adjusting to the lack of structure or direction but this may be a family phenomenon, as well, tracking with more structured families, who would choose a Christian school, over looser familial arrangements. Yet, none of the factors or others can be labelled academic.

On the positive side, I can attest to many students from Christian schools excelling at West Point, NCSU, UNC-Chapel Hill, etc.

In sum, Dr. Bauder's analysis and conclusion is similar to some of the accepted wisdom making the rounds in a self-justifying circle but it lacks both accuracy and depth. I cannot agree.

Pages

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.