Back to School: Parents Beware!
Christians often ask the wrong questions.
Instead of asking, “Why doesn’t God save everyone?” we should ask, “Why does God save anyone?”
Another example, sometimes a Christian parent will ask me my opinion on home schooling or private school or public school. I have made my thoughts on those subjects crystal clear for many years, from the pulpit, in the counseling rooms, and on this blog! But I suggest to such a parent that he or she is really asking the wrong question.
Rather than try and pro/con the whole educational options debate, which treats the hearts and souls of our children somewhat like they matter no more to us than if we were buying a new car, we should learn to ask good questions. Biblical questions.
The two big questions every Christian parent should ask in this matter are:
- If all I had was my Bible, how would I raise / educate / train my child?
- Who do I want to raise my child?
These two questions strike at the real jugular of the issue. In the biblical worldview, to educate a child is to raise a child is to teach a child is to train a child is to discipline a child. These heart-and-mind-shaping activities simply cannot be compartmentalized in God’s way of thinking. What we now have been programmed to call “education” is what the Lord Almighty calls “Disciple Making.”
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
“Father [parents] do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut 6:7).
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments . . . my son be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding” (Prov 3:1; 5:1).
One cannot help but grasp the comprehensive nature of child-rearing when one seeks to get God’s view of it. While I have a soft heart for those in the church who simply cannot home school, such as single moms, and I do not in any way mean to disparage Christian teachers seeking to invest in kids in public schools, as a Pastor committed to the absolute sufficiency of Scripture I must warn every parent to ask these probing questions. If you are only spending a few hours a day, 5 days a week, with your child, then who is really raising your child? And if all you had were your Bible, how would you parent?
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be thoroughly [sufficiently] equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).
It is hard to imagine a better “good work” than raising, teaching, training, discipling our children.
But for those of you who simply cannot resist the pro/con method, consider the results of the Gen2 survey sponsored by Generations Ministry. The survey was conducted 2013-2015 of 10,000 Millenials who grew up in Christian homes during the 1990s and early 2000s. Here are a few results:
- A private Christian school student is 270% more likely to believe in evolution, and the public school student is 330% more likely to believe in evolution, than a home school student.
- A public school student is 330% more likely to be sexually abused (self-reported) than a home school student.
- The active role of the father in a child’s sexual purity is pivotal.
- Children who abandoned the faith later in life cited their parents’ hypocrisy most often as the prime factor. In other words, if we parents say the Bible is enough, then we had better seek grace to live that out in every decision, and to spend many hours with our children so they can see what it means to “walk in a manner worthy of your calling” (Eph 4:1). Our children are watching!
Of course, there are no perfect homes. We are all broken in some ways. And there are exceptions to every generality. But I am persuaded the most important questions to ask in these matters are the two I gave above. If you need to sink your teeth more deeply into this topic, dear Dad and Mom, go get a copy of Disciple Like Jesus for Parents by Alan Melton and Paul Dean. Really. Read it. And may God’s Spirit grant us all courage to be disciples who make disciples . . . beginning at home.