In order to answer this important question, we must first understand a bit more about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us that all things “in the heavens and on earth” were created “by Christ” and “for Him” and that He is the One in whom “all things hold together” (Col. 1:16-17). Before he ascended, our Lord Himself taught us that “all authority” was given to Him “in heaven and on earth” (Matt 28:19). And elsewhere, He taught us that “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Matt. 12:30). Because He is Lord of all, we need to learn that we either are for Him or against Him in every area of life and in every endeavor. No neutral zone exists. As one theologian vividly pointed out, “there isn’t one square inch of creation over which Christ doesn’t say, ‘Mine.’” Simply put, if Christ is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.
The education we provide our children also is subject to the Lordship of Christ. If He is not Lord of all of our children’s education, then He is not Lord of our children’s education at all. Any education that is not for Him actually is against Him. Some Christians understand this point well enough when it comes to modern, atheistic education, but all of us need to understand this point when it comes to our officially “agnostic” public schools, as well as non-Christian or nominally Christian private schools. Let’s state the matter bluntly: Any education that pretends to be neutral ignores Christ, makes Him irrelevant, and ends up dethroning Him. By not being for Christ, public, non-Christian, and nominally Christian education actually ends up being against Him. Over a century ago, one Christian writer predicted the course of public schooling in America by writing, “The United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and wide instrument for the propagation of Atheism which the world has ever seen.” Who can deny the force of his prediction today?
Our children belong to God. He entrusts them to us as stewards and calls us to raise them for Him and His glory. He calls us to teach our children to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and He calls us to surround them with the Word of God from the time they get up in the morning until the time they go to bed at night (Deut. 6:4-9; Matt. 22:37). We are to help our children “tear down strongholds” and “take every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
But how can we help our children learn to love God with their all when we place them under teachers and administrators who do not love Him at all or who are forbidden by law to talk about their love for Him when they teach? How can we surround our children with His Word all day long when they are taught to ignore Him and His Word from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.? And how can they learn to tear down strongholds and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ when they are strong-armed to submit to the false religion of relativistic pluralism every day? Like a dye that is cast in fabric and cannot come out, so we cast our children in the dye of a godless education and expect them to come out of it unharmed. "There is little hope for children who are educated wickedly,” wrote one faithful pastor long ago. “If the dye has been in the wool, it is hard to get it out of the cloth.”
Our children cannot love God with all their mind, be surrounded with His Word from morning till evening, or submit every thought to Him when their teachers, schools, textbooks, and classmates all rebel against Him. As one writer put it, “The school system that ignores God teaches its pupils to ignore God; and this is not neutrality. It is the worst form of antagonism, for it judges God to be unimportant and irrelevant in human affairs. This is atheism.” Along the same lines, one pastor wrote long ago, “To commit our children to the care of irreligious persons is to commit lambs to the superintendency of wolves.” Would you ever seriously leave a 7-year old child with a pack of ferocious wolves? Of course not! Then why leave that same child with spiritual wolves in sheep’s clothing? We must remember what one writer said one hundred years ago, “a non-Christian training is literally an anti-Christian training.”
So what does it say about us when we hand our children over to enemies of the faith to train and educate them? One author recently minced no words, when he wrote that “(w)e are denying the faith when we hand our children over to be educated by our enemies, to be instructed and encouraged to view the world and all things in it in terms of the godless categories of human thought. To do so is to dedicate our children to another god. It is idolatry and treason all rolled into one.”
The Bible also commands parents to train their children in “the admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Most translations lose the force of this passage. Literally, it should be translated “in the education of the Lord.” Far from requiring a mere 10-minute family devotion as a cure-all for the paganism pumped into our children all day long at school, this passage actually commands Christian parents to surround their children with a biblical culture, to educate them in the Lord in such a way that everything they encounter supports the distinctively education we are called to give them. Since we are commanded to surround our children with a positive Christian culture all day long, we cannot attempt to place our children in a supposed “neutral zone.” A true Christian education would never pretend to be neutral when it comes to the things of God, but rather cultivates and promotes a positive Christian culture in every classroom every day.
Elsewhere, Christ teaches us to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 21:21-122). While Christ was speaking specifically about taxes, He actually lays down an even broader principle regarding our relationship to authority as Christians. Because our children belong to God, they are under His authority, and they should not be sacrificed to Caesar (the State). We should render them to God alone, not Caesar. If only Christians today would concur with Princeton University’s first president who wrote, “Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” We need to reject all cursed “learning” that is contrary to Christ and strive, by God’s grace, to provide our children with a distinctively Christian education with the cross of Christ at the center.