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Dr. Tony Beam Christian Blog and Commentary

Taking the Sin out of Public Schools

  • Tony Beam
    Dr. Tony Beam's Weblog
  • 2004 Dec 18
  • Comments

My children are a unique bunch.  Their collective school experience might classify them as experts in the field of education.  All three have experienced home schooling, private Christian school, and yes, even the dreaded public school.  My son began his home school experience in the 4th grade and then entered public school in the 9th grade.  He graduated  from public high school with honors and he will soon enter his last semester at the University of South Carolina where he has distinguished himself in the classroom and earned the respect of his journalistic colleagues, serving as Senior Editor of the Gamecock newspaper for the last two years.

My oldest daughter was homeschooled beginning in the second grade.  She entered a private Chrisitan School when she was in the sixth grade, spent her sophomore year in public high school and then returned to private Christian school where she graduated with honors as the salutatorian of her class.  She is now a freshman at Anderson College (a small Christian college in South Carolina) where she contiues to do very well in the classroom and where she enjoys being a cheerleader.

Finally, my youngest daughter spent her kindergarten years being homeschooled and entered private Christian school in the first grade.  At the beginning of the past school year she entered the public school system where she continues to be an honor roll student.

This is more than just the ramblings of a proud father.  In recent days, it has been suggested by some that Christians are sinning by sending their children to public school.  While I beleive these people love the Lord and are well meaning in their intent of warning people of the obvious dangers of public school, I also believe they are dead wrong when it comes to classifying parents as sinners who, for a host of reasons, might place their children in a public school.

Let me be perfectly clear about something. The public school system in America is in shambles.  It is morally and ethically bankrupt mainly because secularists, who are pursuing the well-defined agenda of turning all children into philosophical humanists, are running it.  Evolution is taught as fact while biblical creation is scorned.  Ethics, if they are taught at all, are presented in a "value neutral" environment because of our current national nonsense that goes by the name "separation of church and state."

My beef with well meaning Chrisitians over the public school system is not over the problem.....it is over their proposed solution.  Some say removing all Christians from the public school system would allow it to rot from within.  The problem with this is it is not a viable solution.  The public school system will certainly rot without the salt and light of believers but it will not fail. It will simply move from being a very dark place where there is little Christian influence to being a completely dark place with no redemptive presence.

Right now, Christian teachers, students, and administrators are doing their best to shine in the darkness.  Christian teachers quietly find ways to share their faith with their students.  They lend their support and encouragement to programs like "see you at the pole" and clubs which meet after school where talk about Jesus Christ is welcome.  They witenss to their friends and invite them to chruch thus, taking on the role of an evangelist.

Christian parents with children in the public school system attend PTA and PTF meetings where their salt and light influence is seen and heard.  They serve on committees which put them in touch with parents who don't know the Lord and they raise their voices against darkness wherever they find it. 

Some say it is a "copout" to speak of Jesus' command in Matthew for believers to be "salt and light."  But since when is it a copout to obey the clear teachings of Christ?  Yes, we must come out from among those who are under the influence of Satan, but coming out from them doesn't mean leaving them to wallow in their sin.  Jesus also said, in His final prayer for His disciples, "I do not ask You to take them out of the world but to keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15).  Two verses later, Jesus prays, "As you sent Me into the world, I have also sent them into the world."  The world system is lost and in the stages of decay because of rebellion.  I believe it is the task given by Jesus of every believer to come out from under the influence of the world by being transformed by the Gospel, then to go back into the world, keeping ourselves from being of the world, and spread the influence of Christ.

It is right to say parents, not teachers of any stripe are ultimately responsible for training their children.  That training will be best achieved at home or in a Christian school.  But if your children are in public school you are not sinning if you are paying attention to what they are being taught and making sure God's Word is being elevated over any incorrect teaching they may be exposed to.  Christians should curse the darkness we find in public schools but we should also be the first to light a candle.