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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « Set Apart | The Haitian Earthquake and Pat Robertson »

    Public vs. Homeschool Debate: One Christian's Perspective

    (Originally written May 18, 2006)


    Lately, I have been hearing a lot about churches (Southern Baptist in particular) and various individuals sounding the alarm for all Christian parents to pull their children out of public schools and either homeschool them or send them to private Christian schools.


    The idea is to stage a wide-scale boycott against the public school system for ideas and facts taught to children (among other items, evolution and so-called “sex” education), the environment that kids are in (anti-God/anti-Christian with an emphasis in exploring and heralding other religions and gods), and behavior that children are exposed to (foul language, sometimes explicit public displays of affection between students, violence, abuse, and a myriad of other unseemly actions that children should not be subject to).


    While I certainly understand and support parents who wish to remove their children from what they deem harmful environments, I am concerned about this mass call to retreat.


    My main concern is the effect removing all Christian influence would have on the already-deteriorating school systems, the effect it would have on other children who are “left behind”, and the underlying assumption that God would call all Christians to the same action when it comes to schooling their kids, coupled with the unspoken judgment “if you really love your kids and God, you will remove your children from public schools”.


    Concern #1 The failing public school system

    I will not be so blind as to refute that today’s public school system is in serious trouble. Students today are learning more about sex and STDS than they are about “reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic”; just take a gander at national test scores (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/).


    There are quite a number of things wrong with public school systems, and it is intimidating to consider them all. But pulling out may just allow those who are already winning the “schooling war” to continue scoring points. Christians’ voices do count for a lot, but if we retreat, we will be paying taxes still t a school system we do not support, and we may have lost our say because “our children are no longer there”.


    Concern #2 Non-Christians

    I have heard the argument that Christians are not doing much good in public schools anyway. Up to 90% of kids in public schools from Christian backgrounds do not believe in moral absolutes (http://www.worldviewweekend.com/articles/christianstudents.shtml).


    However, we send missionaries to other countries with populations less than 2% Christian with many blessings and support. I see public schools as a missionary field as well. You might then argue that children are children and not supposed to be missionaries until they are more founded and grounded in their faith and beliefs.


    But Christian kids will be models of Christ to their peers, if we are careful to teach them how and pay strict attention to their schooling and friends. Many other non-Christian children are not completely founded or grounded in their beliefs either, and the public school system may very well be the one and only place they experience Christ's love in action.


    Parents can be a part of this also. By the time a person is 21 years of age, they have mostly made up their minds about their belief systems. "Catch them" when they are young and pliable is what other propagandists are doing and they are winning! We need to fight back for our children.


    I have also heard some argue that we are only responsible for our own children, not other kids. I understand we are responsible to our children first because they are our personal gifts from God. But this argument is an unfounded, selfish, and weak excuse. We are supposed to care about, fight for, and love others, especially children because they are innocent and defenseless.


    Concern #3 I know God’s will for Your Life

    I believe God calls some parents to homeschool their kids, some to private school, and some to public school. I believe God calls us all to different actions for the same end. God is not a cookie-cutter God!


    Christianity is great because one is free to be themselves, to be who God made them to be, and to express themselves with the thoughts, talents, and skills God has provided them with. We do not think alike, nor are we expected to. You may not be a writer, whilst I am certainly no engineer.


    We are a body; many parts that create the whole. Some are eyes, others feet, still others are ears (or whatever). While we are all called to certain things (prayer, fasting, compassion, love, etc.) and God expects certain behaviors (no lying, stealing, gossip, violence, foul language, etc.) we remain so wonderfully un-alike. Like a stained-glass window with many different shapes, colors, and patterns, all coming together to create a beautiful piece of art and inspiration.


    When someone or a group claims to “know God’s will” for another’s life, I begin to slowly back away. God is also a personal God, and only you and God can know for absolute certainty whether your thoughts or actions are also His thoughts and actions (unless it is obviously stated in His word for all to read. Example: murder of any kind, is wrong and if you think God is telling you its “ok”, read His word again. It isn’t, and His word does not change.). 


    Concern #4 Judgment Day

    If you are implying to another that they should act, think, or talk a certain way because you think “if they love someone”, in other words you think they should change who they are/act/feel on an undefined biblical issue such as homeschooling vs. public schooling-“advance directly to Go. Do not collect $200…”


    This is called manipulation. The Bible and the God of the Bible are not into that, so neither should you be. It is not up to you to change hearts. That is God’s realm. It is not up to you to coerce action. That’s God’s job. Your responsibility is to present the facts (truth) in a loving manner, and offer to pray with/for a person on a particular matter.


    And if they mess up? What if they get it wrong? Then it is our job to extend love, compassion, mercy, gentleness, grace, and forgiveness to them, just as God would and does. Is it easy? No. Will we always get it right? No. That’s why love, compassion, mercy, gentleness, grace, and forgiveness are also offered to us.

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