Saturday, June 26, 2010

Christian Schools and the Nature of Man

…The importance of Christian moral training is pointed up by the commands of God to give moral training to our children. When God had given His moral instruction to the children of Israel, He commanded them to teach them to their sons and their sons’ sons (Deut. 4:9) and to teach them diligently to their children (Deut. 6:7).

One of the chief concerns of Christian parents today is that their children receive Christian moral training. Christian parents are seeking information and instruction so they can give this moral training to their own children, and they are seeking schools that will continue this training. This concern of Christian parents for the moral training of their children is one of the main reasons for the phenomenal growth of Christian schools in recent years.

The idea that right and wrong are relative rather than absolute has controlled the thinking of our secular society and our secular schools for many years. As a result, moral training outside of our Christian institutions has become impossible. If we, the adults, do not know what is right and what is wrong, we cannot instruct our children in this area. Thus, in modern educational philosophy, moral training is not part of the program. Teachers are left to flounder concerning moral training even though education, by its very nature, has a moral dimension.

Christians relate all morality to God. All goodness is God’s goodness and He tells us in the Scriptures exactly how He wants us to conduct ourselves. Like Joseph, we need to learn to say, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). All authority is God’s authority (Rom. 13:1). God has delegated some authority to parents (Eph. 6:4), to the state (I Pet. 2:13-15), to the local church (Heb. 13:7), and to employers (Eph. 6:5). Thus, disobedience to these God-ordained authorities is disobedience to God.

The Scriptures make it clear that concerning the moral training of children the parents are given the authority and the responsibility to carry it out (Heb. 12:7-11; Eph. 6:4; Prov. 13:24). Some people today seem to think that this authority belongs to the state. In Romans 13:4 we are told that the state bears the sword. The sword is an instrument of death. In other words, the state, and the state alone, has authority of life and death over its citizens. Neither the home nor the church was given this power. The problem rises when the state attempts to use this power in the area of education. One can force people into a schoolroom with the sword, but to get them to learn by threatening with the sword is not very practical. Neither is moral training a job that can be done by one bearing a sword.

The persuasive power of the home and the church rests in love, which commodity was not given to the state. Much of the present-day confusion concerning the matter of authority over children stems from the fact that the state has thrust its authority between the parent and the child. As Christian school teachers, we need to remember that God delegated the only authority we have over any individual student to the parent and by the parent to us.

If any family’s moral and ethical standards are so divergent from the Bible-based Christian standard that the student does not fit into the Christian school program, then that child should not be in the Christian school. The power to expel must remain with the school authority in order for moral training to take place.

Excerpted from Chapter 5, “Christian Schools and the Nature of Man,” of An Introduction to the Christian School, Copyright © 1985 by James M. Bramblet.

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