Who teaches your children is every bit as important as what is taught to your children. God, through the pen of Paul in his letter to the Colossians, gives us a strong warning: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Why? We are to be on guard because man’s philosophy is empty. The world elevates the tradition of men over the truth of the Master, kidnapping the God-oriented mind. (According to Kenneth Wuest, spoil literally means “to carry off booty, or to carry off as a slave.”)
John Phillips wrote, “Any attempt to take people back to ‘the rudiments of the world’ represents retrogression, not advancement.” Think about the simple fact that your child will spend between 15,000 and 16,000 hours in the classroom between kindergarten and 12th grade. Compare that with the average of only 2,000 hours in church during that same time period; then ask yourself, does it really matter what they are taught during the hours they spend in school?
Is it realistic to think that the false teaching of the world can be washed out of your child’s mind when he spends 8 hours in school for every one hour he spends at church? If you think it can be washed out, you are fooling yourself! The world serves a different god—self! The end of Romans 16:19 admonishes us, “…I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”
Why spend time studying the “counterfeit” when you can study the “real thing”? Kim Stegall writes, “Sometimes more harm is done by what is left unsaid. A secular science textbook discusses babies, and bees, and rainbows but never mentions the God who made them all (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3).” We do well to remember that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). The world is not capable of teaching spiritual truth.
These same concerns apply to post-secondary education as well. Ponder the following survey results: 52% to 80% of the children from evangelical households who graduate from Christian school and then attend a non-Christian university will effectively deny their faith before they graduate. The majority (88%) of these students will stop attending church before their junior year. A God-sensitive mind is a terrible thing to waste.
The truth is that education begins with God. We believe the Bible when it says that there is only one true foundation and that it is found in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). The best antidote to the false philosophy of the world is to avoid it. We ought rather to “…grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (2 Peter 3:18). The surest way to recognize a falsehood is to be steeped in the truth by delving deeper into the Word of God and using it as our guide book for life. Your child will never grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ while sitting in a classroom where Christ is not welcome and where the devil has total control of the texts and the minds of the vast majority of the administration.
I am convinced that Christian education is not an option; it is a mandate. If you are of a different mind, ask God what more you can do to have your children continue living their lives, long after leaving your home, founded upon the principles of the Word of God. Perhaps this is an area where God wants you to increase your faith.
Pastor, Fairfax Baptist Temple