Training children is an all-encompassing, time-consuming enterprise given to parents by God (Deut. 6:1–7). Both quality time and quantity time are required. This Biblical mandate extends to every area of life so that all thoughts are brought into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ and His word and rule (2 Cor. 10:5). God charges parents with the responsibility and authority to nurture their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
For education to be truly Biblical, godly teachers must instruct children with God-honoring and life-equipping principles and materials so they become productive members of the Kingdom of God. Training in all disciplines and subjects must reflect basic principles of Scripture: that we have no other gods before God (e.g., career advancement, addictions, or lusts); that we not bow down to any ideology or system in place of God (e.g., feminism, libertarianism, or environmentalism); that we not take God’s name in vain by giving lip service to the faith while our speech and dress oppose God’s standards; that honoring our parents is more important than being accepted by our peers, etc. In addition, children must be taught the fear of the Lord and that nothing should be considered acceptable if it denies the truth of Scripture. In essence, they must know with certainty that the Faith is for all of life.
Psalm 127 teaches that children are God’s heritage. God gives specific children to specific parents and not to the state. Parents who surrender this stewardship responsibility and privilege to secularism disobey the clear commands of Scripture. No matter how ill equipped they may think they are for the task, their parental responsibility (and culpability) remains. All parents will stand before the Lord one day and give an account for how they prepared their children for service in the Kingdom of God. Good grades, high test scores, and college scholarships will not impress God. Whereas those are all beneficial, they will take their proper place behind the child’s ability to explain how and why Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life in all disciplines and areas of study.
Where this education takes place is secondary to that it takes place. Parents may decide to “outsource” education, but this does not relieve them of their responsibility to oversee their child’s education. They may want a better level of instruction for their children than they can give and hire tutors for specific subjects (calculus or chemistry, for example), or they may enroll their children in a Christian school. However they decide, they must understand that the piano teacher, athletic instructor, tutor, or schoolteacher is not ultimately responsible for the content and application of what is being studied. They, as parents, are.
The options are many: day schools, correspondence courses, homeschools, or co-operative school settings. Support is vital from both the church and those “veterans” who already have made the journey.
The Scriptures tell us to train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). This is not an unconditional promise, but rather wisdom that reaffirms what we sow in our children is what we will reap to ourselves and our culture.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].