Should Christian parents remove their children from anti-Christian public schools?
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) General Assembly this month “overwhelmingly” rejected a proposal to urge PCA parents to do so; but the issue is not going to go away, promised the author of the resolution.
“It’s too important to stop,” said Steven Warhurst, who brought the proposal to the assembly. “We will continue to plug away at it. Maybe we’ll do better addressing the issue to the presbyteries [governing bodies representing groups of local churches] than to the General Assembly.”
Warhurst, a teaching elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, wrote the resolution and submitted it to the denomination’s resolutions committee. The committee voted against it, 32-10, but allowed a debate and a vote on the floor of the assembly.
“The debate on the floor didn’t go well,” Warhurst said. “The voters seemed shocked by the whole idea of leaving the public schools and appalled that someone would present such a proposal to them.
“The objections, though, weren’t to the resolution itself. Much of the opposition was personal testimony — ‘I went to public school, and I turned out okay!’ A lot of people are in denial about the state of the public schools.
“There was a feeling that we were proposing a retreat from the culture: that the public schools are a mission field, and our kids are missionaries. As if an eight-year-old kid could go up against a 40-year-old teacher!
“If it is a retreat, it’s a strategic retreat. When you send them to the public schools, you’re sending kids to battle. We believe they should be equipped with a Christian education before they’re sent out to be missionaries.”
Warhurst’s proposal received the endorsement of Dr. D. James Kennedy, president of Knox Theological Seminary and Coral Ridge Ministries, one of the nation’s largest radio and television ministries. Kennedy said he was “disappointed but not surprised” at the defeat of the resolution.
After the debate, the assembly voted by a show of hands to reject the proposal.
“There was no need to count the votes,” Warhurst said. “The voters were overwhelmingly against us.”
The resolution stated that public schools, being officially humanistic and secular, cannot provide children with a Christian education. Instead, the schools “are successfully converting children to secular humanism.” It called on “all [PCA] officers and members to remove their children from the public schools and see to it that they receive a thoroughly Christian education.”
“A lot of the delegates were very angry with us for raising this issue,” Warhurst said. “But it’s out in the open now, and the more we debate it, the better for our church.”
Warhurst himself has six children and is homeschooling five of them (the youngest is an infant).