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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Value of Christian Education

Dr. Peter Hammond of Africa Christian Action and the South African Reformation Society sent out the following today:


A truly Christian education is invaluable. It will create an environment of respect for God, for His Word and for authority. It will lay foundations of discipline, moral values and a work ethic that will prepare a student for life.

Christianity is a tremendous force for education. Most of the world’s languages were first set to writing by Christian missionaries. The first book in most languages of the world has been the Bible. Christianity has been the greatest force for promoting literacy worldwide throughout history.

Christianity revolutionised education by making it available to all classes and to both genders. Christians were the first to advocate universal education.

The very name, universities, confirms their Christian origin. Uni Veritas means ‘one truth’. It was the Christian monks and missionaries who discipled Europe who established the first universities in Paris, Oxford and Cambridge.

The greatest invention in the field of human learning, the printing press, by Johannes Gutenberg was also a fruit of the Christian faith. The first book to be printed off Gutenberg’s press was the Bible.

Education for the deaf was pioneered by Christians. Education for the blind was pioneered by Christians. The Braille alphabet was developed by a dedicated Christian, Louis Braille, in order to enable blind people to read with their fingers.

It is therefore ironic that so many in education today are so hostile towards Christianity. Perhaps they are ignorant of the Christian roots of universal education for all classes and both genders, and the incomparable contribution of Christianity toward worldwide literacy, graded education and higher education. It certainly is time that teachers, lecturers and professors took an in-depth look at the greatest teacher the world has ever known, Jesus Christ, the greatest Book ever produced, the Bible, and the Christian faith that inspired and pioneered every major branch of education.

A Battleground

However, education has become a battleground. Anyone who believes that education can be neutral is mistaken. Ideas have consequences. Actions flow from thought patterns. Parents are not faced with the choice between sending their children to a religious school or to a non-religious school. All schools are religious. Parents must choose which religion will be taught to their children. Will it be Christianity? Islam? Humanism? Or something else?

The point is that education is inherently religious because it presents a certain perspective and selection of history, values and practices, and it prescribes a worldview.

“See to it that 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

The Responsibility of Parents

Parents can delegate the task, but not the responsibility, for the education of their children.

Children do not belong to the state. They belong to God and are entrusted by Him to parents to: “Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

Parents are responsible under God to oversee the teachers, textbooks and syllabi that will shape and fill their children’s minds for the 15,000 hours of schooling. Christian parents should be involved in the Parent Teachers Association and school governing body of their local school. Parents need to take an active role in the education of their young, according to Biblical principles.

The control of education should be in the hands of parents, and the content of education must be Bible-based.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10

Wide Gates to Hell

Nearly five hundred years ago, the great German Reformer Martin Luther warned: “I am much afraid that schools will prove to be wide gates to hell unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them on the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not constantly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.”

The theory of evolution is often propagated in state school textbooks. Evolution is an attempt to abort God retroactively. Evolution destroys all meaning, purpose, direction, justice and hope in life. “You came from nothing, you are going nowhere, life is meaningless!”

The Bible says: “The fool says in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, their deeds are vile, there is no one who does good.” Psalm 14:1

Secular humanist education attempts to kill God by eradicating Him from the classroom and from the minds of the next generation. By eliminating the Bible as the basis for all knowledge, humanists remove the very foundation of Truth. They prohibit the only objective standard by which reality can be evaluated.

Raising God Fearing Children

The Bible tells us that God seeks “godly offspring…” Malachi 2:15. As a parent, one of my greatest desires and priorities is to bring up my children “in the training and instruction of the Lord”, to “train a child in the way he should go…” Proverbs 22:6. My greatest concern is that my children grow up to love the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their mind, and with all their strength. I pray that my children will grow to love, trust, obey, worship and serve God more consistently and effectively than I have done.

We are to “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done…so that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn will tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands. They would not be…stubborn and rebellious…whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to Him.” Psalm 78:4-8

God’s Word makes clear what our greatest priority is: “These are the commands, decrees and Laws the Lord your God directed me teach you to observe…so that you, your children, and their children after them, may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commandments that I give you, and so that you may enjoy a long life…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your heart. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind their on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates…fear the Lord your God, serve Him only.” Deuteronomy 6:1-13

The education and discipleship of the next generation is given as the very first application of God’s Law and the highest priority of God’s people in this passage. We are not merely to teach a head knowledge, but a wholehearted love for God. Wholeheartedly - with all our soul and with all of our strength. Body, mind and spirit, and in every aspect of our lives, we are to radiate and reflect our love for the Lord.

In the Light of God’s Law

The Lord’s commandments should be discussed, morning, noon and night. From the very first thing in the morning to the last thing at night. God’s Word is to be such an integral part of our lives that everything we do with our hands and everything that we think with our minds is to be guided and governed by Scripture. Our homes should also reflect the Lordship of Christ in all areas of life and everything within our gates, even our gardens. People should be able to tell the difference Christ makes in our lives. They should see that we love the Lord and that the Bible governs every aspect of our lives.

The Scripture warns us: “Do not be misled; bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33. Worldly friends, worldly fashions, worldly music, pagan magazines, TV, newspapers, state schools and the Internet can corrupt and conquer our children.

We need to be aware of negative peer pressure and bullies. Our children need to have the Spiritual backbone and the courage to stand up for their convictions and fight for the Faith. Temptations and traps of the devil surround and press in on young people today demanding their attention and allegiance: Hollywood stars, rock idols, sports heroes, political leaders, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, hip hop, rap, rebellion and rock and roll, gangster pimp music, fashions and worldly friends.

“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong…” Exodus 23:2

Our time is so limited. We need to make great efforts to protect our families’ time. We need to schedule family priorities into our diary. We need to focus on God’s priorities.

“Only one life, it will soon be passed – only what’s done for Christ will last.”

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. We must put most of our efforts into that which really matters the most. I want my children to learn to be brave, to be dependable, faithful, disciplined Christians of integrity, people of their word who can be depended upon to honour their commitments. They need to learn to be unselfish, to always put personal feelings and interest aside in order to do what is right, to care for the weak and needy and for the lonely. To rescue stray animals, to help those who are in greatest need, and to serve the Lord sacrificially. For me to teach this to my children, they need to see these priorities and principles at work in my life, consistently.

As a father I have a God-given duty to provide for and protect my children, and to be an example to them as I disciple them and train them to be God-fearing Christians who will love and serve God, His people and His creatures wholeheartedly.

“Know therefore, that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His Covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His Commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9

Dr Peter Hammond

Dr. Peter Hammond is a home schooling father of four children, and a co-author, with his wife Lenora, of Reforming Our Families. www.ReformationSA.org

Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632

Cape Town

South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481
E-mail: info@christianaction.org.za

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