Why Choose A Christian School?

In considering whether private school is worth the financial investment, there are a host of things to consider from academics to athletics to environment to customer service. While these are important considerations, for many families, religious commitments are the primary motivation. For these families (present author included), the question isn’t “Can I afford to send my kids to a private Christian school” but rather “Can I afford NOT to send my kids to a private Christian school.”

  • School is one of the most formative institutions in the life of a child It is a statistical fact that students spend more waking hours per week in school than anywhere else. Compared to time spent with family (approximately 4 hours per week) and time spent at church / youth group (approximately 3 hours per week), the sheer amount of time spent at school (approximately 35 hours per week) makes it one of the most formative institutions in the life of a child. This fact highlights the importance of the decision parent’s face each year in deciding where their children will spend the bulk of their time during the most formative years of their lives.
  • Educational Neutrality is a Myth With respect to Jesus Christ, neutrality is impossible. He simply doesn’t give us that option (Matt. 12:30). It is impossible to simply like Jesus as a good moral teacher or be indifferent to His claim to be the Messiah and Son of God. We must either crown Him as Lord or crucify him as a liar and a lunatic. There is no other place to stand with any integrity. Yet, our government and our public school system pretend to be “neutral” toward God on the one hand and then declare Him “unconstitutional” and proceed to banish Him from the cafeteria, the classroom, and the curriculum on the other. But let’s be honest, banishing God from school isn’t neutrality, it’s blatant atheism and secularism. Doug Wilson, the father of the modern classical Christian education movement says it best: “When God is omitted from education, we are not silent about Him; rather, we are teaching children in the most convincing way possible that God is irrelevant. They can safely omit Him whenever it’s convenient to do so.” In our current secular cultural climate, parents are forced to choose between schools that honor God or ignore God, but as Christians, we dare not pretend that it’s possible to provide a religiously “neutral” education. At least Christian schools are honest about the fact that they believe Christ to be the only sure foundation for the education of youth.
  • Obedience and Faithfulness to God’s Word Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Thou shalt not send your children to public school.” But that doesn’t mean the Bible is silent when it comes to providing parents with guidelines for how their children should be educated. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament make it very clear that parents have a moral duty to ensure their children are given a God-centered and Christ-honoring education (Deut. 11:18-21, Psalm 127:3, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4).
  • Leaving a Godly legacy Last, but not least, it’s important as Christians to think about our duty to preserve a legacy of faith by investing in multi-generational discipleship. There’s a chilling passage in the Book of Judges that haunts me. You remember the story of Joshua who led the nation of Israel into the promised land: “And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died…And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” (Jdg 2:8-10) Despite faithfully leading the people of God into the Promised Land, what Joshua failed to impart to this people was the absolute necessity of carrying on a multi-generational heritage. The result of this was devastating to Israel and plunged them into national apostasy and turmoil for generations. Similarly, we may serve God with our whole heart but if our children don’t share this commitment, our families, our churches, and our country will be shattered.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment or a question.

  • Anon

    My wife and I are considering two options: move to a city where our kids can attend a classical, Christian school, or move to the city where my family lives, but with no classical, Christian school. Any thoughts on how to weigh each of those options?

    • I wholeheartedly agree with Peter and would strongly consider those options, even if they might make life more difficult for you and your family in the short term (schooling is hard work, and commuting can be tiresome).

      With that said, there are Christians thinking helpfully about how to be faithful in the context of the public school systems. I realize that some cities and districts are too far gone, but there are resources for navigating even those choppy waters if you must: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LA9FIXY?btkr=1 (Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School)

  • Peter Hansen

    That’s a tough question! I think I’d try to determine if classical homeschooling was an option. If so, that might weigh in favor of moving close to family and still providing a classical Christian education for your children. Another option would be to research the local Christian schools in the area. They might not be classical, but they would certainly be preferable to secular public school options (in my opinion). If neither homeschooling or a local Christian school are viable options, I would seriously consider moving to a city as close to your family as possible that has a classical Christian school (close enough for easy weekend trips, holidays, etc.). Hope that helps!