Education & Christian Liberty

In his article entitled “Is Public School an Option?”, Dr. Al Mohler described Christian participation in public school as “one of the most controversial debates of our times.”[1] Dr. Mohler explained that despite the community-based, parent-controlled tradition of the American public school system, the surging militancy of the secular culture and the intolerance shown towards a biblical worldview make the classroom a toxic arena that must be avoided by Christian parents and children. Mohler wrote,

“Those who set educational policy are now overwhelmingly committed to a radically naturalistic and evolutionistic worldview that sees the schools as engines of social revolution. The classrooms are being transformed rapidly into laboratories for ideological experimentation and indoctrination... For Christians who take the Christian worldview seriously and who understand the issues at stake, the answer [regarding the legitimacy of public school for Christian children] is increasingly “no.”[2]

Across the kaleidoscopic spectrum of American Christianity, parents are embarking on a mass exodus out of the public schools in which they were educated and into the world of Christian private school and homeschool. One survey indicated that the number of parents homeschooling their children has risen a dramatic 75% since 1999.[3] This is not, therefore, some fringe movement of hyper-conservatives, but rather a snowballing philosophical and cultural movement among American evangelicals. But is this mass exodus mandatory for Christians?

In the midst of this seismic social shift, church leaders are tempted to choose a side, often opting to canonize the collective cultural convictions of their congregations. Then the educational preferences of the majority become woven into the fabric of the church’s identity. Individual preferences and convictions warp into expectations. Expectations create rifts and factions. These rifts, if left unbridged by the grace of the gospel, can threaten the peace and purity of the church.

Jesus condemned the Pharisees for adding man-made tradition to the law of God: “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6-7). To condemn or command something that the Bible neither condemns nor commands is to elevate the traditions of men to the doctrines of God. While healthy dialogue between brothers and sisters who disagree is fruitful, Christian parents have the freedom to choose how their children are to be educated.  To put it another way, education is a matter of Christian liberty that ought to be respected by church members and ministers alike. “Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him” (Romans 14:3).

What does the Lord require of all Christian parents? The prophet Malachi said that God, through the spiritual union of husband and wife, is seeking “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15). The Christian home ought to be thickly perfumed with the fragrance of the gospel. Great effort must be made to foster deep conversations about who God is and what He has done in and through His Son Jesus. Lord’s Day worship should be the hub around which family life rotates and to which it weekly returns. Specific times of family devotion led by the father ought to be deeply etched into the routines of home life. The Christian home was designed to be the incubator of the soul where covenant children, being regularly nourished with the rich milk of the gospel and warmed by its life-giving light, can grow spiritually mature and strong, aflame with passion for Christ and willing and ready to live in obedience to Him. It is the duty of all Christians parents, whether they choose public, private, or home school, to faithfully disciple and discipline their children in the ways of God.






[1] Albert Mohler Dr., “Is Public School an Option?,” Answers in Genesis, September 10, 2013, accessed October 29th, 2014, https:// weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_content=main-question&utm_campaign=aw10052013.

[2] Ibid. 

[3] The Missing Piece: Educating New Kids for a New World (alboa Pr: B, 2013), 223.