“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
I’m a big advocate of homeschooling and believe parents who homeschool or enroll their children in private schools should be exempt from paying taxes to support public schools. But while I’d like to see a grassroots campaign for such an exemption, I don’t consider it sinful for Christians to send their children to government schools.
But E. Ray Moore, who’s running for lieutenant governor in South Carolina, certainly does. In a recent interview, he said when Christian parents send their kids to public schools they’re disobeying God by putting them “under false doctrine and in harm’s way.”
“If the evangelical community would step up and obey God in educating their own children, we could collapse the state model,” he said. “We’re feeding the monster by keeping our children there.”
Moore runs Exodus Mandate, “a Christian ministry to encourage and assist Christian families to leave Pharaoh’s (government) school system for the Promised Land of Christian schools or homeschooling.” He puts most of the blame for our changing culture, one that has “turned against God, against our Constitution and against traditional values,” on the public school system. Moore said parents in the church who could afford Christian school tuition could financially assist parents who can’t. It’s true that taxpayer-supported schools have become more anti-Christian, but that’s a different issue than whether it’s sinful to send children to them.
I used to daydream about living in a gated city on a mountain with only Christians. Imagine that every neighbor, teacher, store clerk, mechanic, hairstylist, lawyer, doctor, etc., was a fellow believer. True believers. One important fact I ignored while envisioning this city was sin. We’d still have to deal with the wages of sin and its consequences. There’d still be death. Our city would be fallen, just like the rest of the world.
And then there’s the Great Commission. God calls us to be spiritually separate from the unrepentant, not physically. One way God reaches the hearts of the lost is through you and me. We witness, we warn, and we pray.
For us to do as God commanded and be salt and light in the world, we must be in the world, among the unbelievers, but not of it. We’re preservers in the world, and through the Holy Spirit we season it with godly flavor. Our words and actions testify to God’s glory. We’re God’s spokesman, and we need hearers. We’re to be a light in the darkness.
The Commission also applies to believing children, but they can serve as godly examples in other settings besides school. What about schools’ ungodly influences? It’s getting harder for Christians of any age to publicly express their faith without “angry atheists” trying to shut us down. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that for a growing number of parents “who take the Christian worldview seriously and who understand the issues at stake,” such schools aren’t an option.