"I advise no-one to place his child where
the Scriptures do not reign paramount"
The following Biblical study has not been prepared by us but contains some very useful thinking. It was prepared by Dr. David Field and is reproduced here with thanks.
Scripture Passages of Relevance to Christian
English Proverbs of Relevance to Christian
Some Helpful Resources
A Catena of Questions, Thoughts and Quotations
Urging Christian Education
Frequently Asked Questions
A Final Argument
A. Scripture Passages of Relevance to Christian
Genesis 1.1 - the
starting point - what hope is there for an education if it begins with error and
sin on this point ?
Genesis 18.19 - God
intends his people to ensure that their children keep the way of the LORD
Deuteronomy 4.9-10 -
children must be taught the ways and works and will of God
Deuteronomy 6.4-7, 11.19
- at all times and in all places we are to be teaching our children to please
the LORD by obedience of thought and deed
Psalm 1.1-6 - the people
with whom we associate and the things upon which we meditate are of immense
Psalm 78.1-8 - children
must be taught the works and will of God
Proverbs 1-9 - the most
important thing is to get wisdom which begins with (is founded upon ?)
the fear of the LORD, is passed on from parents to children and is essential to
a righteous life
Proverbs 13.24 - to
deprive your child of proper correction and chastisement is an evidence of not
truly wanting the best for him
Proverbs 22.6 - The LORD
encourages us that giving our children a godly education will have lasting
consequences for good
Matthew 18.5-6 -
terrible woes on those who cause believing children to sin
Mark 10.13-16 - Jesus'
anger against any who stand in the way of children coming to him for
John 8.31-32 - to know
the truth and enjoy real freedom we must hold to the teaching which Christ
John 14.6 - Jesus is the
2 Corinthians 10.5 - we
want everything which sets itself up against the knowledge of God to be
destroyed and every thought made captive to the obedience of Christ.
Ephesians 6.4 - fathers
are to bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 1.15-18 - the
reality that the education we give our children must conform to - an essential
description of the origin and purpose of all things and of their sustenance by
and subjection to Christ
Colossians 2.3-8 - right
thinking and living is based on Christ in whom all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge are deposited.
I Timothy 6.20 - we must
keep away from what is falsely called knowledge
2 Timothy 3.14-17 - the
all-sufficiency of Scripture and the benefit of knowing the Scriptures from
B. English Proverbs of Relevance to Christian
No answer is also an
Diet cures more than
He must have a long
spoon that sups with the Devil
He that lies with dogs
rises with fleas
No worse thief than a
Virtue and a trade are
the best inheritance for children
A man talks of what he
A blind man is no judge
Knowledge is folly
except grace guide it
The rotten apple
injures its neighbour
Live with wolves and
you will start to howl
No worse thief than a
A book that is shut is
but a block
Accusing the times is
but excusing ourselves
Better do it than wish
A good cause makes a
stout heart and a strong arm
One hour today is worth
Try and Trust will move
C. Some helpful resources
Good UK site for UK
Christian homeschoolers including a very good ‘briefing paper’
Good UK site for UK
homeschoolers including a useful FAQ page
A major UK
Greg L Bahnsen – “Keeping Covenant with God in the
Education of our Children”
A carefully worded and
concise position statement on Christian education
Dorothy L Sayers - “The Lost Tools of Learning”
Famous essay which has
influenced the growth of “Classical Christian education”
James Tooley - Reclaiming Education,
A thorough look at state
education from a leading educationalist who stands outside of the liberal
establishment. Professor Tooley understands and is highly sympathetic to
Christian reasons for homeschooling.
James Tooley - Education without the State,
Websites: - a selection of Christian education and
homeschooling websites containing some excellent material, illustrating what is
available, and providing innumerable links beyond:
Other Christian websites of the ‘worldview’ and
D. A catena of questions, thoughts and quotations
urging Christian education
Parents have primary responsibility
for the nurture of their children.
That nurture includes the
cultivation of their spirit, the formation of their character, the education
of their mind, the growth of their body and the development of their gifts.
This nurture will include protecting
children from certain evils and dangers such as poison, predatory paedophiles,
busy railway lines and so on.
And it will include providing
children with what they need to flourish such as a healthy diet, good company,
reasonable exercise and so on.
Parents want ‘the best’ for their
‘The best’ is a life of glorifying
God and enjoying him forever. Their true human personhood will be found in the
knowledge of God in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the life of worship and
service which flows from this.
God remakes human beings and brings
them definitively and progressively to full and true human personhood by the
work of the Holy Spirit who unites a person to the Lord Jesus Christ so that
they have a new principle of life within (regeneration) and a new status
before God (justification).
God the Holy Spirit uses the truth
of the gospel / of the Word of God to accomplish human renewal. Sinners are
set free by the truth and set apart by the truth. Their lives are transformed
through the renewing of their minds.
Thus when parents want the best for
their children they will want to ensure that they provide, to the best of
their ability, the means by which their children can come to enjoy and
experience ‘the best’. And the way by which their children will come to enjoy
and experience ‘the best’ of the knowledge of God is – under the sovereign
will and in the faithful power of the Holy Spirit – by them being brought up
in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Children, that is to say, are to be
taught the truth of God.
The ‘truth of God’ is all truth and
in the proportions and with the presuppositions and the priorities that the
Some of the key presuppositions or
cornerstone truths which are likely to be of relevance to a child’s schooling
include the following:
God exists, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit, and is the creator, sustainer, ruler, redeemer and judge of all
The Bible is the Word of God and is
the ultimate authority for all human knowledge – as both source and criterion.
Life is about living to the glory of
God, knowing, loving, worshipping and serving him.
Jesus Christ is Lord of all things,
has all authority in heaven and on earth and, as firstborn from the dead, is
to have first place in all things.
There is no such thing as
neutrality. There are not neutral ‘facts’. All things have been made and
purposed by God and have their meaning from him. If we submit to God’s
assessment, interpretation and judgment of events, objects and persons (and
with the corresponding and proper emotional responses and alignment of our
conduct) then we have the truth. If we do not, we do not.
Thus the statement of a ‘fact’ in a
framework which denies its foundation in the interpretation which God gives is
itself misleading. There is a difference between the last phrase of the
following two sentences – and the difference comes from what precedes in each
made all things and for his glory. All my thoughts are subject to the authority
of the Bible. I think this thought in the presence of my Maker, Redeemer and
Judge. Every human being has been made by God for his pleasure. There are
currently around 6.5 billion people alive on earth.
is not a God or if there is he is irrelevant to the statement I am about to
make. The autonomous human mind is the ultimate authority for human knowledge. I
think this thought as the one who must decide for himself what he believes to be
true. Whether God made all things and for his pleasure is irrelevant to the
statement I am about to make. There are currently around 6.5 billion people
alive on earth.
another way. Would a thoroughly Christian encyclopaedia article on the following
topics be the same as that article in a ‘middle of the road’ encyclopaedia such
as World, Encarta, Grolier, Britannica etc ? Evolution, AIDS, United Nations,
1789, the speed of light, ancient civilizations, stone age men, Karl Marx, the
reign of Queen Mary, earthquakes, surrealism, Hinduism, the Crusades, boxing,
Marilyn Monroe, fossil fuels, quantum theory, global warming.
And so …
Christian parents want the best for their children
the best is to know God
the knowledge of God comes to us through the truth and
the truth is not merely the statement of given propositions but also
- the framework in which those propositions are placed
associations which are made with those propositions
presuppositions which underpin those propositions and
emotional and behavioural responses made to those propositions
… then in
these days of targets and league tables and so on, Christians will want to
measure the performance of non-Christian schools against the standards of God’s
word in respect of questions such as these:
what is the purpose of
education as understood in this school ?
what is the authority for
truth as understood in this school ?
what is the perspective on
life, God, the world which informs the lessons here ?
ethos – is the fear of the
Lord a mark of the school’s life ?
is the content of the lessons
consistent with the teaching of Scripture and how much is left unsaid that
would be better said ?
effectiveness – what do
students look like after receiving an education here ?
Education: 'the systematic
instruction, schooling or training given to the young in preparation for the
work of life.' (Shorter OED). We know what the work of life is - to
fulfil the end of our creation - the purpose for which God made us. And the
purpose for which God made us was that we should glorify him and enjoy him
forever. Thus the education which our children receive is to be judged
according to its effectiveness in instructing, schooling and training children
to live to the glory of God.
In order for them to be able to live
to the glory of God they will need to know about God, about themselves, and
about the world. Where are the underlying, framework, first order truths about
these things to be found? In the Bible. And which book can alone claim to be
sufficient to equip the man of God for every good work ? The Bible. Any
education which is not based upon the Bible and which does not constantly and
explicitly refer (defer) to the Bible as the supreme authority in all
knowledge of all things is bound to be defective.
What is not said in the course of an
education can be as important as what is said. The worst thing about
non-Christian teachers (and inconsistent Christian ones) is that they ignore
God. He is not important enough or relevant enough to mention in the
class-room. He is dead as far as teaching their subject is concerned. If what
is not said - lesson by lesson, hour by hour, day by day and year by
year is that life is about glorifying God, that we cannot properly understand
ourselves or the world except as made by him and for him, and that the Bible
is the Word of God which is sufficient, relevant, reliable and authoritative,
then what is being received is not education but miseducation.
It is not, however, simply a matter
of underlying assumptions, worldviews, premises and frameworks. The academic
disciplines of physics, biology, chemistry, history, geography, economics,
music, art, RE, and English literature are only the more obvious ones in which
what is taught and the way it is taught will differ greatly
according to whether the education given is Christian or non- (anti-)
Christ is the one through whom and
for whom all things were made. He is ruling over all things in all history. He
alone brings men into right relationship with God. If we are to live to the
glory of God we must be able to say with the apostle, 'for me to live is
Christ.' And the substance and shape of such a life are laid down for us
infallibly only in the Bible. An education which ignores or denies these
things is out of touch with reality and is displeasing to God who is
determined that all shall honour the Son, and who raised him from the dead so
that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.
From these things it can be seen
that the debate is not primarily about educational standards or the moral and
social environment of schools but about the purpose, authority, perspective
and content of the instruction, training and schooling that children receive.
In addition, it is necessary to ask
with whom the responsibility for educating children lies. The Bible is clear -
the education of children is a parental responsibility. Presumably parents may
enlist or purchase the help of others in discharging this responsibility - but
that does not transfer the responsibility. Parents will give account to God
for the education that their children receive. And in the light of what was
said above, we must assert that God is obeyed/disobeyed, pleased/displeased in
this area to the extent that parents secure for their children an education
designed to prepare them to live to the glory of God, characterised by
submission to Scripture, beginning with the fear of the Lord, and giving
Christ first place in all things.
Jesus is Lord. The world is mad to
deny this. Do you want your children taught in a madhouse by madmen and
The fear of the Lord is the
beginning of wisdom. Then what should a Christian look for in a school ?
Christ is to have first place in all
things. Then what should a Christian look for in a school ?
If we accept that teachers are in
loco parentis are we happy for God-deniers and God-ignorers to have more
waking, working, talking, teaching time with our little children than we do ?
Would you cheerfully sit at your kitchen window and watch a JW, a Muslim, a
gay rights campaigner talking to your child in the garden for hours on end day
after day after day ?
Is God the Creator ? Does this
matter ? Then what do we make of an education which denies or ignores this
fact ? Will it equip people to live to God's glory ?
What are the goals of a national
curriculum organised education ? What is the philosophy of education taught in
British teacher training ? Is the education provided by a school following the
national curriculum designed to equip pupils to live to the glory of God
God is Creator, the Bible is his
perfect and sufficient revelation, all things are to be understood in terms of
his truth and purpose: an education which is based upon denial or neglect of
these truths is out of touch with reality and is sinful. Sinful because “the
sins forbidden in the first commandment are atheism, in denying or not having
a God; idolatry in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or
instead of the true God ...” (Westminster Larger Catechism, 105).
If God did make the world and us for
his glory; if all things are under his control and worked by him according to
the counsel of his will; if the true meaning of all things and of all events
is the meaning assigned to them by God ... do we help our children by
pretending for large chunks of their education that these things are not so
If all the treasures of knowledge
and wisdom are hid in Christ, do we help our children to knowledge and wisdom
by giving them over to 12,000 hours of education which does not give Christ
the pre-eminence ?
If we believe that the Bible
relevant to everything and foundational for everything then will a
non-Christian schooling help us in our task to teach this to our children?
We teach our children to pray ‘lead
us not into temptation’. Is it possible that we put before them the temptation
of doubting the truth and relevance of Scripture by giving them 12,000 hours
of God-less education - sending them into biology lessons which deny God as
creator, into history lessons which deny him as Lord, into RE lessons which
teach polytheism, into geography and social science lessons which regard him
as an irrelevance and into music, art and literature lessons which teach the
freedom of the artist from him and his standards ?
What would we say to a Christian who
sent their child to a JW school or a Muslim school, arguing that maths is
maths and history is history wherever it is taught and anyway their children
receive a Christian framework at home and at church ?
Liberal and secular bias may be
primarily accomplished by exclusion. The essence of censorship what is not
allowed to be said - what is left out ? G.K. Chesterton – ‘Every education
teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma then by suggestion, by implication, by
atmosphere. Every part of that education has a connection with every other
part. If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is
not an education at all.’
Do children belong to the state or
to parents ? Neither – they belong to GOD ! God owns them - we are stewards
who must give account of what we have done to, with and for these treasures.
The Lord Jesus Christ is angry with
those who lead children away from him or prevent children being brought to him
– Mark 10. Might this include liberal humanist Christ-hating schoolteachers ?
Or parents who put their little children in such people’s hands ?
The Lord Jesus Christ utters a dire
warning to those who cause a little one to stumble – Matthew 18. Might this
include liberal humanist, Christ-hating schoolteachers ? Or parents who put
their little children in such people’s hands ?
May a child’s mind as well as a
child’s body be violated ? Is a polytheistic liberal humanist the intellectual
equivalent of a convicted paedophile – capable of indecently assaulting our
little children’s minds ?
Under what conditions would a
Christian parent allow another person to babysit or feed their child or take
them to the park or to the zoo ? Should these not be somewhat lighter than the
conditions imposed on primary school teachers who will look after and educate
our children for hundreds and hundreds of hours in our absence ?
John Gresham Machen: “I can see
little consistency in a type of Christian activity which preaches the gospel
on street corners and at the ends of the earth but neglects the children [of
the Christian family] by abandoning them to a cold and unbelieving
Does not an anti-Christian education
at school and a Christian upbringing at home lead to schizophrenia at best and
hypocrisy at worst ?
But if we over-protect our children
then surely they will not be able to cope in the long run ? A little exposure
is a good thing isn’t it ? Well, it can be – but the question is a little
exposure to what and for how long and for what reasons ? A little exposure to
the AIDS virus ? A little while with your head under water – how long ?
Does God have control of history or
doesn't he ? Is he Creator or isn't he ? Is the Bible infallible and
sufficient or isn't it ? Is Christ the only Saviour and the Sovereign Lord or
not ? Is life about glorifying and enjoying God or something else ? If the
former of each of these alternatives is true then what good is an education
that teaches, suggests or is based on the working assumption that the latter
of each of them is true ?
Genuine knowledge of any subject
whatsoever begins with reverence and submission to God (Proverbs 1.9),
particularly the fundamentals and philosophy which adhere to the Lord Jesus
Christ rather than the fallen world or human traditions (Col 2.8, I Tim 6.20)
It is the Word of God which sets apart his people in the truth (John 17.17).
... The aim of Christian parents must be to encourage their children to 'bring
every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.' (2 Cor 10.5) For 'in him
are deposited all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.' Only if they are
first disciples of Christ will they know the truth and enjoy real freedom.
E. Some Clarifications
Christian education and
homeschooling are, of course, two very different things. What is urged above
is Christian education. Homeschooling is but one way of acquiring a Christian
education for our children, although one which in the short term may prove to
be necessary for many parents. Christian education is a must. Homeschooling is
It is not the case that “any parent
can homeschool”. Many, many more could than think they could – and some of the
websites above address this very issue. But it would irresponsible to suggest
that homeschooling is within the power – intellectual, financial, and
emotional – of every single Christian parent.
The role of the Church in the
education of children has not received the attention which it needs. Should a
local church devote its energies to establishing a Christian school ? Or allow
its facilities to be used by them ?
The role of the state in the
education of children almost invariably deleterious. The funding, regulation
and provision of education by the state will inevitably follow the philosophy
of ‘the state’ which is, so far in history, almost always at variance with
Biblical principles. Unfortunately – and without Biblical warrant - Christians
seem to have begun to assume that universal 'free' education is a 'right' or
some sort. And / or to believe that the state is responsible for educating
Are not Christian parents allowed to
delegate responsibility for the education of their children ? Well, of course,
we bring in expert help when we need it. We are responsible for feeding our
children but we do not necessarily grow all the food ourselves ! However, we
are responsible to ensure that what they receive is really and truly for their
Is it possible to provide a
Christian framework for education at home – morning and evening and at the
weekends – and in combination with a healthy church life. Then the specifics
of maths and history and so on can be learned at school. Technically, yes. And
all parents are involved in this sort of delegation. The question for
Christian parents is simply whether they are seriously doing all they can to
minimize inappropriately early (and parentally unsupervised) exposure to the
lies of the devil. Six hours a day, five days a week, forty weeks a year is a
serious amount of liberal humanist indoctrination to overcome or provide a
framework for in rather fewer hours morning, evening and weekends.
F. Homeschooling - Frequently Asked
These are the sorts of
questions which frequently arise and which are addressed in detail on the
websites listed above:
Is it legal ? (Yes)
Do you get inspected
? (Sort of, but hardly)
Do you have to
follow the national curriculum ? (No)
What do you have to
do to withdraw your child ? (Not much, sometimes nothing)
socialization ? (As if sitting in a room with 30 exact contemporaries and one
or two adults is a normal social life … ?)
socialization ? (Ever heard of other families, brothers and sisters, wider
family, church, Guides, Scouts, Judo, French Club, Tennis Club, Swimming Club
socialization ? (Yes, it is dreadful in state schools, isn’t it ? Perhaps we
should think about homeschooling !)
Are not homeschooled
children overprotected ? (Some are, some are not)
But what about the
schoolgate relationships you’ll miss out on ? (Are our children a means to an
Are there any
educational advantages ? (Development of self-discipline; time and opportunity
to follow leads, leave the beaten path …)
Are not our children
to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ ? (Indeed, but would we send them to brothels and
drughouses to evangelise at age 11 ?
What about exams and
qualifications ? (Can be a struggle but is do-able)
What about team
games, scientific experiments, class discussions ? (Yes, a real drawback of
homeschooling. But not insurmountable with some effort and imagination.)
If you homeschool
then presumably you get a per capita grant from the Government or are exempt
from that part of your taxation which covers your children’s education ? (That
question, in case you had not guessed, is a joke!)
But what about time
for yourself ? (No Christian has time for himself – it’s all the Lord’s time
and we do with it what we believe pleases him.)
indoctrination ? (In one sense, yes – like indoctrinating our children not to
put their hand in the fire or not to take car-rides or little white tablets
Where do you start ?
What curriculum do you use ? Where do you get the materials ? What about
subjects that you know almost nothing about ?
co-operatives ? (Varies from place to place)
Would you like your child to receive
12,000 hours of FREE TUITION
a whole range of topics ?
History, geography, science,
religion, literature, art all covered. A tremendous diversity of teachers -
atheists, agnostics, gay rights campaigners, politically correct humanists,
statists of all colours, nominal Christians and some true believers
To gain this great
headstart for your children simply send them along to the nearest school
not explicitly and self-consciously committed to Christian education and forget
about them for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, 40 weeks a year between the ages of
5 and 16.
THE SMALL PRINT
Underlying principles of our free
There is no God, or if there is we cannot know
him, or if we can he has nothing to say about the topics covered, or if he has
it must be learned outside of our classrooms
The universe and world as we know them are the
products of millions of years plus chance
The ultimate authority for human knowledge is
the human mind
There is no meaning to life or if there is you are to work it out
THE EVEN SMALLER PRINT
depends how you define “free” !
"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it"
(Proverbs 22:6, NKJV)