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August 29, 2007

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Tanya Avera

Hmmm....while i see your point (we have homeschooled and both of our girls are now in public school) i think one of the bigger points of contention is "Are those children ready to be light?" Sure, my 7 year old can invite her friends to church and tell them that she loves Jesus, but if her belief in God is called into question (through a lesson taught by her teacher, through her friends or another adult), can she defend it? Probably not. In her mind, everyone should love God and that's just how it is - He is real and He loves us - end of story. At this age, to have that sweet belief questioned by an adult through teaching or conversation, would probably leave her a bit speechless and send her home with a ton of questions (which, as her parents, we would answer) - while i don't think it would hurt her beliefs in the end - would it really help the person that is questioning them? Now do i think that kids should be only allowed to go to Christian schools or be homeschooled? Not at all - it's what works for each individual family - but just because you send your child to a Christian school doesn't mean that there isn't a mission field there - i'd venture to guess that you have just as many lost parents and kids in a Christian school as you do in most public schools. The one benefit of a Christian school, that i can see, is not in the people but in the curriculum that is usually used.

Cole

It's not that kids aren't ready to be lights, my daughters are some of the brightest little lights for Jesus I've ever seen. I'm just not sure that we should send off our children to battle. I know I'm overprotective, but one of my responsibilities is to oversee the healthy growth of my kids. I live to reach people for Jesus, but sorry, on this one, my kids come first. They have had the chance to influence kids at their school, including some Hindus who attend. They also are lights in our neighborhood. The point of school is to get an education. Our kids are getting a better education, hands down, than they would in public school. So, they'll have a lifetime of impact.

Joe

My personal view on this subject is that parents know best...However my opinion is as follows,I for 5 years spoke weekly to children and middle school-high school students at a christian school. What I found largely was that students who were over exposed to truth and had no outlet to respond to what was taught led to a very hard heart! Now my role was to Speak the truth in a Quote "Christian school" the reality was that most of the students heard it but never applied it! Now I have a teenage daughter that is in her Sr. year in a christian school that has been taught that truth comes from Jesus Christ and the Word of God these were taught at home and through the local church.

lavalamp775

joe,

good points. two quick responses.

1. i don't agree that the point of school is education. any more than i believe the point of having a job is to make money. i think God puts people in places for bigger reasons.

2. in general, i find that people are all for people going into tough places with the gospel...as long as it's not them or their kids. it's a different animal when you're talking about your own kids, but isn't that were belief meets faith?

you're dead on about being a light in neighborhoods. i think that's important. it's not like the only place they can be lights is at school.

Andrea

I respectfully disagree. My husband and I are willing to go into "tough places" with the gospel, but I don't believe that God called our elementary aged kids to do the same. I don't know your child personally, but I have some "light for Jesus" children of my own and while they display huge amounts of spiritual maturity for their age, I won't for a second think that they're equipped to stand up to the world and not be compromised. There are many, many other places where our children can be a light other than in the public school. Neighborhoods, sports, dance, parks, clubs, etc.

I personally don't know of any Christian school or homeschool family that stays holed up in their homes, refusing to be in the big bad world. It's a rather antiquated cliche. Some of the coolest Seven-jeans-wearing, Harry Potter reading, 360 playing, indie-rock listening people I know (myself included), are homeschooling their children and managing to still be salty as a family unit.

Do I think any child attending public school is doomed? No. But, I certainly wouldn't criticize a single person who chooses for their children to be schooled in a private environment, regardless of their reasoning.

Tammy Parson

Here goes my two cents. I work at a Christian School and believe me, I am in the world. Yes, you have the churchy kids but most of our kids are the ones getting kicked out of public school. We also have kids that this is the only time they get to know about God. They do not attend a church regularly nor do their parents.

It's a personal choice and after public school, homeschooling, and now christian school I feel that God has us right where he wants us.

lavalamp775

Andrea,

I never said that school is the only place where children can be light. I am simply pointing out the fact that a mass movement being launched by this one Christian seminary seems to be focused on removing children from anti-God environments.

I think parents that choose to home school their children do have lots of other opportunities to get involved in other places, as you mention. And I never criticized a parent that made this choice.

I do not think the fact that "public schools are anti-God" is a good reason to pull kids out. I think as we are supposed to be in the world, we should equip children to do the same. I don't think we should be so quick to pull our children out of uncomfortable environments where their faith may be tested.

Of course, this is a parents decision, and I would never judge. As I said earlier, we do have lots of home schooling parents at OLC.

Not to further the stereotype, but some of the biggest complaints about our kids in church policy came from home schooling parents, who believed an adult service was appropriate for their spiritually mature children. Shouldn't these kids be ready to be in a public school environment? If they are so mature, then why not give them the opportunity to live out their faith? Are we really afraid that they might learn a cuss word and the entire value system that we taught them at home will crumble?

Okay, that's a big stir of the pot. :)

lavalamp775

tammy,

good thoughts. i went to christian school for two years (5th and 6th grade). I also taught english and Bible in a christian school. I know not all kids at Christian school are Christians. it's definitely a personal choice. i just want to call attention to the fact that there's always a bigger picture - there's a mission to be salt in light to the world and to go and make disciples. sure, this can be done in a Christian school environment. but i question a seminary president statement that the reason we need to start christian schools is because the public schools have become anti-God. that's a reason to go INTO the public schools, not run away from them.

america is quickly becoming a POST-CHRISTIAN nation (like England...go there and you'll see that churches have become museums). If we pull our kids (and ourselves) out of anti-God environments, we'll limit our ability to influence culture and we will remove our voice from the world.

Dave Hendrickson

I also have to respectfully disagree. In one of your posts, you said, "I am simply pointing out the fact that a mass movement being launched by this one Christian seminary seems to be focused on removing children from anti-God environments." This statement shows a clear point worth examining.

Firstly, as you declare above, schools are anti-God environments. This can also be easily confirmed by watching the news and reviewing class curricula that is laced with education about sex, the nature of man, and the history of the world, all of which are contrary to Biblical teaching.

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, we are clearly called to not have fellowship and continuing relationships with darkness, that is, unbelievers. Therefore, in a situation where people are forced against their will to be a part of a system that tramples upon the tenets of our faith, this is clearly contrary to God's Word.

Are we called to go and make disciples? Yes. Are we called to go and be a light before men? Absolutely. But are we called to endorse and/or be a part of a system that is outright opposed to our principles and beliefs? No.

If one of your children was working in a strip club, not as an entertainer, but someone who did the accounting in the back room, would you say that their purpose there is to be a light to those who are in the darkness? Clearly, that place is an anti-God environment, and while there may be opportunities to share the Gospel with those people, it is obviously a situation where we would say that that Christian child avoid being there.

While this may be a radical comparison, consider the headlines of recent years where children are performing sexual acts in class, swear openly at their teachers and each other, and the dress codes seldom exceed the minimum lines for decency. Is a comparison of our schools to "gentlemen's clubs" too far off nowadays?

I wholeheartedly endorse an overhaul of the existing school system, which can be done only with involvement with the powers that be. And, since the odds are set against us, and we know that things will only get worse, I also encourage the removal of our children from these bad places until things get better.

--
Dave

lavalamp775

dave,

interesting question. let's make it bigger than just my kids. should a christian do the accounting of a strip club books in order to share the gospel? what if they were called to do that? what if they looked at their job as a mission? jesus himself got accused of being too close to these kind of evil people.

should paul have avoided pagan rome in the book of acts? should jesus have avoided the woman caught in the act?

i'm also not in agreement that a kid going to school is endorsing a system opposed to God. You drive a car manufactured by people far from God - by driving, are you endorsing them. you shop at stores that sell alcohol, does that mean you're endorsing drunkenness?

you're touching on my biggest complaint with this movement. i don't think we should start christian karate groups. i don't think we should get our hair cut from christian barber shops. i don't think we should only eat at chick-fil-a. we're called to be in the world. not of it, sure. but we're supposed to be in it. if we intentionally avoid every place that could be considered anti-god, we are abdicating our mission.

SHARON GREEN

My opinion is that you need to do what the Lord impresses on your heart to do. We sacrificed much to send our kids to Christian school for a good part of their schooling. We did so, because He led us to. When we put them in public schools, again, we did so because He changed our hearts on the subject. Did both and now 20 years plus later, they both love serve Him. The important thing here is following Him and His Leading!!!

Andrea

I know that you didn't specifically say that the only place a child can be a light is in public school. But you did say "If the salt doesn’t encounter the world, it’s not much good!" I was merely pointing out that the salt can certainly encounter the world while being schooled at home or in a Christian school. That argument just doesn't hold water. And therefore, the whole theory that there's a "problem" with Christian schools (or homeschooling) is eradicated in my opinion.

lavalamp775

summary of my point:

1. there is a problem with anyone that refuses to enter an environment simply because it is anti-God.

2. i have a problem with a major christian organization encouraging an exodus from the public school arena when the Bible tell us that these are the places we should be TAKING the gospel.

3. you can be a witness in lots of areas in life, including ball fields. yes, salt needs to be in the world, and there are lots of opportunities for that. but it's a slippery slope. first, it's a school because it's so evil. but don't those same kids play baseball? don't they take karate at the karate place. won't those places be just as "anti-God"

Andrea

I'm going to post one more time and then I'll let it rest. I promise! lol.

I do understand your position and to a degree, I agree with you. No, I won't shy away from the karate place with the "anti-God" little kids. But, the major difference is that most children spend more hours at school than at home with thier families. Day in and day out they will be learning (not just exposed to) anti-God themes. So, in essence, they will spend more time per day learning falsehoods than truth. When my kids are middle school aged, they may be equipped from years of training at home to "go into the world" but I know for sure my 5 and 6 years olds are NOT able to handle the constant barrage at this age.

For example, as you know, a young child can start to behave disrespectfully or become influenced by the TV shows she watches. Why is her discernment not kicking in when she sees disrespectful attitudes? Why is she not voluntarily turning off the TV? Because the child isn't mature enough and can't be expected to be mature enough. Which is why we limit TV and monitor the programs they watch. Same thing with certain environments, like public school. Trust me when I say that our children are going to see a level of disrespect toward God and authority that will blow any children's program away. And the child is supposed to discern? Stand up? Not allow those attitudes to influence her behavior? It's not a simple fear of learning that cuss word.

My point in summary; our first ministry is to our spouses and our children. We can still be salty and reach the community in so many other ways without handing our small children over to the public school in the name of ministry. Let me be clear...I'm not condemning the person who choses to send their child to public school. But I think Christians should have a "free pass" from a possible ministry opportunity when it could prove detrimental to our children. Obviously, one person's ministry may not be another's. So, there's no "problem" here unless you think that public school should be everyone's ministry.

Dave Hendrickson

Here are the counterpoints to your three stances:

1. There is a problem in consenting and agreeing to be involved in a place because it is anti-God. We should enter those environments that are anti-God, but we should be cautious not endorse or fall in with the mindset, through our active or passive participation.

As you said, Jesus spent time with prostitutes, publicans, etc., but we have no examples of him approving of what the people were doing and being an active participant in their circles. He told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. Jesus did not tell her to go back to sleeping around. Even Zaccheus repented before Jesus went to dine at his house, showing the changes made in his life. Jesus reached the people where they were and avoided being a part of their sinful systems.

2. We do not have to take the Gospel to the schools by making our children's participation the primary vehicle in doing so. I encourage education that is conductive to our Christian lives, and if the schools are not meeting that, we should be removing our kids from those places.

3. Baseball clubs, karate schools, supermarkets, and most other public places of gathering do not have the indoctrination present in public schools or the outright condemnation or criticism of Christians in those places. That is the main difference between these subjects and thereby avoids a slippery slope argument.

--
Dave

lavalamp775

Andrea,

First of all, this is a good discussion. I think we're all on the same side here and I appreciate the honest and kind words.

1. I don't think a kid is learning anti-God things hours a day at school. english, math, geography, reading, etc. are all a-moral things.

2.right on about the influences. we limit tv, and see what happens when our oldest watches too much. i think one of my jobs as a parent is to control it and help her understand why she picks up on things and how to respond...not just to throw the tv out of the house. (there are always extreme necessities...if a guy struggles with porn, he should throw his computer away...not learn how to deal with it)

3. on the free pass. again, i somewhat agree. but if every christian took that pass, then what would happen. if everybody considering missions took a free pass because it was hard on their families and too expensive, then the gospel would never enter tough situations. like i said earlier, it's a whole different ball game when it's our own kids, but I think that's when we have to have faith. put our money where our mouth is. the reason change doesn't come to schools is because too many christians say "someone should do that."

finally, Jesus said we are to love him more than our own families. i think that principle could apply here.

feel free to keep discussing. i think it's a good and civil discussion.

lavalamp775

david,

1. you're right. there is a difference between being around a place and condoning evil behavior. that's exactly my point. we need to learn how to be around people that drink, without condoning drunkenness. it's a tough balance, all the time.

2. i think we should never put all our education eggs in one basket. home counts just as much as formal school. hanging out with mom and dad is just as important (if not more). when we start removing our kids from every place that doesn't share our values, they will be attached to our hip 100% of the time. we have to teach them how to be christians in a culture that doesn't always value christianity.

3. i don't think so. my daughter is not learning about evolution and pornography in her kindergarden class. the bad habits she picks up come from other kids. those same kids are in other places. as i responded to andrea, education at school includes reading, writing, geography, algrebra, and lots of a-moral subjects. while there are probably some things that are worse than christian parents think, I don't think public schools have satanic teachers trying their best to teach kids to hate God.

in high school, i had an atheist teacher who took every pot shot he could at my faith and actually gave me lower grades because i wrote about it in papers. this didn't cause me to doubt God, it was a test of my faith. I think i passed.

it's not always about keeping our kids from bad influences, it's helping them learn how to be christians.

RevGood

My son just started Kindergarten at a Christian school. I want him to have an education that incorporates a Biblical worldview.

As far as him having a chance to be around non-Christians and have an opportunity to be salt and light... well, he goes to church three times a week. I figure that is a good place to start.

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    • My name is Michael Lukaszewski. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and went to school at Florida State University. I'm the lead pastor of Oak Leaf Church in Cartersville, Georgia. This is a blog of my personal thoughts and ideas, and does not necessarily reflect the official position of Oak Leaf Church or any other organization mentioned here.

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