At times, Christians are faced with a decision regarding the type of education to pursue for themselves and/or their families. The choice we will consider is between Christian schools and secular schools. Is one better than the other? The answer doesn’t necessarily lie in comparing the quality of education, but in the belief systems that underlie each. We will examine both types of education in relation to belief in God and their use of facts.
Difference 1: Believe in God
In general, secular education is based on the assumption that there is no God; or if there is a God, then that God has no real impact or relevance to daily life. The secular study of science, for example, assumes that everything “just happens” as a result of natural laws and interactions. One event triggers another, but (it is claimed) there is no ultimate planner and/or power to guide the process.
On the contrary, Christian education assumes that God is, that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, that “all things were made through him; and apart from him there was nothing that was made” (John 1:3 KJV). Christian education is also based on the firm conviction that God continues to guide events “in the heavens and on the earth” according to His perfect plan, “because he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him diligently” (Hebrews 11:6(b) KJV).
Difference 2: Use of Facts
In Christian education, proven and empirical facts are facts. Mathematical equations, for example, are exactly the same. There are differences and Christian education does not hide them. In the last century or so, some topics have been heavily “edited” to reflect a secular point of view. History and some branches of science have suffered from a distorted account of “facts”, including hiding or ignoring some details and distorting the perspective from which others are viewed. Distorted perspective has skewed and/or distorted the interpretation of some evidence. True Christian education rejects such distortions.
Ethics and morality represent one end of these distortions. By rejecting the ultimate authority of the Creator, adherents of the secular perspective have no absolute foundation of right and wrong. Standards become fluid, so that “what’s right for me” can be different from “what’s right for you.”
When the Church accepts the standards of the secular world, it remains confused and unstable. Consider the following illustration of this dilemma. For a number of years, respected pollsters have reported that the manifestation of ethics and morals does not differ significantly between individuals who classify themselves as “Christian” and those who describe themselves as “non-religious.” Specifically, pollsters report that the sexual practices of the two groups turned out to be essentially the same. While a permissive lifestyle has become common, the Christian faith has historically embraced strict scriptural standards of sexual purity and monogamy.
True Christian education seeks to provide a superior understanding of all aspects of knowledge, firmly anchored in the foundation our Creator has provided in his inspired Word. One could conclude that, for Christians, a Christian school education could keep them grounded in their belief in God. It could also protect them from the distorted and twisted versions of empirical facts that are sometimes associated with secular education. The decision should not be taken lightly, but taken with prayerful consideration.