Why do Christians Accept Public Education?

All across America, mothers who from day one have accepted the idea of partially tax-funded education, but who want to maintain the illusion that you can have common textbooks without the American civil religion, are in a dither… Why should they be? It is just one more ratchet up in a process that began in 1837. There is nothing new about this. It means that fringe outlook mothers are going to have to acknowledge what has always been true in principle: when you take the federal government’s nickel, you take the federal government’s noose.

It’s been a generation now, since Christians in the West started asking hard questions about the popular notion of sticking Christian children in the Public School system.

I’m glad they started asking questions, because it was about time. The pagan system doesn’t want to be reformed by Christians, and Christians are wasting their time trying to reform it. It’s no different to putting lipstick on a pig. Pigs with lip-stick are still pigs, wanting to wallow in mud, eat slops, and love it.

This is the fact: education is always about indoctrination in a values system, which relates ideas to behaviour. What sort of ideas, and what sort of behaviour?

The Bible tells us about this, very particularly. It makes it abundantly clear through what God said about Abraham.

For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing justice and righteousness, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him (Gen.18:19).

The Christian is thus commanded to “keep the way of the Lord.” He is expected to know this himself, but this is just the start. He has a divine commandment to disciple the next generation, beginning with his own children.

How do we “keep the way of the Lord?” God tells us in the following words of the text: “doing righteousness and justice…” Christians would do well to think a lot about these two terms. They form the basis of a Christian and just society.

Public education believes in righteousness and justice too. But the public school is humanistic to the core, so it puts a humanistic interpretation on those two imporant terms. Forget what the Bible says.

But the real problem we have is this. Ministers in the West abandoned the notion Biblical of  righteousness and justice when they abandoned Biblical law. They abandoned God’s law, so they were sitting ducks for socialism and public education.

The idea that children could and should be handed over to the State for indoctrination means nothing to 80% of ministers. They grew up with public education. They think it’s normal. It is: for people who aren’t governed by scripture.

Dabney saw the consequences of this, over a century ago:

It is the teaching of the Bible and of sound Political ethics that the education of children belongs to the sphere of the family and is the duty of parents. The theory that the children of the Commonwealth are the charge of the Commonwealth is a pagan one, derived from heathen Sparta and Plato’s heathen republic, and connected by regular, logical sequence with legalized prostitution and the dissolution of the conjugal tie.[1]

Most preachers won’t instruct their people in this. Most older parents won’t teach the next generation, and so neither will 95% of their children.

In about 2002, a woman in Brisbane came to see me to talk about home educating her son. She’d been convicted by something her 7 year old son said to her:

Mum, why do you send me to a school that doesn’t believe in God?

This much is therefore clear. The godly education of Christian children will have to be undertaken on a family by family basis. It’s called homeschooling. Pastors are afraid; they hardly want to touch it, so families will have to take the responsibility themselves, and run with the plan. If pastors ignore scripture, they’re asking to be ignored, too.

Christian school educators ignore the vital, insurmountable elephant in the room:

You take their nickel, you’ll take their noose.

I believe every user of taxpayer monies should have to give account for it. That’s a good thing. And that’s why the “Christian” school is a captive institution to government: a terrible mistake. If they can’t survive without the State funding, they shouldn’t have been started in the first place.


Christian parents must recognise this fact: our parents and grandparents have generally not served us well in the education of the next generation. Unfortunately, we can rarely draw from their example in terms of how to educate our children.

What we must do, is go to the scripture for our guidance on education. If that flies in the face of what our parents, pastor and friends recommend, so be it. We’re called to obedience, not sentimentality.

Dabney said more:

The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God-this is his task on earth.[2]

[1] Robert Dabney, “Discussions,” 4:194, quoted in Gary DeMar, “God and Government,” Vol. 3, p.272.

[2] Quoted in Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.356.