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A Child's Education Should Be God-Centered

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Wayne Grudem shares why he believes all of a child’s education should be Bible-centered and God-centered.

All of a child’s education should be Bible-centered and God-centered.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).

I’m saddened when Christian parents tell me of the frustration and stress their children experience in secular schools, but I also wonder if the parents aren’t doing exactly what Ephesians 6:4 says not to do: putting their children day after day in situations that “provoke them to anger,” or to sorrow or frustration.

Training that is not “of the Lord” will do that: the contrast in the verse (“do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”) tells us we should expect children “provoked” to anger from secular education.

But doesn’t this verse only apply to home and church?

The single most common objection to Christian schools—and one I used to believe—says that Ephesians 6:4 only applies to home and church. “We do bring our children up in the ‘training and instruction of the Lord,’” parents tell me. “We have a Christ-centered family life and we’re involved in a sound church with a great youth program. We are obeying Ephesians 6:4.”

But are they? Yes, in two of the three major influences in their children’s lives (family, church, and school). We must be thankful for that.

But parents who say “church and home are enough Christian training” probably haven’t realized the tremendous influence school has on all of life. Church training receives 3 to 5 hours per week (3% to 5% of a child’s waking hours), whereas school training receives 30 to 40 hours per week (30% to 40% of a child’s waking hours)—nearly 10 times as much as church!

I am simply unable to see a valid way to interpret Ephesians 6:4 without applying it to children’s schooling. The present-tense Greek verb here (ektrephete) implies continual activity: “keep on bringing them up, continually bring them up, in the training and instruction of the Lord.” All of their education, all of their training, is to be “of the Lord.”

If we give our children “training and instruction” that excludes God’s words 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 12 formative years, can we honestly say we have continually brought up our children in instruction that is “of the Lord”? My wife and I were convinced we could not.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 speaks of God’s commands:

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. [7] You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Every part of the day should be “educational” from a biblical perspective. Can we then exclude the most important learning times for 12 years of a child’s life and say these should be “secular,” empty of biblical teachings? Could Moses have said, “Talk of God’s words all day long—except when your children are being educated”? No, I am convinced he could not.

Psalm 1:1-2 says the “blessed man” whom God approves is one who

walks not in the counsel (or advice) of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers,” but

“on [God’s] law he meditates day and night.”

Think of a child in public school. Then think of a child in a Christian school. Then ask yourself: Which part of Psalm 1:1-2 best describes children in public schools? Which part best describes children in Christian schools?

Excerpt from "Biblical Reasons for Sending Children to Christian School "

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