By Brandon Staggs
A conversation with a friend regarding the utilization of American government utopist processing plants (public schools) inspired me to write this essay to address the notion of “Missionary Schooling.” The purpose of this essay is to allow me to organize my own thoughts on the topic and delineate some of my reasons for rejecting “Missionary Schooling” arguments. This is not intended as condemnation of anyone’s choices for their children, though this is quite blunt in presenting my view.
Most Christian parents, having realized that public schools are inferior to other alternatives (especially home schooling) on academic grounds, and having finally come to the realization that morals in public schools are about as appealing as public bathrooms, finally resort to concocting or parroting common nonsense which combines the “socialization value” fraud along with some quasi-Biblical doctrine which twists “go ye therefore and teach all nations” into “let the nations teach your kids.”
There are dozens of reasons why American Christians insist on sending their children to government schools. In the end, after academic and moral reasons have been exhausted, eventually one will likely admit that it has to do with not having time or money to do it in another way.
But there is one particularly ridiculous reason why so many Christian parents hang on to the usage of such a debauched and depraved utopian architectural institution: a notion I have dubbed Missionary Schooling.
I came across a paper on the net, which outlines pretty well what this idea entails. In But what if God wants me to send my kids to Public School? by J. Ed Bass, the typical reasoning for missionary schooling combined with the socialization fraud is laid out fairly well. Mr. Bass does as good a job as anyone helping people cozen themselves into continuing to embrace the status quo.
Bass says, “The simplistic argument that all public schools are terrible and wicked does not do justice to the real dynamics of the situation.” While this argument alone may not “do justice” to whatever real dynamics he sees, it cannot be ignored by the Christian that public schools are wicked places. Aside from teaching a kid that two plus two probably equals four, children in public school are taught to view the world through the lens of humanism and to compartmentalize spirituality into something that exists after school hours. They are actively taught a false equality of values, so that any student who accepts such destructive idiotic nonsense cannot responsibly discern between two competing ideas and determine which has real merit and which is the musing of a self-involved ignoramus. California schools recently adopted a downright evil policy of teaching children, from kindergarten up, that homosexual relationships are morally equal to heterosexual relationships. This kind of curriculum is patently unacceptable for a Christian to allow their child to be inculcated with. It shouldn’t be necessary to mention that schools are a swampland of putrid perverted sexual mores, teaching children that human sexual intercourse is nothing more than a biological function. Such ideas may be fine for some people to hold, but no Christian should desire for their child to exposed to such an environment before they are solidly rooted in truth and capable to rejecting those notions on their own. Nobody should kid himself or herself that their child can somehow avoid this nonsense if they just attend enough PTA meetings.
Bass says, “Are we to give up taking God’s message to a lost and dying world? Not hardly. Similarly, we cannot forsake the student population in the public education system just because some administrators and teachers have a different worldview than we do.” And herein lies the crux of the matter.
Bass has here equated public school with a mission field, into which Christian parents should send their children into to avoid “abandoning” the student populations, effectively making their kids evangelists.
The fallacies of this logic are so obvious that it shouldn’t even be necessary to respond to this, but it is such popular rhetoric that one cannot ignore how many people have been deceived into continuing to use government schools on these grounds.
Schools are not mission fields. A school is an institution a student attends to be taught things. There is a fundamental difference between sending a trained missionary into a wasteland to convert the heathen and sending an impressionable, untrained child who may or may not even understand the Gospel into an institution designed from the ground up to train minds to function in a certain way.
Bass puts the proverbial cart before the horse in suggesting that untrained children be used as evangelists in a worldly institution where kids are sent to learn. He ignores the fundamental transfer of authority, a transaction that occurs every morning when the child is dropped off at the school. Children in school are expected to regard their teachers as authoritative figures and learn from them. When those authority figures countermand Biblical precepts 30 hours a week, the child is being sent a mixed message. A Christian father is charged with ensuring that their child is brought up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Transferring their authority over their child to a heathen institution, which knows nothing of God’s precepts, is likely not in keeping with this commandment.
Bass says, “We have often heard what a positive influence our children have had in the classroom. These teachers believe the public schools need more Christian students, not less.” Certainly, we can expect that some extraordinary students who manage to find Biblical footing despite their educations will have some positive impact on those around them. After all, every thing works for good (Ro 8:28). But this is not in and of itself a reason to send children to school. Logically it is just silly: take one or two well-behaved kids and put them in a classroom with 20 undisciplined children and one teacher who doesn’t know what Truth is. Have them discuss worldly issues and ignore God for 30 hours a week. Which way will the influence tend to rub? “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1Co 15:33)
Bass says, “The foundation of total isolationism sublimely transmits the message that the sin and sinner are not separable.” Bass can live in whatever world he wants to, but in this one, home schoolers very rarely raise their children in total isolation. This is a straw man argument to the extreme and betrays the enormity of his ignorance about what home schooling is.
Bass tries to give a Biblical example to support his ideas: “Moses was [immersed] in Egypt’s philosophies and religions from childhood. He was surrounded by pagan practices and teachings. But God was preparing him for a ministry he could not even imagine. Amazingly, God could prepare Moses and keep him in spite of Egyptian worldviews.”
This is an unbelievable rationalization. This example would be better applied if we were to ask ourselves why Moses didn’t tell God that he thought the exodus was a bad idea because the Egyptians would lose the positive influence of the Israelites. Case in point: God called his people (including the children!) out of Egypt. As per Ro 8:28, Moses’ life served its purpose and is given to us as an example. Just try to remember that the Israelites are the “salt of the earth,” and God called them away from the Egyptians. Using this as a rationalization for keeping kids in school is just asinine.
Bass says, “we cannot expect to win the battle for the hearts and minds of the young generation if they grow up never personally knowing peers who are born again and living every day for Jesus. We know from experience when young people are reached with the Gospel they respond better than they would as adults. The sooner we reach them, the more likely they are to respond.”
This sounds somewhat reasonable on the surface. Under examination, I find it to be an immoral, unbiblical, unconscionable false doctrine in more ways that I could possibly fit into this essay.
Children belong to their parents. Parents have a right to teach their children values they hold and have a right to direct their moral development. Bass wants to take advantage of the absence of the parents to covertly convert their children. Atheists, Mormons, Jews, Moslems, Taoists, …whatever, do not send their children to school expecting them to be proselytized, and those parents have the right to expect the spiritual development of their child to be under their own control. Christians do not have any right to undermine the upbringing of a child not their own, even with the goal of making them believers of the Gospel. The ends do not justify the means (Ro 3:8). The book of Acts gives us example upon example of houses being converted to Christianity. In not one instance is a child proselytized against the wishes of the parent, and children are never made the focus of a conversion campaign. Seeking to do so is a direct affront to the institution of the family that God designed.
But there is a more chilling aspect to this. Bass articulates the reality that reaching kids with ideas while they are separated from the authority of their parents is a way in which Christians can take advantage of the compulsory education.
What Bass appears to ignore is that this sword cuts both ways. New-age utopians are taking the same advantage of the absence of parents — and getting much better results.
…thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? And in all thine abominations and thy whoredoms thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare, and wast polluted in thy blood.
–Eze 16:20-22 (KJV)