It is that time of the year again.
Children will soon be spending their six hours a day, five days a week in the schools the parents have selected for them.
Hour after hour for a period of some thirty-six weeks they will be subjected to the “philosophies” of life. Impressions will be made into their minds. A way of thinking will be taught them and be absorbed by them. Step by step they will be brought to new concepts and ideologies. They will be taught to see history as the teacher believes it to be, as the author of the text book conceived of it in his mind, as the school system desires to have it understood. The earth and its fullness wherewith it is stored will be presented from the viewpoint of the instructor and textbook, be they devout God-fearing men and women who have seen God’s glory in Christ or god-fearing men and women “whose god is their belly,” as Paul writes to the Philippians, “and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things,” Philippians 3:19; and therefore, though they are called god-fearing by men actually are God sneering. For they hold Him in contempt and deny Him His glory. Political subjects, social subjects, the arts and language, arithmetic and spelling similarly are taught as though Jehovah does not exist.
It certainly makes a great deal of difference where our children are taught and by whom.
If we are in a community where by God’s providence we as yet have no choice in the matter and the remnant of true believers is too small to fill the covenant obligation either partially or wholly, either on the so-called grade school level or the high school level; or whether we live by His providence where such things are available does make some difference, The one has the calling to put forth every effort to realize such education for the covenant youth; for the other the calling is to use and support the institutions that exist. It is that time of the year again when we are faced with this matter of the education of our children to the utmost of our power in the fear of His name.
But little interest exists upon the principal thing also in this sphere of the education of the covenant youth.
It is true that the Christian School movement is proceeding with rapid strides. Schools are soon too small. Temporary arrangements must be made for classes that are too large for one teacher to handle.
And this is not simply the effect of war babies coming to the age of formal education in the school systems of our land. To be sure this was the case also in the Christian School movement. But that does not explain everything. Nor does it explain everything to say that the church world is becoming more spiritual and therefore more covenant-training conscious. Were that only the case, we would not write that there is so little interest upon the principal things also in the sphere of the education of the covenant youth. There are other contributing factors which present an entirely different aspect.
Whether we like to admit it or not, and whether we confess it or not that all men are born free and equal, we have ourselves known cases where the race question alone has contributed to the increase of the enrollment in the Christian school. It was not a matter of the spiritual advantage or disadvantage. It was not a matter of calling before God. It was simply an aversion to having the children be the minority in a class composed of white and black races! Parents were eager to have their children in a different environment, and therefore they enrolled them in a Christian school where there would be no negro playmates. It was not another spiritual environment that they sought for their children. It was not a case of choosing the one school over the other because of what was taught and how it was taught, but it was simply a social question, a question of who else attended that school from a social viewpoint.
In other instances of which we have personal knowledge parents made the change purely because of financial considerations. That may sound strange in some circles of our land and church world. For it is an obvious fact that it costs money to send a child to a Christian school. One pays taxes and so supports the local public school. He must pay his share for training that his children do not get; and then he must also foot the bill for the salary of other teachers and for the maintenance of another school where his children actually do receive their training. It would seem strange then to state that for financial reasons parents sometimes take their children out of the public school to send them to the Christian school and pay double tuition.
Yet it is a fact that in some areas where the public schools are consolidated, the children are forced to travel by bus to a distant school in another town or city; and the cost of doing so is a big factor in the child being sent to the Christian School. If one is to pay for tuition above and beyond the regular taxes, the child might just as well have a Christian school education.
And we hardly need to add the matter of convenience in this connection. If the Christian school bus makes a better schedule, there is less time on the road and away from home, the children need not walk so far to catch the Christian school bus especially in the rain and biting winter cold, then the Christian school gets a few extra pupils for any reason but interest upon the principal things.
We could add also that there are those parents who seem to be well meaning and would never think of sending their children anywhere but to the Christian school who, when questioned as to the reason for their stand, can give no better answer than that they do so because they love their children. That, of course, is to be expected. If there is no natural affection of the parent for his child Paul says that he has a reprobate mind, according to Romans 1:28-31. But if that is all that we have, our motive for sending our children to a Christian school cannot be one that is characterized by the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord says, I love God and for the sake of His praise in my children, I desire to have them taught all things in their natural life from the viewpoint of His Word.
Let us hear the word of God and not harden our hearts against it. The Psalmist declares in Psalm 119:98-100, “Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all of my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts.” Again he writes in verse 130, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” Indeed, and shall we then keep that understanding from our children? Shall we pull down the shade to keep them from that wonderful light? Does the truth of the word of God in this text mean nothing to us? Can we quote it for everything else; quote it for the unchurched, for the Hottentot in Africa, for the church member in his moments of fear, of grief and bereavement; and then shall we say it has nothing to do with our children and their instruction every day concerning the world of God, in which He has placed them to be His royal priesthood?
And again the word of God says in Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: His praise endureth for ever.” In the light of this truth how can we dare to let those who do not have this fear of the Lord teach our children? If we believe that the unbeliever has not the beginning of wisdom and that the entrance of God’s word into the minds of our children and into the instruction that is given them giveth light and understanding, then how can we ever find any reason to fight the cause of Christian instruction or even remain lukewarm on the side lines? and say that if people want to send their children to a Christian school it is all right, but I will never give to its support and I will never urge or encourage a man to spend his hard earned money that way. Shame on us! O that this word of God might make its entrance into our souls and lighten us with the truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
And seeing that this is absolutely true, namely, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning, the principle of all wisdom, the world can only teach your child foolishness! Do we care? Are we so lukewarm, so untouched, so unmoved by so obvious a truth that we can shrug our shoulders, turn on our heels and turn our thoughts to more fleshly things?
A jet airliner is a wonderful piece of mechanism and design. Smoothly and swiftly it rushes through the stratosphere with its precious cargo of human lives. But take that pilot away. Remove him and the co-pilot. Snatch them by some magical power out of that plane. What value has that plane now for these passengers as far as reaching their objective is concerned? What safety is there for them as they continue to rush relentlessly forward? That plane is good as long as you have the human factor there to guide it and use it. And you would agree that it is utter folly and murderous wickedness for the management to order the whole crew to take the plane to the stratosphere and then ditch the plane with its load of human cargo. And yet we see this great and glorious universe made by the God in Whom we live and move and have all our being, and we want to teach our children all things concerning His creation as though He is not there! No less folly than to tell your child that the jet liner has life in itself, takes off by itself, reads your mind and knows to what city you wish to go, knows how to take off and land with no human hand on the controls. Indeed, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Rule Him out in your unbelieving ways and you talk utter nonsense.
And shall we send our children to be taught by minds that are ruled by such utter nonsense? Would we entrust them to men who believed and taught that this marvelous jet airliner is but the product of some aluminum, steel, wires, rubber, glass, fabric and what not joining each other in definite proportions in the right places, drinking in fuel into the right compartments and then sailing unerringly to a destination controlled by little tickets of paper which this inanimate thing can read? Shall we send our children to men and women who speak that way of the universe in which we dwell? Is the one any more rational than the other? How can men be so sure that the jet airliner was designed by a mind and is the product of much thought and is controlled by a rational being, and then look upon this universe which is infinitely more wonderful and glorious and rule God out of it all?
Who made the wonderful eye, the marvelous ear? Long before electricity was discovered by man, who made the amazing nervous system of man with its electrical impulses to the brain? Who sent the sun, the moon and the stars into orbit? And that without any failures and without a tedious count down!
Nay, let your child be taught in such a way that the entrance of God’s Word gives him light and understanding. Otherwise, you have the word of God for it, he will remain simple. He will not have even the beginning of wisdom. And he will not even begin to know his life’s calling in this world.
In His fear have your child trained in the sphere of His Word.
There will be dividends.
Gold and silver, houses and land, honor and fame you will not get. If that is the interest you seek for yourselves and for your children, you have invested the wrong kind of principal in the wrong kind of bank.
But this is the blessed interest that will be yours when, in interest upon the principal things of God’s kingdom, you do your utmost to see your child trained in these principal things, you will rejoice to behold that God is gathering His children out of your children.
That is interest you will keep in the life to come. Moth and rust shall not corrupt it. Death shall not destroy it. And God promises it to His people. “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:39.