The Christian School.
There are some things which a Christian parent should simply find it impossible to do. Sending his children to the public school is one of them.
The public school is the school of the world. It is established, supported and controlled by the world. In all its instruction and discipline and life it bears the stamp of the world. There the fear of the Lord has no place and the only wisdom men know is that of the fallen and blind sinner. There stones are offered for bread and serpents for fish. There our covenant Jehovah is deliberately expelled from his own domain, the Lord’s Christ is crucified afresh and the Word of God is denied and mocked. Therefore we said: sending his child to the public school is one of the things which should not even enter into the Christian’s mind to do. Nor should the favor of the Lord be expected in that way. “The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.”.
We are deeply grateful, therefore, as we see our children prepare and depart for school, that it is to one of our Christian schools that they may go. Unsatisfactory as the present situation is for us as Protestant Reformed people and churches, we could’ and would choose no other course. In the Christian school our children are in the care of those who confess to believe in God and in Jesus Christ our Lord and who are therefore concerned not only about their material but also their spiritual welfare. There our children are taught the necessity and value of prayer, and there they are instructed in the knowledge of the Word of God. There the vain and evolutionistic philosophy of the world is rejected and the Word of God is confessed to be ‘The lamp before our feet and the light upon our pathway.”
However, apart from the actual instruction our children receive and their association with other children of Christian parents, there are many other reasons why Christian parents can impossibly follow another course than that of sending their children to the schools of the covenant. Our children must learn, also by example and experience, that no other principle may ever be defended than that the children of the covenant must be trained in the way of the covenant. We may not raise a generation that gradually loses all love for the principle of Christian education as such. We dare not kill this ideal in the minds and hearts of our children by sending them for whatever reason it may be to the schools of the world. Our Christian schools, as such, as institutions, are testimonies for the truth over against the lie of the world. On that, foundation and with that in view they were established many years ago. They are the emblems of God’s covenant. They are part and parcel of the life of the Christian. I know, that all this does not make good a spiritually and doctrinally defective education, but even as our children pass through the portals of our Christian schools they are taught that they are a different people, a unique people, a people that “shall dwell in safety alone.” The very fact that they attend a Christian school teaches them, that we may not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, that righteousness has no fellowship with unrighteousness and light has no communion with darkness, that there is no concord between Christ and Belial and that he that believeth has no part with the infidel. Nothing may stand in the way of instilling into the hearts of our children this all-important lesson.
As long, therefore, as our ideal has not been reached we should and shall most certainly patronize and cooperate with the schools we now have. Of this there should be no question in the minds of any of our people.
Not our Ideal.
All this does not mean, however, that as Protestant Reformed people we can or may be content with the present situation. I’m sure that even our Christian Reformed brethren understand this, especially their leaders and educators, better, obviously, than many of our own people. This has nothing to do with loving the institutions wherein we ourselves were raised and instructed in years gone by. As such we do love our Christian schools, and the Christian churches also, I may add. Therefore it is in no way of malice or prejudice or from other ulterior motives that we oppose them. God forbid! But, the Christian Reformed churches and with them the Christian schools have apostatized from the truth. They have departed, and that most seriously, from the ways of our fathers. And where the truth is involved, sentiment is no factor. Therefore we must oppose these churches and can find justification for no other course than that of wholehearted commitment to the principle, that the only Protestant Reformed way is that of establishing our own schools.
For so many reasons, basic all of them, it is simply impossible, it seems to me, for devoted Protestant Reformed people to be happy about things as they now are. After all, whatever is contrary to the truth as we believe it is the lie, is it not? It should be, for us. In as far as the Christian Reformed churches and schools teach a conception of God that is in conflict with ours they are teaching the lie and feeding their people and children stones for bread. In as far as the well-meaning offer of salvation and all that doctrine presupposes and implies lies at the foundation of the education our children receive, subtly permeates the prayers our children hear every day, the songs they learn to sing, their Bible instruction, etc., in so far that education is rooted in the lie. In as far as the doctrine of “the good that sinners do” underlies and permeates the instruction in the school, in that measure the instruction is not according to truth. Again, in as far as the teacher is committed in her own soul and mind to the pernicious doctrine of common grace, believes it, practices it, teaches it, whether directly or by implication; in as far as she conceives of God, of the world, of man and of all things in that light; in as far as she sees and interprets current events from that point of view;—in exactly so far she is incapable of teaching the truth. What Protestant Reformed person can possibly deny this?
We and our Christian Reformed brethren differ on so much that is fundamental. It Is not merely a question of common grace and the “three points” in the narrow sense of the word. Because of these we differ more or less on well-nigh every doctrine,—the doctrines as such as well as their proper place and emphasis. It stands to reason that our view of any given doctrine, and the more basic the doctrine the more this will be the case, must have its effect on our entire doctrinal outlook. The one gives color and perspective to all. Let me illustrate. It may be that as long as the Christian Reformed brethren speak only of the counsel of God, election, reprobation, the fall of man, depravity, atonement, etc., they speak much the same language we do. But, if over against these truths they place and stress “another side, a side which is vastly different and “seemingly’’ contradictory, then, surely, that “other side” will affect and color the above-mentioned doctrines too. You may believe in reprobation. However, if you also believe in a love of God for all, your view and emphasis of reprobation does not remain the same either. Thus your view of limited atonement will certainly be affected by your conception of the well-meaning offer of salvation, your emphasis of total depravity will be dependent on your view of the good the unregenerated are still able to perform, etc.
In the light of all this, how can the present set-up be anything but unsatisfactory to any who is really Protestant Reformed?
A time to ask Questions.
It is well, now that the school season has again set in, that we ask ourselves some pertinent questions, questions that must be answered1 as in the presence of the Highest. After all, we are not accountable to man, but to God. What will the Lord have us do? That is the question that should answer all others for us. Nothing else matters. The school issue is not a personal one, a matter that can or may be determined by carnal bias or mere fleshly sentiment. It is a question of the glory of God, of His covenant and truth and of the spiritual welfare of our children. With these things in mind the following questions are asked. With these things in mind they must be answered.
Are we as Protestant Reformed people satisfied with having our children instructed in Christian Reformed schools?
Are we giving due heed to the mandate of, “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up”?
Are we training up our children “in the way they should go”?
Are we consciously fulfilling our baptismal pledge? Has the “aforesaid doctrine” priority in our hearts and lives and are we teaching it to our children “to the utmost of our powers”?
Can non- and anti-Protestant Reformed people properly instruct our children? If they cannot it is our solemn duty to establish our own schools. If they can, then what place is there at all for doctrine, for the Reformed truth, in the Christian school? That they can must be the position of them who oppose the establishment of our own schools. When we call these teachers non- and anti-Protestant Reformed we are not stooping to name-calling. By the same token we are anti-Christian Reformed, of course.
Can a church ultimately survive whose doctrines are either ignored or denied, directly or by implication, in all the daily instruction of the children?
Can our churches expect to prosper and develop if the very doctrine that occasioned our separate existence lies at the basis of all the daily instruction our children receive? Can they, really? They who oppose our own schools must assume the position that they can.
If “common grace” is not an isolated doctrine that has little or nothing to do with the education of our children, but definitely a world and life view, does it not follow that it will color and determine all the instruction that is given in the school? Is not every prayer as well as all instruction and interpretation of world events determined by one’s world and life view?
If common grace, including the “3 points”, is such a dangerous doctrine as we have always maintained it to be, how can we entrust our children to them who are committed to that error? If it is not, why should we separate at all? Is it not time to consider possible reunion with the Christian Reformed churches?
If doctrine is not basic to all education, why have Christian schools at all? If it is fundamental, how can we be content with any but our own Protestant Reformed doctrine?
Can our children be expected to grow spiritually and in denominational love and loyalty on a diet that is in constant conflict with itself? Can we expect them to develop clear cut conceptions when they hear one language on Sunday and another during the week, one language in church and home and another in school?
If it is true that home and church and school depend on one another for their welfare and growth, can we be happy with the present situation? If not, what have Christian leaders been maintaining all this, time?
Many more questions could be asked, no doubt, along these same lines. However space does not permit and these should suffice for the present.
Think them over,—prayerfully and daily. That, certainly, is the least we can do.