Not Pluralistic, But Antithetical
What is wrong with pluralism, that is, with the view that American society is made up of many different religious segments, each possessing and entitled to its own peculiar ideas of education, each to some degree engaged in or capable of engaging in the work of education, all somehow fighting for the same goal of education, and all therefore entitled to a fair share of government funds for education?
This is wrong, in the first place: it fails to recognize that the official and legally adopted position of our government with respect to education is not merely that of “public,” better called “state” education, nor that of a religiously neutral education (which is an impossibility), but that of what M. Fakkema (in, the citation quoted in my last article on this subject) calls “secular, Bible less, God less, Christ less, Atheistic, immoral, lawless, corrupt” education. In other words: education which is anti Christ and anti God, education which is of the darkness, not of the light, education which proceeds out of the gates of hell. Not only is this the education to which the vast majority of our American society is devoted; but it is the education to which our government is officially devoted.
In the second place, it fails to recognize the fact that such education is not, before God, true education, but the opposite, the perversion of education, and that as such it has no true right of existence before God. It fails to recognize that the only true education is education in the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, and that only such education has a real right of existence before, God. It fails to recognize that in the deepest sense of the word no one has the right to educate his children in any other way than in the fear of the Lord.
In the third place, it fails to recognize that in the most real and basic sense of the word all society is divided not into all kinds of religious segments, but only into those who are of the light and those who are of the darkness, those who are of the truth and those who are of the lie, the righteous and the wicked, the spiritual and the carnal, the regenerate and the unregenerate, and that as far as the true character of society is concerned any other characteristics are merely accidental, not essential. In other words, it fails to recognize a principle which is embodied in the constitution of more than one of our Protestant Reformed school societies: “Our Sovereign, Triune Covenant God has from eternity chosen and in time forms a people unto Himself, that they may stand in Covenant relationship to Him, and live to His praise in friendship and loving service in all spheres of life, in the midst of a sinful world.”
Now, assuming for the moment that the government even has any business whatsoever in education, what shall we say to the government with respect to funds for education? Shall we say,—I mean, before the face of God,—that the public (Bible less, anti God, anti Christ) schools are engaged in education, and that therefore they should have some government support? Shall we say that every other non Christian or even nominally Christian and erring sect is also educating its children, and that therefore they should also receive some support? And shall we say that we, like every other segment of society, are also engaged in education, and that therefore we also should have some support? Indeed, this might be considered good democracy. It might be sound secular reasoning.
But is this proper argumentation for the people of the antithesis? I deny it. I claim that a Christian, antithetical testimony would be that the government, before the face of God, has no right to give support to schools which are anti God and anti Christ, that it has no right to give support to any nominally Christian schools of any religious group which is not devoted to education which is in harmony with the pure truth of the Word of God. A Christian testimony would be that we, God’s covenant people, are the people, that our covenant children are the children, and that an education of those children to follow their life long calling to reveal the glory of God in a life lived from the principle of regeneration by grace is the education, the only education that is before God worthy of anyone’s support.
You say, perhaps, that it would be hopeless to get any funds with such a testimony? I agree. But I immediately add: this is not surprising. Did not the apostle John write to the saints, “Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him (God) not?” And I hasten to ask: would you deny your antithetical position for the sake of a few paltry dollars?
Some Practical Implications
In this connection, I want to point out some of the practical dangers connected with this drive for government subsidy.
We ought to realize that the public school forces are in control in this country. Given the occasion and the impetus to unite, they could at any time they wish very easily make private education of any kind impossible. Not only so, but the public school forces more and more evince a lust for power. In the second place, let us remember that the public school forces are principally inimical to Christian education. True, they seem to lump together all religiously oriented education. True, they sometimes must concede the high quality of private education and even of some of our Christian schools from an academic point of view. True, we are presently being tolerated on the educational scene,—though it is no more, remember, than toleration. But, in the third place, in the light of the Word of God we know that the time will come that even this toleration will end, and God’s people will not be permitted to educate their children in the fear of the Lord. That time can come and may come very shortly.
However, we need not hasten that time unduly; on the contrary, we should labor while it is day, ere the night comes in which no man can work. Besides, let not this toleration be brought to an end merely in a fight for dollars; let it be clearly for the sake of principle. Yet this very drive for parochiaid is stirring the public school forces to action and to unity against what they see as a common enemy, the forces of Private and religious education. Already voices are being raised to make public school education mandatory for all. Do not imagine that this is far-fetched. An attempt at this was made a few decades ago in the Wayne County Amendment in Michigan. Former Governor Romney had already suggested something of this kind. More than one foe of parochiaid in the public school forces has already suggested that private schools and government support of them are divisive and separatistic and hate-teaching. If public school forces can reach sufficient unity, they could easily legislate our covenant schools out of existence,—either by making public education mandatory, or by requiring complete secularization as the price for parochiaid. Let us, therefore, as long as the Lord in His providence makes it possible, take advantage of the opportunity to have and to maintain our own schools, and not invite disaster for the sake of dollars. Disaster, that is, persecution, will come soon enough; but let it come solely for the sake of principle.