Christian Education – The Conflict

This article is taken from the website www.ayrfreechurchcontinuing.co.uk and is the work of Rev. Gavin Beers. It is the final part of a three part series. Rev. Beers is a member of our School Board.

In our previous articles we have approached the issue of Christian Education by first introducing the concept we are arguing for and then establishing that Christian Education is commanded in Scripture. The implication of both Old and New Testaments for us today is that God requires His people to give their children a Christian Education in all things. The third area that we wish to look in this article is ‘the Conflict’ of Christian Education.

Christianity has been fitly described and is rightly viewed as ‘Total War.’ As believers we are engaged in a war that must be fought on every front of human experience because Jesus Christ is Lord of All and his rightful claim to sovereignty over every sphere of our existence is going to be challenged by His enemies. It follows that this war naturally extends into the realm of education.

This war extends to Education because there is no Neutrality.

R. J. Rushdoony was correct when he wrote‘There is not a square inch of ground in heaven or on earth or under the earth in which there is peace between Christ and Satan… If you say that you are ‘not involved’ you have taken Satan’s side. If you say you are involved in the struggle in the area of the family and in the Church, but not in the school, you are deceiving yourself.’[1]  This is stark and confrontational language but it is language Scripture requires us to use.

In Matt 12:30 our Lord Jesus Christ said ’He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.’ From this we can conclude that any man that is not with Christ or for Christ is against Him; similarly we can say any institution that is not for Christ is against Him because there is no middle ground. Applying this to the realm of education it means that a non-Christian Education is in fact an anti-Christian education and the whole idea of a ‘secular’ ‘non-religious’ education is impossible and a complete non-starter. The thing that is most important to us, indeed the thing that we ought to deem indispensible – God, is entirely left out of such education. It actually prides itself on its pursuit to be godless!

All this begs a simple question. What are our schools today? Are they for Christ? They are clearly not, and so we must be bold enough to take the next step and conclude that they are actually against Christ. This in turn begs another question. If this is so then why do we continue to send our children to them? There is no neutrality.

This war extends to Education because there is Open Hostility.

We have seen through the pretended neutrality of secular education. Having done so, a brief glance at the fruit of this education system in our own country will confirm its open opposition to God. Consider the lack of respect, the teaching of ‘alternative sexualities,’ the wholesale promotion of Evolutionary theory, the increasing immorality and teenage pregnancies. Yet when we observe all these things we must also recognise this to be the fruit of educational philosophies and curricula that have been developed over the last one hundred and fifty years upon the philosophy of Humanism. God has been positively abandoned and man has been affirmed in his place.

For this reason Doug Philips warns that we should see ‘The government school as an institution that is at war with Christianity. It is a reflection of evolutionary and humanist faith.’[2] The irony here is we have long ignored this and buried our head in the sand while our opponents have known it all along. It seems that in the UK Christians and the Church have still not identified the enemy who has been destroying them even though for all this time that enemy has not been hiding.

Hostility to the Christian Faith was explicit in the writings of the educational philosophers of the 19th century.  Men like Horace Mann and John Dewey in America together with their counterparts in the UK knew exactly what they were trying to do and they told us so. Their stated aim in many cases was to overthrow the influence of the Christian religion in society by. Even more recently educational philosophers have put these same intentions into print. John Dunphy, a chief architect of the state school system in America wrote in ‘The Humanist’in 1983‘I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils & misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with the promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of ‘love thy neighbour’ will finally be achieved.’ [3]

It is clearly not a secret. They are at war in arena of education. They know Joseph Stalin was correct when he said ‘Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.’ We too need to understand this and take the education of our children back into our own hands to employ it as a force for good.

This war extends to Education because there is a Total Antithesis.

Usually Christians highlight a few key areas where they think their children might face a problem in the public school system but closer analysis reveals that our children are indoctrinated in opposition to the Christian worldview at every point of their education. This is what we refer to as a total antithesis. Consider these examples.

  1. We Teach Different Religions: Ours is Christianity while theirs is Humanism. We glorify God and they deify man.
  2. We Differ on the Goal of Education – We believe that the end of education is Godliness which has the promise of this life and the life to come (1 Tim 4:8). They believe the end of education it is to be successful in this life and to be a good citizen.
  3. We Differ on What is to be Taught: We say all things from a Christian perspective while they say all things in the vacuum of a meaningless world without God.
  4. We have a Different view of Who is to be Taught: They believe the child is inherently good and that education and the right environment will set him on the right way. We believe the child is created in the image of God, fallen in Adam and needs to be restored by God’s grace in Christ.
  5. We have Different Sociology; Pedagogy, Psychology & Ethics: For example we teach Biblical ethics, or what God says is right and wrong. They teach pagan, godless ethics and steep our children in a complete relativism of all things, all the time numbing their conscience to the clear teaching of God’s Word.
  6. We have a Different view of the World: We believe in the Creation of the world by an infinite, personal God and the government of all things in His providence. They reject creation and view the world as a closed system governed ultimately, if at all, by chance events.

It is vital we see the contrast and antithesis here, for this is the fundamental assumption of all Humanistic education. Van Til calls it ‘the godless relativism and impersonalism of the non-Christian worldview.’[4]

Now it is clear that we do not like the fact that evolution is being taught in the public school. From here we go on to argue that Creation should be taught alongside it, but even in this I fear we miss the point. ‘Evolutionary theory’ Van Til pointed out ninety years ago, ‘is only one particular manifestation of this general tendency.’ Because of this he writes ‘It is quite hopeless to fight evolution in the public schools and think that by doing so you have got to the bottom of the trouble.’[5]  ‘The philosophy assumed by evolutionists is a far more dangerous thing than the evidence that they bring.’[6]

It would be good if this were ingrained in our mind, that we perceived this philosophical assumption affects not only a small part, but permeates the whole curricula of public schools. It is at the beginning, middle and end of every subject taught. God is either dead or irrelevant to it all! This brings us back to the point this articles are designed to make. God calls us to give our children a Christian education and this demands that we recognise this conflict and make a complete break from this educational philosophy and the system that is built upon it, to establish one that does not insult God but places Him at the beginning, middle and end of all that is taught. ‘For of Him and Through Him and To Him are all things to whom be glory forever amen’ Rom 11:36.



[1] R J. Rushdoony in Philosophy of Christian Education, p. 26.

[3] A Religion For A New Age,” The Humanist magazine, January-February 1983 [Volume 43, Number 1]

[4]Cornelius Van Til. Foundations of Christian Education, p9.

[5] Cornelius Van Til. Foundations of Christian Education, p9.

[6] Ibid. p46.