What is a Christian school?

“Christian school is not to be confused with a Sunday School, or with any other institution that exists to give children instruction in the Bible.  The Christian school is an institution that has the function of instructing children in the various departments of knowledge that also constitute the curriculum of the public school:  reading, history, science, math, and the other subjects.  It does this seven hours a day, five days a week, throughout the school year.  This raises the question:  What is the distinctive feature of the Christian school that warrants its existence as a separate educational institution?  The Christian school certainly does begin each day’s classes with prayer to God and with the reading of the Bible.  It does this under the conviction that nothing that man does is profitable, unless God blesses it.  Everything must be “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (I Tim. 4:5).  However, these activities of prayer and Bible-reading, although they are important, are not the main reasons for the existence of the Christian school.  The distinctive feature of the Christian school is expressed in the word Christian.  It is a school that is Christian throughout.  It has a Christian foundation; it has Christian teacher; it gives Christian instruction; it provides a Christian moral environment; it has a Christian goal.  All of this must be briefly explained.

The starting point is our firm faith that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.  The Bible itself teaches this:  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (II Tim. 3:16).  As the Word of God written, the Bible is the authority for our faith and our life.  To believe and live according to God’s Word is the mark of a Christian.  A Christian school, therefore, is a school that is founded upon and in every respect in harmony with the Scriptures, the written Word of God.”

Excerpt from “The Christian School:  Why?” by David J. Engelsma.