It’s commonly said that children in Christian families are being “lights” when they go into the world (particularly public schools). I was in a discussion about this topic recently and thought I’d share some thoughts that I have written previously. The following is an excerpt from my book “Failure: What Christian Parents Need to Know About American Education” (available here).
“Our kids should be the light of the world.” This is one of the more common reasons mentioned for sending children into public schools. The other children in public schools need an example, right? Looking at the unacceptable church attrition rate, it’s very easy to see which students are exerting influence.
If this were a valid reason, we would have relatively large numbers of publicly educated non-Christians walking into our churches because of the amount of “lights” we send into the schools. Of course, this isn’t the case.
We should review the Great commission our Lord gave before his ascension into heaven to understand why this idea doesn’t work. The command was for his disciples to go into the world and, while they are going, to make disciples, to baptize, and to teach his commandments. This commission was given to disciples. Children in Christian homes are not disciples. It is the job of their parents (those to whom the Great commission was given) to make disciples out of those children.
To further show the illegitimacy of this idea, consider the hypocrisy seen among those who back their decision to use government schooling with the evangelism point. Why is it that many of them will send their children only to Christian colleges? If the child needs to be a “light” at the age of 9 in the elementary school, how much more does this apply when that child is a baptized believer at the age of 20? Additionally, as Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. points out, this argument will be far more believable when christian parents sign up their children to be lights in Catholic or Muslim schools, rather than in government-funded schools only.
Another point to consider: in a place where God is not welcome and Christian influence is all but banned, it is a stretch to assume that children of Christian parents will be able to teach freely. Well known cultural and political commentator Gary DeMar of the group American Vision put it this way: “While there are few opportunities to witness in the public schools, students are captive to an anti-christian worldview for at least six hours every day. This says nothing of the worldview promoted by a child’s peers from pagan homes.”
By Jack Wilkie