Christian Education – A Comment

Over at Whirled Views, Dan Burrell has been doing a small series of posts on Christian Education.  I appreciate what Dan has said and the spirit in which he has said it.  I felt compelled to leave a comment on one of the posts:

I will always have an appreciation for Christian education and the solid foundation that it has provided me in my life.  I am thankful for my later mother’s insistence that I be placed in a Christian school.  It was at the Christian school that I first heard about the Bible, Jesus Christ and the Gospel.  I trusted Christ as a result of the influence of a good friend (1987).  I had been in the school for six years before I was converted and my life has never been the same since that point!

I am also a strong advocate of open enrollment.  If the school I attended was not an open enrollment school, who knows where I would be today?  I resent the closed enrollment position because it makes Christian education exclusive only to certain families, rather than being inclusive and taking a risk and reaching people with the Gospel.

I am thankful that I was reached, and eventually my mother was reached for Christ, she has been in heaven now for two years.  When she died, she left some money (a small amount ) to be used for my son’s education. I have invested that money and when my son is school-aged, he will be able to attend a Christian school because of my mother’s gift.

As you have probably already concluded that I am very passionate regarding Christian education and its availability to those who are willing to pay for it.  I am thankful for a school that was an open-enrollment school that had standards, rules, etc., but they have a burden to reach people with the gospel of Christ and to provide not just a good education, but a quality education!

I believe so much in Christian education, that I am starting a new seminary semester on Tuesday.  I graduated from a Christian High school, earned a Bachelor’s Degree from a Baptist College, and recently earned a Masters Degree in Theology from a Baptist Seminary.

I would be interested to hear from those who reject open enrollment and advocate a “closed school” position.  Enlighten me!

Is is right for Christian education only to be available for children of Christian families??  If you take that position, then why isn’t the Gospel as exclusive?  Something to think about

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3 responses to “Christian Education – A Comment

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and continuing to support Christian education. I, too, grew up in a small Christian school of only 25 students total K-12. Although the school I attended had many flaws, I will (as you are) always be grateful for the many blessings it gave to me during my time there: a knowledge of the Word of God, independent learning, self-discipline, and a desire to right those flaws I saw in my school. Now, as a Christian educator myself, I am so thankful for the lessons that I learned there. My school, by the way, is open enrollment as well. We do not deny students admission due to a different faith background. However, we do require students to purchase a Bible for Bible class and we inform students that they will be attending Bible class and chapel once a week. I think that open and closed enrollment, however, depends on the circumstances and the type of school. For example, some missionary schools are forced to be closed-enrollment overseas according to national law. However, in a country like Panama, where I teach, we are lucky to live in a democratic country that practices freedom of religion. Panama thrives off of private schools and our organization is very much welcomed.

  2. Terry:

    I, too, went to Christian school, though it was from K-4th grade and I am certainly glad you found an open-enrollment school so that we could be friends all these years!

    But recently I have seen the bad side of open enrollmet and I have changed my views on the open enrollment as a result (although, adittedly, my views were changing anyway).

    We recently moved our son to another Christian school where the emphasis is less on growing the sponsoring church and more on what Christian school is supposed to be about: Christian education.

    Outreach and evangelism is the responsibility of the church, not the Christian school.

    Even at our former church (which you and I have in common) we saw the abuses of this system from afar and here we saw it up close. By the time we moved our son, we might as well have been sending him to a public school. Standards had become almost non-existent, the only Bible truth being taught was the basic plan of salvation, and though the textbooks presented things from a Christian worldview, it was as if the teachers just didn’t want to be bothered since many of the kids didn’t know the first thing about Christianity anyway.

    I realize this might not reflect what happens in schools attached to good, solid Bible-preaching/teaching churches, but it can happen anywhere (even at the school you and I were close to).

    Christian education is just that: “Christian” education, and as such, its primary focus should be on educating Christian children, first the children of that church (unlike Trinity where many members can’t afford to send children to their own church’s school!), then children of like faith and practice, the from other evangelical denominations (provided they understand the teaching position of that school), and leave the focus on the evangelism of unchurched people to the church where it belongs.

  3. Christian community doing a good job providing education

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