The Myth of Evangelism In Public School

September 26, 2005 — 31 Comments

“I am afraid that the schools will prove [to be] the very gates of hell unless they diligent ally labor in the explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of our youth.”

In an older post of mine on the Public Schools, former homeschooler and a friend of mine, Amanda, posted an interesting comment worthy of consideration, thought, and a response.

“Personally, I am all for Public Schooling, and I fully plan on putting my children into public schools! (I bet you’re having a heart attack right now [I did in Tennessee--thanks Amanda...appreciated that. Lost some sleep over this one.] I went to public school for elementary and I would never change that–I loved it! I believe it really did help make me who I am. I had amazing teachers (many of whom were Christian ladies, just like many other schools across the country.) I also believe that the Public Schools area mission field. I regret not going to Public Schools because of that. I believe I missed a HUGE chance to witness to many of my teen peers. I think of being out in California again, when you saw that group of guys, one of whom was wearing a big hat. After talking to them you realized they were Christians [or new believers I might add]. I think the same thing could be very much applied to the Public Schools. You see a group of guys and you get to know them, then you throw out Jesus. There you go–pure witnessing at it’s best…among peers. Heck yes, it would be hard because people would think you were stupid and would hate you…but what about those few, that because you went to Public Schools, became Christians because of the example you set? Public Schools are our mission fields sitting right in our backyards!”


I’ll be honest–and nice. I’m afraid that Amanda is mistaken in numerous points of her argument above. The following examination is not an attack, but an exhortation to follow the Scripture and to do what God says–not the Public Schools, not the government, and certainly not me personally. I’m basing this on God’s word, quotes, facts, lists, and statistics.

By the end I hope you’ll at least send your children to Christian school.

I won’t go too deep into examining the first part of your comment, but I did notice you inserted that you had many teachers who were Christians “just like at many other schools across the country.” That’s a somewhat general statement, without a lot of backup evidence. But it may point to the fact that a Christian teacher can have a whole lot more impact on students that a Christian student can have among his or her peers.

It’s a myth to say that students are “missionaries” in public schools. Nowhere in Scripture does it point to teen missionaries–they were always adults.

You brought up the group of guys that I witnessed to out in California. Pretty good point–the only problem was that it was I, the homeschooler, who witnessed to those guys. I’m not bragging, just pointing out that we must remember who went up and talked to them. It wasn’t a public school student. I wonder why?

“Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals.”

Students may have good intentions, but being around bad character DOES corrupt good morals. It’s easier to pull someone into the swimming pool that it is to pull someone out. As I stated above, Scripture points to adult missionaries–hence Christian teachers, Christian board members, etc. Christian adults must be the missionaries in the Public School system.

You may still heartily disagree with me. So let’s move on to the 6 or more hours when you’re not “evangelizing.” Your curriculum.

It’s time for total immersion in the socialist and humanistic curriculum that you and your family is fighting and teaching against. It’s teaching your peers atheism–reversing whatever you share with them. And who is able to change that curriculum? Adults. Not you.

You must deal with all of this:

CHRISTIANITY vs. HUMANISM

1. The Sovereignty of the triune God is the starting point, and this God speaks through His infallible word.

1. The sovereignty of man and the state is the starting point, and it is the word of scientific, elite men, which we must heed.

2. We must accept God as God. He alone is Lord.

2. Man is his own god, choosing or determining for himself what constitutes good and evil.

3. God’s Word and Person is Truth.

3. Truth is pragmatic and existential: it is what we find works and is helpful to us.

4. Education is into God’s truth in every realm.

4. Education is the self-realization and self-development of the child.

5. Education is discipline under a body of truth. This body of truth grows with much research and study, but truth is objective and God-given. We begin by pre-supposing God and His Word.

5. Education is freedom from restraint and from any idea of truth outside us. We are the standard, not something outside us.

6. Godly standards grade us. We must measure up to them. The teacher grades the pupil.

6. The school and the world must measure up to the pupil’s needs. The pupil grades the teacher.

7. Man’s will, and the child’s will, must be broken by God’s purpose. Man must be remade, reborn by God’s grace.

7. Society must be broken and remade to man’s will, and the child’s will is sacred.

8. Man’s problem is sin. Man must be recreated by God.

8. Man’s problem is society. Society must be recreated by man.

9. The family is God’s basic institution.

9. The family is obsolete. The individual or the state is basic.

Talk about heresy alert.

“I am afraid,” said Martin Luther, “That the schools will prove [to be] the very gates of hell unless they diligent ally labor in the explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of our youth.”

It’s kind of hard to compete between 40 hours or so of humanistic teaching versus two hours at church. Who’s going to win the battle of the mind? Even those who seem firm in their faith are at huge risk. No matter what, they will come out tainted by the teachings. Anyone can be convinced a lie is truth if the lie is told enough times.

And that’s not all–if you send you kids to school they encounter drugs, violence, tolerance, possible abuse, sexual promiscuity, evolution, no absolute values, and the degrading of Christianity, which you teach them at home and at church.

Who to believe? You or the School System?


The Bible instructs us to teach the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Would that not include education? A Christian worldview in everything that we encounter? We are told by God to provide our [present or future, depending on your age] children with an education based on His principles. Justifying attendance of public schools by saying your kids are “missionaries” doesn’t cut it. We can’t justify disobedience to God.

If that’s not enough for you, I have more: the list of famous people who were home schooled. Just think–you child could be added to this list:

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, John Tyler, William Henry Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Rev. John Witherspoon, Benjamin Franklin, William Samuel Johnson, George Clymer, Charles Pinckney III, John Francis Mercer, George Wythe, William Blount, John Rutledge, William Livingston, Richard Basset, William Houston, William Few, George Madison, Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Florence Nightingale, Phyllis Wheatley, Patrick Henry, John Jay, John Marshall, Timothy Dwight, John and Charles Wesley, William Carey, Dwight L. Moody, Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, Booker T. Washington, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Pearl S. Buck, George Bernard Shaw, Irving Berlin, Ansel Adams, John Singleton Copley, Rembrandt Peale, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, John Owen, Charles Louis Montesquieu, William the Silent (Prince of Orange), John Newton, and more.

That’s quite a list…and quite some men and women. Wouldn’t you think their education had something to do with what kind of people they became?

Also, I’ll add to that the popular “15 Reasons to Home school During the Teen Years.”

1. You get to see the completion of your efforts. Something is lost when you turn over your discipline to others.

2. You can customize your children’s education to provide motivation for their gifts and abilities. No one else will be able to provide the consistent and loving support that you can in weak areas.

3. You can direct them to early college entrance. Even public high schools realize many students are ready for college level courses and have cooperative programs with junior colleges.

4. You can continue the family building process. The teen years continue to be impressionable and formative. This is an invaluable time to cement family relationships.

5. You can be sure that your teens are learning, if they are at home. Studies have revealed that public high school students average 2 hours and 13 minutes of academic work a day.

6. You can continue to have influence over their peer relationships.
Teen rebellion is not in God’s plan for the family, but it is the humanist agenda for the public schools.

7. You can protect them from pressure to conform to what the other kids are doing. This pressure is so strong in the public high school. You won’t need to spend time de-programming.

8. If you send your teens to high school, there will be a diversion
away from the academic focus, as well as spiritual priorities. Be aware of the many distractions that won’t parallel the home life you have maintained.

9. Your young people will be thrown into things like boy/girl preoccupation, focus on clothes, and pressure to conform in
appearance and music.

10. Vast amounts of time separated from the family will affect their relationship with you. We have all put great amounts of our heart and time into our home-schooling years, and we want those efforts preserved.

11. Home school is the best preparation for college studies. The home education “style” is closer to college-type instruction.

12. There is greater flexibility for work/study opportunities.

13. The institutional method of public education is designed around “crowd control” not learning. If and when they learn, it will be a by-product of other priorities to maintain classroom order.

14. Home educators have the best available curriculum and greater selection. Public schools offer revisionist history and science that promotes their humanist perspective. The godly commitment of many great Americans has been deleted from public textbooks.

15. Age/grade isolation or segregation inhibits socialization. Public school children are behind their home school counterparts in maturity, socialization and vocabulary development, as demonstrated by available research.

I think this says a lot–and I pray that you reconsider. I really do. I would recommend visiting the library or bookstore and checking out “The Right Choice: Homeschooling” by Christopher Klicka. Read some of what is written there. You’ll have a hard time saying “no” to a Christian education.

Now quickly, I want to really thank you for your comment. I used to really believe exactly what you said–and sometimes I wished I could evangelize (easier said than done!). But a closer examination of academics, moral issues, and the pros and cons led me to take a stand for Christian Education.

I believe you have not missed out on anything–you’ve gotten a head start. You are more prepared to share the gospel in the REAL world. You still have that huge opportunity in front of you and I urge you to take it.

Now, to end I wish to address those of you who are rolling on the ground moaning at what I’ve said. “Spitting out indoctrination…gag…” Actually, all of this came from what I’ve thought about the subject. I researched it, and came to my own conclusion on the topic. I believe it is God’s conclusion.

I have friends in Public Schools because they have to be there for a number of reasons–and what I’m saying here is hard to say. But it needs to be said. If you’re there–witness, evangelize…do whatever you can. But for those of you who think you’ve missed out by being homeschooled–you haven’t. You are not missing out.

*Christianity vs. Humanism, Martin Luther quote, and “Homeschooling Hall of Fame”, all from “The Right Choice: Homeschooling” by Christopher Klicka.
*15 Reasons to Home school During the Teen Years is by Elizabeth Smith, HSLDA.

Tim Sweetman

Posts

Tim Sweetman is a young writer, blogger, and student who lives near our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. He has been much more widely known by his “code-name,” Agent Tim. This name also served as the name of his popular blog, which received over 750,000 visits between 2005 to 2007. In 2005, he quickly rose to become a leading teenage spokesperson and cultural critic within the booming blogosphere, taking on issues such as MySpace, alcohol, homeschooling, pride, racism, tolerance, and other topics relating to our culture today. His blog has come to the attention of people such as Albert Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Alex and Brett Harris, and La Shawn Barber. Tim’s written work has appeared in Lifeway’s Living With Teenagers (February 2012), Lookout Magazine, FUSION Magazine, The Brink Online, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Virtue Magazine, Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine, and on many other blogs and websites across the internet like Marry Well and the Lies Young Women Believe Blog. He has also been featured in WORLD Magazine, The Towers Magazine, and Maryland Newsline. He is scheduled to have an article appear in Veritas Magazine this December. Most recently, his work can be found on Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine. His personal interests include writing (surprise!) and sports, both watching and playing. He is a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.

31 responses to The Myth of Evangelism In Public School

  1. Amen, brother! I’m with you 100% on this one… Public schools are destroying the next generation before it even gets out of its teen years. It’s amazing how anti-Christianity-oriented this system has gotten! But, as always, these are the consequences of what happens when the government intrudes upon what should be strictly family and church based activities.

    Again, excellent job! :) I read your blog relatively often, but don’t usually comment since I rarely find fault with your posts… Keep up the good work!

    Oh, btw, I actually did download and listen to your radio interview… That’s so neat that you got to do that! Thanks for the good name you gave us teens! :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by Pete and taking the time to comment. I know I have a lot of readers who just read, and don’t comment a lot, and I really appreciate them.

  3. Wow! Talk about timing – I didn’t see your post, and I’m guessing you didn’t see mine. That’s pretty funny :-D

  4. Talk about timing, I just swiped Alex’s from his blog and told people to go read it. I better go and add this one too so that Tim won’t think I am playing favorites. I’ll get my administrative assistant on this pronto!

  5. I am all for homeschooling, being taught by my mom from grades 1-9 (exc. 6), but feel also that while it is important to be taught at home, we cannot be removed from the world. My parents gave me a solid standing in my faith before heading off to high school. That kept me from making many of the mistakes of my peers, while still being able to be a witness to them. Fortunately I had a solid homeschooling community around me growing up, yet at the same time lost some ability to relate to others my age (but then I have always been a quiet one).

    Here in Canada we do not have the same historically Christian background, but was still raised on American Christian curriculum (Abeka, mostly, I believe). The issue is this: if there are no Christians in elementary, junior high, or senior high, how can we affect kids in these age groups? what rights do our parents have to say that curriculum X or concept Y (such as evolution, or sex ed) is wrong? I want to have my kids homeschooled one day, yet do not want them to not be able to relate at all to the secular world. There must be a balance, especially as things like prayer and intelligent design are being cut from the classroom by atheist activists.

    There is so much more to say, but this is just a comment, so maybe I will think on my own and write about it…

    Eldon Siemens

  6. What do you mean by a balance Eldcon?

  7. Hey Tim,

    Great post. So, so true.

    Say, what kind of search engine do you use? I need a better one for the new Gulf Coast Connection website.

    In Him,

    David

  8. Hi AT!!!
    I have emailed with you enough–and read your blog enough to know you are a very bright young man in love with Jesus. It totally thrills me when I see any person young or old as much in love with the Savior as you are–and I encourage you to tell everyone you can about our Mighty, Saving God.

    It will not at all come as news to you that I disagree with your points here almost 100%. I have my scriptures, statistics and studies too, and to me they say powerful things that are just the opposite of what you say here.

    I could go through point by point and share those with you–and when I have time I would be glad to if you ask–but I don’t really think you need me to.

    So, am I right and are you wrong? ABSOLUTELY not–you are reading scripture and following it how you see God leading you and all I can say is “GO BROTHER, GO!!”. Please do it!!

    Does that mean you are right and I am wrong?? I will let you answer that question if you want to.

    My point is–we are both dedicated followers of Jesus and we see scripture different. What you see is your interpretation–it is not law. Many people have different interpretations–and as long as it does not contradict with one of my non-negotiables I believe you must do as God leads you. I also believe I cannot judge or cause division because of my INTERPRETATION. (BTW, I would be glad to share my non-negotiables with you also–I have at times in my blog–I will find a post for you–or do a new one if you ask.) I just don’t think we have time to disagree on things that can be interpretted in different ways. Way too many people need Jesus, way too many!!!

    I did find one thing NEW in this post–I think you are saying that teenagers are not responsible to God for sharing Jesus because the are not adults??? I have 2 quick things on that–in Bible times teens WERE adults–and also–I have never seen scripture to say anything but we are responsible for sharing what God has given us. I have seen 5 year olds share Jesus in an astounding way. Do I expect a 5 year old to be able to tell the plan of salvation–nope–but I know 4 and 5 years that can make more of an impact on the Kingdom than I can!!! This is just a fascinating thought I might write a post on it soon. (I will only if I can do it in a way that can encourage–I believe God has lead me never to blog about something that can divide my brothers and sisters in Christ!)

    God bless you AT–since we both love Jesus–I love you brother. Please keep telling the Good News.

    JB

  9. Jetty Betty,
    Glad to hear that we’re still friends! :)

    “I think you are saying that teenagers are not responsible to God for sharing Jesus because the are not adults??”

    No, not AT ALL. I was saying that we are not “sent out” to be missionaries. Parents will say they’re “sending” their kids to be “missionaries” in a school like it’s a foreign country. That’s not in Scripture. Plus, the reality of your kids being “missionaries” like those in the Bible is extremely narrow. Look at the curriculum that is being taught (Humanism Vs. Christianity), and you’ll see what your kids are getting bashed into their brains as well as their friends who are unsaved. And we shouldn’t leave those kids alone–that’s where the adults involved in changing the curriculum is involved.

    All ages sharing Christ with those who are around them is in Scripture.

    “In Bible times teens WERE adults-”

    We’re not in Bible times. Look at the news and you’ll quickly find that adults certainly aren’t teens. We have “adultescents”” as Alex and Brett Harris put it. Also, should teens at 15 be expected to get married and work full-time? No.

    We are living in a totally different society.

    “This is just a fascinating thought I might write a post on it soon. (I will only if I can do it in a way that can encourage–I believe God has lead me never to blog about something that can divide my brothers and sisters in Christ!)”

    Looking forward to it! As I said initially in my post “This is not an attack.”..it’s an examination of my friend’s view (hopefully still my friend :)).

    Eldon,
    I may respond in a seperate post.

  10. Interesting . . . you should check out http://www.quaqua.org/plato.htm and http://www.quaqua.org/commonlaw.htm and http://www.quaqua.org/history.htm which all dovetail nicely with your argument against a humanistic, platonic, group-based education approach.

    Martha

  11. Public schools a mission field? Hey! I have an idea! Let’s send our children (sheep) into the world with a bunch of wolves!

    And, that verse in the Bible that says, “A companion of fools suffers harms.” Pfft. That doesn’t apply in this situation. Because we all know that the majority of pulic schoolers are wise, and that a majority of them are seeking after God with all their heart.

    This is not meant to be a condemnation to public schoolers. Indeed, “there is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” But, as my good friend Alex so elegantly put it,

    That deals with the socialization aspect, not to mention the fact that the Bible tells parents to teach their children when they are coming in and going out, when they are rising up and when they are laying down…etc. They are to teach their children, that’s why God gave children to parents. he didn’t give them to the school system.

    Anyway, I agree with you 100 percent. keep up the good work…

    Marshall

  12. sorry…messed up the HTML…
    Alex said,

    “For us as young people to make our peers our primary source of companionship is to effectively pool our ignorance and foolishness.”

  13. AWWW yep, I am still your friend!
    Hope you will take my response respectfully–because that is how it is meant!

    “Look at the curriculum that is being taught (Humanism Vs. Christianity), and you’ll see what your kids are getting bashed into their brains as well as their friends who are unsaved. And we shouldn’t leave those kids alone—that’s where the adults involved in changing the curriculum is involved.”

    AgentTim, if you don’t hear anything else I am saying, please hear this. The above quote is your OPINION. Do you have a right to your opinion, ABSOLUTELY!!!

    What bothers me, is I have been involved in public schools most of my life and never found the statement to be true. I am not saying it couldn’t happen. However, the way I read your statement is that it is absolute truth–never any exceptions. It’s important that we distinguish between opinions and absolutes. Do you think the statement that I quoted of yours in an absolute statement (100% true in every situtation?)

    What I don’t think we have a right to do is use our opinions as absolutes. We can have our opinions, we must remember they are opinions. And we must allow others to have opinions and respect those opinions with value.

    I don’t see the Bible telling us to best way to school (if it did, about 98% of the Christians I know would do it)–but Jesus is clear on division. If we are going to divide over something it better be really clear what we choose to divide over. I am not willing to divide schooling choices. I would like to know what you think–please!!!

    If you believe you can live your life so that it will be used in glory to God by homeschooling–I pray you will do it! However, if someone with honest and humble heart tells you they believe God wants them in public school to share Jesus, I hope you can praise God for their commitment and love for Him.

    Now, if we are still friends, let me know what you think!!!

    JB

  14. “It’s a myth to say that students are “missionaries” in public schools. Nowhere in Scripture does it point to teen missionaries—they were always adults…Christian adults must be the missionaries in the Public School system.”

    Anyone who spreads the gospel is a missionary. Thus by saying this you’re technically saying that we are not called to evangelize until we’re “adults”. This statement is not biblical.

    While the missionaries in the bible were all adults, in Luke 2:41-52 it talks about Jesus as a boy. There it says that at age 12 he walks away from his parents and begins preaching in the temple. You may be thinking “HE’S JESUS! YOU CAN’T COMPARE HUMAN TEENAGERS TO THE SON OF GOD!” but Jesus was sent here as an example of how life should be lived. Also, it says in 1 Timothy 4:12:

    “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. Set an example for the believers what you say and in how you live. Also, set an example in how you love and in what you believe”

    “It wasn’t a public school student. I wonder why?”

    I find this highly insulting. You’re suggesting that someone raised in a public school wouldn’t have taken the same opportunity. You shouldn’t assume that. This statement sends me to believe that you’ve never been to a public school. So, I’ll tell you about the real people there, the ones that aren’t on the news. I know for a fact that in Bowie high school, a Prince George’s County Public School, there are a lot of Christian peers there, enough people, in fact, to have started a “Prayer and Devotion club”. As a person who has attended home-school, a private Christian school, and am currently in a public school I have to tell you that all of the spiritual growth I’ve had in my life has been while I was in public school. It’s encouraging to see your Christian friends every day. Now then, you may be thinking “In a Christian School you’d be surrounded by 100% Christians instead of 50-75%”. To this I point out that, though there’s a higher percentage of Christians there it’s not 100% and the only real difference from a public school there is that there’s a Bible class.

    “It’s teaching your peers atheism—reversing whatever you share with them. And who is able to change that curriculum? Adults, not you.”

    The only classes that teach atheism are Comparative Religion and Biology. Comparative religion is an elective and its subject is religion it doesn’t need an explanation. But about Biology, many teachers aren’t teaching the evolution portion of it. And about 90% of teachers in general avoid talking about things of the sort because they know that it’ll spark a religious debate. Yes, I have witnessed many times a student get up and make a stand for God. Yes, in a Prince George’s County public school students get in heated debates and arguments about religion with both the teachers and other students.

    I’m very dissappointed in the way you view your fellow generation.

  15. Tim,

    First I want to thank you for a well written and thought out post. I found out about your blog via Mohler the other day, and I commend you on what you’ve accomplished with it thus far.

    As for the case for homeschooling, while you bring some compelling ideas to the table that serve as some good food for thought I think you’re making some assumptions and generalizations to get to your conclusion.

    Your premise that children shouldn’t be “sent” into the world is right on. It is clearly a neglect of one’s parental responsibilities to throw their kids into a worldly context with no input whatsoever. I stand with you on your criticism of those would-be hands-off parents out there.

    While you are right that bad company corrpts good morals I think that it isn’t any more necessary for a student at a public school to be influenced by sin than someone taught in the home. Without parental involvement and direction any child can be lured by sin, whether in the company of his bedroom computer, friends in the neighborhood, or even fellow church-goers. Aside from complete isolation (which I would say is completely unfounded Biblically), there is necessarily going to be an incfluence from the world (and I might add that even in complete isolation the flesh is still sinful and sin will abound even there).

    That said, I’m not advocating throwing your children into the lion’s den. I think that strong parental involvement can direct children into proper choices about friends and activities and thus being in public school needn’t lead to a rebellious paganism. Perhaps sending one’s children to public school tends to remove the apparent need for parental involvment, and thus parents choose to neglect their responsibilities — I think you could make a case for that, but then the problem is parents, not public school.

    I have to disagree pretty strongly with your comment that public school is a “time for total immersion in the socialist and humanistic curriculum …” While there are isolated places where this is the case, saying that such are the conditions everywhere is an unfair generalization. We only hear in the news and on fellow Christian blogs about the extreme cases where clear anti-Biblical teaching has cropped up. You don’t hear every day about the plain old boring classes where the math teacher teaches math in a quiet and well kept classroom, and you never will, because that kind of news doesn’t sell. Not every school cares at all about pushing humanism, especially in grades K-12. If you were talking about University I would agree with you, but the truth is that University is very far removed from reality, not to mention the K-12 system as a whole. Even in a place where humanism is pushed, the truth is that most of English, math, physics, and government etc. classes contain the same information whether you learn them at home or in the classroom.

    Lastly, as I can attest from my years in Christian school (10 years, grades 1-10), by no means is Christian school free from the world. Every year of school there were always the “trouble” kids who were sent there by their parents thinking that by being in such a school they would be “reformed” in some way. Usually they just ended up being a new source for all sorts of evil to enter the school. I will add however that the Bible classes we took gave me a very large body of knowledge of the Old Testament that I am immensely thankful for.

    Homeschooling has many virtues and by no means do I want to discount those. My point is merely that to reject outright an educational system I think there needs to be a stronger Biblical basis for it. No matter how you choose to educate your kids, as a parent you absolutely must be intimately involved in every detail because that is your responsibility. The Bible does not call us to isolate ourselves from the world, but rather to be “in the world.” If you can be an influence in the world around you and still homeschool your kids and set a good example to them, then may God bless your family. But I fail to see Biblically how everyone is called to remove their kids from the arena in which someday they will have to live out their lives.

    Clearly homeschooling has worked for you, agent Tim. I hope that God blesses the educational process of your kids someday. Thanks again for a well-written post.

    – Jeff

  16. Dear Tim,

    My first time on a blog, let me know if this made it…..

    4 reason why public schools offer the best in education for Christians.

    Vince, Dawn, Abby, Adrienne

  17. I agree. Christians should either homeschool their kids or send their kids to Christian schools. And leave the real education to the rest of us.

  18. The only classes that teach atheism are Comparative Religion and Biology… But about Biology, many teachers aren’t teaching the evolution portion of it. And about 90% of teachers in general avoid talking about things of the sort because they know that it’ll spark a religious debate.

    Marty, if that’s true, why does the idea of reading a simple statement saying it’s just a theory spark a huge debate + lawsuits? I really have a very hard time imagining that 90% fail to teach evolution.

    There it says that at age 12 he walks away from his parents and begins preaching in the temple.

    Wouldn’t a temple be much different from today’s schools, however? I don’t think Tim was trying that teens should just stay at home and shut up. The entire reason for homeschooling is exactly the opposite – so that we can go out and witness; so that we can become trained warriors, and go into battle. But if we enter battle before training, without arms, we’ll merely get wounded before we fire the first shot. There’s an entry on my blog about just this thing.

  19. While the missionaries in the bible were all adults, in Luke 2:41-52 it talks about Jesus as a boy. There it says that at age 12 he walks away from his parents and begins preaching in the temple. You may be thinking “HE’S JESUS! YOU CAN’T COMPARE HUMAN TEENAGERS TO THE SON OF GOD!” but Jesus was sent here as an example of how life should be lived.

    You’re right, we are supposed to follow Jesus’ example. Let’s look at what Jesus was actually doing in the temple…

    Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. – Luke 2:46

    Read the whole passage (Luke 2:41-52)

    Interesting. So Jesus wasn’t actually preaching, he was listening to what “the teachers” had to say and asking them questions. He wasn’t preaching, He was learning, He was being trained. That is the example He leaves us, to listen to those who teach about God and to seek understanding by asking questions.

    Also, it says in 1 Timothy 4:12:

    “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. Set an example for the believers what you say and in how you live. Also, set an example in how you love and in what you believe”

    I could be completly off my rocker on this one, but I’m pretty sure that Paul was talking to a young adult here…not a child or teenager.

  20. I have some questions over at my blog today, I would love to hear your answers–I won’t judge–I would just love to hear your response.

    I mean this in all respect–because the homeschool teens here all sound like really chill young people that love Jesus and I believe it’s all about loving Jesus–however, I think you may have some misconcptions about public school since you have never attended one. I think you are making them worse than they are. Do you believe a student can go to public high school and lead others to Jesus? Would you think a young person was wrong if that was their intent?

    Also, I don’t see much relation to “mission field” in Luke 2:41-51–Jesus was in the “temple courts”. He also said things they were amazed with so I suppose he had to do some speaking or teaching depending on how you look at it!

    Please keep loving Jesus everyone–He is THE answer!!

    JB

  21. Hey Timmy

    You know I love you man, and this is an amazing article. But I have just one question. You mentioned that not once does Scripture refer to a teenage missionary; that they were all adults. I’d like to point out the fact that, according to some of the greatest Christian professors in America (including Dr. Jeff Myers from Bryan College), it is very possible (and very likely) that the original twelve disciples were all under nineteen years of age. Besides, this, what about Paul the Apostle’s aprentice, Timothy? I cannot say whether or not Timothy actually went out on crusades with Paul. I honestly don’t know. But I think he could very well be considedered a missionary in his own way. Consider this. See ya on Saturday!

    Darin

  22. Thanks for stopping by Darin,
    Check out question 9 for my answer on most of that.

    I’m still wrestling with answers to other questions that have been brought up.

  23. Thoughts on comments

    · Being able to “relate”—we do not need to be immersed in a culture in order to be able to relate to someone. You would not become addicted to drugs or alcohol with the intent of learning to relate to those who have those addictions. You would not immerse yourself in the homosexual community in order to be able to “relate.” Should we all immerse ourselves in the Hollywood entertainment industry in order to be able to relate to those in the world? Where exactly would we draw the line? Would you send your child to a Muslim or Wiccan school? If not, than why are the world’s schools acceptable? Really think about what the world “relates” to. Does God call you to “relate” to the darkness?

    In “the real world,” the problems of man can all be traced back to the problem of sin. That is something we can all relate to. We are all either sinners, or sinners saved by grace. Think of career missionaries who are called by God to go into another culture. After much, much, much training and preparation, they go in and are able to relate to the people on the basis of the most fundamental need of man—the need for a Savior. They are able to do this in spite of the fact that they did not grow up in that culture.

    Much of the issue here is that unbelievers cannot “relate” to believers when it comes to spiritual matters. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and those without the Spirit are blind. You are not going to face temptation the same way that they do, you are not going to overcome a stronghold the same way they do, you are not going to think the same way that they do, you are not going to have the same priorities and goals that they do. Often it is not that you cannot relate to them, it is that they cannot relate to you.

    · Children/Teens as missionaries in the Bible—God does not look down upon children or teens and they can, and should, have an impact on their world. However, the responsibility for their foundation, their training, their growth, their maturity, rests squarely on their parents. If their parents are ministering to the world around them, the children will be able to learn by example and alongside their parents—talking about these things as they rise up, lie down, walk along the road, etc. (Deut. 6). They will walk with the wise and grow wise.

    Also, in the examples of the disciples being teens, as was already stated, teens in the Bible were considered adults. Funny how our culture expects, promotes, and perpetuates immaturity & irresponsibility, especially among teens—even Christian teens, but then wants to give them “adult” responsibility in the area of evangelism. In our culture, teens are NOT adults. Do we really want to give our teens the responsibilities of adults in all areas of life? How many adults are fulfilling the role of evangelism in their own lives that they are expecting of their children? Judging from statistics about evangelism among born-again Christians, very few.

    · Jesus at the temple—the end of the story is, “and He returned home with His parents and was subject to them.” We see the story continue when He is about 30 years old.

    · Why didn’t a public school student go up to the guys in California—it sounds to me like this was not a statement that someone from a public school wouldn’t or couldn’t. This was a statement that someone who is homeschooled could and did have the ability to socially approach people and to relate to them—with the gospel.

    · Simple definition of atheism—unbelief in God or void of belief in God. Definitely fits the public school system. Where is God? He is absent in the curriculum, methodology, and agenda.

    · Simple definition of humanism—focus on human reason and achievement while rejecting supernaturalism. Definitely fits the public school system. What is the focus? Man’s reason, man’s interpretation, man’s achievements, man’s definitions of beauty? Or God’s wisdom, God’s viewpoint, God’s accomplishments, God’s definitions of what is right, pure, and lovely? Who gets the glory in the school system?

    · Anti-God being limited to a couple of courses—the above definitions of atheism & humanism touch on this point. Do you really think that history is “objective?” History is “His-story”, the story of God’s divine plan and God’s intervention woven throughout all of history. When God is left out of the picture and it is told from the viewpoint of human reasoning, don’t you think the interpretation and application of history is going to be human-centered and skewed? What about literature? Doesn’t it have an effect if you are viewing it through the lens of Biblical principle versus man’s or culture’s worldview? Does God get the glory for His infinite wisdom and creativity in physics, chemistry, and yes, even math class?

    · “Eventually having to live in the real world”—in the real world of work, a person is not generally in the position of being under the instruction of the unbelievers he or she may be working with. They also have some choice about where they work and the type of work they do. By then, they should have become a trained warrior, having fought battles alongside their leaders (aka, parents), and having been inoculated against, not totally isolated from nor immersed in, the “world.”

    · Parental involvement—parents are responsible and will be held accountable regardless of what school system their children are in. A question in my mind is, where is all of the impact that Christian students and involved parents have had over the last, let’s say 40 years? Are the schools better now? Is our culture reaping the benefits? Have there been individual cases? I’m sure. Has the overall impact on the system worked? I don’t see it.

    Respectfully,
    Mouse

  24. Thanks for the very good article on the idea of students as missionaries in public schools. Many excellent points!

    You might want to do a little research into that list of famous home schooled people — many on the list were not home schooled.

    Again, thanks very much for the article!

  25. There’s one super big thing that we agree on here–”children” must honor and obey their parents. That is one of my non-negotiables. Parents are responsible for decisions they make about their children’s education. We will be held responsible.

    What we are *discussing* are parenting styles. My opinion, is God has called us as parents to educate our children in the way we believe will bring God the most honor and glory. It may be hard, it may be what, as a parent I don’t want to do–but if God is in it He will provide.

    To me, as a parent, not teaching my children about the world they live in would be wrong. I know, as homeschoolers you think you are learning about the world. Since I did not homeschool, you know what you are learning and I would not argue with you.

    However, since our three children just completed a combined 39 years in public schools, I know a bit about that experience because we lived it. From your statement, I think you are making some gross assumptions about public school, that in fact, are just wrong.

    We chose to use public schools–for so many reasons–but one biggie was so that our kids would learn lots of different kinds of people–and they could not have the experience God lead us to believe they needed if they went to private school or were homeschooled. We did not send them in unprepared. That would be wrong. Every day, day by day, we taught them how to use the spiritual armour God has given them. To me, not teaching them in the real world day by day, would be giving them a Calculus 3 book when they leave home and tell them to work all the problems.

    One thing I will disagree with mouse on is work environment. I work for a major company–and I work for NO Christians–does that scare me–no it thrills me because day by day I ask God to use me to make an impact on their lives. I am not sure I would want to work for Christians when God can use me to speak to non-Christians. Just me. You don’t have to agree with me.

    Also, Mouse, my question to you is: what would schools be like if there were no Christians in them–now that’s what I find very scary! I am so thankful God uses mightily for His purposes students in public schools–I have seen Him do it so many times and I praise Him!

    But yes, for now if you are a *child* you must honor and obey your parents. If you are homeschooled, they have a different parenting strategy than I do–however, that in no way makes them right and me wrong or vice versa. I am thankful that you are open to seeing another point of view. I think trying to see where other people are coming from and understanding their opinion on things is one of the most important parts of any education.

    Blessings!
    JB

  26. Sending a child to government school to share Christ is a little bit like a sending son or daughter to a child molester in order to spread the message of morality. It’s a stupid and naive concept.

    A child who goes to public school is getting spiritually assaulted by blasphemers, physically mugged by bullies, and sexually molested by teachers and fellow students who are looking to “hook up” or rape their students. Don’t cast your young pearls before the swine.

    Martha has it right . . . to understand government schooling you really need to understand the difference between hellish Platonic-based education and what should go on in a society with freedom of choice in education, original intent in the law, and Christ touching the individual heart. You government-school apologists should all read the excellent QUAQUA.ORG articles she mentioned and wake up!

  27. Oh, yes, and I had started to post this yesterday, but I didn’t get to finish it…
    about public schools and the Bible…
    I don’t know if any of you all knew this, but on September 22nd, 2005, a book called The Bible and it’s Influence was published as a curriculem for highschoolers in public schools. It goes from Genesis to Revelation, accurately portraying the gospel and thus introducing kids in public school to the Good News. Great, huh? Well…sorta. The down-side is that it only shows the Bible as a correct historical document, with all the ‘religious’ parts of it talked about as though they were only the opinions of Christians. Another bad part of this thing that is supposed to be good, is that it also shows what the Jews think and portrays thier opinion as equally as the Christian’s. So I look at it this way: at least these kids are getting into the Word. If they study it for themselves, the Holy Spirit can work in their hearts and convict them. Of course, it is far from the perfect solution, but I thought I should mention it because this was a public school post and I though you all might be interested…

  28. I’d like to add a note here.
    I am homeschooled, and I think it is the greatest thing ever. I love it. But there is one drawback.
    Very recently I’ve been convicted of the need to evangelize. The problem is, I stay in my house practically 24/7. I leave for 30 minutes when we go to get our haircuts, and 30 minutes at the grocery store every once in a long while. Besides Sunday at church, I’m completely, wholly housebound.
    So I’ve been praying for opportunities to share my faith, and God has miraculously brought some. But even so, it is very difficult for me as a homeschooler to get out and actually share my faith as we are commanded.

    Now: I understand both sides of the evangelism-in-public-schools thing. But here’s my spin:

    Do you all believe that parents should train up their child in the way he should go? Of course!Do you remember the rest of it? “and when he is old he will not turn from it.” There’s the key. When a child is young, they are moldable and easily influenced. But give them a strong Christian foundation for several years, (more or less depending on the level of the child’s spiritual maturity) and then I think it is absolutely fine to go to a public school. It would be tough. I don’t deny that. But with a firm foundation, they’ll be able to resist temptations that a child with weaker faith my succumb to. The child would pick good friends (another important part!) and still be able to efficiently evangelize. Jesus dined with sinners! He didn’t even shy away from the prostitutes and the tax collecters. I don’t think we should, either. And that is why I think public school is fine- if you have a VERY firm foundation of faith, are a strong Christian whose faith is mature, and have a strong relationship with God.

    I have seen what a public school can do to someone without a firm foundation. But I have also seen what I’ve just described: strong Christian teens with very close relationships with God who go to public schools. I know several.

    So, I can see both sides and I don’t hold it against any mother or father who decides it is best for thier child to stay home. For goodnesses sakes, I stay home myself! And I love it! But I can also see the other side.

    I don’t think we should judge one another for our actions, though. You know the issue that Paul had with the Corinthians? (at least, I THINK it was the Corinthians!) Well, the Gentile Christians believed that meat that might have been sacrificed to idols was bad to eat. But the Jews, who had very strict eating rules, disagreed. An argument ensued, and both groups thought the other was dead wrong. Well, I think the public school debate is similar. Only, we shouldn’t argue or get upset at each other, like the Corinthians were. (Debating is fine, though- and kind of fun) Some Christians think homeschooling is the ONLY way, and others (like me) think that under certain conditions public school can be just fine. The reason I think this is that I have seen living proof of it. But I’m not going to condemn or look down on (at all!) the Christian who says homeschooling is the only way, either.
    Lindsey

  29. I think I’ll add a quote from the Rebelution:

    “I readily agree that there are many good teachers, students, and experiences within the public school system. I know that many young people have graduate from public high school much the better for it. Yet that does not justify the system.

    I would encourage you to read “The Harsh Truth About Public Schools” by Bruce N. Shortt. In it he exposes many of the inherent dangers of public schools that you and I can’t see because of our limited view of the overall system.

    Please understand that [Agent Tim Online] holds no negative views towards public schoolers, public school teachers, etc. But rather towards the system itself. These views are the result of a more thorough knowledge of the inherent evils of the system and the agendas being perpetuated regardless of the convictions of teachers, students, etc.”

    Said it better than I could.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Mission 3:6teen - September 29, 2005

    [...] Agent Tim posted on The Myth of Evangelism In Public School (which was great btw), then received a flood of interesting comments. Within hours, Alex of SmartHomeschool posted “Into the battle – at six?” which talks about the exact same subject. Kristin of Spunky Junior posted Evangelism and Public Schools in response to Alex’s post and received some interesting comments there as well. [...]

  2. Agent Tim Online » Blog Archive » Intolerant Tolerance - October 8, 2005

    [...] People, things are getting worse and worse every day, as seen in today’s blog post by Albert Mohler. It’s just totally sick. The political correctness and brainwashing techniques that we’re seeing in the school systems in making me more and more sure of my latest articles on the Public School system. [...]

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