Okay, I know this is going to stir things up a bit, but I am going to write this anyway.
If a "Christian" school does not use Christian/Biblical curriculum, can it be classified as a Christian school?
This is a fair question, I think. And one that warrants some discussion and some thought, since many young people from our churches are sent to these "Christian" schools. I will not get into the specific statistics in this particular blog, but it is a well-known fact that the majority of Christian young people are leaving Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches in droves once they leave for college. Very few of them are coming back. I make this statement in the context of this particular topic, because even though there are many factors involved, I believe that the "Christian" school is one of them. Many "Christian" schools are so in name only, and are simply using the curriculum provided by the state to educate children in a secular-humanist world-view. In effect, we are teaching our children one thing from the pulpit of our churches and something completely different in the classrooms of our "Christian" schools. Is it any wonder that they are confused, professing Christianity but living lives that are diametrically opposed to a Biblical world-view?
A bit of history....
One of the motivating factors for the start of the Christian school movement back in the late '60s and early '70s was the whole issue of the secular/humanist agenda that had over-run the public school system in both Canada and the U.S. (I know that the Christian school movement started a lot earlier than that, but for all intents and purposes it was very small. It really took off in the late '60s following the cultural revolution in the U.S.) The whole curriculum had been polluted with the secular-humanist doctrine, punctuated by their line of evolutionary thought. This was mainly seen in the pure sciences (biology, chemestry, physics) and in the social sciences (history, geography). It could also been seen creeping into other subjects as well, but it mainly made its presence known in these, the most obvious ones.
So, Christian schools were started. (Home schooling was rare at this stage) They replaced the secular curriculum with a Christian one. Creationism replaced evolutionary theory in history, geography, biology, etc. When evolution was presented, it was always in a "need-to-know" manner, to help the students develop an apologetic for creation, with a working understanding of their pro-evolution opponents.
Why did parents and churches choose to do this? Most believed that they had a mandate from Scripture that it was their responsibility to teach their children the truth. All the subjects they learned in the classroom revolved around a Christian world-view. Now, I know I've simplified it a bit, but the heart, the main motivation for pulling their kids out of the public system and starting Christian schools was that of competing world-views.
At this point, it behooves us to ask the question: What makes a school Christian? I believe that there are two main factors that would meet the criteria for calling a school Christian. There are others, but these are the biggest.
1. A faculty/staff/leadership that gives a clear testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. A corollary of this testimony would be that they are part of an evangelistic church and regularly worship and engage in the activities of their church or faith family. Their lives would also reflect this testimony, and would extend itself into the lives of the students that they are teaching.
2. A curriculum that is distinctively Christian, and also reflects a clear testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A Christian school should be using and teaching material that revolves around a Christian/Biblical worldview. The curriculum would be aimed at providing an education that will equip the students with the tools necessary to make an honest living in whatever field they wish to pursue in life. It would also equip them to be honest, hard-working and Kingdom-centred in their secular jobs. The object of working is not just to make a living, but to impact the lives of those around them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes all the subjects, not just one or two. That would also mean that you cannot use a secular/humanist curriculum in some subjects, while throwing in a token Bible curriculum in others to somehow "sanctify" the education experience of the student.
So, if a school that calls itself "Christian" uses curriculum from the secular-humanist state, can that school continue to call itself "Christian"?
Now, before you get angry with me, and I know at this point some of you are, consider this.
Let me ask you a question. Why are you angry at me, and not angry at the "Christian" school? After all, they have passed themselves off to you as being "Christian", when that is not the case. You've been sold a bill of goods. You're spending your hard-earned money to send your precious children to an institution you were told was 'Christian', when in reality you are sending them to a state-run, secular institution where they are taught curriculum from a secular-humanist world-view. You should be angry at them, not me.
"Well," you say, "the teachers are Christians!" That may be true, but the curriculum that they are teaching your children is not. It is the curriculum that the State has told them they must teach if they want to continue to receive their accreditation (code word: $$$$$). "And it doesn't matter what you guys believe, as long as you teach what we tell you to teach (so you can continue to receive our $$$$$$)". So, the teacher gets up and teaches Evolutionary theory (as if it is fact), and the Biblical creation theory is never mentioned. "Oh, but the teacher is a creationist, you say!" Great, glad to hear it. Is he allowed to teach Creation alongside of Evolution in the classroom? No? Then what does it matter if the teacher is a creationist or not? He or she may as well be teaching in a public school, which is essentially what they are doing. The school may be listed as a private Christian school, but it is essentially controlled by the government, because they are using their curriculum and told what they can teach and what they can't.
"No school is perfect!" you say. That is true. We live in an imperfect world, and as long as there are sinful people, there will never be a perfect institution of any kind, be it church or school. However, that is not the point. I am not here to debate whether or not a person should choose a Christian school over a Public School over Home Education. The main point is this: when a school that calls itself "Christian" ceases to use Christian curriculum in the classroom, even going so far as to present the secular-humanist-evolutionary world-view with no presentation of the Biblical-creationist model, and no room even for debate, the school itself ceases to be "Christian" and should not be called such. Call it a private school if you want, but don't call it "Christian". That is a lie. It is dishonest. And the leadership of the school should be called to account, since they are taking money from parents under false pretenses. At the end of the day, that'$ what it i$ all about anyway. When the $tate is paying for D.J. at the party, you dance to their tune.
And as a wise man once said, "If we send our children to be educated by Caesar, why should we be surprised when they come home looking and acting like Romans?"