Matthew Biemers makes a compelling case for Christian day schools. But frankly, I don’t need convincing. I’ve reaped the benefits of Christian schools from first grade back in the Netherlands right through Calvin Theological Seminary. My kids have also been well-equipped to be contributing kingdom citizens through their Christian schooling. Margo and I are deeply grateful for the blessing of Christian schools. We’ve found them well worth the money and the significant sacrifices they demanded.
It’s sad to see so many miss out on this deeply formative influence in their lives. Increasingly the only Christian schools that are viable are those that attract mostly students outside of our denomination. Just as so many other Christians are catching the vision for Christian schooling, it seems that CRC parents are losing it. The reasons are diverse—and some are certainly understandable.
Christian day schools are very expensive and therefore require a great deal of sacrifice on behalf of many families.
Another consideration is that not all Christian schools are well equipped to offer what some of our children actually need. That problem is compounded by governments that provide necessary support services only through the public system.
Also, many of our folks live out of reach of established Christian schools. Maybe not every high school kid can be expected to spend three hours a day on public transit like yours truly did—though it did me no harm: I read lots and got a good jump on my homework.
However, Christian school education has always been expensive, not all students readily accommodated, and distance a challenge. So what explains the serious decline in numbers? Could it be an erosion of those Christian values that once inspired us and spurred us on to make those difficult sacrifices? In many cases our commitment to a full-orbed biblical lifestyle and a fully integrated Christian community appears to be heading south. It seems that the dominant culture in which we live is making a definitive impact on the way we choose to live and how we raise our kids. That’s scary.
Christian schools and Reformed churches have served each other well, mutually supporting each other in proclaiming, celebrating, teaching, and living out the lordship of Jesus Christ inside and outside of church. We cannot afford to lose that.
Not to say for one minute that every kid must attend Christian day school—or that the public system and Reformed Christian teachers and students within those systems don’t make significant contributions!
But the fact remains that it takes a community to raise a kid in Christ’s ways, especially in a world as profoundly intertwined with secular culture as ours. We need to keep the three-legged stool of home, church, and Christian school as our default option.
Biemers gives us good reasons to do so. I hope you agree—also with your wallet. It shouldn’t just be parents who make those financial sacrifices. We all need to step up and make good on the promises we make right along with the parents at each and every infant baptism.
About the Author
Bob De Moor is a retired Christian Reformed pastor living in Edmonton, Alta.