Christian Schools: Transformation or Indoctrination

I have attended or taught in private mystical teachings of jesus for well over two decades. I presently teach in a Christian School in Columbus, Georgia. My experience teaching in Christian education has been overwhelmingly positive. I walked away from public education twelve years ago and dedicated myself to educational ministry.

A common complaint I hear from non-Christian public school students as well as Christian school students is that there isn’t a thimble full of behavioral difference between the two. If this is true it is tragic, if it is not true then it is a perception that must be addressed. This leads us to a most relevant question: Are students who attend Christian schools being transformed by the redeeming truth of Christianity or are they simply being spoon-fed a well-learned jargon that brings no transformation but rather produces a generation that exhibits a “form of godliness but denies its power.” (2 Tim. 3:5)

Students who have been spoon-fed a Christian worldview but have not been taught or permitted to ask the hard questions are often swept away when they get to college and experience an environment that is decidedly atheistic but one that encourages enquiry and contrary opinions. They often mistake the falsity taught in an open and challenging atmosphere as truth and conversely question the truth they learned in an atmosphere that discouraged consideration of the ‘hard questions’.

What is the mission of a Christian school? Is it to evangelize those who are lost? Is it to disciple whose who have accepted Christ? Is it simply to offer an alternative form of education and provide an escape hatch for those who are caught up in a culture saturated with promiscuous sex and illegal drug activity? I think most Christian schools have elements of all of the above in their declared mission.

A statistic was released some time ago that rocked the Christian world. 80% of youth stop attending church after they graduate from high school. Many reasons have been given: They had planned to leave even before graduation. They were sidetracked by atheistic professors touting PhD’s behind their names. They were unprepared for the sudden flood of anti-Christian culture that simply swept them away.

After decades of involvement in Christian education, I have observed this phenomenon in Christian schools as well though perhaps not quite so prevalent. I believe the real reason students leave the faith may well be that they never were in the faith to begin with. Christian school students often spend an entire twelve years learning the jargon of Christianity. They know what words to use and exactly when to insert just the right phrases to convince their elders that they are, indeed, followers.

After years of teaching, mentoring and observing young students in Christian schools, I have concluded that those many who leave the faith had never really enlisted. Jesus gave a clear calling to his disciples to follow him. Only a few became true followers. Some began to follow but were overwhelmed by the sacrifices they were asked to make. Others turned back because they missed the comforts offered by their families and culture.

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