Education, the Church, and the State (Part 1)

“Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world.”    -  Vladimir Lenin

"He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future."  -  Adolph Hitler

All fundamentally-stable Churches in America believe that the Bible is inerrant in all its teachings; that it is “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). With this as their foundation, they faithfully and proudly teach the Bible either verse-by-verse or topic-by-topic, yet relying upon Scripture as the absolute basis of all their teaching. This is good, and we need more of it in America’s churches.

However, as we discussed in our last commentary (in the free E-book), the highest priority in most churches today – even in these fundamentally-sound churches – is evangelism, or “leading the lost to salvation.” But, is this actually to be the top priority, …well above all other priorities of Christ’s church?

When we consider the Great Commission, we find that it greatly emphasizes discipleship; i.e., learning; teaching; applying; obeying; modeling. Very similar to how we expect our children to be taught.    

In Matt 28:19-20 (The Great Commission), Jesus commanded the apostles: 19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you...”

The first portion of Christ’s command is “make disciples”. But what is a disciple? The Greek word is mathētḗs, which is defined in Strong’s Concordance: to disciple, i.e. helping someone to progressively learn the Word of God to become a matured, growing disciple (literally, "a learner", a true Christ-follower); to train (develop) in the truths of Scripture and the lifestyle required, i.e. helping a believer learn to be a disciple of Christ in belief and practice. (Emphasis ours).

Again, this is the same method we employ in raising our children. In addition to becoming believers in Christ, we want them to become mature, responsible, virtuous, and productive – as evidence of their faith. That is the purpose of their education. And that, we propose, is the greater purpose of the church.

Ephesians 4:11-12 is quite clear in supporting our proposition: And He Himself (Who? Answer: Christ.) gave (to who? Answer: The Church.) some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (for what purpose?) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry.” (Note: the word minister means servant)

Christ gives the church all the above so that they will equip the saints (that’s us!) for serving others as Christ has served us. That is discipleship: teaching, challenging, making relevant applications for the whole of life. It’s like boot-camp, where the soldiers learn to use the weapons of the warfare that they will be engaged in. And again, is this not how we expect to raise our children - with the purpose of equipping them for life? And this life, to a Christian, is a battleground!

This leads us back to the quotes at the top.

The Bottom Line:

Whoever is given charge of teaching/equipping the next generation will have nearly carte-blanche authority to point them in one direction or another. Biblically, whose responsibility -- no, …whose privilege -- is it?

Continued in our next Biblical Worldview Commentary:

Education, the Church, and the State (Part 2)