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    by Mike McHugh

Except the Lord Build the School …
Date Posted: March 27, 2008

I was being interviewed on the radio recently regarding the plight of home educators in the state of California, who were being threatened with prosecution unless they employed state certified teachers. During the interview, a professing Christian dad called the program to explain why he felt that the growing problems of public (government) education in the U.S. could be solved to the point where Christian families would no longer need to engage in the alternative of home education. He proceeded to state that the true reason why secular public schools were declining on an academic and social level stemmed from two primary deficiencies:

  1. They lacked adequate funding (i.e. more tax money was needed)

  2. They lacked sufficient parental involvement (apathetic parents)

As I listened to this father, who was obviously a big fan of secular public education and the teacher’s union, it dawned on me that his assumptions concerning what was needed to revitalize and improve education were probably a very commonly held viewpoint among Christian parents today. So many times over the years, I have heard the proponents of secular education make statements like, “If we could only get more funding for our schools, they would improve,” or “If only more parents would get involved and volunteer their time, our schools would be more successful.”

Although these views may well be commonplace today, including within the ranks of Christian parents, the question must still be asked, “Are these assumptions true?” As usual, whenever there is a need to sort out truth from error, or right thinking from wrong thinking, the Word of God must light the path of our understanding in order that it might be our infallible guide. In regard to the question of why, in spite of huge financial expenditures and a massive amount of human effort, our nation’s secular public schools are incapable of blessing students on an academic, social, and spiritual level, the Bible declares:

“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain.” Psalm 127:1

What this passage, and others like it, should permit parents to see is that the true reason why secular schools are not prospering stems from the reality that such educational institutions continue to attempt to operate their programs without God. For nearly two hundred years, the schools of America faithfully acknowledged the God of the Bible, and as a result prospered in spite of meager funding and mediocre facilities. Not surprisingly, however, when God, prayer, and the Bible were formally kicked out of the classroom in the early 1960’s, America’s public schools began to experience steady decline across the board. Contrary to the view of many parents, including numerous professing Christians, more money and more parental involvement is not the key to educational reform. The essential step in reforming any educational institution is for it to honor the One who declared, “…for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5

The hard truth that parents in the U.S. must begin to acknowledge, in order that true prosperity may begin to return to our nation’s schools, is that secular public education is anti-Christ, and is, consequently, under the curse of Almighty God. Lest we forget, it was the God of the Bible who clearly warned, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30

It was the great theologian and reformer Martin Luther who said, “I am much afraid that schools will prove to be wide gates to hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign supreme. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the word of God must become corrupt.”

The plain truth is that secular public and private schools in the U.S. are in major trouble today precisely because they have rejected God and sought to exalt man’s wisdom above that of the Creator. Educators and parents today who insist on promoting secular educational alternatives, whether they realize it or not, are declaring the very same thing that the religious leaders of Israel espoused before Pilate two-thousand years ago; “We will not have this man to rule over us!”

Until parents and educators in the public schools are brought to the place where they are willing to acknowledge their desperate need for Christ and His Law Word to rule over them, there will continue to be the urgent need for God-fearing parents to remove their children from such schools. The secular government schools in the U.S. are not just a multi-billion dollar failure on an academic level, they are failing the children of America on a social and spiritual level as well. It is past time for Christian parents to recognize that only those schools that acknowledge God can impart true wisdom to young minds, for as the Bible declares, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10a

After all is said and done, the real key to improving our schools at a foundational level, is not more money or more parental involvement. True educational reform will only break forth as parents and school administrators acknowledge that, “Except the Lord build the school, they labor in vain who build it.”

Copyright 2008 Michael J. McHugh

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Biography Information:
This column is written by the staff at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. As a pioneer in the homeschool movement, Christian Liberty ministries has been operating a full service, K-12 home school program for over thirty years and a Christian textbook ministry (Christian Liberty Press), since 1985. The mission of Christian Liberty is to provide parents with quality, affordable educational products and services that will enable them to teach their children in the home and to train their children to serve Christ in every area of life. A more extensive explanation of the CLASS home school program can be obtained at
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