Genuinely Christian Education: Redemptive

A Christian School environment is redemptive, abounding in grace.

The admissions requirements for many Christian schools are enough to make one’s blood boil. One school states, “Students who seek admission directly following suspension, expulsion, or behavior problems from another school will not be accepted until they prove themselves elsewhere.” This school proudly protects its stalwart families from the scourge of teenage troublemakers. Those who are failures must seek redemption “elsewhere.”

Genuine conversion, life transformation, grace and forgiveness – these are nice topics for discussion in a theology class, but we can’t risk our children’s futures on theory, or so say some. Why have so many in the Christian community come to believe that influences other than Christianity transform? Since when did Christ require prerequisites?

Most parents fear the influence of the ill-disciplined, the academically mediocre, the socially challenged, the spiritual skeptics or the unchurched. For some, these were the very influences that repelled them from public schools. Such ungodly influences might ruin their children. I must confess I share those fears. A child is so vulnerable. Not all have the unwavering faith of David in the face of a giant.

Yet I cannot dismiss Christ’s strong words to the Pharisees. “Whitewashed tombs” they were called, clean on the outside, but dead on this inside. Clearly, hypocrisy should be feared above misguided behavior. My children are also vulnerable to becoming judgmental, exclusive and proud. So I will choose not to shield them from the ugly and frightening. When my child encounters one who is disobedient or apathetic, will he mimic the behavior or extend hope? When he discovers that not all readily follow Christ, will he be shaken or driven by compassion to embrace those in need of restoration? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know there is little chance of a genuine Christian response without genuine Christian discipleship.

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