Volume 10, Issue 1: Repairing the Ruins
The Covenantal Aspect of Education
The purpose of education is to pass on knowledge from one generation to the next, which is impossible outside of a covenantal framework. Without this generational conveyance of knowledge, mankind would be little better than the animals. Most Christians are aware that all the treasures of knowledge are found in God (Col. 2:2-3). But there is a link between education and God that many Christians have never considered.
The sovereign God in His infinite wisdom has purposed and created man in His own image. Being created in God's image does not make us each as God, but it does mean we share some common attributes. One aspect of our human natures is that we have minds and the ability to reason (Is. 1:18; 55:8_9). But our sinful nature inherited from our father, Adam, tends to deprive us of our reason, making us more brutish or animal-like (2 Pet. 2:12, Rom. 1:21). Knowledge alone cannot restore this deprivation. We must first be renewed in Christ before we can truly benefit from the abundant treasures of knowledge that are found only in Christ (Col. 3:10).
But God is also a covenantal God (Deut. 7:9; Dan. 9:4), and as such, He has ordained that men should live according to the covenant that He as the sovereign God of all creation has established and revealed in the Scriptures. This covenant was not intended only for the nation of Israel, but for the whole world (Gen. 17:4, Matt. 28:19). We as Christians, Christ's body, the Church, are the inheritors of the covenant that God made with our spiritual fathers (Gal. 3:8, 15_16, 29). As such, the covenant that God made with our fathers, including Abraham, Moses, and David, still applies to us today—the promises, as well as the blessings and the curses.
Most modern evangelical Christians are more than willing to claim the promises and the blessings that accompany them, but we would rather not acknowledge the curses. The promises, however, encompass both the blessings and the curses. We cannot take the one and reject the other. Our faithfulness in keeping God's covenant, or our lack of it, determines whether we as the Church will be the recipients of the covenantal blessings or curses—"Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God. . . . And it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you . . ." (Deut. 28:1_2, 15; NKJV here and following).
The same covenantal language found in the previous passages from Deuteronomy 28 is also found in Deuteronomy 6: "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged" (Deut. 6:1_2). Note that just a few verses later (Deut. 6:7) we are commanded to teach these commandments, God's perpetual covenant, to our children. This correlates with the covenant God made with Abraham, "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you" (Gen. 17:7). In a similar but expanded way Jesus commanded the same thing of His followers, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you . . ."(Matt. 28:19,20).
Teaching is inherently covenantal. As parents we are either faithfully teaching our children to be covenant keepers and hence recipients of the blessings promised to our spiritual fathers and their descendents after them, or unfaithfully teaching our children to be covenant breakers and recipients of the curses. There is no neutral zone.
But how can we as Christians ever hope to teach our children as God has so clearly commanded us to if we send them to government schools that implicitly, if not explicitly, deny the relevance of God in all areas of life? Instead of learning how God's eternal word applies to everything we think, do, and say, the children in the government school system learn that knowledge is somehow "neutral" and separate from the God who created the universe and everything in it, and who controls all things by His omnipotent power. The children educated in this fashion are not taught the pre-eminence of the Word of God, but rather that it is insignificant, irrelevant, passe. In light of this, can we as Christian parents rightfully expect the blessings of the covenant on our children and children's children to a thousand generations? Should we not rather fearfully anticipate the curses on ourselves and our descendents after us for our unfaithfulness to God's covenant in how we educate our children?
Instead of raising up godly offspring that glorify God by learning and keeping His covenant, Christians who willingly support and use the government school system are subtly teaching their children to be morally schizophrenic; except for Sunday morning worship, there are no moral absolutes, and every man can do what is right in his own eyes. Such parents have been dutifully and ignorantly teaching their children to be covenant breakers. God's covenant is inescapable, as are the consequences for ignoring it. And the results are dreadfully apparent in our schools and our society.