Parent Responsibility for Christian Education

Notes from a principal’s desk

By Roy W. Lowrie, Jr.

The Christian Teacher (1959)

God’s gift of children brings responsibility upon us parents to provide spiritually and materially for them. This dual responsibility rests upon the parents’ shoulders, especially upon the father, and is non-transferable. To fail in either area is to disobey God. Our children, blessed burdens that they are, are our charge – and joy!

“The father to the children shall make known thy truth.” (Isaiah 38:19b) We thank God for the Sunday school, church, daily vacation Bible school, Bible club, Christian camp, but the diligent training of our children remains upon us parents. This strong conviction has led to the establishing of Christian schools where parents may entrust their children to teachers of like faith who would really stand in the parents’ place. But this responsibility can never be fully delegated to the Christian school. The school is an extension of the home, not vice versa.

Deuteronomy 6 says that God’s words are to be in the heart of parents. We cannot teach our children that which we ourselves do not know. Parent study of the Bible, father and mother discussing its application to family life, is needed. This is to be done with diligence.

Family worship is a key time for the child to know God and His Word – if he has God-fearing parents. This is the best place to be grounded in a Biblical philosophy of life. This is the starting point and foundation of Christian education.

The parent must study the Bible to know what God reveals about every part of life. Not only the teacher, but also the parent must integrate the Scriptures with the subjects being taught. What does the Word say about science, language, history, geography, reading, health, physical education, art, music, mathematics, civics? What are the counsels of God concerning guidance, work habits, relationships, goals of study? Comprehensive answers to these will not be learned apart from study. The casual reading of Scripture, as one would skim the Reader’s Digest, will not accomplish the job.

Parents are responsible to pray for their children and the school. Ask God to magnify His name through the school that others may know that He is the Lord. Matthew 6:33 is for the school as well as for individuals. We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. No matter how many things our school may need, the prayer requests for things must remain secondary.

It is preferable to send a child to school unfed rather than unprayed for. Parents must pray that their children may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12). Faithful and regular prayer, as Daniel, rather than the breakfast table quickie is needed if our children are to have strength to ward off the lion and perception to see the deceiver. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Facilities and experience are no substitute for prayer.

Parents are also responsible to support the finances of the school. David’s example in II Samuel 24 is significant, though not typical today. He refused to offer to God that which cost him nothing financially. The spirit of giving requires sacrifice. It is hard to justify the purchase of those things which are beyond actual necessity if a better school plant, equipment, and adequate teachers’ salaries are needed. Someone has said that we do not tolerate luxuries, we simply make them necessities.

Christian giving is not to be done on a uniform basis, according to the apostle Paul, but as God has prospered each family. Surely this rule should apply to our schools. Any approach to the financial pie which cuts it into equal shares is not supported by Scripture. The giving is to God, and for His sake parents are to support the work according to their ability.

Parents are responsible in Christian education to keep “the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.” The school family is a microcosm of the body of Christ, different members having different functions. Personal relationships are important in the unschismatic functioning of the body. Parents cannot expect God’s blessing upon improper personal relationships between individuals or families of the school family.

Parents with school problems should go to the teacher, principal, board committee, or board for a clear and forthright solution. Gossip and murmuring scar but without healing. Amy Carmichael speaks of gossip as a hot wire in the ear, a hard nail in soft wood, a blister on the ear. There is blessing in straightforwardness between all members of the school family.

Our children will learn to do that which they see us parents doing. The tap root of Christian education is the parents’ relationship and daily fellowship with Christ, our Water and our Bread.  Teaching by demonstration, by example is the thrust of the Scripture in I Peter 5:3 which says “…not as being lords over God’s heritage but as examples to the flock.” “Be ye followers of me even as I am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1).  “Those things, which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do (Philippians 4:9a). This is effective Christian education, parents living in obedience to God. Henry W. Frost said, “The lives of my parents compelled me to believe that the Word of God is wholly true and also that there is a living Christ. My father’s gentleness, his long-suffering patience, his enabling companionship, and my mother’s unfaltering, never-failing sweetness and love won my heart, not only for themselves but also for God.” This means that as a father I pray.

“Father may Peg and I be doers of the Word and not hearers only so that Jan, Winnie, Ellen, and Roy will know Thee and the relevance of Thy Word to all of life.”

Last updated by Lisa Lanpher Mar 5, 2013.

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