Quotation of the Week

I am convinced that the time has come for Christians to develop an exit strategy from the public schools. Some parents made this decision long ago. The Christian school and home school movements are among the most significant cultural developments of the last thirty years. Other parents are not there yet. In any event, an exit strategy should be in place.

Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in his latest book, Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth. (Via Out of Ur)


  1. I agree with the premise. I haven’t heard a satisfactory answer on the “how to end” of this argument for those christians that are in the inner city, that may barely have high school diploma and making ends meet. I raised this issue among some SBC brethren, and their pat answer was to have the poor and struggling to make better choices.

    Again, I like the premise I just want to hear some answers on how it works for the average christian “po-folk” leaving check to check attending maybe that small storefront church. Then maybe more of us can get board. Otherwise this sounds like rhetoric from the rich.

    Help me out does Al Mohler even have school aged kids? If so as a Seminary President (and possibly the next president of the SBC as a whole)he ain’t facing the same issues that we face down here in the hood.

  2. Wow – from my experience, I totally disagree with this statement. Obviously every parent and family has to make this decision for themselves. But our children attended our local public schools and it was a great experience overall. They involved themselves in Christian ministries within the high school as well as many other sport and social activities. Some of their best friends are people they went to high school with (our children are now 30 and 27 years old).

  3. I said “leaving” and meant to say living.

    I’ll clarify my point this way, I think that christians should do something. Which was the premise I agreed with.

    If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3

    It sounds like the answer from the quote is run away. This is why many neighbors have become overun with debauchery.

    When I think about this, what shape would the schools and classrooms be in if all the light bulbs, in the class, hallways, outdoor sports fields and etc, were removed? It would be a pretty dark place day or night. So, when the christian is removed the light goes with him.

    This is religious rhetoric. Let every man (anthropos, male or female) be persuaded in their own mind! And the dude sounds like he’s selling a book. Why? You got all kinds of loot as it is.

  4. I think a perspective like this can become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the public school system becomes more “wordly” we pull out our children (and teacher, etc.). But what happens when you withdraw more salt and light? Of course, things don’t get better. But rather than own the result as emerging from our choices, we see it as confirmation of our fear.

    That said, there are MANY legitimate reasons and circumstances to put our children in Christian schools, home schools or even private schools. Our children should not have to bear too much responsibility in “saving” the world. However, we certainly are far too quick to cut and run.

    The very term “exit strategy” in respect to the world or culture is rooted in a deeply misguide eschatology where escapism, not sacrifice is the guiding value.

    I am very curious to hear your thoughts on the quote, Erika.


  5. I also want to affirm Donald’s point. In our inner city neighbourhood, most families don’t have the freedom or resources to make such a choice. As Christians we need to be more aware of socio-economics when making sweeping statements about what choices everyone should make.


  6. Wow – how easy it is to slip into empty rhetoric. Rich vs. poor, kids as “lightbulbs” and “salt” and all the rest. The only thing this rhetoric does is attempt to justify one’s decision to send their children to public school, because there is really no logic behind it.

    It is religious rhetoric. It’s ALL religious rhetoric. Don’t think for one moment that the rhetoric from Christians choosing the public schools sounds any more convincing.

    I also agree that every man should be pursueded in his own mind, education is a decision to be made between him and God on what’s best for his family. When Christians start throwing mud at one another over these types of issues, and we resort to using these sorts of weak arguments to try to justify our own opinions, how do you think that makes us look to the unchurched? Quite silly, I would imagine.

  7. Kim,

    With genuine respect, I think you are being unfair (and perhaps unkind). Do you think that the issue of socio-economics plays no part at all in doing what Dr. Mohler suggests? As someone who lives and ministers in an inner city community, I can tell you it is a very real challenge not to be so dismissed.

    And is there not some merit to the argument that Christian children and youth have an impact on the quality of the schools?

    To dismiss these comments as illogical and silly is unfair. You seem to suggest that people who choose to send their kids to simply look for rationalizations to justify it rather than acknowledge that different people make different choices with valid reasons.

    I spent all 12 years of my schooling in a great Christian school while my brother spent half in the public school. It was the best choice for both of us. The criticism I have with Dr. Mohler’s statement is that it seems to leave little room for these various alternatives.


  8. Kim,

    Light and salt are biblical similies, so your problem isn’t with our reasoning processes it is with scripture.

    Giving using the bible’s language isn’t emtpy rhetoric is what christians should do.

    I used lightbulbs as opposed to light which is the actual word used. I was being very contemporary using what the bible uses word pictures. It’s called carrying it over in homeletical circles.

    Any thinking christian would have caught that, without flying off the handle, calling something rhetoric.

    In polemical circles, what you do was both built a straw man case (a self-refuting agrument) and if you’re a christian you dishonored God, whenever a person has no respect for symbolic (terming similies of Christ), they dishonor the reality. And then resulted to ad hominem attitudes.

    I don’t need any reason to justify sending my child to either public or private school.

    Since you blog, maybe you can articulate the proper way to deal with situation logically.

    No response necessary.

    I like this sister’s blog, I probably won’t be back.

  9. Hi Jamie – I’m deeply sorry my comments came across as insensitive and unkind. My point was that many times the arguments we use in favor of public schooling, Christian schooling and homeschooling – all the arguments from all sides really do sound empty (at least to me) after a while, because they start sounding like excuses.

    I don’t agree with the quote. I also don’t believe that Christian schools are necessarily better than public schools. I also do not believe homeschooling is a viable option for everyone. For the record, so you can see is where I might tend to be a bit biased…we do homeschool. And while we don’t live in the inner city…we cannot afford to send our children to private school.

    When I made my comments, I was upset about the tone of the comments I had read, because to me, they sounded like the same stuff I hear all the time regarding education choices. Some reasons for public school are, I believe, valid. Saying public school is an opportunity for my 5-year-old to be light in a dark world, however…while scripture talks about this, these are little children we’re talking about. Do we really believe that the normal 5-year-old from a Christian home is going to be of strong enough Christian character as to influence all the non-Christian kids around them? When they get older…SURE! But the early years? Experience makes me glad I homeschool right now. I’ll feel better about sending them to public school later. And please understand, I’m humbled and thankful that I even have that option. If I were a single working mother, I most likely would not be able to do this.

    Anyhow, I’m rambling. All I have to offer is what’s right for my family, and that’s where I believe education decisions should remain…within the families. On that, we do agree. 🙂

  10. One quick note, Jamie, I made my initial comments before I had even read your yours. I want you to know your comments did make me think more seriously about socio-economics and the role they play in many ofthethings we comfy middle-class Christians take for granted. Peace.

  11. Hey Kim,

    Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate you explaining with such grace. I agree with you that small children are not meant to bear the burden of witness at the expense of their education and spiritual formation. I was thinking more of familial impact on the school and older youth. Thanks!


  12. Kim and Jamie,

    Glad to see you continued to dialogue together here. I know this issue feels very significant for me right now, and I am watching as my peers here make a variety of choices (homeschooling, private and public). Humility, grace, trust, these must be the forces behind our decisions. I do, more often, feel like fear is what drives…

    Perhaps I will do a longer post where I can share more of my feelings and thoughts on the topic as it is one that many inquire about on a regular basis.


  13. Kris,

    Like your kids, I had an outstanding public school experience, and the same can be said of my close friends today as well.

    On a related note, my parents did not send us to public schools to be evangelists. To the best of my knowledge, they sent us to public schools because they were great schools, and that is what most parents did at the time. Private schools were the exception, and I knew no one who was home-schooled.

    That said, my best friend (who attended my church) and I invited our other two closest friends in 7th grade to come to a church retreat. Both joined our youth group, became Christians, evangelized their families and friends, and all are active in their faith to this day. There are a number of people at my home church who came into our faith family as a result of relationship with us. And we were NOT the Jesus T-shirt, tract-carrying types 🙂

    Anyway, I should save the rest of my thoughts for that longer post I promised!

  14. Lots of opinions on this issue! Though I was raised overseas for most of my life, when I returned to the US, I attended public school and had a great experience. It enabled me to understand the world outside of the Christian bubble. The benefit of coming into it from a strong Christian missions school is that I was immediately put into advanced classes (which were fantastic, and definitely allowed for dialogue), and I had already had quite a bit of strong Christian teaching in my life.

    My husband’s experience homeschooling was fantastic, and he has moved all the way through and is working on his MA and intends to get a PhD. On the other hand, when he returned to the US, he was put in a Christian school. The education here was so-so, and the Christianity could be half-hearted.

    I personally om most comfortable with the idea of homeschooling or putting my young children in a small and trusted Christian school, but moving them into a public school for highschool.

  15. I do, more often, feel like fear is what drives…

    Great statement! The idea of education dominated my thoughts with regards to my preschool children for several years. Initially, I was motivated by fear to homeschool. Gradually, though, as I spent time researching and talking to Christian parents on both sides of the issue, our decision to homeschool became more and more clear. I wouldn’t say I’m militant about it, however. God is always full of surprises. When asked if we’ll homeschool through highschool, I giggle, because I really have no idea! We go year to year, and we do our best to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.

    I appreciate the dialogue on this subject. I pray that I never become too old to learn something new, or be pursueded to consider another point of view.

  16. Kim,

    I appreciate you sharing a bit of your family’s journey in this. My kids are veyr little but I know that we too will face those questions, fears, challenges soon enough! And may it be that we all submit to God’s spirit working in the midst of it all.

  17. Bill Kinnon, what evidence do you have that Mohler “hungers to lead the SBC”? And how can you judge what his view of the Holy Spirit is? And what does either of this have to do with the subject on hand?

  18. this is such a good topic! just to add a little bit, my son is in kindergarten at a public school. our school district is awesome. it would be hard to find reasons why a christian kid shouldn’t go there. BUT, there are so many external situations that make it easier. it’s an affluent community, allowing for a lot of fundraising and a lot of parents who have time to invest in the classroom. however worldly the curriculum might be, the parents all want their kids to be kind, loving, hardworking, etc. no matter what their religious background is. this, really is what our little ones are learning at 5yrs. old, yes? that said, i think it would be so much more difficult to “not worry about it” in a less or not at all affluent area where you don’t have the extra resources and hands to contribute to what is being taught. socioeconomics must play a huge role. one that needs a lot more attention.

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