Christianity and American Schools
For the first 150 years or so, America grew and prospered beyond all other nations. America is, in fact, the envy of the world because of its many advantages. Think of the many great advances in medicine, computer technology, space exploration, home conveniences, food variety, automobiles and other forms of transportation—and the list goes on and on. From1776 up to World War II, America was able to accomplish astounding things. While some major troubles are looming for the nation, America is still able to do some pretty amazing things.
One of the greatest features of American life has been her schools. People from all over the world have always wanted to come to America to be educated. America has been known worldwide as a country where any person can go to school—no matter how poor—and get an education that would allow that person to prosper. American schools, even on the frontier when the nation was growing westward, provided an important service to the average citizen. Much of America’s progress and success has been due to education.
What many Americans no longer realize is that, from the beginning, a very important part of schools was Christianity. In fact, the founders of America’s schools stated plainly that the purpose of education is to teach kids Christianity so they will be decent citizens. They believed that if you mold young people to be moral, decent, and upstanding according to Christian principles, they will be blessed by God and will be able to advance civilization in positive ways.
Sadly, after World War II, American schools began teaching children that they came from ape-like ancestors through evolution, rather than by God’s creation as the Bible says. They began teaching children it is okay to experiment with sex. They removed the Bible and prayer from the classroom. Many other changes have taken place that have made many schools places of bad influence. America has shifted from a nation that saw its very survival as dependent onthe spread of Christian principles through theschools, to a nation that has expelled the teaching of Christian principles from the public school system.
The Founders would be very sad. The first college in the Colonies was Harvard College, founded in 1636. Look at the 1636 student rules for Harvard students:
Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his lifeand studies is to know God and Jesus Christwhich is eternal life (John 17.3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of allsound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Prov. 2,3). Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein.
Wow! What a difference fromschools today! Physician and signer ofthe Declaration of Independence, Dr.Benjamin Rush, said: “[T]he onlyfoundation for a useful educationin a republic is to be laid inreligion. Without this there canbe no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and libertyis the object and life of all republicangovernments.” Noah Webster, theman who gave Americans a standarddictionary, agreed: “In my view, theChristian religion is the most importantand one of the first thingsin which all children, under a freegovernment, ought to be instructed.”
America has been great for one reason: Most Americansbelieved in the God of the Bible and Christianprinciples. As Americans move away from that foundation,America will cease to be great. The words ofGod to Moses at Mt. Sinai ought to serve as the guidingstar for America’s schools: “Gather the people toMe, and I will let them hear My words, that they maylearn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, andthat they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy4:10). “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach youthe fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34:11). Without the fear ofthe Lord instilled inthe nation’s youth,all will be lost (Deuteronomy5:33; 6:1-18; Jeremiah 7:23).
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