You need more textbooks than the Bible.

The other day I received a letter from a Lutheran colleague informing me that his congregation was opening a Christian school for elementary grades and asking “prayers for us as we undertake this important Christian witness.” Now, my ecumenical spirit and my charitable leanings told me to pray for him in this educational venture; on the other hand, my own deep misgivings about so-called Christian schools restrained me.

A 1967 CHRISTIANITY TODAY article claimed that “the most exciting development in education today is the rise of the Protestant Christian school.” Among the reasons for organizing these schools, according to the author’s survey, were a superior academic environment, strong Christian influence, and Bible-centered curriculum. A number of pastors admitted that they hoped to promote church growth through the recruitment of parents who had become fed up with public education. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Bible reading and prayer decisions, the introduction of sex education, and the teaching of evolutionary rather than creationist views in science courses, private Christian schools grew at a rapid rate. The article claimed that “the Protestant school exists in the interest of the Christian witness in the world; the school is an instrument for subjecting the secular world to the reign of Christ.” A far-reaching court decision was not mentioned in the article—the Supreme Court’s decision on school integration and its attendant legislation on busing. The fact that the examples of fine new Christian schools came from places like Charleston, South Carolina, Selma, Alabama, and San Antonio, Texas, did not seem particularly significant to the author. There was no mention of race ...

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