John Piper Answers: “Public, Private, Online, Homeschool?” (Prominent Voices Series)

John Piper, Pastor Emeritus of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, is best known nationally from his books and media produced through Desiring God Ministries. One of the ongoing resources is the Ask Pastor John podcast.

Recently Piper was asked by a mother about how she should educate her children as a Christian. Based on five principles from Scripture, he says:

I don’t think most Christians have awakened to the crisis of worldliness and weakness in the church, but part of it is the education of our children. Education is not evangelization. In other words, we shouldn’t justify where we send our kids because we think they should be evangelists when they’re 8 [years old]. God does not intend for Christian children to be taught by unbelievers and to be surrounded most of the day by intense, worldly peer pressure. That’s not what childhood is for. It’s for being shaped and molded by wise, loving Christian adults.

Now, this is not escapism any more than West Point is escapism because the instructors are American soldiers, not ISIS soldiers. We prepare a pretty good military for engagement with the enemy, and we don’t do it with the help of the enemy. We Christians prepare for maximum faithfulness in the world by coming out of the world for the education of our children.

Piper’s “five principles for parents,” excerpted:

  1. “…it is the parents’ responsibility — not first the church’s, not first the government’s — to shape a child’s worldview according to Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, God-centered truth.”
  2. “The more complex and technological and diverse and global the world becomes, the more parents will need to partner with others to fulfill their responsibilities for their own children.”
  3. “As America becomes more pervasively secular with commitments…that are not neutral, but anti-Christian, partnering with public-school teachers to accomplish biblical goals for our children becomes, year by year, less feasible — and, indeed, in many cases, unthinkable.”
  4. More and more parents, and more and more pastors, therefore, should give very serious consideration to starting academically excellent and affordable Christian schools.”
  5. “Parents and churches need to think deeply and wisely about the principle of ‘apart from the world for the sake of the world’.”

About the series: Around the country there are influential voices in various fields who have spoken carefully and constructively on education. In the Prominent Voices series, you’ll hear from some of them. The goal of the series is to gain perspective and sharpen our thinking about the issues, even where differences may be apparent.