Salt and Light, Really?
Posted by Dr. Stanton on July 16, 2019
Some time back, I struck up a conversation with a parent at a local business who lamented some of the things she disagreed with at her daughter's government-run school. Immediately, though, she said "but God has her there for a reason..." This is usually the beginning of a conversation many Christian parents have where they justify sending their children to the free government-run schools. They use as the basis of their justification Jesus' words in Matthew 5:14-16:
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Really? Is this what Jesus meant – that we send our unprepared and untrained children out into the world to shine a light so their good deeds might point others to Him? They want their children to be salt and light to the world. It is a truly noble idea, but I would argue, not typically a wise one.
Allow me to illustrate several (but certainly not all) reasons why this is the case, starting with the concept that most children attend some schooling as they are not yet fully trained or prepared for life. How, then, do we expect them to be salt and light in a dark world?
Let me ask this question. How many adults who send their students to government-controlled schools are themselves salt and light in their office or neighborhood? Perhaps many hope for their children to be more than they themselves are prepared to be in the workplace.
Some further illustrations should help parents pause and consider what they are sending their children in to when they wish for them to be salt and light.
Our nation's government schools have a worldview that expounds the wonder and goodness of diversity, moral choice, and rights of the individual as more important than the rights of the whole (notably those who have a biblical worldview shaped by Scripture and Truth). It is a worldview that has shaped our society and moved it further away from a Christian worldview over the past decades. This is in little doubt.
When education became compulsory in America in the late 1800's, the overarching goals were to lay a foundation for "a unique American culture and character that could be used to mold the large number of recent immigrants..." (Simpson, 2004).
This sounds all well-meaning – who would question creating a truly American culture? If only it was that straightforward. Author Barry Simpson (2004) notes that "the argument of misfit parents became a reason for attendance." With such horrible people raising children, the government would need to step in and do the job, allowing teachers and administrators to "insulate themselves from the wishes of students and parents – the ultimate consumers of education" which "solidified the power of the elite group of educationists for years to come" (Simpson, 2004).
Ultimately, the unspoken goal of education, once compulsory, is that it "tells us we need government all the time"; that it "benefits educators, administrators, and politicians more than citizens or their children" (Simpson, 2004).
So, Mom and Dad, is this what you think of when you think of salt and light to the world? Please do not sacrifice your children on the altar of free education and clear your conscience by saying they will be examples and missionaries there.
Consider what Paul reminds us in Romans 12:2, "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
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