Back in 1950, my parents with some couples founded Delaware County Christian School in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Facing resistance, Dad pushed a policy to be adopted that blacks would be welcome.

In the fifties, the school was integrated because that’s what it means to follow Christ. This posted today because Mary Lee and I are here in Philly for my fiftieth class reunion.

Mary Lee and I, then Heather and Doug also were involved in the founding and building of two Christian schools: Lighthouse Christian Academy and Cedars Christian School, both in Bloomington. Combined, Mary lee and Heather spent a decade leading these schools.

It has always been our conviction the people of God should join together in the education of their children. There are some places in America where sending children to the public school is sending them to brothers and sisters in Christ, but they are few and far between. Generally speaking, here in America today, sending our children to the public schools to be educated is sending Hebrew children to the Canaanites to be educated.

What about homeschooling?

Well, it will usually be better than public schooling, but almost never as good as submitting our children to the Biblical and godly discipline and instruction of brothers and sisters in Christ.

It takes a church to raise your children. (This is the theme of an upcoming podcast by Andrew Henry and me. Watch for it to drop.)

To say the obvious, Christian education is endless sin and failure. By the board, administration, and teachers; and by students, fathers, and mothers. Homeschooling is the same. But at home, the mother can keep the curtains pulled—at least until junior high school. That is, if she keeps her kids from being observed individually by other brothers and sisters in Christ by keeping them out of Sunday school and youth group. Remember, we’re speaking in generalities here.

So the point is, start a Christian school; and then, don’t get wrapped around the axle if it goes bust. The doctrine of Original Sin needs to make a comeback in the Reformed church today—especially in our aspirations concerning the education of our children.

My wife helped start, served on the board, and was the (unpaid) head of Lighthouse Christian Academy until it got up to 150 enrolled, but then the board chose to go Big Evo and let her go. It hurt us. Discipline ended and we were sad. But it was worth it and we’d do it again and again.

We believe in Biblical education done by brothers and sisters in Christ through high school.1 Not “Christian schools,” per se. Not “classical” Christian schools (although we think such schools make no more mistakes than non-classical schools—just different mistakes).

It takes the help of the people of God to keep the sins of the father and mother from being the last word in the development of covenant sons and daughters.

Yes, Christians fail in their leadership in churches, missions, publishing, self-promotional celebrity groups, sessions, and boards.

In my files I have a copy of a letter Dad wrote the board of Delaware County Christian School admonishing them for expelling a pregnant young woman. He had been consulted by the board about the situation (we then had moved out to the Chicago area), but the board had refused to take his advice.

In his letter Dad points out the girl was quite repentant, that she only had a year left before graduation; and most importantly, that she had not done the murderous deed others had certainly done and would do if they were in her situation, which was to cover the sin up, rather than confessing it. By murdering the child.

This was a serious failure of the board which Dad firmly and lovingly pointed out to them. I mention this to make clear how fallen the best of men are, and how all of us need to acknowledge our sins and failures in order for there to be that unity among us which Christ in His High Priestly Prayer pled with His Father to give us.

One final thing. My eldest brother, Joe, was Class of 1962 at Delaware County Christian School. His was the first class to go all the way through the school. Later today, at the top of the stairs in Lowrie Hall, I will look at my brother’s name next to this inscription from his college applications: “My chief aim in life is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by whatever I do.” Dad said he almost wished Joe would not write that because he thought it would keep him from getting accepted.

Joe was headed to missions and was a sophomore at Swarthmore when he died. Our eldest son is his namesake: Joseph Tate Bayly VI. His eldest son is Joseph Tate Bayly VII. If you want to know more about my dear godly brother, read the book I’ve written on fatherhood, Daddy Tried.

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1We’ll leave for another time the question of post-secondary education.

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