Charles Hodge — 19th Century Old Princeton Theologian On the Failure of Government Schools

“As children are bound to honor and obey their parents, so parents have duties no less important in reference to their children” (352).

The “Bible does require that education should be religiously conducted…(Deut.6:6,7 11:19 Ps.78:5-7 Prov.22:6 Eph.6:4)…These are not ceremonial or obsolete laws. They bind the consciences of men just as much as the command, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ If parents themselves conduct the education of their children, these are the principles upon which it must be conducted. If they commit that work to teachers, they are bound, by the law of God, to see that the teachers regard these divine prescriptions…This is an obligation which they cannot escape…Christianity requires that education in all its departments should be conducted religiously” (354,355).

“If a man is not religious, he is irreligious; if he is not a believer, he is an unbeliever. This is as true of organizations and institutions, as it is of individuals. Byron uttered a profound truth when he put into the mouth of Satan the words ‘He that does not bow to God, has bowed to me.’ If you banish light, you are in darkness. If you banish Christianity from the schools, you thereby render them infidel…This controversy, therefore, is a controversy between Christianity and infidelity; between light and darkness; between Christ and Belial” (355,356).

Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
Systematic Theology, James Clarke and Co., 1960, Vol.3, pgs.352-356.

“Children are not to be allowed to grow up without care or control. They are to be instructed, disciplined, and admonished, so that they are brought to knowledge, self control, and obedience. This whole process of education is to be religious, and not only religious, but Christian. It is bring[ing] them up in the training and instruction of the Lord which is the appointed and the only effectual way of attaining the goal of education. Where this means is neglected or any other substituted for it, the result must be disastrous failure. The moral and religious element of our nature is just as essential and as universal as the intellectual. Religion, therefore, is as necessary to the development of the mind as knowledge. And as Christianity is the only true religion, and God in Christ the only true God, the only possible means of profitable education is the nurture and admonition of the Lord…it is infinite folly for men to assume that they are wiser than God or to attempt to accomplish a goal through any means other than those which he has appointed.” (Comments on Eph.6:4).

Charles Hodge (1797 – 1878)
Commentary on Ephesians, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1994, pg.204.


It needs to be said here that homeschooling is not the magic bullet that cures the failure of Government schools. Homeschooling that is done outside the context of an epistemologically self conscious curriculum and teachers will inevitably result in not being a whit better than the curriculum and teaching that is offered in Government schools.

Further successful homeschooling will require a dearth of modern entertainment forms in the home, at least until such a time as the child is old enough to reinterpret the entertainment through a Biblical gird. (And by that time that takes place there likely will be little desire for modern entertainments.) It will require a extremely careful selection of playmates for one’s children. It will require pain staking care regarding what church is selected. It will require a close monitoring on the worldview that is adopted by one’s children. Most of all it requires casting all upon the mercy of the Lord Christ to have grace upon our children. Even when parents have been as faithful as they know how to be we must all end by admitting that “we are unprofitable servants.”

Too often I fear that people think that homeschooling is a magic bullet that by itself will rescue our children from the evil one. It won’t. It may me a better means of education than Government schools but I’ve seen to much homeschooling to think that by itself it is going to impact the culture.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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