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What is education by theft? How could a person steal such a thing anyway? Does it happen very often? Should we or can we stop it? Before we begin to answer these questions, we have to answer two other questions: What is theft and Whose responsibility is it to educate?
When asked if stealing is right, the majority of people would answer, "NO." Even many of the thieves would admit what they are doing is wrong. But what is theft? When is something stealing and when is it not? Know the answer? Don't be too sure! The majority of people in the world, including Canada and the US, 'benefit' from the proceeds of theft and would object strongly if those perceived 'benefits' were taken away.
In Exodus 20:15 we find the blunt command: "Thou shalt not steal." This is expanded in Leviticus 19:13: "You shall not defraud or oppress your neighbour or rob him..." [Amp.]. We can see that theft in Biblical law not only includes taking things that don't belong to us, but it also includes oppressing or cheating people. Deuteronomy 22:1-4 goes even further. It teaches that even if an item is lost and we know where it is, we must protect it and return it to its rightful owner. Also, if someone is in need of help in protecting his property we must help him. If we refuse to be actively involved in either of these cases, we have stolen from him.
Many times in the Old Testament the judgment of God came upon people because they were actively involved in oppressing others, especially the poor, or because they were closing their eyes while others robbed and plundered.
"Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks; nor shall you walk haughtily, for this is an evil time [Micah 2:1-3, NKJV].
Many people today, as in the days of the prophets, accept theft as a way of life. It has become so entrenched in our everyday lives that we fail to recognize when it occurs. People would love to re-write the Eight Commandment as: Thou shalt not steal except for my benefit, or Thou shalt not steal except for the good of society, or Thou shalt not steal except by majority vote [after all we live in a democracy!]. Let's take any compromise we can get away with. But we couldn't possibly take God at His word! He couldn't have meant no stealing...period!!!
"Ok, stop being sarcastic and make your point. I certainly don't support theft and you're implying that I do."
We can agree, I hope, that any theft is wrong. It doesn't matter what it's purpose is, who supports it, or who 'benefits' from it. Theft is anti-God. Therefore anyone who supports theft will find themselves fighting God. Most of us, unknowingly support theft in many areas of life, but this article is concentrating on education. Before we get to the core message of the title, it is vital to establish whose responsibility it is to educate.
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" [Deut. 6:6-7, NKJV].
"...The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..My son, hear the instruction on your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be graceful ornaments on your head, and chains about your neck" [Pr. 1:7-9, NKJV].
"...and teach them to your children and your grandchildren..that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children" [Deut. 4:9-10, NKJV].
"For I [the Lord] have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice..." [Gen. 19:19, NKJV].
From these and other Scriptures we can see God places the responsibility to train children squarely on the shoulders of the family, specifically on the parents, at least, until the child reaches adult years. At that time the responsibility for further schooling would fall on his/her own shoulders. Nowhere in the Bible is the prime responsibility transferred to anyone else.
"You make it sound as if home schooling was the only Christian option! But I'm not trained to teach my children many things, how could I possibly teach them everything at home!"
A child is being trained either toward God or away from Him every moment of his waking life. Formal schooling is not all there is to education. And while home schooling is one way of fulfilling the Bible commands [notice: commands not suggestions], it is not the only way. There is nothing wrong with parents arranging for someone else to do the formal teaching of their children as long as the following Biblical principles are recognized and followed:
1. The parents are responsible for education; therefore, when they contract out part of that training they are still responsible to see that their children are receiving quality, Godly instruction. God will not turn a blind eye when parents allow their children to receive teaching from anti-God teachers/systems.
2. There must be no fraud, theft, or corruption involved.
Let's have a quick illustration to lead us to the heart of this article. Let's suppose we are neighbours. One night I knock on your door asking for food for my family. You know it is my responsibility to feed my own family, not yours, but in compassion you give me some of your food. The next night I am back again. You see that I have no real intention of fulfilling my responsibilities for my family, so you refuse. Helping someone in need is fine, but to take over my responsibilities for the rest of your life is something else! So what do I do? I pull out a gun and force you to empty your cupboards for me. How do you feel? Have you been robbed? Of course you have. I have taken, by force, groceries from you. They are yours and yet I have stolen them.
Education is the responsibility of the parents [or the individual in the case of higher education] and so any school system which forces someone to pay for the education of someone else's children is stealing. It is no different from the above illustration. We have to remember there is no such thing as a 'free' education. Someone is paying for it. If that someone isn't the parents, the individual himself, or doing it completely voluntarily, then it is theft.
The government has no Biblical right to be in the education business. It is the responsibility of the parents, and they may contract out aspects of the training of their children as they see fit. They will answer to God [not the government] for their decisions. Since the government has no Biblical mandate for schooling, it also has no right to charge taxes or collect money for education. The government does not have to use a gun to steal our money. It just makes corrupt laws [any law which violates the Word of God is corrupt] and enforces them with violence if necessary.
As we can see, public schools are the biggest violators of this around. Millions of people are being robbed to pay for 'free' education. The only difference between this and the illustration above is that individual parents aren't doing the stealing directly: They have voted the government the power to steal. The Bible does NOT say, "You shall not steal except by majority vote." Any way you slice the pie, it is a system built on theft and oppression. And any support of government educational spending is agreeing with the government's method of obtaining such money - theft.
God sees and takes note.
"Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice...according to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies..."[Is. 59:14-15, 18, NKJV].
The entire public education system is built on theft. Therefore it must, by nature, be opposed to God. It unrepentantly violates the Law of God. Christians must stand for truth and justice. God demands it. They must not be found supporting an ungodly, theft-supported system. They must not support the public school system by defending the system or allowing the government to increase spending. And above all, they must not take part in their theft by sending their children to be educated by such a system.
That is not to say that there cannot or should not be Christian teachers in the public schools. It is a mission field like any other. The more Christian teachers the better. But they are there to be a light and rescue lives headed for hell, not to defend or promote an anti-Christ system.
What about church schools? In most church schools the parents pay a tuition fee [on top of being robbed to support 'free' education], but many times financial support from the main church is necessary to keep the school operating. If the church uses money from its general fund to support the school, is it stealing from its members who may not wish to support the school?
This can be a very fine line; however, the idea of education by theft is that someone is forced into paying for the education of someone else's children. As long as such funds are not taken secretly or deceptively, it is not theft because a person is not forced to support the church. God does require a tithe - but it is God, not man, Who enforces it. Therefore someone who does not wish to support the school could withhold his money [and answer to God for it] or attend a different church. The point is, he is not compelled to support the school: it is voluntary.
Since the money the government takes for its education purposes is theft, should private schools apply for government assistance? There are two ways of looking at this. Each person must decide in their own heart before God which of the two is correct.
1. Take government assistance. Since the money was stolen from the parents to begin with, they are only getting back part of what was wrongfully taken. It is like the thief offering to return part of the stolen loot [how generous!]. This view is tempting considering that parents who opt to send their children to private schools are paying twice for education.
2. Refuse government assistance. The government thief does not return the money freely. There are hidden costs - dangerous costs.
When a school applies to the government or accepts money from the government, they have implied that the government has a legitimate role in education. This is a serious compromise with Scriptural standards where the responsibility is placed on the parents. They have undermined the parent's authority and instead turned to 'Caesar' for help. According to Biblical principles, the government has no role in education. Christians should avoid even implying that the government has authority to train children who were given by God to parents.
Also, there is a true saying which goes "He who pays the piper, calls the tune." Schools which accept government funds have to some extent placed themselves under the authority and control of the government. They are no longer completely free before God to follow the Word of God. Instead they must also consider the demands of the other master. They are in the position where compromise is not only tempting, but also may become necessary in order for the school to survive. It is not a place where God wants His people to be.
All school systems built on immoral principles - such as theft - must one day collapse, as all anti-Christ systems will. It is the Christian mission to rescue the perishing and to establish Godly systems, not to support anti-Christ systems. Christian parents should not rob their neighbours so they can sacrifice their children on the altars of 'free' public education. Christians must oppose every form of theft - including theft in the field of education.
If we do not stand up for justice and for the oppressed, then we are partakers of evil. We will be judged by God. I do not want to imply we would lose our eternal salvation [eternal IS eternal], but there will be fearful consequences we will have to face.
Let us stand for truth, righteousness, and the Word of God.
"When the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him...Arise, shine! for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen around you... For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant" [Is. 59:19; 60:1-2; 61:8].
Also see the e-mail course: What The Bible Teaches About Christian Education.
To discover how modern education arose and the twisted motivation behind it read The Leipzig Connection.
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For more information about Glenn Davis see our About Glenn page and/or his Author's Page.