I have a radical idea – well it might not be as radical as it seems–but in our current context it’s likely to seem radical. Perhaps it’s time for our Christian schools to stop teaching the Bible? Before you go on the warpath hear me out.
Is everyone authorized to teach the Bible? Yes, we believe in the priesthood of believers, but does that mean that just anyone can anoint himself a “Bible teacher”? I guess most of us would say no, it doesn’t. Well, who authorized the local Christian school to teach Bible? Most Christian schools are operated by a board, a private society — which is perfectly appropriate. Where does Scripture teach the establishment of such societies for Bible instruction? It doesn’t. To whom did Jesus give the “Great Commission?” He gave it to the visible, institutional church (Matt 28:18-20). He did not commission the local Christian school to baptize or to make disciples or to preach the gospel. Christ has ordained the visible church to preach the gospel, to administer the sacraments, to make disciples (Christian education) and to exercise church discipline.
The visible church is not called to operate schools, to teach history, geography, math, or physics. The school has these vocations. The Christian school has one sphere of responsibility and the Christian Church has another. They are complementary. There is one God who is our Creator and the same God who is our Redeemer but that doesn’t mean that we don’t distinguish between creation and redemption. The same God who created and by his providence sustains and governs and operates through creation also redeems through the preaching of the gospel, but that doesn’t mean that we hike at church or preach in the forrest.
In the same way Christian schools should focus on creation (nature) and let the church instruct our children about redemption (grace). Do we really need our math teacher to show how math relates to redemption? No. What we need is for the math teacher to teach math and, perhaps, to show it relates to the rest of creation. Is our math teacher really trained to explain the Bible? Is our Christian school Bible teacher actually trained to explain the Bible? Does he or she read Hebrew and Greek? Has he or she taken courses in Church History, Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology and the like? Has the Christian school Bible teacher been examined by a consistory and a classis? I guess that few Christian school Bible teachers are so prepared. Most of them have a BA from a Christian college. Perhaps your Christian school Bible teacher had a Bible major.
Whatever the case regarding the Christian school teacher, your minister is so prepared and he doesn’t (or shouldn’t) pretend to be a math or physics teacher. Let us (follow Kuyper) and distinguish the two spheres of creation and redemption and our children will actually be better catechized because of it.