Greg Stier on the Christian School Dilemma: Producing Legalists, Hedonists or Activists

I went to a Christian school. My kids go to a Christian school. I’m not anti-Christian school (or home school or public school for that matter.) But I am convinced that Christian schools have a dilemma. The leadership of these schools must decide if they are they going to produce legalists, hedonists or activists.

Traditionally, most Christian schools (in my opinion) tend to produce little legalists or hell-bent hedonists. Students either buy off on the rules of said Christian school (and begin to gauge their spirituality by adherence to the list of do’s and don’ts) or they rebel against the list and, often times, the Lord.

I experienced this personally in the small Christian high school I graduated from in the 1980’s.

My school had a lot of rules that the students were expected to keep. The guys had to have their hair super short and the girls had to have their dresses super long. Even the cheerleaders had full length skirts (but the weird double-standard was that the guys on the basketball team wore shorts that were so short they would make George Michael of Wham! fame blush.)

While these words were never said out loud it felt like they were constantly being preached, “If you keep our rules, read daily from the King James version of the Bible, memorize verses of Scripture word for word (as well as the verse references), go to church every time the doors are open, don’t have sex before you’re married and share Christ at least once a week then you’ll be holy…like us.”

I kept the rules, memorized the verses, shared the Gospel weekly, was there every time the doors were open, and just said “no” to drugs, drink and sex. My ability to adhere to the list was how I gauged my spirituality.

Down deep inside I had turned into a little legalist.

This legalism led to a consistent struggle with pride and lust in the deep dark crevices of my soul. It was a constant battle with the flesh, fueled by the aphrodisiac of legalism. As Colossians 2:23 reminds us, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom…but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

And many of my fellow Christian schoolmates didn’t even try to fake a facade. They just gave into the flesh. They cut sail and turned into hedonists. They mocked the rules. They drank and partied. They rebelled against the list as well as the Lord.

Not much has changed since the 80’s. I still believe that, for the most part, Christian schools tend to produce legalists or hedonists.

But there is a 3rd option. Christian schools, if they changed their paradigm, could produce Spirit-fueled, Gospel activists.

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Source: Christian Post