What occurs in a state, secular school is not the same. First, it isn't coming at it with ecclesiastical or like ecclesiastical authority. Second, the Bible itself treats the two sides, secular versus professing Christian, radically different. 1 Corinthians 5 gives us a good example of this. Consider vv. 9-11:
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
Christians may company with unbelievers, those "of this world," but not those who are "called a brother," but are engaged as a practice in certain activities. I understand why the professing Christian is more dangerous than the secular. Our church kids go onto the state campus with a clear delineation. They know they aren't dealing with believers on the secular campus. Third, when it comes to the parachurch organization, there is a tremendous danger in validating these unscriptural alternatives to the biblically prescribed way of receiving doctrine and practice. We place our approval on them when we send our kids to one of them. They are man-made inventions, other ox-carts in contradiction to how God said to do it.
The suggestion has been made that if we sent our children to a Christian college to get their education, because of its correct worldview, it would be superior to the secular college. The idea is that they could resist the influences of some wrong doctrine more easily than they would be able to battle the all-out assault of the state college on the views of our young people. I think this suggestion is worthy of consideration. It makes sense, except for its violation of scripture. It just makes sense. It isn't scriptural. Sometimes we exalt what makes sense to us because it makes sense to us. But even if it makes sense to us, it isn't right if it conflicts with the Bible. It isn't better, even if it makes sense to us. If we send our church kids to a Christian college that disobeys our doctrine, we are sending them into fellowship with those who teach and preach another doctrine. That violates 2 Thessalonians 3 and Romans 16:17-18.
The decision between Christian college and secular college isn't binary. There is another option: Christian college, secular college, and no college. If you don't think your child can handle secular college, the only other choice isn't Christian college. You can wait until the child is ready for secular college, or have him get a job or have him involved in some vocational learning with someone you trust.
Someone commented that your children might be offered fornication. He could also be tempted with alcohol, foul language, rock concerts, pornography, and more. That could also happen at work, the neighborhood, and with family. We could cloister ourselves away from all possible bad influences with monastic-like isolation. The above 1 Corinthians 5 passage says we don't do that. Jesus in John 17 said that He wants us in the world. The way we combat those sins is by letting everyone know we're a Christian, be bold in our testimony and not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. If you take a bold stand against liquor and pornography and other worldly items, people won't keep bothering you with it. This is what I've heard from everybody that I've talked to who has attended a secular college. They don't want to be around you any more that you want to be around them. When you are preaching to people, they will run away.
We want to start college outreach on the secular campus. It is difficult to do that when you don't have students in those colleges. Our separation from those colleges has resulted in a lack of evangelism on college campuses.
When your daughters attend a secular college near home, safety is an issue, especially in an urban area, like where we live. I would suggest doing something for self-defense---mace, etc.
Our church kids should look at their church as the source of their biblical and spiritual nourishment and growth. Fundamentalists especially have inculcated to their kids that this occurs in the most prominent way with the Christian college. It just isn't true. They should regard that accountability and discipleship and ministry should happen through their church.
Church kids will be challenged in a secular environment. They'll have to take a stand. They'll have to develop discernment. They will be tested earlier in a way that everyone will be tested eventually. The tests are going to come anyway. Why not have those tests come with the help of their church? Why not get them out of the way? Why not have them learning out to act in the world at an earlier date? I believe they will mature more quickly and understand their purpose even better for their being on earth. Many men, who attended Christian college, do not really get tested until they are out in the world afterwards. Sometimes the real test doesn't occur until they reach mid-life and suffering a season of discontent. Then, for the first time in their life, they face what they could have confronted and conquered and toughened them for everything that would present itself later on, when a collapse would be cataclysmic. The test will come earlier or later, but it will come.
I earlier commented that English is English and Math is Math. Some concepts in a secular college in philosophy, history, and literature will contradict a Christian worldview. But we are expecting that, aren't we? So we have the opportunity then to prove everything and hold on to that which is good, which is a constant practice our entire life. We can develop the answers that we need to combat that in the real world. And we will do it with the help of our church and our family. Young people are segregated from those important and vital helps when they are sent off to the Christian college. That isn't a better situation for them.
Like in so many other areas of fundamentalism, there was a problem that occurred and so a solution was invented that seemed like a good way to deal with the problem. The solution became as much a problem or a bigger problem than the original problem. The solution already exists in the institutions that God created. The secular colleges attack Christian values. They do. But we're not getting our values from the state college. We're learning things that will prepare us to get a job in the world, the same world of the secular college. It is a secular world. Making tents is making tents. Doctoring is doctoring. Engineering is engineering. Physics is physics. Physical therapy is physical therapy. You will have to sort through some wrong philosophies, but you are there to get an education.
I haven't noticed that our Christian colleges are better at preparing young people to succeed in the world. You have very few Christians who are better at something that someone is doing in the secular---musicianship, science, writing, and more. The Christian colleges themselves have essentially admitted this by having their professors go to state colleges to get their advanced degrees and by looking to state accreditation. When I have edited writing, I found the state educated to be better writers than the Christian college educated. In a major way, good writing is good writing. I don't think being better at doing these things means that we are a better Christian. However, it seems we are contradicting the point of college when we leave college prepared in an inferior way. What I'm saying is that we can learn the Christian life at home and in the church, where it ought to be taught, and then prepare for earning a living or getting a job in a place that is the best equipped to do that.
More to Come.