Public Affairs and Religious Liberty


Religious Liberty: A Case for Adventist Christian Education

Posted: July 20th, 2023

Have you ever wondered if there are subtle forces at play, working to undermine the God-given values we strive to instill in our children?

I read with intrigue a religious liberty article in the recently published Messenger Magazine. Author Kevin Boonstra asked the question: “As a parent, what are my religious rights if I send my children to public school?” He answered by highlighting a 1995 Supreme Court of Canada decision, which supported the right of parents to educate their children in tenets of faith. However, the same decision stated, “Parents have delegate[d] their parental authority to teachers and entrust them with the responsibility of instilling in their children a large part of the store of learning they will acquire during their development.”

While public schools are not allowed to directly indoctrinate our children in any religious belief system, schools do expose our kids to conflicting beliefs. This issue of indirect indoctrination is significant and shouldn't be ignored. As parents, we have a solemn responsibility to protect our children's impressionable minds and guide them toward God's best for their lives. In an increasingly challenging world, we must shield our kids from influences that could steer them away from faith.

A powerful way to achieve this is by partnering with our Adventist Christian education system. Research has shown that our schools have a remarkable impact on students' faith and commitment to the church. A 20-year study titled “Valuegenesis” looked at over 2200 students. It found a higher percentage of children who attended our schools remain and participate in the church (Adventist Review, April 22, 2021). This same study shared that the longer students attend our schools, the more loyal they are to the Adventist Church. Also, the more committed they are to Christ, His teachings, and Bible study.

While public schools serve a purpose, we should seriously consider sending our children to our church-owned schools. Our kids deserve every opportunity to grow in both knowledge and faith. Exposing them to timeless values and principles that can guide them through life, serving humanity, and preparing for eternity is essential. By investing in Adventist education, we protect the next generation and our church from existential challenges. Our schools hold more than academic significance. They play a vital role in shaping eternal destinies.

We owe it to God, the next generation and our church to expose them to timeless values. Principles that can stand the test of time, as they live and serve humanity in anticipation for eternity are indispensable. In other words, sending our children to our schools protects our next generation and our church from existential perils. Our schools have more than an academic purpose. They have eternal significance.