Christian Schools Should Not Be State Certified!

Robert E. Fugate, Ph.D.

1. Biblically, the state (whether federal or local) has no jurisdiction[1] over education. Thus, to seek state certification of Christian schools (or home schools) is to forsake the Biblical controls over the legitimate role of the state—and that without divine authorization, and to expand the state’s jurisdiction—a most dangerous practice in light of the tyranny often practiced by the state throughout human history.

2. When Christian schools that are under the authority of a church become state certified, they are declaring that Caesar is lord over the Church, since it is always the greater authority who certifies the lesser![2]

3. Biblically, the ministry of “teacher” is normally a function of priesthood or spiritual leadership, whether a father in his family, or a pastor-teacher in the church (or a priest or Levite in the Old Testament church). The state is to have no priestly role.

4. State certification of Christian schools (whether church schools, para-church schools, or home schools) causes state intrusion into the Church and home, thereby violating the Biblical separation of Church and state and the separation of family and state. For the state to dictate what must be taught (e.g., sex education, etc.), who is qualified and permitted to teach (e.g., only state-certified teachers), what is an acceptable library, etc. is patently immoral!

[Note: A Christian school acts under the authority of, and in place of, the parents. “Schools exist to meet the needs that parents have to educate their children. Parents, not civil rulers, are responsible for the education of their children. Therefore, parents should not have to get permission from the state to educate their children. The state has no more right to curb the freedom of the parents than it has to curb the freedom of the church in this matter. There should be separation of family and state, just as there is separation of church and state. This means also the separation of school and state, for the school is the agent of the family.”[3] Thus there is no reason why the state should license any schools.]

5. State accreditation always involves state control.[4] Not only is this government intrusion, but governmental bureaucracy always produces excessive regulations and red tape—wasting the school’s time and money.

6. To gain state certification, the Christian school must bow to excessive (and increasing and ever-changing) regulations of the State Board of Education, which is one of the agencies that most hates and most seeks to destroy Christian education. For the Christian school (which supposedly seeks to counter the anti-Christian worldview propagated by statist education) to seek permission to exist, and even to seek approval from the very agency that pursues her destruction, is both irrational and suicidal!

7. State certification wrongly assumes that teacher certification guarantees qualified and quality teachers. After examining the empirical evidence, Michigan’s State Supreme Court concluded that there is no correlation between teacher certification and quality teaching! More to the point for Christians, one cannot become a state-certified teacher without becoming indoctrinated in humanism. (It is highly questionable whether 19–22-year-olds have the necessary theological, Biblical, apologetical, and exegetical skills and knowledge to properly recognize and refute the humanistic doctrines taught in each of their various college courses. Whether these courses were taken at a secular university or a “Christian” university often makes little difference. This lack of theological background has become all the more a problem since, as has recently been well-documented, evangelical churches have, by and large, forsaken the teaching of doctrine.)

8. State certification precludes many fine Christians who are experts in their fields (e.g., computers, auto mechanics, etc.) from teaching. Some of these professionals would even be willing to donate their time to teach mini-courses. Those who own their own business would probably even be willing to apprentice interested and motivated high school kids.

9. State certification wastes Christians’ money by making Christian education (especially for high school) much more expensive than would otherwise be the case. This is bad stewardship of God-given resources. It also precludes many families from being able to afford Christian education—so they send their children to statist schools to become indoctrinated in the religion of humanism.

10. State certification usually precludes corporal punishment for disobedient children.

11. State certification is unnecessary for the graduates of a Christian school to be admitted into college.



[1] The word “jurisdiction” “comes from the Latin words, jus, law, and dico, say. The one who has jurisdiction is the one who declares the law, whose word is the binding, authoritative word for that area or sphere of life and thought. Jurisdiction is an essentially religious fact: it tells us who is the god over a particular sphere or area; it reveals to us who declares the law for that domain. In other words, it shows us who is lord” (Rousas John Rushdoony, “Jurisdiction: By Christ Or By Caesar?” Chalcedon Position Paper # 7 [September 1979]; reprinted in The Roots of Reconstruction [Vallecito, CA: Ross House, 1991], p. 29; reprinted in Mark R. Rushdoony, ed., An Informed Faith: The Position Papers of R.J. Rushdoony, 3 vols. [Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon/Ross House, 2017], 2:623).

[2] Constitutional attorney and president of the Rutherford Institute, John Whitehead, correctly states, “The three terms—license, accreditation and certification—most commonly associated with state regulation of Christian schools—are jurisdictional terms. The word accreditation comes from the Latin word credo which means ‘I believe.’ Certification comes from a Latin word meaning ‘certain.’ And license is the Latin word licere which means ‘to be permitted.’ All three terms have religious overtones. They imply a verification, a declaring that a certain thing is true. Further, they imply the permission to exist, issued by the religious lord of those who seek approval. For Christians to seek these things from the state would seem to imply that the state is lord, not Christ.…There is no example in the New Testament of Christians submitting to licensure of the church or any ministry of the church” (John W. Whitehead, The New Tyranny [n.p., 1982], p. 47). (Whitehead credits this material to R.J. Rushdoony, “Accreditation and Certification,” Chalcedon Position Paper # 5 [July 1979]; Rushdoony’s article is reprinted in The Roots of Reconstruction, pp. 19–24, and in Mark R. Rushdoony, ed., An Informed Faith: The Position Papers of R.J. Rushdoony, 2:337–341.)

In point of fact, the early church was persecuted precisely because it refused to become licensed by the Roman government. School administrator and former politician Robert L. Thoburn concurs, “When a school is accredited, the school is putting its faith in a higher institution which grants the school legitimacy. When the school is accredited by the state, the school is putting its faith in the state and being accepted by the state (The Child Trap [Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1986], p. 96; available at

[3] Robert L. Thoburn, The Child Trap, pp. 95f.

[4] It would be instructive for the board of any state-certified Christian school to list all of the ways the school’s curriculum, educational philosophy, hiring of teachers and administrators, etc. have been influenced by the school’s state certification. How many board decisions have similarly been influenced?


© Robert E. Fugate, 1996

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