Are there different types of Christian schools?
Yes. There are two types of philosophies in Christian schools. The main difference is found primarily in the enrollment process. There are schools that would be described as Evangelistic and schools that would be described as Covenant.
Evangelistic schools will enroll students/families from any faith or background in the hope that they will be exposed to the gospel and one day turn to Christ. Typically, a waiver is signed by the parents allowing the school to freely teach from the Bible to children from both Christian and non-Christian families.
On the other hand, Covenant schools strive to enroll only Christian families. A Christian family is usually defined as having at least one parent who is a professing Christian, but there is no requirement for the child to be a professing Christian. This allows the school to form a working partnership with students, parents and even grandparents.
I am not sure I fully understand the Covenant philosophy. I do not really know what the word “covenant” means. Could you go into greater detail?
The Biblical meaning of the word “covenant” is a compact or agreement between two parties, which is stronger and deeper than a promise.
Covenant schools agree with parents to provide a consistent, Christ-centered education. This partnership must be based on worldview similarities between home and school. And this worldview must be rooted in Scripture. Because the Bible says that a non-Christian is in darkness and is unable to understand or love the Word of God, true partnership between home and school in the Christian education of their children is impossible when dealing with a non-Christian.
It is vitally important for the parents and the school to be like-minded. When the parents and school have significantly different views in any area of theology or how they live out their Christianity, there will undoubtedly be strife.
For instance, a Christian school might teach children that Jesus rose from the dead, and people who do not believe that fact are heretics. Hopefully, the child will take that information to heart. But what if the parents of the child consider the resurrection to be a fairy tale? There will be problems. Further disagreements between the school and non-believing parents are likely as the school teaches what the Bible says about how Christians should think, live and work for the Lord.
Covenant schools believe that their degree of success in educating children is in part based on both the school and parents agreeing that:
The Bible is the only source of truth; it is authoritative and relevant to education.
Every child is created in the image of God, born a sinner because of Adam and redeemable by the grace of God in Christ.
The world was created good by God, but cursed because of sin. However, it too is redeemable by Christ and His work through His people.
The purpose of education is preparing citizens of Christ’s kingdom to live all of life under His Lordship.
Lastly, the Covenant Christian school must look at all of the children and their families in the school, considering how well they will fit together, anticipating that the children will have plenty of social interaction with other school families.