Education, Education and the Church

Church-Subsidised Education: The role of the church in education

The following has been lifted from my PhD dissertation, and slightly edited for this blog site.  I continue to give thought to some of my earlier ideas, and welcome feedback as I continue to refine them.

According to Rushdoony (1999), “a tithe was given to the Levites, who gave a tithe of the tithe to the priests (Num. 18:25-28)” the Temple or priestly tithe was (therefore) only one percent of the believer’s increase (Num. 18:26 “… a tithe of the tithe”), and was for the care of the sanctuary, its music, etc. (p. 12). The remaining nine tenths was used by the Levites to provide a variety of other services: as educators, judges, medical practitioners, and much more (Rushdoony, 1979, p. 109). The ministry of the Levites was to “be in all the tribes” (Rushdoony, 1979, p. 57). This means that the ministry was in the market place, not in the sanctuary. It was kingdom-oriented, not church sanctuary-oriented. From this we learn that the church’s economy is funded by one tenth of the increase gained by its members. Of that one tenth, one tenth of the tenth is spent on church-oriented ministries (ministries of the sanctuary), and nine-tenths of the tenth is spent on kingdom-oriented ministries (Levitical-type ministries), which can include teaching functions serving the broader community.

Jesus specifically said that teaching is a legitimate and necessary role of the church (Matthew 28:20[1]), and that such teaching should be oriented to discipleship of all the nations (Matthew 28:19[2]), and the content of the teaching is to be the Law of God (Matthew 28:20[3]).

Paul lists teachers of the church amongst the servant gifts that Christ gave to His people upon His ascension (Ephesians 4:11[4]). Such teachers are to “equip the saints for the work of ministry”, so that the saints, having been equipped, can build “up the body of Christ” into “mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13[5]).

The church, therefore, has a legitimate and essential role in education in the world, and also in the church itself. Schlissel (1996), quoting Rushdoony, wrote:

“The point is that the church itself in the New Testament was more a school than a temple. …The training of … mature men is the function of the church. The purpose of the church should not be to bring men into subjection to the church, but rather to train them into a royal priesthood capable of bringing the world into subjection to Christ the King” (p. 53).

Therefore, church-subsidised teachers, who can also receive contractual top-ups to their subsidies from community members for teaching services rendered, are able to make an important contribution to the general education market. Such teachers have a critical role in communicating God’s Law-Word in relation to all of life in the market place, contributing to the complete training and equipping of anyone and everyone conducting a legitimate vocation and calling. For example, such teachers have a critical role in communicating the details of God’s Law to those who are learning to practice law in the general market place. An education market, thus served, would greatly facilitate the ushering in of God’s Kingdom (i.e. God’s will being done God’s way) as it relates to every facet of life.

[1] Matthew 28:20 “… teaching them all that I have commanded you. …”

[2] Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, …”

[3] Matthew 28:20 “… teaching them all that I have commanded you. …”

[4] Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds (pastors) and teachers, …”

[5] Ephesians 4:12-13 “… to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, …”


Rushdoony, R. J. (1979). Tithing And Dominion. Vallecito, California: Ross House Books.

Rushdoony, R. J. (1999). The Intent of the Law: Volume Three the Institutes of Biblical Law. Vallecito, California: Ross House Books.

Schlissel, S. M. (1996). The Synagogue of Christ. In A. Sandlin (Ed.), A Comprehensive Faith: An International Festschrift for Rousas John Rushdoony (pp. 244). San Jose, CA: Friends of Chalcedon.


2 thoughts on “Church-Subsidised Education: The role of the church in education

  1. Pingback: The State and the Family in Relation to Education | lanceaboxeducationresearch

  2. ronald slyderink says:

    A strong case for expanding the role of the Church in society, in fact the Church is part of something bigger than itself. It is part of the Kingdom of God impacting how we live and work.

    I like the NIV version of Ephesians 4:12 “…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we ….attaining to the measure of the fullness of Christ.” We are to be conformed to Jesus and created in Christ to do good works, that is serve and love, which encapsulate the nature of God.

    Education within the jurisdiction of the Church can play an important role, supporting teachers to teach Kingdom ways and engage in programs and projects which involve learners, students, disciples of Jesus to minister and serve others in the community and whereever there are needs drawing in whatever knowledge, skills and resources are needed. The tithe, 90% devoted to such an outreach shows how this can be funded and the ROI will be manifold as the whole endeavour is to serve and build to the glory of God and benefit to all. It is the practical arm of reaching out while learning.


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