By the late 1860s, however, population growth was hopelessly outstripping the ability of private initiative to provide for education. Baptists reluctantly accepted that the state must set up the necessary schools. To avoid state interference in religious instruction, however, most Baptists decided that schools must be secular. Christian education should be left tot he home and the church.
Spurgeon could not stomach this conclusion. In 1870 he presided at a London rally calling for the retention of Bible teaching in state schools. A total severance of church and state in the schools, he argued, was nonsense. "How can religion be eliminated from education," he asked, "unless it be eliminated from the teacher himself?" Spurgeon judged the welfare of the Christian faith to be at stake, and so he was willing to diverge from the prevailing view in his denomination. And in the end, Spurgeon's policy was put into practice. The government permitted local school boards to include the Bible in the curriculum.