Principles to Consider
Rev. David O. Jones
Occasionally we get into discussions with other Christian parents concerning our commitment to teach our children at home. A few “anti” arguments are consistently thrown in our faces. Among them are:
- My child and I need a break from each other/we are always at odds/they need someone else to teach them.
- I don’t have the education to teach my child.
- The public schools here are just fine/not so bad/better than others. A slight alteration to this argument is: My child’s teacher/principal is a Christian and “makes adjustments.”
Unfortunately, we end up getting drawn into a discussion of personalities, of variables, of quality, and of degrees of degradation in “the system.” What we really need is to return to the set of first principles we have been given in the Scripture.
As an encouragement to you who have chosen an often difficult, yet very worthwhile path in educating your children, let me share some principles which could be used in a discussion. You are to be commended for choosing a path of obedience toward the One who set us together as families.
Principle #1 – God is sovereign. This seems such a simple concept that it should not have to be even spoken, yet how often do we argue, reason and compromise with the directives of God’s Word. We want to be able to insert our particular situation and circumstances as exceptions. But in the end, we are simply disobedient.
Principle #2 – It is God who established the family. This is a relatively easy one. Hardly any discerning Christian will disagree with the idea that the family was established just outside the eastern gate of Eden when Eve gave birth to Cain, Abel, Seth and others who are not named. Adam and Eve are constantly referred to as the parents of the human family.
Principle #3 – Education is to begin within the family. God has decreed that parents (and grandparents) have the responsibility to teach children. Here we refer to two very straight-forward and simple Biblical injunctions. It should be noted that both of these references are in the context of God’s blessing or cursing of the family and community.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 4:9 – Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren.
Principle #4 – If there is conflict between parent and children, someone needs instruction and someone’s heart needs to change. Throughout the Bible there are references to God opening and closing wombs. Recognizing that as fact, we must also recognize that there is no such thing as an “accidental” pregnancy. Nor is there such a thing as a totally “planned” pregnancy. The Lord Himself is the giver or withholder of life. Childlessness as well as having multiple children is specifically the action of God as He works in our lives for our benefit.
God places each child in the family of His choosing. (Herein also lies the beauty of adoption.) Since the Lord is the One who has thus ordered the family, He knows (because He created) each personality and temperament. The parent must learn to discipline (teach) and correct (punish/reward) the child even as the parents are placing themselves under the discipline and correction of Christ. Most generally, conflict in the home is the fault of the parent not the child.
Principle #5 – An education which dwells primarily on facts is anti-Christ. We have been made to buy into a system of education which stresses facts and events without providing a system of evaluating and systematizing those facts so that they can provide direction for our lives. Much of what is now provided in high school curriculums is of excessive detail. The main reason to demand so much at that stage of what should be general knowledge is to cloud the mind with the trivial so that the important issues of life may be forced out.
Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 4:1,5,7 – Hear, my children, the instruction of a father…
Get wisdom! Get understanding!...
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Not much does a parent need to know that cannot be reviewed or learned a week in advance of the student. And when some of the information included in high school curriculum is over our heads, first question the need for the information, then if it is determined to be important, get a tutor for that portion of the subject. It is amazing how many of our fellow church members, co-workers and family are happy to share their expertise in knowledge they didn’t think anyone cares about.
Principle #6 – There is no degree of evil that is acceptable in God’s sight. Most people do not understand that the dominant system of education used in this country is one of Prussian origin. It is designed in its methodology to develop regimented servants of the state. It has been the darling of both socialists and industrial capitalists for over a century because of its inherent ability to “dumb-down” a population. The problem is with the dominance of the system, thus no teacher (regardless of knowledge or spiritual depth) can counter the system in which they are functioning.
Every Christian parent is required to raise their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. To do otherwise, to subject a child to a system which is designed to destroy faith and exalt the state as the provider of every good and perfect gift must be sin. Not providing a family-directed, Christian education for a child will thus qualify a parent (and the grandparents) to Paul’s admonition to Timothy that they have “denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Timothy 5:8)
Again, these principles are stated more for your encouragement than for use as argument. You have made the right decision, inconvenient as it often is. Will any of these principles really make a difference in your discussion with another Christian parent? Probably not. Please remember that the Church in America has been largely apostasized by a desire for ease and comfort. Our place of “worship” is chosen primarily by location, by whether our children enjoy their playtime, and by how comforting the sermon and worship service is. We automatically reject any church where the words “sin” or “judgment” or “hell” are used by the preacher, but are drawn to where we can be entertained by music, drama or dance.
The parent who will decide to teach their children at home is one who when deciding on a church says not “here, my children enjoy…” but rather “here, my children receive…” Receiving the blessings of the Almighty Lord of Hosts is the reward of home education.