Beginning with Homeschooling (13)

The end of learning is to repair the ruin of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, and to be like him (John Milton). 

Ask people why education is important, and you’ll get lots of reasons. Some of them I would agree with, but many I won’t. Why?

Because educational lies have been with us since the first one in the Garden: “…you will be like God…” (Gen.3:5). We know where lies originate.

Now I’m a firm believer that education is of great assistance to individuals, families, churches and society. But it has to be education in the truth, as defined by scripture. The Psalmist said,

I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked (Ps.26:4).

Any society has to be careful what it accepts as true. We Christians especially, had better be very fussy about what we choose to believe and why, because deceit and pretension are works of the wicked.

But there’s more. People without a thorough commitment to the truth are very susceptible to being manipulated. Money, sex and power are not evil of themselves, but history shows a great number of people have been very easily manipulated by them.

Some other issues that have been used to manipulate people are fear and guilt, and no doubt there are others. When Jesus spoke about the truth, and Pilate asked Him “What is truth?” (Jn.18:38), implying it was of little significance to him, he was very soon afterwards politically manipulated by the Jews. They warned him, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar” (Jn.19:12).

Pilate really did want to free Jesus, but he also wanted to preserve his reputation and career. Which was it to be? Four verses later, “…He handed Him over to them to be crucified.”

Since Charles Darwin, the church has got very wobbly about the issue of 6 Day Creation, because it was deeply challenged over Biblical inerrancy. A significant proportion of Church leaders then and now have preferred to hide under the blankets, wishing the issue would go away. It won’t. If Christian leaders have gone AWOL on inerrancy and a 6 Day Creation, is it any wonder that the church’s moral authority has been shredded in the modern era?

I have a friend aged about 30, who attended a large, local “Christian” school for 12 years. In those 14,400 hours of education, was he ever told (either verbally or in print) that the Lord our God made the world in 6 days? He can’t ever remember it. Yes, lots of other things like devotions, worship, prayer with and for the children, but a clear statement of Creationism?

Sorry, we don’t do that kind of thing. As Jesus said in another context, “…these are the things you should have done, without neglecting the others” (Mat.23:23).

When we give up on such fundamental issues, no one can tell what will be the next piece of territory lost. Maurice Newman in “The Australian” recently explained,

When then prime minister Tony Abbott wanted to establish a taskforce to investigate the bureau’s [of Meteorology’s] temperature dataset and other related records, the cabinet, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and his department all came to the bureau’s aid by watering down the proposal and setting up a panel approved by the BoM to “strengthen governance oversight”.

Hunt said: “In doing this, it is important to note that public trust in the bureau’s data and forecasts, particularly as they relate to bushfires and cyclones, is paramount.”[1]

Greg Hunt doesn’t want unpleasant questions being asked about the accuracy of the Bureau of Meteorology’s data. Why would that be, Greg?

Well, it might bring into public focus further questions about “Climate Change,” and what government departments do with taxpayers’ money. So, the Mega-dollar Bureau is asked to monitor itself. Won’t that be a joy? The truth is sacrificed for a bag of bureaucratic sweet talk.

To change the future for the nation, we really have to begin with the children of the nation, beginning with the children of the church. This is why the consistent education of Christian children remains a controversial subject in the Christian community.

You thought that you’d be popular and everyone would like, understand and appreciate you when you decided to home school your children? Not at the moment because of the state of the church, and this may take a long time to change.

The Lord spoke much about education through Moses in books like Deuteronomy, and Moses gives us a wonderful example about how he handled the temptations to compromise. The New Testament says,

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing to rather endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ better than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen (Heb.11:24-27).

Conclusion:

Your radical decision to home school your children using a Christian curriculum will not be appreciated by all, in the same way that Moses’ decisions weren’t appreciated by all. But in exposing them daily to God’s Word, without the corrupting influences of humanist curriculum, teachers and peer-group, you are preparing them for something: a faithful, uncompromising life, and eternity in the presence of the God of truth.

 

 

 

[1] Maurice Newman, “Bureau of Meteorology needs to Open Records to Audit,” ‘The Australian,’ 1/2/2016.

Why Education must be Christian 1.

The end of learning is to repair the ruin of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, and to be like him (John Milton).

 Ask people why education is important, and you’ll get lots of reasons. Some of them I would agree with, but many I won’t. Why?

Because educational lies have been with us since the first one in the Garden: “…you will be like God…” (Gen.3:5). We know where lies originate.

Now I’m a firm believer that education is of great assistance to individuals, families, churches and society. But it has to be education in the truth, as defined by scripture. The Psalmist said,

I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked (Ps.26:4).

Any society has to be careful what it accepts as true. We Christians especially, had better be very fussy about what we choose to believe and why, because deceit and pretension are works of the wicked.

But there’s more. People without a thorough commitment to the truth are very susceptible to being manipulated. Money, sex and power are not evil of themselves, but history shows a great number of people have been very easily manipulated by them.

Some other issues that have been used to manipulate people are fear and guilt, and no doubt there are others. When Jesus spoke about the truth, and Pilate asked Him “What is truth?” (Jn.18:38), implying it was of little significance to him, he was very soon afterwards politically manipulated by the Jews. They warned him, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar” (Jn.19:12).

Pilate really did want to free Jesus, but he also wanted to preserve his reputation and career. Which was it to be? Four verses later, “…He handed Him over to them to be crucified.”

Since Charles Darwin, the church has got very wobbly about the issue of 6 Day Creation, because it was deeply challenged over Biblical inerrancy. A significant proportion of Church leaders then and now have preferred to hide under the blankets, wishing the issue would go away. It won’t. If Christian leaders have gone AWOL on inerrancy and a 6 Day Creation, is it any wonder that the church’s moral authority has been shredded in the modern era?

I have a friend aged about 30, who attended a large, local “Christian” school for 12 years. In those 14,400 hours of education, was he ever told (either verbally or in print) that the Lord our God made the world in 6 days? He can’t ever remember it. Yes, lots of other things like devotions, worship, prayer with and for the children, but a clear statement of Creationism?

Sorry, we don’t do that kind of thing. As Jesus said in another context, “…these are the things you should have done, without neglecting the others” (Mat.23:23).

When we give up on such fundamental issues, no one can tell what will be the next piece of territory lost. Maurice Newman in “The Australian” recently explained,

When then prime minister Tony Abbott wanted to establish a taskforce to investigate the bureau’s [of Meteorology’s] temperature dataset and other related records, the cabinet, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and his department all came to the bureau’s aid by watering down the proposal and setting up a panel approved by the BoM to “strengthen governance oversight”.

Hunt said: “In doing this, it is important to note that public trust in the bureau’s data and forecasts, particularly as they relate to bushfires and cyclones, is paramount.”[1]

Greg Hunt doesn’t want unpleasant questions being asked about the accuracy of the Bureau of Meteorology’s data. Why would that be, Greg?

Well, it might bring into public focus further questions about “Climate Change,” and what government departments do with taxpayers’ money. So, the Mega-dollar Bureau is asked to monitor itself. Won’t that be a joy? The truth is sacrificed for a bag of bureaucratic sweet talk.

To change the future for the nation, we really have to begin with the children of the nation, beginning with the children of the church. This is why the consistent education of Christian children remains a controversial subject in the Christian community.

You thought that you’d be popular and everyone would like, understand and appreciate you when you decided to home school your children? Not at the moment because of the state of the church, and this may take a long time to change.

The Lord spoke much about education through Moses in books like Deuteronomy, and Moses gives us a wonderful example about how he handled the temptations to compromise. The New Testament says,

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing to rather endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ better than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen (Heb.11:24-27).

Conclusion:

Your radical decision to home school your children using a Christian curriculum will not be appreciated by all, in the same way that Moses’ decisions weren’t appreciated by all. But in exposing them daily to God’s Word, without the corrupting influences of humanist curriculum, teachers and peer-group, you are preparing them for something: a faithful, uncompromising life, and eternity in the presence of the God of truth.

 

 

[1] Maurice Newman, “Bureau of Meteorology needs to Open Records to Audit,” ‘The Australian,’ 1/2/2016.

Beginning with Homeschooling (12)

Watch yourselves that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will be a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim- for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a Jealous God- otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, and you take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons to play the harlot with their gods (Ex.34:12-16).

All educators accept that values are at the center of education. The question is, whose values? If we are serious about a Christian education for our children, we have to take Biblical values very seriously.

This will be confronting for some parents and many children, especially those who have spent time in public education. It requires changes of attitude in many ways. Education begins with how we think.

Truly effective education means helping to form the values of children. This will include influencing the kind of person they will marry, because religion really does affect values. This all begins with taking this Biblical command very seriously: “…no covenant with the inhabitants of the land in which you are going.”

A lady with three primary school aged children, once wrote to me, saying

We have a local (small) country school that is willing to allow homeschooling students to participate once a week (for either PE or Music, and be invited to Sports Days etc the school holds). They already have one homeschooled boy who comes once a week on Wednesdays, as his interest is in PE/Sports, and it works out quite well. Is this an option we could utilise?

 As a Christian educator, I’m not unbiased in this. I have a vested interest in this family continuing to utilise Christian education, because I get paid through it, so I plan to acknowledge this with this lady. But setting this aside, as a fellow believer in Jesus Christ, I have a concern for her children’s education and future too.

What’s happening with this lady? I believe she’s in the early stages of a religious and educational seduction. If this doesn’t change soon, this could be disastrous for her family.

Why should I use such strong language? North makes this point:

The modern State seeks to steal the legacy of the faithful: the hearts and minds of children. The educational bureaucrats today have imposed a massive system of ideological kidnapping on the voters. This is the inherent nature of all compulsory education, regulated education, and tax-funded education. Education is not neutral. The bureaucrats have built a gigantic system of humanist indoctrination with funds extracted from all local residents in the name of common-ground education… This agenda is deeply religious.[1]

This lady probably doesn’t understand what she’s getting into, but in my opinion she’s jeopardising the future of her children, just so they can enjoy some free sports days. But what will be the outcome?

One of them could be this:

Mum, can we go to that school all the time? Those kids there are really nice…

Then there’s this one:

  Mum, all my friends think that a 6 Day Creation is really funny…

And:

Mum, what’s really so wrong with two people living together? Hardly any of my friend’s parents at school are married…

I was able to visit this family, and I discovered more. Mum’s under pressure from children who won’t always do as they’re told, so she’s been having real doubts about herself and her ability to educate them at home, leading to struggles with depression. I encouraged her husband (who was there for the interview) to take a lot more responsibility for what’s taking place, to check himself on how the goals for each day were completed, and to take an interest in how they are progressing as individuals. That way, children become much more accountable to him. That should change things!

Unequal yokes with unbelievers (see II Cor.6:14-18) means just that. Twelve years of education (which equates to 14,400 hours) will either prepare a child for a godly Christian life of work, dominion and godly confidence, or it will hamper him. What will it be with your children?

Conclusion:

Give your children the best and only true education: one that is steeped in scripture, so they are equipped to handle the challenges of life, and can face life with legitimate confidence.

Mark Twain wasn’t a believer, but he understood one thing well. He said

Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.

 

[1] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.28.

Beginning with Homeschooling (11)

The end of learning is to repair the ruin of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, and to be like him (John Milton).

Ask people why education is important, and you’ll get lots of reasons. Some of them I would agree with, but many I won’t. Why?

Because educational lies have been with us since the first one in the Garden: “…you will be like God…” (Gen.3:5). We know where lies originate.

Now I’m a firm believer that education is of great assistance to individuals, families, churches and society. But it has to be education in the truth, as defined by scripture. The Psalmist said,

I do not sit with deceitful men, nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked (Ps.26:4).

Any society has to be careful what it accepts as true. We Christians especially, had better be very fussy about what we choose to believe and why, because deceit and pretension are works of the wicked.

But there’s more. People without a thorough commitment to the truth are very susceptible to being manipulated. Money, sex and power are not evil of themselves, but history shows a great number of people have been very easily manipulated by them.

Some other issues that have been used to manipulate people are fear and guilt, and no doubt there are others. When Jesus spoke about the truth, and Pilate asked Him “What is truth?” (Jn.18:38), implying it was of little significance to him, he was very soon afterwards politically manipulated by the Jews. They warned him, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar” (Jn.19:12).

Pilate really did want to free Jesus, but he also wanted to preserve his reputation and career. Which was it to be? Four verses later, “…He handed Him over to them to be crucified.”

After Charles Darwin, the church got very wobbly about the issue of 6 Day Creation, because it was deeply challenged over Biblical inerrancy. A significant proportion of Church leaders then and now have preferred to hide under the blankets, wishing the issue would go away. It won’t. If Christian leaders have gone AWOL on inerrancy and a 6 Day Creation, is it any wonder that the church’s moral authority has been shredded in the modern era?

I have a friend aged about 30, who attended a large, local “Christian” school for 12 years. In those 14,400 hours of education, was he ever told (either verbally or in print) that the Lord our God made the world in 6 days? He can’t ever remember it. Yes, lots of other things like devotions, worship, prayer with and for the children, but a clear statement of Creationism?

Sorry, we don’t do that kind of thing. As Jesus said in another context, “…these are the things you should have done, without neglecting the others” (Mat.23:23).

When we give up on such fundamental issues, no one can tell what will be the next piece of territory lost. Maurice Newman in “The Australian” explained,

When then prime minister Tony Abbott wanted to establish a taskforce to investigate the bureau’s [of Meteorology’s] temperature dataset and other related records, the cabinet Environment Minister Greg Hunt and his department all came to the bureau’s aid by watering down the proposal and setting up a panel approved by the BoM to “strengthen governance oversight.”

Hunt said: “In doing this, it is important to note that public trust in the bureau’s data and forecasts, particularly as they relate to bushfires and cyclones, is paramount.”[1]

Greg Hunt didn’t want unpleasant questions being asked about the accuracy of the Bureau of Meteorology’s data. Why would that be, Greg?

Well, it might bring into public focus further questions about “Climate Change,” and what government departments do with taxpayers’ money. So, the Mega-Dollar Bureau is asked to monitor itself. Won’t that be a joy? The truth is sacrificed for a bag of bureaucratic sweet talk.

To change the future for the nation, we really have to begin with the children of the nation, beginning with the children of the church. This is why the consistent education of Christian children remains a controversial subject in the Christian community.

You thought that you’d be popular and everyone would like, understand and appreciate you when you decided to home school your children? Not at the moment because of the state of the church, and this may take a long time to change.

The Lord spoke much about education through Moses in books like Deuteronomy, and Moses gives us a wonderful example about how he handled the temptations to compromise. The New Testament says,

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing to rather endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ better than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen (Heb.11:24-27).

Conclusion:

Your radical decision to home school your children using a Christian curriculum, will not be appreciated by all, in the same way that Moses’ decisions weren’t appreciated by all. But in exposing them daily to God’s Word, without the corrupting influences of humanist curriculum, teachers and peer-group, you are preparing them for something: a faithful, uncompromising life, and eternity in the presence of the God of truth.


[1] Maurice Newman, “Bureau of Meteorology needs to Open Records to Audit,” ‘The Australian,’ 1/2/2016.

Beginning with Homeschooling (10) Why Home Schools Are Better Than Private Schools

Gary North (www.garynorth.com), April 29, 2019

I have been part of the Christian school movement ever since 1962, when I read R. J. Rushdoony’s 1961 book, Intellectual Schizophrenia. His 1963 book, The Messianic Character of American Education, only reaffirmed what I already believed.

I came into contact with Robert and Rosemary Thoburn, the creators of the profit-seeking Fairfax Christian School, sometime around 1969. Mrs. Thoburn taught a generation of Christian school entrepreneurs how to teach children how to read through phonics. The founders of the A Beka program were taught by her.

Over the years, I have watched the parallel development of Christian home schooling and Christian day schooling. I have come to the conclusion that home schools are superior on average.

There are reasons for this. Here are a few of them.

MOTIVATION

Parents are more interested in their children’s performance than salaried teachers are. Teachers must concern themselves with a room full of other people’s children. A mother concerns herself with a room full of her children. It is a smaller room.

Let me cut short a mistake. Beyond the second or third grade, parents should cease worrying about individual instruction, unless the child has a learning disability. The concern over student/teacher ratios is a concern of the teacher unions. It should not be a concern of parents. The older the child is, the more true the statement is.

I feel sorry for the high school students of parents — meaning almost all parents — who wail, “I want my child to have a low student/teacher ratio.” That child is being set up for a crisis on the day he or she walks into a college class of 1,000 students. The mega-class is a cash cow for colleges. Faculties assign their lower-level non-tenured assistant professors to teach them. These classes are graded by graduate students.

Some 17-year-old who has learned how to learn in a tiny class is now thrown to the lions. “Good luck!”

This is even more true of home-schooled college freshmen. Momma is back home. Momma can’t help. Momma set up her child for an expensive lesson in the only education that matters in the long run: self-education.

There is only one curriculum that is geared entirely to self-education: Dr. Arthur Robinson’s. He wants parents to get out of the way of their children’s education as early as possible.

Because his K-12 CD-ROM-based curriculum sells for $200, once per family, it is the best bargain in the history of education. But it is not for parents of Momma’s boys and girls.

The best thing about the Robinson Curriculum is that it ends forever the seeming legitimacy of the complaint, “We just can’t afford private education.” A family can buy this curriculum for $200 — the cost of a pair of running shoes — plus the cost of a set of the Saxon math books. After that, it only costs paper and toner.

Because Christian parents are generally more concerned with protecting their children socially than with training up intellectual warriors, Robinson’s approach to education is not widely accepted in Christian circles. The fact that a student who gets through this curriculum can quiz out of his first year of college, and possibly two years, does not impress such parents. This is because so few of them ever mastered the skills of self-education.

Despite Christian parents’ desire to provide social environment rather than intellectual tools of combat, I still think conventional home schooling beats private day schooling. Parental concern is very great. Parents have not only pulled a child out of the humanists’ established church — the public school system — the mother has also decided to skip entry into the wage-earning work force for the sake of her children’s education. This degree of commitment, even when accompanied by the well-meant but ill-conceived pedagogy of showing children how to solve problems with mother’s help rather than by themselves, overcomes the low common denominator problem of the K-12 classroom.

INNOVATION

Recently, I sent a successful day school’s headmaster an inquiry regarding the possibility of adopting a curriculum like Robinson’s, but with greater emphasis on success in business rather than training for a career in science. I am now working on it. Such a curriculum might be suitable for both home schools and day schools. Or so I thought. Here is what he wrote to me.

It looks very good to me. It would sell to me on content alone — because I know your work and admire it. Many do not, and that’s why packaging would be so critical for initial market success. One substantial item that would be needed would be user-friendly teachers’ guides. This would be necessary even if the teacher were just a facilitator, but especially if the teacher actually did some teaching. I’m finding substantial parental resistance to the idea of their students learning in non-traditional (teacher/lecture) ways. But I think it can be overcome if the students buy into it. But most significant in today’s undisciplined, child-driven culture is getting the students to buy into it. Parents will do whatever their kid wants today. If the kid likes the material, it will help sell it — not necessarily initial purchase, but long-term.

I wrote back to him the following response.

No teacher guides. So, this means gigantic extra work at my end to sell to day schools. I don’t think that would pay off. I think I’m fighting too much tradition. The home schoolers are much less traditional. They also tell their kids what to do. I think day school parents are less confrontational. If I sell to a final buyer — a parent — it’s a simple sale: immediate benefits for your child, with a one-year money-back guarantee. If I sell to a day school director, the benefits are indirect: force your change-resistant teachers to change, force your students to change, and maybe the parents will accept it . . . but probably not. You may get fired.

Which market would you rather sell to? But you have clarified my thinking. Thanks.

It’s obvious, isn’t it? Yet it took me 20 years of watching the home school movement develop to come to this conclusion.

This late conclusion may be an example that runs counter to my theory of child pedagogy. I wish that someone had pointed it out to me earlier. It might have saved me two decades. But I might not have believed it. Self-education is the best education as a general rule.

I can understand a headmaster’s problem. He is dealing with child-directed parents. He is dealing with teachers in an under-funded niche profession that pays 60% of what a public school teacher is paid. These teachers are learning on the job. They were taught in public schools. They are (or should be) re-learning everything in their field of interest. They don’t know where to begin. They need a teacher’s guide in their own field. This is horrifying, yet it is apparently the case.

The standard Christian school textbooks are baptized public school textbooks. If you think I’m wrong, see what they say about the anti-Federalists of 1787, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, World War I, World War II, and the other great crusades of the modern messianic American State.

They are by necessity low-common-denominator products. They are very expensive to produce. To get back the investment, they must be sold by the tens of thousands each year. They are printed on paper — the Achilles’ heel of education in an era of the Web and CD-ROM and DVDs. Think of the printed version of the Encyclopedia Britannica. It could not compete against Microsoft’s Encarta (under $100), let alone the Wiki encyclopedia (on-line and free). It is gone. But students are still assigned printed textbooks.

Show me a printed textbook, and I’ll show you a book written to get through a committee with a final market of average students.

I am not interested in average students. Their needs can be taken care of by others. I want the best and the brightest. More important, I want self-starters and self-learners who can quiz out of college mega-classes in high school, and walk straight into upper division — saving themselves two years and their parents $25,000 to $75,000.

CONFRONTATION

We need a hard core of graduates who are prepared to challenge the statist presuppositions of this era and the one to come. We need college students who can think for themselves, research for themselves, and develop comprehensive alternatives. Such students should not be asked to feast on the dumbed-down pabulum of the committee-screened high school textbook.

A pastor I met years ago once complained about the situation he found at a new church. “I wanted to enter an armory. I found a nursery.” This is why there is a market for textbooks.

Most parents do not want confrontation. So, most parents allow their children to be educated in the public schools.

Christian day school parents are more confrontational. They have broken with the public schools. But they still want their children to have the social experience of bureaucratic education. They cannot resist the lure of league sports and proms and pom-poms.

There are a few day schools that are self-consciously designed to train up students who are ready for lower-division collegiate intellectual battle at age 17. There are not many schools like this. They are saddled with Christian school textbooks. They must go to special effort in the classroom to get around and beyond these textbooks. These schools are the products of their headmasters’ vision. Three years after they retire, the schools may drift back to a baptized version of the local public schools. Dogs do tend to return to their vomit (Proverbs 26:11).

Such schools are rowing against the tide. The students coming into Christian high schools today are almost as committed to the welfare State ideology as public school children are. There is a small organization, the Nehemiah Institute, which provides a test for entering Christian day school freshmen regarding their attitude toward statism. A handful of Christian schools use it. It is called the PEERS Test. The test results are universally grim: in the 30% range. After four years of Christian education, the scores usually go up in those schools that run the tests, but nowhere near 100%. Maybe 70%. A good test of how good a day school’s program is, is the PEERS Test. Ask to see the results. If the school does not use it, look for another school.

With home schooling, students miss out on league football games, pom-poms, and high school reunions. Whether they get prepared for intellectual confrontation is dependent on what their parents choose to assign them to read, and then on how well they master the assigned material.

Parents are directly responsible, meaning that mothers are directly responsible. Fathers usually delegate home schooling to mothers.

In other forms of education, both parents delegate this responsibility to hired tutors. The question is: Hired by whom? The State or the parents or a local church?

If Christian parents were willing to be 100% responsible, there would be few non-profit Christian day schools. They would be run as family or corporate enterprises. The fact that most Christian day schools are non-profit organizations reveals the reality, namely, that parents are looking for subsidies from others: tax deduction-receiving donors, church members in churches the parents do not belong to, or the State (vouchers).

Home school parents avoid this dilution of responsibility. This is why home schooling is the wave of the future for leadership development. Each generation of home school mothers is likely to be tougher than the previous one. Better trained, too.

CONCLUSION

Home schooling has come a long way over the last two decades. Technology is on the side of home schooling: the Web, CD-ROMs, computers, and DVDs. This technology is both decentralizing and individualizing. There are local home school associations. There is the division of labor.

The future of tax-funded education can be seen in the schools of Washington, D.C., where legislators do not send their children.

We are winning this one.

Beginning with Homeschooling (9) Under Whose Shadow?

The Bible says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps.91:1). This is reassuring for the Christian person, to know that as we trust and obey Jesus Christ, He will protect us from evil.

In the last few weeks as I have been reading history, I have been examining how Christians over many hundreds of years, have handled evil governments. And the overwhelming evidence from history, is that we’ve handled them very poorly.

Why? The most common problem we have faced, is our own naivety. We somehow ignore the fact that our enemies are religious people, with anti-God motivations. We console ourselves with optimism.

 He can’t really be that bad, and if he gets into government, he’ll want to get re-elected again, so he won’t push that strange agenda he seems to have.

Many times, Christians have finally understood the truth about their enemies too late, and their tardiness has cost them their lives. Of the Protestants of Germany, Hitler said:

 You can do anything you want with them…they will submit…they are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.[1]

The Dutch had some concerns about Hitler in the 1930’s, but they consoled themselves too.

The Dutch government tried to ignore the signs, assuring the people they did not need to worry because Holland’s desire for neutrality would be respected. At the end of 1939 the prime minister assured the people in a radio broadcast that there was absolutely no cause for alarm. He quoted an old Dutch poem…

“People often suffer the most by anticipating suffering that never happens.

 They, therefore, have more to bear than God gives them to bear.” [2]

But in May 1940, Germany invaded Holland, and the Dutch surrendered after five days.

What is your attitude towards political leaders? Do you trust them? Remember that the Bible’s warning is, “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation”(Ps.146:3).

Have the West’s politicians been any different to Hitler, in terms of their attitudes towards the Church? I don’t think so. People seem to come and go, but naivete amongst believers in relation to political leaders, seems to remain the same. Political leaders want us to think that they can be trusted, so they will get our votes.

Where have we commonly fallen down in this? When we have been offered tax-payers’ money to do something that did not require tax-payers’ money, such as the education of our children. Or when we have believed that the public education of children is “free.”

Christians will employ every intel­lectual artifice imaginable in order to justify public education. And yet, what is government education based on except a wealth-redistri­bution scheme? Likewise, what is Social Security except a gargantuan behemoth of a wealth-redistribution scheme? What is the authoriza­tion of billions to prosecute unnecessary war except a wealth redis­tribution scheme? Christians will fight to the end for these things as morally right, and yet the funding for these things is based on insti­tutionalized theft.[3]

Christians excuse this. We say, ‘Well, everybody else gets taxpayers’ money to educate their children. Why shouldn’t we?”

But in saying this, we reveal that we have tacitly accepted the confiscation of monies for the education of the community, as though it was a legitimate government practice. We like the idea of access to a “free” service. We say, “It’s free, so I’ll take it,” forgetting that everything of value comes at a price. We are really saying, “Yes, we believe in the shadow of the Almighty, but there’s another shadow, we can walk and trust in.”

God has some pretty blunt words for those who deceive themselves into thinking they can trust godless people.

Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord… “who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharoah and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharoah will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation (Isa.30:1-3).

Here’s the question: does God in His Word authorise the government confiscation of money from the taxpayer, so the government can then be responsible for the education of the community? (You should answer this question “No.”) The education of children is a parental responsibility.

Abram had a different attitude to receiving “grants.” He said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the Lord God most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal or anything that is yours, for fear you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’ ” (Gen.14:22-23). God’s next statement to Abram, is “Do not hear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great” (Gen.15:1).

What happens when Christian institutions receive large amounts of tax-payers’ money? They say to themselves,

Isn’t this great! We know there’s plenty more where that came from. All we have to do is continue this happy relationship, and everything will be fine.

But in doing so, they become indifferent to God, His Word and His standards, and become dependent on the government that only had the money to spend because it confiscated it from tax-payers in the first place. The institution has entered into a relationship that can only have one outcome:

                                    There was a young lady from Niger,

                                    Who smiled as she rode on a tiger,

                                    They returned from the ride, with the lady inside,

                                    And the smile on the face of the tiger.

What is the only responsible choice for the believer? “‘Come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord…” (II Cor.6:17).

Conclusion:

Whose shadow are you walking in today? Make sure it’s the Almighty’s, because every other shadow is a counterfeit-a continuation of the original lie in the Garden: “You shall not die…”


[1] Found in Rauschning, “The Voice of Destruction,” p.54 (quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.329).

[2] Moore, P., “Life Lessons From The Hiding Place,” 2004, p.92.

[3] Joel McDurmon, “God Verses Socialism,” 2009, p.34.

Beginning with Home Schooling (8)

Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God (Deut.28:1-2).

Deuteronomy 28 lists God’s blessings and cursings to Israel. Thus it is a chapter of promises and warnings. The promises are grand and bountiful, the cursings are truly frightful, and they are conditional. Twice in these two verses, Moses uses the term “if.” When we get to the New Testament era, we see that Israel by and large, had not obeyed the Lord.

This led to Jesus warning the Jews that

…The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it (Mat.21:43).,.

My understanding is that Israel has been disinherited, and it is the church that has inherited the promises of God. This is both an exciting and frightening thought. In another gospel, Jesus said

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).

So, the church has inherited the promises of God, along with the warnings. So, this should make us doubly aware of our requirements to consider Deuteronomy 28. 14 of this chapter’s verses speak of God’s promises, 44 verses His curses.

In speaking of the law, Jesus made indirect reference to passages like Deuteronomy 28. He said,

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished (Mat.5:17-18).

Then in James 1-2, the apostle speaks of “…the perfect law, the law of liberty…” (1:25) and “…the royal law…” (2:8).

Does this mean that the law of God given to Israel through Moses, and that which James refers to, are one and the same? Not quite.

There are significant changes in the New Testament, with reference to food laws, seed laws and land laws. We do not have the same prohibitions in relation to food (see Mk. 7:18-19), the seed laws were to teach Israel’s separation unto God from the pagan nations around it, and the land of Israel given to the Israelites, has now become “…all the nations…” (Mat.28:19).

But the scripture teaches us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever” (Heb.13:8). The ethical teaching given to Moses throughout the Pentateuch, which Jesus endorsed, is for the church today.

So, what is the relevance of the law of God to the Christian family? Wherever it makes direct or indirect reference to the believer’s education, we must consider and obey its instruction.

Adam was to create a God-honouring civilization, with worship of the true God at its heart. So was Israel. So are we. Adam was to love righteousness, and guard Eden from the invasion of evil (Gen. 2:15, “keep” is “guard”). So was Israel. So are we. Adam was to punish evil. So was Israel. So are we.

The law of God, as found in the Old Covenant books, describes the Adamic task, and prescribes how it is to be carried out. In no way has this aspect of the covenant changed. What has changed is the administration of the covenant, and its source of power. The basic standards have not changed.[1]

Deuteronomy was the last of the five books of the Pentateuch, given by Moses. It was given to Israel forty years after God gave them the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, and immediately before they are to enter the promised land, under Joshua.

Deuteronomy and the Great Commission of Matthew 28 have important parallels. They both come after a great deliverance has been effected by God Himself, on behalf of His people. Moses in Deuteronomy, and Jesus Christ in the Great Commission, declare to God’s people the context of this deliverance, what it means for them, and now what they are commanded to do.

As Ray Sutton explained in his excellent book “That You May Prosper” (1985), Deuteronomy represents the 5th part of the Biblical covenant- the inheritance. As such, it contains extraordinarily ambitious commands, such as

See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them (Deut.1:8).

Could this be relevant today? Jesus commanded His disciples to

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… (Mat.28:19a).

Moses commanded Israel to

…keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it (Deut.11:8).

Jesus commanded His disciples that they were to be

teaching them [the nations] to observe all that I commanded you… (Mat.28:20).

Moses promised Israel,

…if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth (Deut.28:1).

Jesus promised His disciples,

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth…I am with you always, even to the end of the earth (Mat.28:18, 20).

An analysis of Deuteronomy 6 and 11 shows us that six significant words are used repetitively. A close analysis of these chapters will assist us in understanding God’s purpose in educating and discipling our children today. “Teach” is used 3 times, “listen” 4 times, “sons”  7 times, “possess” or “dispossess”  7 times, and “land” 19 times. The word “command” (or “commandments” or “commanding” or “commanded,”) is used 26 times, whilst “Lord” is used 33 times. These represent the six most important words in these two chapters, about education.

Drawing on the use of these six words, we can construct a one sentence summary of  Deuteronomy 6 and 11, which reflects and explains permanent God’s educational purpose for His people:

Teach your sons the Lord’s commandments, so they can possess the land.

Abbreviated even further, we could say: Education is for possession.

Do I really believe that this will take place? Absolutely. Jordan also commented,

Culture follows from, arises from, and is dependent upon faith. Spiritual loyalty to God, in faith, must precede and be the ground of all cultural change. It not only must be, it inevitably will be. The gospel has inevitable consequences, and so does Baalism.[2]

Deuteronomy has important parallels for the Christian parent, especially fathers. Why? Because he is responsible to God with his wife, to prepare his children for a life of service and dominion, in the same way that God prepared Adam and Eve in the Garden. God said to them,

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Gen.1:28).

Adam and Eve were given a garden, and Moses was to prepare Israel to enter the promised land. But we are to prepare our children to deal with much more than a piece of land at the eastern end of the Meditteranean. Our task is to prepare them to share in the task of Christ’s dominion in all the whole earth, and this will set apart what we are doing with our children, from every other educational endeavour.

 Conclusion:                                                                                                                            True Christian education is premised on basing a child’s education in the scriptures. Deuteronomy grants us absolutes that should govern this educational process we engage in, whilst educating our children in the home clearly enlarges our opportunities. May God help us to be faithful in the grand task He has committed to us!

Only the suicidal can afford non-involvement in the great task of a new foundation for civilisation. The foundation must not be institutional…it must be theological, and it must be Christian.[3]


[1] James Jordan, “The Law of the Covenant,” 1984, p.49.

[2] James Jordan, “Judges: God’s War on Humanism,” 1985, p.59

[3] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.478.

Beginning with Home Schooling (5)

God has ordained various institutions in society: the family, the Church and the State. The wise person wants to honour the things God has designed and made, to ensure he’s in harmony with God’s plan for all of creation and His people. As Gamaliel advised (Acts 5:38-39), the wise person doesn’t want to end up fighting against God.

But life gets challenging when institutions refuse to acknowledge the God-ordained limits on their authority. This has been a common thing historically.

Pharoah believed he was a god, and could take innocent lives. He told the Hebrew midwives, “when you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live” (Ex.1:16).

Herod was similar. He was threatened by the news of another king in Israel. His solution? Kill the child (Mat.2:16). Hitler said in 1937,

This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.[1]

In the context of the Hitler Youth, he also said in 1938,

These boys join our organisation at the age of ten…and they will not be free again for the rest of their lives.[2]

What was he doing? Violating God’s order, by usurping the role of the German family. But as Shortt said,

Nowhere in the Bible does God delegate the education of children to the state or to the disciples of other religions.[3]  

Education Departments are not in the Bible, but parental responsibility most certainly is. The sentiments of Education Departments around Australia are not the same as Hitler’s, but there is a similarity: they treat families as commodities for the Department’s good, and they lord it over them, rather than viewing themselves as being employed by taxpayers to assist families in their childrens’ education. This difference in attitude has important consequences.

What else do Pharoah, Herod, Hitler and Australian Education Departments have in common? They are all humanistic. They all concur with Pharoah. “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” (Ex.5:2)

From Genesis onwards, God’s people have had to conclude that when governments move out of their God-appointed roles and become abusive and tyrannical, this requires great shrewdness and flexibility on the part of God’s people.

What strategy did Moses’ mother and his elder sister Miriam employ to protect Moses? (See Ex.2:1-10). The Bible tells us that Moses’ parents “…were not afraid of the king’s edict” (Heb.11:23), and you could only call theirs’ a sophisticated strategy of subterfuge. Jochebed even deceived Pharoah’s daughter into believing she was in no way related to the child (v.7-9), and she finished up being paid to breast-feed him.

When the Hebrew mid-wives (see Exodus 1) knew they were dealing with a baby-murderer, they were quite content to utilise deception, and lie to him.                  

Was this right on their part? Yes, because the Bible says that “you shall not murder” (Ex.20:13). It says that seven things are an abomination to God, and one of these is “…the shedding of innocent blood” (Prov.6:16-17).

The essential issue is this:

The illegitimate laws of a civil government may be legitimately skirted when they come into direct conflict with a fundamental Biblical principle.[4]

The Bible makes it very clear that the mid-wives “feared God” (Ex.1:17, 21), and that God subsequently “was good to the mid-wives… [and] established households for them” (v.20, 21). They preferred to lie to a murderous Pharoah (whom God later drowned in the Red Sea-Ex.14-15), than to kill innocent Hebrew babies, and God honoured their obedience and faithfulness to Him in giving them families of their own.[5]

Christians must conclude this fact: when government officials move beyond their God-given tasks and attempt to usurp the role of the family (as they have frequently done since Genesis), we need to know who we are dealing with, and determine how to respond. For a Department to implicitly claim that “We are responsible for the education of your child,” is a usurpation of parental responsibility that requires wisdom, prayer and initiative on our part.

In this, the Bible encourages us. It says that “When the wicked rise, men hide themselves…” (Prov.28:28), and that “a wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust” (Prov.21:22).

What about today?

The New Testament’s position is replacement, not conquest. With this perspective, Christians in the fourth century captured the Roman Empire. Yet that empire had persecuted them for three centuries.[6]


[1] Quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.343.

[2] Quoted in A. Klonne, “Youth in the Third Reich,” 1982, p.80.

[3] Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.55.

[4] Gary North, “Moses and Pharoah,” 1985, p.67.

[5] See North, “Moses and Pharoah,” ch.4: “Illegitimate State Power.”

[6] Gary North, “Ethics and Dominion,” 2012, p.237.

Beginning with Home Schooling (4)

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you shall have success (Joshua 1:8).

If Christians want to succeed in any activity, including the education of their children, they should meditate in God’s law. In fact, the law of God is an educational tool, more important than Science and History. It helps to give context to the world we inhabit, and the nation we are part of.

The law of God is His tool of dominion.[1] His law lays out the ethical base for all we do. The Psalmist lays out the centrality of the law of God to the believer, instructing us that

His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers (Ps.1:2-3).

Both of these passages teach us that the day and night meditation in the law of God, are the keys to success and prosperity for the believer.

But I’ve discovered this frightening fact: when people discover the golden honey-jar called “tax-payers’ money,” everything else becomes irrelevant. This is the fatal error so many “Christian” educational institutions make. It may destroy them. Why?

Pagan kingdoms implicitly want unconditional surrender from their enemies.[2]                    

The institution that blindly follows the money trail is about to learn a hard lesson (if it wants to learn anything, that is).

There was a young lady from Niger,                                                                        Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.                                                                   They returned from the ride with the lady inside,                                                And the smile on the face of the tiger.

Our Experience:                                                                                                           In 1990, Sue and I decided to commence homeschooling our children. I had become convinced that this was a legitimate option in 1984, after I attended an Abundant Living seminar in the US.

Why did we do this? We believed that homeschooling was a legitimate option, and the best one in our circumstances.

Did we get permission from a bureaucracy to homeschool? No.

Were there some potential problems and risks? Yes.

Did we consider them? Yes.

Did we really think we were being responsible? Yes.

Do we now regret that choice? No.

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences (Susan B. Anthony).

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I would rather mix with and identify with a godly bunch of dissidents as Moses did (Heb.11:23-29), as Gideon did (Judges 6-8), as David did in the cave of Adullam (I Sam.22:1-2), and as Jesus did, than be well-fed, but silenced and intimidated in King Saul’s court.

Why? Because separation is crucial in serving God.

Morecraft has pointed out,                                                                         

God identifies Himself as the God who separates His people from other peoples. Therefore, separation (including Christian intolerance of other religions and gods) is a basic principle of Biblical law, with respect to religion and morality.[3]

This has been God’s way, from the beginning:

God separated His people from the surrounding cultures in the Old Testament era. He separated Noah from the pre-flood world. He separated Abram from both Ur of the Chaldees and Haran. He separated Israel from Canaan during Israel’s sojourn in Egypt. He separated Israel from Egypt’s masses by putting them in Goshen. He separated Israel from Egypt completely at the time of the Exodus.

All of these separations were essentially separations from pagan gods and pagan cultures. But separations from did not imply retreat and impotence. These separations were established by God in Israel’s history in order to give God’s people confidence concerning Israel’s future. The covenantal separation from other nations established the possibility and the requirement of Israel’s dominion over those nations.[4]

Education is a deeply religious issue, for all of life is deeply religious. If Christians think they can make God honouring choices, and somehow easily placate educational bureaucracies, they may have some hard lessons to learn about those bureaucracies.

God requires unconditional surrender from mankind. He does not offer terms of permanent peace on anything other than full, unconditional surrender. God’s dealings with the Egyptians and the Canaanites were about to demonstrate, for all the world to see, just how unconditional His terms of surrender are… The Canaanites understood this when Israel crossed the Red Sea, as Rahab told the spies (Josh.2:9-11).[5]

Conclusion:                                                                                                                          

The law of God provides both freedom and limits for the believer. God promised His people liberty, but the price of liberty is always obedience to Him. For those who refused to leave Egypt at His command, there was only slavery.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (II Cor.3:17).

What is it that you want your children to learn, most of all? The true liberty of Jesus Christ, or slavery?


[1] See Gary North’s series, “Tools of Dominion: the Case Laws of Exodus.”

[2] Gary North, “Moses and Pharoah,” 1986, p.185.

                                                                              31

[3] Joseph Morecraft, “A Christian Manual of Law: An Application of Deuteronomy,” p.75.

[4] North, p.135.

[5] North, p.181.

                                                                               32

STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND GET YOUR CHILDREN OUT!

By Gary DeMar, May 3, 2019 

The films Get Out (2017) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968) are disturbing but not as disturbing as today’s government schools. Public schools are corrupting the minds of the next generation of voters and leaders and it seems that a majority of Christians don’t care. They continue to send their children to the schools of their enemies.

Then there’s this:

The state of California is poised to adopt a no-holds-barred K-12 health curriculum that teaches children as young as kindergarten about gender identity issues and talks explicitly with high school students about every imaginable sex act.

The solution? Allow students to opt out. Don’t opt out … Get out.

Others claim a form of factual neutrality where some subjects—science, geography, politics, mathematics—can be taught without any regard to religion since “facts speak for themselves.” This is most evident in education where a self-conscious sacred-secular divide is maintained and supported by Christians. Ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to government schools. Since these parents believe that math is math and history is history, the religious stuff can be made up at church.

But one hour of Sunday school and an hour at Youth Meeting each week and maybe a mission trip in the summer can’t make up for five days a week, six hours each day, 10 months of the year, 12+ years of a government-developed curriculum that is humanistic to the core. The humanists understand the importance of education in creating worldview shifts and control, so why don’t Christians? Charles Francis Potter, who founded the First Humanist Society of New York in 1929 and signed the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933, made no secret of the purpose of the American public schools:

Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism What can the theistic Sunday-school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?1

Rousas J. Rushdoony pointed out the Humanist design for education in Intellectual Schizophrenia (1961) and The Messianic Character of American Education (1963). According to Rushdoony, modern government education “is erosive and destructive of all culture except the monolithic state, which is then the ostensible creator and patron of culture. When it speaks of the whole child, it speaks of a passive creature who is to be moulded by the statist education for the concept of the good life radically divorced from God and from transcendental standards.”2 Rushdoony was not the first to understand the goal of statist education. Robert L. Dabney (1820–1898) saw it more than 100 years ago:

[T]he Jeffersonian doctrine of the absolute severance and independence of church and state, of the entire secularity of the State, and the absolutely equal rights, before the law, of religious truth and error, of paganism, atheism, and Christianity, has also established itself in all the States; and still the politicians, for electioneering ends, propagate this State education everywhere. By this curious circuit “Christian America” has gotten herself upon this thoroughly pagan ground; forcing the education of responsible, moral, and immortal beings, of which religion must ever be the essence, into the hands of a gigantic human agency, which resolves that it cannot and will not be religious at all. Surely, some great religious body will arise in America to lift its Christian protest against this monstrous result!3

What would America be like today if the Church of Jesus Christ had heeded Dabney’s warnings and some “great religious body” had arisen to make the break from an educational system that was designed to be the indoctrination center for the State and its messianic motives?

The usual Christian response is to reform the public schools, to get more parents involved, sue to get a moment of silence, prayers at sporting events and commencement exercises, release programs, and pass laws to teach the Bible as literature as they’ve done in Georgia.4 There will be pressure groups in some cities to teach the Koran. Then there’s the question of how the Bible will be taught. Will the Old Testament be taught as myth? Will someone teaching on the Olivet Discourse point out that Jesus was mistaken about His coming? There is the larger issue of funding. Public schools are tax-payer funded. People who have no children are taxed to pay for the education of other children.

The First Church of Christian Gnosticism

Not long ago, I received an email from a woman who asked me if I could direct her to some information that refutes Gnosticism. She wrote that a friend of hers “claims to be on an extraordinarily intense spiritual ‘pilgrimage’ of ‘really pressing in to know God intimately’—but this guy has in effect divorced himself from the material world and from all relationships (including his wife and 10 children) which he views as a hindrance to his spiritual growth.”

Gnostics claim to have special knowledge (gnosis is the Greek word for “knowledge”) on how to live the Christian life that is not revealed to “ordinary Christians.” God’s revelation in Scripture is not good enough or sufficient to give direction on how to live the Christian life. Of course, this refutes what the Bible says when it states that Scripture is “adequate” and equips the Christian “for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). She went on to say that this friend, a farmer, “was putting up hay recently and needed to get it in as they were expecting rain. Before he finished, he remembered that he had scheduled a Bible study, so he left his hay in order to keep the ‘spiritual’ duty. The rain came and the hay was lost, but he felt justified that he had chosen the higher calling.”

Another feature of Gnosticism is the belief that there are two separate realms — “one spiritual, the other material. The spiritual realm, created by God, [is] all good; the material realm, created by the demiurge, all evil. Man [needs] to be saved, not from Original Sin, but from enslavement to matter.”5

A further expression of Gnosticism was expressed by someone who “doesn’t believe in voting because that is a ‘worldly affair,’ and he wants only to be engaged in truly spiritual activities.” For the Gnostic, the material world is on a lower plane. Only “spiritual things” are useful and profitable. A Gnostic-like belief might forbid marriage while advocating “abstaining from foods” even though “God has created these things “to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Tim. 4:3). Godliness for the Gnostic is defined as a retreat from the world and despising the things of the world.

[The Gnostics] devised a dualistic cosmology to set against the teachings of the early Christian Church, which, they claimed, were only common deceptions, unsuited for the wise. The truth was esoteric. Only the properly initiated could appreciate it. It belonged to a secret tradition which had come down through certain mystery schools. The truth was, God could never become man. The Gnostic secret is that the spirit is trapped in matter, and to free it, the world must be rejected.6

For the Gnostic, life “must be escaped at any cost.”7 But if there can be no immediate material escape, then a spiritual escape is a good enough substitute. The Gnostic escapes from the responsibilities of history. But for the Christian, history is the realm of decision making, and, therefore, is anti-Gnostic. If we are not responsible for history, then we are not responsible for decision making. Even a casual reading of the Bible will show that our faith is to be lived out in the world so that “fruit,” good works, are manifested for the world to see and for Christians to judge (Matt. 7:15–23). No restrictions are placed on where this fruit is to mature.

One of the central issues that divided gnostics and orthodox Christians in the early Church was their understanding of the relationship between religion and politics. The Church Fathers accepted the political worldliness of the Jewish faith, contending that religion and politics are interconnected and inseparable. The early Puritans and even Jonathan Edwards, following classical Calvinism, would have been clearly orthodox in this regard. The world of politics, of human institutions, was for them an essential locus of God’s redemptive work.8

What is contemporary Gnosticism like? While it might not manifest itself in ascetic practices like pole sitting, it does reveal itself in an institutional escape. Institutional escape is not in the Protestant tradition, however. Our nation’s earliest Christian citizens did not view escape, eschatologically, ascetically, or institutionally, as being biblical. Education, publishing, law, science, medicine, and politics, to take just some areas, were to be governed by the Word of God as were ecclesiastical affairs. Modern-day Gnosticism thrives in a climate of escapism which means a retreat from this world and responsibility to do anything to change any part of it. If this world means nothing, then I am not responsible for its evils.

  1. Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), 128. Quoted in David A. Noebel, J.F. Baldwin, and Kevin Bywater, Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism (Manitou Springs, CO: Summit Press, 1995), vi.()
  2. R. J. Rushdoony, Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education (Vellecito, CA: Ross House Books, [1961] 1998), 10.()
  3. Robert L. Dabney, Discussions of Robert Lewis Dabney: Secular, ed. C. R. Vaughan, 4 vols. (Harrisonburg, Virginia, Sprinkle Publications, 1994), 4:548.()
  4. David Van Biema, “The Case for teaching the Bible,” Time (March 22, 2007).()
  5. Dusty Sklar, The Nazis and the Occult (New York: Dorset Press, [1977] 1989), 140–141.()
  6. Sklar, The Nazis and the Occult, 147.()
  7. Philip Lee, Against the Protestant Gnostics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 122.()
  8. Lee, Against the Protestant Gnostics, 123–124.()