EPISTEMOLOGICAL SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS (2): Our Future and our Foes

12th October, 2021, by Kevin Craig (circa 1980)

As the government escalates its war on independent Christian schools, wearied soldiers of the Cross may often find themselves asking, Is it all worth it? Is there any chance that such a tattered minority can triumph over the gargantuan State and its institutions? The concept of “Epistemological Self-Consciousness,” explained in a previous article, not only shows us who the ultimate victor will be, but how we as Christians should deal with our enemy.

Matt. 13:24-29 records the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. The parable indicates that believers and unbelievers both are left in the world until they mature. Then the tares are taken out of the world, followed by the wheat. In this historical process, the wheat becomes more like wheat, and the tares more like tares. The Christian, equipped with God’s Word, sets out to exercise dominion under God, and through the Word is given power (Acts 1:8; Eph. 1:19; I Cor. 4:20; 2 Tim. 1:7; II Cor. 10:5; Rom. 16:20). The unbeliever is propelled by his own rebellion against God into a headlong dash toward death (Prov. 8:36). Fortunately, the Word of God acts to restrain his lawlessness (I Tim. 1:8-10) and he does not destroy himself. The man who acts consistent with his avowed unbelief will be a very ugly, powerless person; something like a punk rocker. Or worse.

For some unbelievers, however, the law of God does more than simply restrain lawlessness. It is used by them to become great scientists, teachers, and scholars. Even if they don’t read the Bible, they have the work of the law written on their hearts (Rom. 2:14-15). Their consciences tell them they should obey the law of God. The more they do, the better teachers they will be. They would never admit that they are following the Word of God, but they are, and God, who guides the universe by the Word of His Power (Heb. 1:3), promises that those who obey his law will be prospered in this life Deut. 8 and 28).

Gary North therefore points out that unbelievers have two choices. First, they can conform themselves to Biblical law, or at least to the work of the law written on their hearts. Or second, they can abandon God’s law, and thereby abandon power. They can succeed in whatever they do only if they do it on God’s terms: by acknowledging and conforming themselves to God’s Word. There is no other way. Remember, any turning away from the Word brings impotence, fragmentation, and despair.

This leads us to our future and our foes. If God is the source of all good gifts (Jas. 1:17), then the future belongs to those who are blessed by God, and overtaken by his gifts. According to Deut. 28 and Lev. 26, this means that only those who turn to God and His Word can expect victory and success. The maturing of the wheat and the tares does not lead to the cultural impotence or defeat of the wheat. Christians who are committed to God’s Word are in the driver’s seat. The atheist punk rock star cannot compete with the genius of a Christian like Bach. He will destroy himself while Bach goes on to glorify God in victory. The unrighteous can gain access to God’s blessings only by accepting God’s moral universe as it is, not by inventing an evolutionary fable, and imagining a universe of chaos and meaninglessness.

The future has meaning for the Christian, because it is in the future that the Christian will triumph. Proverbs 13:22 promises that “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” Just as Canaanites inhabited the Land and kept it from going wild so that the Hebrew children could inherit cities they did not build (Ex. 23:29-30) so the Lord allows Humanists to devise wonderful music, physics, chemistry, and even teaching methods, so that when we inherit the Promised Land, we can burn the idols and keep that which conforms to God’s Word. Cornelius Van Til describes it like this: “Sinful men will continue to produce a marvelous culture. But all of the products of their culture will be taken from them and brought into the great display chambers of the Kingdom of Christ. When sinners repent then their culture is saved with them. If they do not repent then their culture will still be saved, but for others who do repent, and these will enter in upon the inheritance of it. The meek shall inherit the earth” (Essays on Christian Education, pp. 8, 15).

Matthew 13 also tells us something about our foes; that we sometimes can cooperate with them. Until the unbeliever matures, and strikes out against God and His creation, he may look and act much – like a Christian. Some Satanists respond to the knowledge of God’ law written in their hearts. They have a large degree of knowledge about God’s creation. We must keep in mind that the fall of man was not a decrease in knowledge or intellect. The unbeliever can still have knowledge. It can be applied to God’s creation and produce beneficial results. The rebellion of the unregenerate lies beneath the surface, smouldering, ready to flare up in wrath, but restrained by God and His Word. The atheistic scientist says that there is no order in the universe, but knows in his heart that there is order — God’s order. And for him to continue working, he assents to God’s order.

The successful unbeliever (i.e., one who resembles a Christian more than a punk rocker) is like a cattle rustler who steals his neighbor’s cows, raises them, and produces a really great steak. Without his neighbor’s cows, or his neighbor’s knowledge of raising cows, he would be lost. He says that there is no order or meaning in the universe; that it would make just as much sense to feed the cattle lye or poison, but he knows this isn’t true, and he feeds them according to God’s Word and succeeds. As long as the unbeliever is willing to abide by the Word of God, we can work with him.

Every gift he has has been stolen from God, but as long as what he does is inconsistent with what he says he believes, he can be a great economist, a great scientist, or even a great teacher. Our standard is the Word of God. We judge all things according to the law of God. The Biblical Educator is observing even humanistic teachers and is constantly finding Biblical approaches to education that Christians can employ. Just because a person is not a Christian does not mean that that person can arrive at no true knowledge.

By the grace of God, they can. And they do. Next time the BibEd cites an atheistic or humanistic publication, or praises a non-Christian teacher, remember this sad fact: For decades now, professing Christians have neglected the Bible as God’s instruction book for all time. They have dropped the torch in one area after another. Our current economic, political, and educational problems are the result of this retreat. But even many humanists recognize that their children aren’t learning, and their conscience tells them that what they are (or are not) doing is wrong.

They have searched for solutions and have found the answers in the law written in their hearts. Thus they may be working in terms of God’s Word even though they deny God all the while. Ironically, many Christians claim to believe God’s word, yet deny it by failing to practice it. Our standard is not what men may say, but what God has said.

The Origin of Humanism

By Rodney Kirby (around 1980)

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5).

In the recent state meetings of the White House Conference on Families, one word has been brought to the forefront of attention —the word “humanism”. The conservative, pro-family groups accuse the “opposition” of being humanists. The term is also brought up often in court cases involving Christian ministries (schools, boys’ homes, etc.). Humanism is not a new concept, however. It has its origins here in our text for this month. Satan here tempts Adam and Eve to become like God,” knowing good and evil.

What does it mean here, to “know” good and evil? The word “know” in Hebrew (yada) often merely refers to an intellectual apprehension — as in, “I know Columbus discovered America,” However, that could not be the case here. Adam and Eve already knew good and evil this way — they knew that “good” was obedience to God, and evil was eating the forbidden fruit (disobedience). ‘Obviously, this would be no temptation.

The key phrase for an understanding of this is “like God.” How does God know anything? Does He look at an already existing universe and then learn about it, as man does? God’s knowing is on a different plane than man’s knowing. God knows all things (omniscience) because He created all things and determined all things. God’s knowledge thus has the force of determining. God does not know Columbus discovered America because He watched him do it, but because He planned for him to do it. See, in this regard, Gen. 18:19, Exo. 3:19 (cf. 4:21); Exo. 4:14 (cf. vs. 11); II Sam. 7:20 (cf. vs. 18); II Kings 19:27 (cf. vs. 25); Jer. 1:5; and Amos 3:2 (cf. vs. 1).

And so here Adam and Eve were tempted to know good and evil like God knows good and evil — determining it. They desired to make their own laws, to set themselves up as the lawgivers over creation. This is the essence of Humanism — man is his own god. There is no God above man who defines good and evil. Man defines right and wrong according to his own desires.

Also in Humanism is an emphasis on human experience. All things are to be judged by experience (e.g., “You can’t condemn homosexuality unless you’ve tried it”). This thought underlies Satan’s temptation — “God has his hypothesis, and I have mine; you try it and see who is right.”

Let us look briefly at how Humanism works itself out in the classroom. By looking at the Humanistic approach, we may be better able to develop a Christian educational alternative.

Content

In every subject area, Humanism shows itself in the idea that there are no pre-established rules to follow. Any rules must be those which the student himself has formulated.

In reading, this is seen in many of the non-phonics programs used today. Phonics is usually not discarded completely; it is merely used as one of many methods for learning how to read (along with sight words, configuration clues, contextual clues, and, if all else fails, “looking at the pictures”). When phonics is taught in such a program, it is not taught as a series of rules, such as “M says mmm as in milk,” or, “igh says i as in night.” Rather, the children are expected to generalize for themselves such rules. The child is expected to think, “Every time I see this letter with two Mumps in it, I hear the sound mmm. I wonder if there is some connection?” See Rudolf Flesch’s classic Why Johnny Can’t Read, chapter 6, for more information.

In Mathematics, Humanism does the same thing as in reading. Bare facts are presented to the children, who are expected to formulate their own rules (such as the associative property). Another way Humanism is seen in mathematics is in seeing mathematical laws as man-made laws, and thus as having no relation to reality. Mathematics is thus seen as a sort of game — not as a way of exercising dominion over God’s creation by discovering laws created by God. (See Larry Zimmerman’s article, “Mathematics: Is God Silent?” in the (January, February and March 1980 issue of this periodical.)

In music and art, Humanism would say again that rules about “good” music are merely man’s conventions; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What I think is good music (Bach, etc.) is merely my personal taste. I have no grounds for recommending it as “better” than John Cage, Elvis Presley, or even Dolly Parton.

Methods

As mentioned above, Humanism places experience in a central position; this has implications for classroom methods. Modern educators (including Christian ones — pick up almost any issue of Christian Home and School) have little good to say about a strictly scheduled class day. To set up a tight schedule is to say that the teacher knows more than the student what he should be studying (say, Phonics from 8:30 until 9:10). According to Humanist educators, the only effective learning is that which arises out of the child’s experience. The teacher is to structure education around experiences the children may have (a visit to a dairy farm, a tornado, a new pet, or a car wreck). The teacher is to use these experiences as the basis of art projects, reading assignments, and creative writing projects.

Now, there is an element of truth to this approach — note the “situational” teaching in Deut. 6. — but the Humanist makes it the center of his teaching method, not one among many useful tools. The Humanist says, “You must experience something to truly understand it,” and thus does not really take education beyond the realm of the child’s experience.

Discipline

The serpent-inspired Humanist rejects the imposition of classroom rules from without (by the teacher, administrator, or school board). Students must have an equal voice in establishing codes of conduct4ted This is seen in the establishment of classroom and playground rules and the proper punishments (“What do you think is fair?”). It has been seen in the last decade on college campuses, with student organizations setting up codes of conduct (dorm visitation rules, alcohol use, etc.) and throwing down those given by the administration.

Again, there is a proper way of using this technique — giving and explaining the relevant Biblical data, and then asking the students to help find ways to implement that. But this is not how the Humanist goes about it. Biblical norms are offered as one among several options (if they are considered at all), which are to be evaluated by the autonomous (“self-law”) student.

Humanistic educational theories have swept American education, including much Christian education. Of course, since we as Christians are not yet perfected in holiness, we all lapse into one form or another of Humanism. Let us seek diligently to root it out wherever it appears, that our schools may not reflect the Tempter’s wiles, but may show forth the glories of our sovereign Lord.

EPISTEMOLOGICAL SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

By Kevin Craig

In a recent Biblical Educator, Terrill Elniff’s article, “Epistemological Self-consciousness: When push comes to shove,” appeared. Although the point of the article, concerning a school’s relationship to government, was inescapable, the title may have caught some readers off their guard: “Epistema ¬what?!” It is important, therefore, to take some time to ensure that readers of the BibEd are relaxed in the presence of this somewhat pedantic sounding phrase. “Epistemological Self-consciousness” is an extremely important concept if we break the phrase ‘down it will be as easy’ to understand as it is important.

Epistemological comes from the Greek work, epistamai “knowledge,” and here refers to the source of our knowledge. For the Christian, the Bible is the source of all knowledge. For the humanist, “man is the measure of all things.” Lest there be any doubt, there are only two “epistemological” alter-natives: the word of man or the Word of God.

Once we get past “epistemological,” self-consciousness is easy. The man who had a frightening experience with cats as a child now jumps three feet when he sees one. He may claim to have “seen the light” and know cats to be harmless, but he still moves out of unconscious fear. Another man has a well-thought-out theory concerning cats. He believes cats are an extraterrestrial race bent on the destruction of mankind. To escape their control, one must jump three feet away from them. And so he does. Every cat he sees. One man jumps in spite of his claim, another jumps in terms of it. However absurd this second man may seem, at least he is self-consciously acting out the implications of his belief. The person who is “epistemologically self-conscious” is thus a person who is aware of what his faith leads to, and is working to implement it in his life.

What would characterize an “epistemologically self-conscious” Christian? As we have indicated, a Christian is one who “believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word” (Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. XIV, sec. 2). For the Christian, all knowledge comes from God and his Word. (Col. 2:3). This means that the Christian judge will turn to Deuteronomy to decide his. case. The Christian doctor will go to Leviticus to find a healthy diet. Christian legislators will heed the words of the Prophets. In every conceivable vocation, the “epistemologically self-conscious” Christian will turn to the Bible, even the Old Testament (Mt. 5:17-19), to find God’s direction, and he will implement that rule in his life.

Christians should bear in mind this important truth: “Ideas have consequences.” Our thoughts, our emotions, our perceptions of life, all shape our actions. It is insufficient to say, “God wants me to do this.” We must study the Bible to be able to say, “God wants me to think this.” Even our attitudes must be Biblical, for they form what is called our “world and life view.” It must be Christian. When we think of a Christian, we should think of a scientist, a doctor, a skilled craftsman, a diligent laborer, or a talented musician. Whatever his vocation, he believes that this is God’s universe, that he has God’s revealed word to follow, and he acts interms of this belief. He is Dominion Man (Genesis 1:26-28).

On the other hand, what should we think of when we think of a non-Christian? Matthew 13 gives us a hint. There we have the parable of the wheat and the tares. While the Christian grows up to be productive wheat, the unbeliever turns into an impotent, ugly weed. The most obvious example of this was the rebellion of the “hippie,” and now, the “Punk rock” or “New Wave” movements. Here, groups with names such as “The Dead Boys,” “Germs,” or “DEVO” (short for “Devolution”), dye their hair orange or blue and proclaim the meaninglessness of all things. These young people are at war with God and law, with the world of meaning. They profess to believe in an evolutionary, atheistic universe, and they are now starting to act in terms of their faith You need to see a punk rock band in action to appreciate the hideousness of a world without God. It is nothing short of frightening. Picture a man who by night sticks a safety pin through his cheek, straps raw meat to his tattered, mismatched clothing, and thrashes around on the ground screaming a song called “Anarchy in the U.K.” (lyrics: I am an antichrist/I am an antichrist/Don’t know what I want/But I know how to get it/I want to destroy).

Now, can you imagine this hate-filled rebel donning a white laboratory coat and preparing a delicate formula that will be the cure for your son’s illness? Do you think he will be any kind of competition for the musical genius of a Johann Sebastian Bach? The contrast between a Sid Vicious and a Bach is overwhelming. Both are acting out the implications of their faith. Both are “epistemologically self-conscious.” But one is productive wheat, the other an ugly, useless tare.

There is yet another type of person. He is a man who is unaware of the “punk rock” movement, even though his daughter is a member of “The Dictators.” He is completely ignorant of the cause of inflation, or the Biblical solution to it. He spends most of his time in front of the TV, especially on weekends when he drools over the 48 straight hours of sports (and especially the cheerleaders). His only involvement with his children’s’ education is to go to the school football game on Friday nights to watch his son bash the brains of fellow students. Is this man a Christian or a non-Christian? Hard to say. Whatever he is, he is not epistemologically self-conscious.

If he were an unbeliever, aware of where his faith leads him, he would deny all meaning and law, like the punkers, or other modern artists. Instead, he finds some meaning (?) in football, TV dinners, and the bliss of ignorance. If he were a Christian, acting in terms of God’s word, he would be educating his children to be leaders, disciplined to study, work, and produce, not be part of the lazy, leisure-oriented generation we see today. He himself would be a community leader, not a social parasite. The unfortunate fact is, this man may well be one of the millions who claim to be born-again, but whose lives show little evidence of such a claim (Jas. 2:20). The goal of the Biblical Educator is to foster Epistemological Self-Consciousness. We need a generation of Christians trained to consistently apply God’s word to every area of life. This can be accomplished only through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and the diligent training of children in Epistemologically Self-Conscious Christian schools.

AN EDUCATIONAL COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE

By Rodney N. Kirby

“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…And the rib, which: the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man…Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:18-24)

In this [20th] century, under the influence of John Dewey, a primary function of the school has been seen to be “socialization.” The children must learn to become “socialized,” to “get along with others,” to function properly in a “democratic” society.

Early childhood education (kindergarten and nursery school) has thus become all-important. Children must learn how to play together, how to share, and how to co-operate. It is thought that if children are not sent to school at the earliest conceivable age, they, will grow up to be social outcasts.

The same reasoning applies to teaching older children at home, rather than sending them to an ungodly school. These children are seen as somehow being “deprived”—deprived of the chance to interact with their peers. To many Christian parents, this concern is so strong that they succumb and send their children to schools they know to be anti-Christian, simply for the “socialization”. (All these children are “deprived” of is being taught in the ways of Hell.)

Our passage for this lesson shows us something different. God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone (vs. 18), just like people today say it is not good for children to be alone. But notice that God did not give Adam a “peer group” with which he was to “socialize.” (Neither did God make “Adam and Steve,” gay lib notwithstanding.) To solve Adam’s problem of aloneness, God made a wife—Eve. Thus began the first human institution—the family.

Broadly speaking, this shows the centrality of the family in society. God did not make for Adam a church, complete with elders, deacons, committees, and choirs (the “War Department”). Neither did God make a civil government, including legislators, judges, and bureaucrats (certainly FDA would have required a label, “Caution: Eating this fruit may be hazardous to your health!”). God instituted the family first of all. The family is central to man in carrying out the cultural mandate—note the context (vs. 15). Before Adam could effectively subdue the earth, he needed a helper suited for him. God gave him a wife to assist him in exercising dominion.

This centrality of the family has definite implications for our schools. In Social Studies (or History), we must not neglect the family. As we study a given society, we must study the family structure which dominates that society. Does the father take the lead? Is the family governed by the mother? Does the family unit frequently include grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. (cf. Gen. 2:24)? Are two homosexuals considered a “family”? Is the family weakened through the use of ungodly laws (e.g., inheritance taxes)?

We must examine such questions as these, and note their implications in the rest of society. For example, the imposition of inheritance taxes results in the loss of the family farm, and the increase in corporately-owned farms; a disregard for the importance of the family has definite economic implications. Taking a covenantal view of history, we examine societies in the light of God’s commands, and one of these commands is the cultural mandate. Since the family is central to this task, we would be missing the point entirely in our study of history if we neglect the family.

Getting back to the original topic (the “socialization” of the child), we may take a fresh look at the problem. Concern for such “socialization” has only arisen in recent years. Twenty, thirty, or forty years ago, no such concern was prevalent. Was it because people then were somehow less enlightened concerning the social needs of the children?

No, the problem is that these same years have witnessed a breakdown in the Biblical concept of the family. Divorces are more frequent; government economic policies of monetary inflation force many mothers out of the home to find a job; gay rights, kiddie lib, and extramarital sex have all sprung up. The family is disintegrating.

God’s solution for Adam’s “aloneness” was to provide for him a family. This is the same solution we must give for the social development of the children. In the family, children learn how to get along with other people—how to converse, how to show loving concern, how to cooperate, and how to settle disagreements. The family is the main instrument for the “socialization” of the child. (Granted, it was easier in the days when a family consisted of eight or ten children—a family was practically a community in itself!)

The godly family teaches the child how to do these things in a Biblical way. The corrupt family of the present day also teaches the child how to behave—it teaches him to run away from problems (divorce), to seek for instant self-gratification (extra-marital sex), and to assert his own “rights” without regard to anyone else (woman’s, children’s, gay lib).

Parents have told me, when I told them I had a problem with their child fighting, “He picks that up from all the kids at his church; they are always picking on him.” However, I have noted that these family members are constantly fighting among themselves—husband and wife, brother and sister, parents and children. The problem is at home, not at church. Fighting families produce fighting children.

Hand in hand with the centrality of the family in “socialization” goes the family’s role in discipline. Discipline in the school is only effective if it is reinforced at home. The old rule of, “If you get a whooping at school, you’ll get another one when you get home” is valid. If the parents are lax regarding discipline, then no amount of strict discipline at school will (humanly speaking) really change the child’s life.

The importance of the family in fulfilling the cultural mandate must be emphasized in high school, as students consider their life’s calling. In “career counseling,” the student must be made to see that establishing a godly family is the most important thing he must do to prepare for work. Men must see that, except in rare cases (cf. Matt. 29:10-12), they are to marry, and that a wife will be a vital asset in the exercise of their calling. Likewise, women must understand that their calling is generally to marry and be supportive of their husband in his work. This would all necessitate teaching the biblical view of the family to high school students in some formal way—perhaps in an ethics class.

God has created the family and given it a key role in His world. This must be carried out in our schools, in order that the children might effectively carry out the dominion mandate. Let the world have “liberated” women and children—they will only lose dominion, and we Christians can take over that much quicker!

Discipline and Christian Competence

By Kevin Craig (around 1980)

Discipline: an important word; a misunderstood word. Mr. Rushdoony cites the following to test your understanding of the word “discipline.” A pious couple has an erring and seriously delinquent daughter. “Complaining because of her behavior, her unmarried and pregnant condition, and her contempt of their authority, the parents insisted that they had “disciplined” her regularly. She had been deprived of various privileges, and had been frequently slapped and spanked when younger. The girl, almost twenty years of age, was pregnant and in bad company, given to experimenting with narcotics and much else, but she did not know how to sew, cook, study or work, or obey a simple order.”

Question: was the girl disciplined? If you answered “yes,” then you need to pay serious attention to this article. The parents of this girl had chastised her, but she had grown up radically undisciplined. Today, more than ever, Christian school teachers and parents, especially parents, need to understand Christian discipline

Mr. Rushdoony explains the concept of discipline: “Discipline is systematic training and submission to authority, and it is the result of such training. Chastisement or punishment is the penalty or beating administered for departure from authority. Clearly discipline and chastisement are related subjects, but just as clearly they are distinct.” This definition can be clarified by showing why the Christian educator must work to bring about disciplined children, and how he can.

A society is made up of individual men. The character of men determines the character of a society. This is an age of laziness. This is an age of self-gratification. This is an age of disrespect. To understand these problems in society, we must see that they are problems with men who rebel against God. To change society, we must change the hearts of men. This is the task of the Biblical educator.

Man’s basic purpose in life is to exercise dominion over the earth to the glory of God (Gen. 1:26-28). But the Bible is clear: fallen man is no longer Dominion Man. He is Sluggard Man, characterized by laziness, and shunning his work (Prov. 12:24; 18:9; 21:25-26; cf. also Ezek. 16:49).

Since man has declared himself to be his own god (Gen. 3:5), he is thereby concerned only with his own needs, his own desires. His basic motive is self-gratification or self-worship. “If it feels good, do it,” is a popular expression of this attitude. It also implies, “If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it,” and when it comes to work, study, and self-discipline, fallen man doesn’t—not without pressure.

Finally, because God has ordained structures of authority (parents, teachers, employers, government), and man is rebelling against God, he naturally rebels against these authorities. This is disrespect. Students of past generations rose to their feet when their teachers entered the room (see Lev. 19:32). But this is now the “punk rock” generation.

Modern man: lazy, self-centered, disrespectful. If this is what characterizes fallen men, what do you think characterizes their culture? The productivity of this lazy nation has declined 275% over the last decade. Teenagers who have their desires for instant gratification frustrated, show a high suicide rate, as they wallow in self-pity. Back in the Great Depression, authority patterns constrained behaviour. Today’s poor feel they have the right to loot and riot. In general, the disrespectful age is an age of incompetence. Men who do not obey the commands of their superiors are men who lack discipline. They cannot complete a task. They despise and grumble at an eight-hour-a-day job. As housewives they are unable to patiently and creatively fulfill their duties, and so they retreat into novels and soap operas. As students they cannot compete, and cannot (will not) overcome an assignment without breaking down and crying to parents or peers. Regularly.

Low productivity; self-pity; poor character and incompetence: this is our age in a nutshell. As Christian educators we must come to grips with this profound truth: Only Christian Education can solve these problems. Even more challenging, Any education that is not solving these problems is not a Christian Education. Every Christian school, regardless of size, can and must work to solve these tremendous social problems. Where do we start? We start in the hearts of our students.

First, we must conquer the problem of laziness. We instil in our students’ hearts a desire for godly dominion. Man’s purpose is to work, not to play. Man must exercise dominion over the earth, not retreat from his God-given responsibilities (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15, 19; II Thess. 3:10¬11; I Tim. 5:13). Not only must man desire to involve himself in God’s glorious creation, to grapple with life, and get his hands into his work (Eph. 4:28; I Thess. 4:11), Dominion Man seeks to overcome sin and the problems and difficulties that tempt us to deny God’s Law (I John 5: 4-5). Clearly, we often fail (the Greek word for “sin” is hamartia, “to fall short of the mark”), but we keep trying. With discipline, the things that beat us yesterday are the things we conquer today. The word we misspelled yesterday is a tool for dominion today, and we both thank the Lord and take pride in the work of our hands. We must develop in our students this godly desire to work and succeed.

The student who thinks only of his own immediate pleasure, however, will not so easily cultivate a godly desire toward work. He sees only the present, and does not understand that hard work today pays off in the future (Prov. 12:24; 22:29). All of our students will be more concerned with play, easy-living, and the way of slothfulness. Therefore, second, we must overcome this commitment to self-gratification. We must instruct our students to obey God, to desire to please Him and not ourselves. We must also pray that God would give them the grace to declare, “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times” (Ps. 119:20). Christians must find a real joy in their heart to serve with cheerful obedience the Lord Jesus.

Third the solution to an undisciplined, incompetent generation lies with God’s ordained authority, the parents of tomorrow’s adults. Too often, we believe not as Christians, but as the Seneca Indians of the Colonial Era. For these people, “parental tenderness” was carried to a dangerous indulgence. Punishment was lacking, and mothers were quick to express resentment of any constraint or injury or insult offered to the child by an outsider. As Mr. Rushdoony, himself a missionary to the Indians for nearly nine years, has put it, “I never saw a frustrated Indian child.” He goes on to give us some insights into how we must deal with our students, and sometimes with their parents. “I found the Indians a lovable people, of real ability and more than a little charm, but the permissiveness of their society guaranteed their continuing unhappy and low estate.

An unfrustrated child is inescapably in for trouble. It is impossible to live in a fallen world – where conflict of wills is a daily problem, and a minor one in the face of our major world and local problems – without having frustrations. Discipline in childhood is a schooling in frustration and training in patience and work (cf. Heb 5:8). Discipline not only prepares Us for frustration, but gives us the character to work towards overcoming frustration. Permissiveness in child rearing thus avoids frustrating the child only to insure continual frustration for the adult.” (The Chalcedon Report, No. 67, P.O. Box 158, Vallecito, Calif. 95251) If the parents of the children we teach are less Christian and more Seneca Indian, and continually indulge their children by doing their homework for them, or pressuring you to stop pressuring their child, you must counsel them along the lines of this article.

What, then, is the purpose of the Christian educator? Simply, to frustrate children. Sound rather bleak? Then understand that by frustrating the child, we deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:13-14 says that if we do not withhold discipline from a child, we shall do just that. Still unmotivated? Then consider your purpose, first, in light of our fallen students. Our students do not want to read; they do not want to study; they do not want to work they do not want to keep trying to do that math problem until they get it right. They want you to give them the answers. And if they don’t get the answer from you, they’ll go home and ask their parents, who, unless they’re reading this article, will probably give it to them. Sound cynical?

You and I both know it isn’t, because we know ourselves all too well. “One of the problems facing anyone who works with people today,” warns Mr. Rushdoony, “is this radical lack of discipline and the ability to meet frustrations realistically and to overcome them. The desire of most people is to walk away from problems. But nothing does more to increase the problems inherent in a society and constant to a man’s life than the refusal to meet them head-on and then work patiently to overcome them. To ask for a trouble-free, unfrustrated life is to ask finally for death, and, before death, a lower class, slave status.”

As fallen men we all have this desire. Fallen students are no different: they too desire to put aside their responsibilities. As teachers we must frustrate that sinful desire. Our students want the unfallen, work-free world of Disneyland. They won’t get it when they graduate; they’d better not get it in school. For their own sakes.

Look at Proverbs 22:6. Now listen to what Bruce A. Ray has said in his, excellent book, Withhold not Correction. “In the Hebrew text of Proverbs 22:6 the phrase “in the way he should go” is entirely lacking. Rather, the Hebrew says, “Train up a child in his way, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Train up a child in his way…, allow a child to have self-expression, let your children decide what they will and what they will not do and when they will and will not do it, look into the future and you will see those same children unbridled, undisciplined, and unable to bring their bodies into submission to the commands of God. That is a stern warning.”

If you care anything at all about Christian competence, the integrity of the Gospel, and both the present and future Sanctification of your students, then in light of the fallen nature of man, you will make your school tough. It’s that simple; it’s that unappealing; but it’s that important.

Second, consider our obligation to God. Proverbs 23:13 is one of many proverbs that command Biblical educators to frustrate the sinful desires of their students: “Withhold not correction from a child.” The same sinful desires that make the student rebel against your God-given authority make you rebel against exercising that authority. Again, Burce Ray says, “It is natural for us to seek to withhold discipline from our children. It is much easier for us to do something else, or to be someplace else, but God requires of Christian parents and especially of Christian fathers that they administer the discipline which He reveals in His Word. For parents, and especially for fathers, to withhold that discipline is to sin against God….” (cf. Prov. 19:18 and 13:24).

Finally, consider our love for our students. If we love them, we will be tough with them. We will force them to adhere to strict standards of competence and integrity. We will expect them to work hard, to study independently, and to build the character it takes to be a rust-rate soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must be tough. In far, far, too many Christian schools today, the standards of excellence are below those of the public schools. We don’t want monks and nuns. Godly living does not consist merely in the memorization of a few Bible texts. It begins with character. A diligent worker, a Biblical mindset; a respecter of authority: these are the things that please God and convey a fine testimony to the unsaved. Christians must be leaders (Matt. 5:13-16). Christians must be diligent, able to persevere (Prov. 11:27; Rom 12:11).

Christians must be disciplined. It starts with parents, at home. It continues with teachers, in schools. It ends with Christians who are prepared and competent to disciple (i.e., to discipline) the nations (Matt. 28:18-20). Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares his rod hates his son.” The teacher who fails to challenge his students, hates his students. A tough program of early reading, mastery of the English Language, and a broad understanding of God’s Law in the home, the government, and in our current economic situation, is indeed tough. But it is not hate; it is love. We want our students to obey God because we love them and we want to see them saved and brought to an obedient walk with, and knowledge of, the Living God.

Be a roadblock for incompetence. When you see your student begin to take the road of easy-living, force him to make a detour onto the harder mad. If he rebels, and stops in his tracks, goad him forward (Ecc.12:11). Develop godly character so that when he finally gets out onto the real mad of life, he will be disciplined: ready and competent (Phil. 3:14).

Delta Variant + CRT =Exodus

By Gary North (www.garynorth.com), 30/8/2021

Here is a heart-warming report.

Despite their efforts, [Colorado’s Adams District 14] started school with 5% fewer students, adding to a decline made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

At Dallas Independent School District in Texas, about 12,000 students failed to show up for the first day of school. Administrators there, like in Colorado, have been working overtime to track them down.

H.I. Holland Elementary Principal Shanieka Christmas-McDonald said educators were calling families to say, “Hey, where’s my baby?”

“We’re really connecting with them in our conversations, letting them know we miss the student, we want to see them here and that we’re going to take care of them as much as we can,” she told the Dallas Morning News.

But working against them were three sloppy back-to-school rollouts and families who feared sending their children to school amid a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the fast-moving delta variant.

This year, district officials project they’ll have about 146,000 students, down from previous years.

On Aug. 2, only 270 children showed up at Holland Elementary. About 360 were expected.

In the weeks since, the school has slowly been able to build its attendance and said an official enrollment count was still weeks away.

Even with a billion-dollar federal government lifeline, public schools across the country are headed toward a financial cliff.

This is good news for liberty.

School officials have said that federal COVID-19-relief funds aren’t enough to make up for the blows to state and local budgets, or the cost of remote learning, as well as the attempts to get children back into classrooms. State and local funding make up about 90% of school district revenue. In many states, local funding contributions flow through the state treasury before making their way to school districts. States use enrollment numbers to calculate money on a per-student basis. If a student leaves a school district, the money goes with them.

Preliminary enrollment numbers for Oregon’s largest school district show a 3.1% decline. The numbers follow a 2020-21 school year enrollment drop, not only in Portland but the state as a whole.

In North Carolina, enrollment dropped 5% last year. For kindergarteners, the decrease was 15%.

Lindsay Wagner of the state public school forum said there was some concern that students may not come back following the COVID-19 crisis.

“A lot of districts, especially rural ones, don’t have the local funding to absorb [the] losses,” she said. “They really rely on state funding to fund their school budgets.”

In Buncombe County, every student that leaves takes $4,592.46 with them.

The lockdowns have backfired against what is operationally the only established church in America. The public school systems around the country are experiencing net losses on a scale not seen before. This is historically unprecedented.

AND THE WINNER IS. . . .

The big winner is home schooling.

Cutting into enrollment is the rise of home-schooling.

Home-schooling has shown its staying power after starting as a temporary approach to education during the lockdown.

Typically, a little more than 3% of the nation’s school-age children are home-schooled in a given year, according to federal data. However, a significant surge has been confirmed by the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that in March, the rate of home-schooling rose to 11% by September 2020.

In Wisconsin, public schools saw their largest single-year decrease in enrollment last fall. Private school enrollment also dropped 1.5%, about half as much as public schools, according to a Wisconsin Policy Forum report released in August. The decrease brought private school enrollment down to 118,862 — its lowest point in at least a decade. Home-schooling, on the other hand, shot up by 47% over the preceding year, its largest increase since 1984.

In Texas, the number of parents choosing to home-school nearly tripled, going from 4.5% in 2019 to 12.3% in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In New Mexico, 6.4% of households chose to home-school at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. That number jumped to 14.3% by the middle of the fall semester.

The percentage of families that homeschool their children will not go back to what it was in February 2020. Those days are gone. A majority of the parents who have shifted to homeschooling have seen see that their children perform better in a homeschool environment than they do in a public school classroom environment. They could see this in the virtual education experiment.

So far this month, which is when new enrollments begin, the Ron Paul Curriculum has experienced a decline of about 2% from the peak a month ago. Yet it experienced an increase of over 75% in 2020/21 as a result of the lockdowns. So, while there have been some families that are sending their children back into the public schools, most of them are being replaced by new families that are pulling their children out of the public schools. With the Delta variant spreading, I do not expect most of the parents who signed up since March 2020 to abandon the RPC program.

Meanwhile, establishment pressure in the public schools to adopt critical race theory will continue. The promoters of CRT are dedicated. The pressure will be relentless. No matter how much parents protest, they really have no say in this matter. They can take it or leave it. I predict that a relatively small minority of parents will leave it. I do not expect that there will be a mass exodus from the public schools based on CRT. Most parents are submissive. They grin and bear it.

Public education really is the only agreed-upon religion in America. The public schools are seen as agencies of social salvation. But, at the margin, the defections have begun. There really has been an exodus from the public schools. It is not a mass exodus, but it is an exodus.

At some point, public schools will reach critical mass. The system will implode. Middle-class parents who want their children to go to college will view local public schools as inner-city schools: holding tanks for lower-class students who will not graduate from high school. White parents want white privilege. Black parents want black privilege. Hispanic parents want Hispanic privilege. But privilege is only going to be available in a handful of tax-funded charter schools, magnet schools, and lily-white school districts. Everybody else will have to find a scholastic port in the storm. The only affordable port in the storm will be homeschooling. “Y’all come!”

CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS AND THE CITY OF GOD

By David H. Chilton (circa 1985)

Why did the Puritans go to New England? According to a common misunderstanding, they were “running away”: from persecution, from the evils of Stuart England, or from the difficulties of life in a non-Christian world. While it is true that these problems existed, to see their actions in this light is to falsify history. The Puritans were actually running to, not from. They did not think of themselves as having been “raptured” to America (and, indeed, one can think of more agreeable ways to be raptured than, in Cotton Mather’s words, “to leave all the pleasant accommodations of their native country, and go over a terrible ocean into a more terrible desert . . .”). In fact, the very first consideration when the founders drew up the goals of the colony was “to carry the Gospel into these parts of the world, and raise up a bulwark against the kingdom of anti-Christ” (cited in Cotton Mather, Great Works of Christ in America, vol. I, p. 69).

And as John Winthrop observed in his great sermon, A Model of Christian Charity (1630): “When He shall make us a praise and glory . . . men shall say of succeeding plantations, ‘The Lord make it like that of New England’: for we must consider that we shall be as a city set upon a hill: the eyes of all people are upon us” (The Puritans, ed. by Perry Miller and Thomas H. Johnson, vol. 1, p. 198f.).

The Puritans therefore did not build a cloister, but erected a culture. They carved a civilization out of a “howling wilderness,” and achieved excellence in everything they attempted: theology, law, government, literature, science, agriculture, trade, craftsmanship, art and music. In short, their emphasis fell not on retreat, not on compiling lists of things that “good Christians don’t do,” but on their positive contributions to God’s world.

What does this somewhat pedantic introduction have to do with Christian school? Simply this: that God has not called us to the task of Christian education for the purpose of turning out graduates whose only mark of distinction is what they don’t do. The great Nonconformist movement shriveled up and died precisely because their primary tenet was just that: nonconformity. There were so many things they didn’t do, that in the end the only thing they did was … nothing. Of course, we are commanded to “be not conformed to this world”— but then what? The passage tells us to go on to work out God’s will, His commands, in our lives. Jesus told us to be lights to the world, to be a city set on a hill, setting a standard for the world to follow.

Christianity will fail in its mission of disciplining the nations if it is reduced to a mere, “I decline.” The initial impetus for the founding of a Christian school may have been a reaction against sex education or violence in the public school, but the movement must not end there. The purpose of the Christian school must be the upbuilding of the city of God

I ran into a good man the other day whose earnestness in defense of the Christian school movement was quite admirable. Yet his actual apologetic went something like this: “Our schools don’t allow drugs, drinking, smoking, dancing, dating, moviegoing, television, mixed swimming, pants on girls or long hair on boys. Therefore, our students are superior to public school students.” Assuming for the moment that each of those activities is really to be shunned by the Christian, it should be apparent that their absence alone does not constitute Christianity (e.g., the Ayatollah Khomeini doesn’t like them either).

Thus, while we need Nehemiah’s sword, we have need of his trowel as well: our duty is not exhausted in repelling the invasion of heathen ways, but we must actively build the kingdom of God. Our Lord calls for social transformation in terms of God’s word, and this is a basic reason for the Christian school.

In the Book of Proverbs, we are told that “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words” (1:20-21). This is where God wants His word proclaimed—in the marketplaces, in the courts (“gates”), in the councils of state, and wherever men think and act. God demands that we acknowledge His wisdom in the world, and He has given us His word so that we may “receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity” (1:3). The Biblical training our students need is in the positive, practical application of Scripture to the issues of life.

The goal of the Christian faith is not realized in a “subculture” mentality. We are preparing our students to rule society, to give light to the world. The decadence of our culture will not be arrested if our main focus is on the sinfulness of the Southern California hot-tub lifestyle. Moreover. our job involves so much more than just restraining decadence’ Christianity is to be militant, on the offensive, effectively implementing God’s law in every area of life. In everything—teachers, methods, curriculum and student performance—we must strive for excellence.

While it is certainly necessary to flee from sin, Jesus did not make that our priority. He said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” The kingdom speaks of God’s rule over all of life, and righteousness refers to His standard, the laws and principles of Scripture by which the godly society functions, and in terms of which we are blessed. In education, this means that God requires us to produce young men and women of wisdom and ability who will build a Christian culture.

For the Christian, retreat means defeat: our only hope is in victory. By every means, we must advance the kingdom of God. If we do, we will fulfill not only the Puritan vision for America, but the commands of our Lord Himself. The world must be converted, the nations discipled, and God’s law established as the foundation of life. The city will transform the hill, and someday (Dan. 2:35) it will become a great mountain, filling the whole earth.

ARE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS THE BEST ANSWER?

By James B. Jordan (Some 30-40 years go)

We tend to take it for granted that the best alternative to the secular elementary school system is to erect a Christian school, after the same pattern as the secular school. By this I mean the pattern of having 12 grades, one per year, and dividing up the children into groups arranged by grades. We hope that our school will become big, so that each third-grader will have 20 to 30 comrades in his or her class, and that each eleventh-grader will have at least 8 or 10.

Let us stop and ask a few questions about this system, however. One of the questions Christians must ask about education is whose responsibility it is. Obviously it is not the business of the state. Is it the business of the church? No, it is the business of the family to educate the children. When the children are older, and want to pursue education to a particular calling, it is their responsibility to contract with some teacher or teachers for their advanced education. This is best accomplished by a system of apprenticeship, but in the modern world it is usually accomplished by a student’s paying the faculty of a university to teach him. Here again, however, the arrangement ought to be a simple free market transaction; it is not the responsibility of either church or state.

(Of course, in an age like ours, when Christians are a cultural minority, and the secular state is moving against Christian schools, it may be wise for the time being to put schools and colleges under the sponsorship of the church, so as to claim the protection of the U.S. Constitution: freedom of religion.)

If elementary education is the business of the family, why delegate it to the Christian school? The only justification for doing so is that the Christian school teachers are more efficient and are specialists. What do we lose in the process, however?

First, the child loses a sense of the wisdom of his parents. Soon it is the teacher who is knowledgeable and wise, and any conflict between her opinion and the parents’ opinion will be difficult for the child to resolve. Parents will not want to undermine the authority of the teacher, and so may just let the matter ride. Christian schools, of course, try to avoid this as much as possible; but it is a subtle and continuing problem.

Second, the child loses contact with other children of other ages. In the family, the older child may help in the instruction of the younger, and the younger children learn to relate to the older. Additionally, if the child is kept in the home environment, he will learn to benefit from contact with other adults. Bill Gothard makes the point, in his valuable “Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts,” that every child needs grandparents as well as parents. If grandparents are not at hand, living in the same town, parents should “adopt” some elderly couple to be as grandparents for their children.

Similarly, parents should “adopt” Christian adults to be “uncles and aunts” to their children. “Uncle” Bob may be a good mechanic, and “uncle” Bill a good musician; “aunt” Jane a good seamstress. If our children “hang around” these “uncles, aunts, and grandparents,” they will learn more than in the classroom. It is hardly a socially healthy thing, from the Biblical-familistic standpoint, for children to relate only to people of their own age group. One bad effect of this is the Junior High adolescent fixation on the peer group. Children of this age are terrified of being “different.” This simply would not be a problem if schools were not structured by these rigid grade divisions.

Third, locking a child up in school all day, five days per week, locks him out of many educational experiences in the world. At the very least, parents should readily keep their children out of class for any valuable educational experience that comes to town.

Fourth, the child will mature faster in the presence of older children than he will if isolated with kids of his own age. Moreover, he will learn much faster, since what is being taught to the older children will rub off on the younger ones.

You can think of other arguments, doubtless. Of course, the small, family-sized school, with flexible hours, will not be able to provide, the “most important” parts of education: big science labs, full sports program, cheerleaders, etc. It is up to you to decide what you prize the most.

As a matter of fact, of course, some parents are not the best educators, though most could teach their children with little difficulty. Some children, for one reason or another, do not learn as readily from parents as from a third party. A family-sized school might in many circumstances be the best solution. By this I mean a one-room schoolhouse, with children of all grades (or stages of learning) in the same room. If there are too many children for that, then break it down into large groups, say “grades” 1-4, 5- 8. Or divide the one-room school into two, in order to preserve the family size. It might prove ideal to have neighbourhood schools, with 30-40 children in each school, and one teacher over them all. (High school, entailing much more specialized kinds of education, will require more specialists to teach, and the one-room schoolhouse method might not be quite as practical there. It is surely worth trying, however.)

The Cono Christian School of Walker, Iowa, has used the “one-room” model for years, and is persuaded that it is best. The older children help teach the younger, and education takes place at a phenomenal rate. The best resource material in this whole area is available from Growing Without Schooling, 308 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116. They sell a variety of books, and publish a newsletter giving addresses of people who are teaching their children at home, as well as legal news. Their perspective is that of radical, ecologistic humanism; but many of the ideas found in their material are valuable for Christians to adopt. A Christian family that has been doing this for several years, and who would like to be in touch with you if you are interested, are Mr. and Mrs. David A. Dombeck, 1956 Susquehanna, Abington, PA 19001

I mentioned legal news. The problem with teaching your kids at home is that many states don’t like it. More and more court cases are being won in this area, however, and the Growing Without Schooling newsletter will tell you how to keep your family out of the legal spotlight.

At the very least, this essay has been designed to encourage Christians who have no Christian school: you don’t need one; you can do it yourself at home. If there is just a teeny-weeny Christian school at your church, and it is not growing by leaps and bounds, rejoice! Your children are probably receiving a better and more well-rounded education in that one-room schoolhouse than they would get at some big Christian school.

(Of course, the big Christian school is still infinitely preferable to the secular school. This essay has not been an attack on big Christian schools so much as it has been a question-raising enterprise. We need to think this matter through. If you don’t agree, write an essay defending the other viewpoint, and send it in.)

Dennis Prager’s Secret to Counter the Left

By Kevin Swanson, 5th August, 2021

Conservative radio host Dennis Prager nails it. He says, “The single best thing Americans can do to counter the left-wing attack on America is to take their children out of America’s schools.”

Dennis Prager, conservative talk show host,
urged parents to take their kids out of America’s schools.

Wow!

Not voting for the most conservative presidential candidate. Not Christians running for elective office. While those are both great goals and would demonstrably benefit America, Prager insists that the single best thing Americans can do is to pull their children out of America’s schools.

Prager writes that government schools “prematurely sexualize them, thereby robbing them of their innocence; and harm them intellectually and morally.”

That’s why I dedicated my June 14th Generations program to his insightful commentary.

Public school’s Russian Roulette:
Drag Queens & Anti-American propaganda

To fully communicate the odds that your child will be harmed in the typical public school, he offers a disturbing word picture. He writes, “Sending your child(ren) to most American schools is playing Russian roulette with their values—but unlike the gun in Russian roulette, which has a bullet in only one of its six chambers, the schools’ guns hold four or five bullets.” That’s a scary statement!

Why are the public schools so dangerous? The talk show host says, “In many elementary schools, your child is taught that gender is chosen and that there is no difference between boys and girls; … and many children from first grade on attend “Drag Queen Story Hour,” wherein an obvious man — wearing women’s clothing, garish makeup, and a wig — entertains them.”

And it’s not just a rejection of God’s design for sexuality and marriage. Today’s American schools indoctrinate the children with many ideals contrary to the Christian foundations upon which America was built.

The denial of public school parents

Prager doesn’t pull any punches, noting that, sadly, most parents are in downright denial. Their delusion manifests itself in two ways:

  1. “Many parents do not want to know what their children are being taught and the consequent damage done to them.”
  2. “They don’t really believe school will ruin their child, let alone their child’s relationship with them.”

Perhaps parents are in denial because they incorrectly conclude that today’s public school curriculum is no different than when they attended a generation ago. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tragically, it’s downright hostile to a biblical worldview in every way.

Indeed, Prager writes, “You are fooling yourself if you think the odds are that after attending American schools from kindergarten through college, your child will turn out well-educated, intellectually alive, rational, kind, happy, well-adjusted, grateful to be American, and respectful of you and your values.”

That’s quite an indictment. To his credit, Prager acknowledges that most private schools are equally guilty before God of pushing a hostile worldview. And, for that matter, he writes, that parents “cannot necessarily even rely on Christian or Jewish schools. Most of them are as ‘woke’ as most secular schools. And if they do find a school that teaches, rather than poisons, they may not be able to afford the tuition.”

Enter home education.

Prager: A modern-day Gamaliel

In my June 14th Generations program, I called Dennis Prager, an orthodox Jew, a modern-day Gamaliel, like the one found in Acts 5:24, who took a stand for the Christians of his day. To be frank, it’s wonderfully encouraging to see someone with his stature and platform unapologetically articulate what I’ve been saying in homeschool conferences since 1986. As a homeschool graduate myself, and as the father of five homeschool graduates, I’ve traveled to 48 states and 16 countries passionately advocating for home education.

Dennis Prager and A.A. Hodge share concern
about nihilistic destruction of America
By way of back story, Prager says the question that he most often gets which led to his column was this: “What can we do to fight back against the nihilistic anti-American destruction of virtually all the country’s major institutions?”

Frankly, the question and the talk show host’s answer echo the thoughts of A.A. Hodge (1823-1886), the God-honoring Presbyterian leader, and former Princeton Seminary president.

A.A. Hodge, former Princeton Seminary president,
warned against a centralized education system
which would propagate anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief.

He wrote, “I am as sure as I am of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social and political, which this sin-rent world has never seen.” (I cited that powerful quote in my new book Epoch: The Rise and Fall of the West.)

To put a fine point on it, nihilism is the outright rejection of all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless. Prager and Hodge both insist that this nihilistic worldview in America’s centralized education system is not just a bad ideology; it’s destructive! It’s a hand grenade. It’s dynamite under the foundations of the American family, of the American culture, of the American political system, and of the American nation. Indeed, this is destroying our very civilization.

Adam McManus, my co-host on that June 14th Generations program, quoted directly from the American Humanist Association. Make no mistake. The humanists want to capture our children. Listen to this. “In order to capture this nation, one has to totally remove moral and spiritual values and absolutes from the thinking of the child. The child has to think that there is no standard of right and wrong, that truth is relative, and that diversity is the only absolute to be gained.”

Public schoolers were 2.5 times more likely
to be destroyed spiritually vs. homeschoolers

In our 2015 Gen2 Survey, we surveyed 10,000 Christian kids raised in Christian homes including those who were public schooled, private schooled and home schooled. Guess what? If a child was public schooled, they were 2.5-3 times more likely to be destroyed spiritually. No wonder 88% of Christian high school graduates walk away from their faith!

Prager assumes that some parents hesitate to homeschool because they feel ill-equipped. Frankly, in my view, even the most “incompetent” parent will accidentally do dramatically better than the public schools.

After forty-plus years of experience in the homeschooling arena, I can confidently say that a parent dedicating just an hour a day of one-on-one time with a child is extraordinarily efficient, influential, and helpful in a child’s life. In fact, the average home schooler scores at the 84th percentile compared to the 50 percentile-mark for the average public schooler.

But, to be honest, it’s less about whether the child is learning academically, as important as that it. The primary concern is this: What values are your children being taught and how is it going to shape the rest of their lives and our culture overall?

My two primary concerns
even if you homeschool your kids

One final thought.

Even if you make the commendable decision to homeschool your children, I have two primary concerns. 1. We need to prepare our children to face opposition to their faith. Bible-based Christian worldview curriculum is a vital tool to equip your students with the knowledge and convictions needed to stand for the truth. That’s why we have invested over fifteen years in writing our Generations Curriculum – now available this year for all 12 grades. Not only will your children be adequately prepared for the attacks at college, but in their lives ahead in the “real world.”

2. We need to be pro-active in limiting the exposure of our children to the toxic pop culture.

  • Primarily, I would strongly advise against putting a smartphone in your junior high or high school student’s hands. Between the likely exposure to pornography and the insidious content on social media websites, it’s absolutely poisonous. (If you want your high schooler to have a phone for emergency purposes, I recommend you consider an alternative option like Gabb wireless which doesn’t have the Internet, social media, or games.)
  • If you have a television in your home, don’t make the mistake of putting it in your child’s room.
  • Make sure that you install the best internet filter on all of your computers/iPads. Without it, the precious innocence of your child can be lost with the click of the mouse, even while doing a legitimate search online for a paper.
  • Read my book The Tattooed Jesus: What Would the Real Jesus do with Pop Culture?

love how Dennis Prager concluded his column last month.

He said, “The single best thing Americans can do to fight the left-wing destruction of the country is to withdraw from the ‘educational’ system that is actively, deliberately miseducating them by the tens of millions. If millions of American parents did so, the country would turn around as fast as you could say ‘teachers unions.’ If they don’t, their children will continue being used as guinea pigs in the Left’s sick and dystopian experiment.”

How are you discipling your kids before they move out?

Besides, God says the primary obligation to educate and disciple your children is not with the state. It lays at the feet of the parents.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 is as true today as the moment Moses wrote it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. From the day of your child’s birth, the sands have been flowing quickly through the hourglass of time. God has given you a limited window during which you have been tasked to pass the baton of faith to the next generation. Don’t let it pass you by! It will be your greatest regret if you do.

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Every weekday, I address the stories of the day on Generations from an unapologetically Biblical perspective. Catch the show each day bydownloading the Generations app or by subscribing to the iTunes podcast. Or you can get the daily program delivered right to your inbox by subscribing to the Generations Radio email feed. For Christ and His kingdom!

Kevin Swanson
Director
Generations
mail@generations.org
www.generations.org

5 Crucial Questions to Ask When Buying Curriculum

By Kevin Swanson (mail@generations.org), 30/7/2021

Although there are many considerations when it comes to purchasing curriculum, we’ve identified five crucial questions that we believe every homeschool parent should ask when evaluating curriculum for their children. Here’s a brief synopsis below (you can read the full write-up in our Busy Parent’s Guide to Selecting Homeschool Curriculum ebook when you sign up for today’s final webinar!).

1. What philosophy of education does the curriculum follow?

By the word “philosophy” we’re not talking about whether the curriculum uses workbooks, unit studies, kinesthetic learning, or online learning. What we’re looking for is the basic worldview of the authors.

As you review the curriculum, do you find a respect for God’s Word, God’s Wisdom, and God’s Truth? Are the truths of God’s Word tied in to the material—the history, the science, and the literature? Also consider the focal point of the curriculum. Does it emphasize the achievements and works of men? Or does it emphasize the glory and works of God?

2. What is the curriculum’s chief goal or objective?

Every educational approach is directed toward a goal—whether that goal is stated or unstated. Sometimes that goal is to raise up “better,” well-socialized citizens for a socialist state. Sometimes it is to prepare a child to get into a good college and make a lot of money in life. The curriculum you choose will make a big difference in steering your children toward or away from a Christ-oriented discipleship and a Christ-centered life. Always remember to ask the question: What is the goal laid out by the producers of this or that curriculum?

3. Who wrote the curriculum?

Teachers are important. And parents are the most important teachers in the homeschool endeavor. However, a large part of our children’s schooling will be determined by the authors of the curriculum we use and the books our children read. Usually, we give our children the best books written by competent writers or the greatest authors of all time. However, keep in mind that the great writers are great teachers. They may lead our children to the truth, or they may lead them to error.

A good question to always ask is: “Who wrote these textbooks? Who wrote these classics? Were the authors humble men and women? Did they fear God and trust in Christ?” Checking out the life of the author is one of the best and quickest ways to determine whether he or she would be a good teacher for your children. That applies as much to Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Shakespeare, and Mark Twain as it does to John Bunyan or Augustine.

4. Is the curriculum relevant & easy to use?

With much of modern education, countless disconnected facts are thrown at kids— terms to memorize, dates and events in history, and all the rest. Think of it in terms of one little formula:

Boring Books + Pointless Assignments = Less Learned

But homeschooling should never be boring! We want our children to see the relevance of the information and the knowledge they are learning on every single page. They need to know why they are learning what they’re learning and be able to apply it to their lives.

Easy-to-use curriculum prevents the academics from becoming too overwhelming and all-consuming for parent or child. Instead of spending all day doing bookwork, we recommend you set aside time for family economy, practical learning, field trips, planting gardens, and doing real life.

5. Does this curriculum fit into my budget?

Last but not least, families are concerned about the expense of the curriculum. Single income homeschool families (in some cases blessed with a large brood of little ones) can’t always afford to spend $400 – $800 per child on curriculum.

Why is curriculum so expensive? Keep in mind that some curriculum is super expensive because of the sheer magnitude of the content included. Too much of this is busywork; it’s designed to keep kids busy in school, doing headwork for 6-8 hours a day. That’s not the homeschool regimen.