Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (5)

Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed” (Isa.28:16).

There has always been a close correlation between the beliefs of a society and those of its political leaders. Political leaders are always listening for community attitudes, to ensure they are staying connected. That way they can make bold statements, confident they’ll have community support.

If the community is indifferent about a matter, you can bet that political leaders will be too. It takes a statesman to think differently, and they have been in short supply lately, around the world.

Statesmen are good, but there is something far better: a godly community. Unfortunately, because the Christian community has been seriously compromised now for generations, it has lost the ability to significantly influence the community. The notions of being salt and light in the community have been lost, and what Jesus clearly warned us about, has now come about:

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Mat.5:13).

Christians must work hard in future to regain authority in the community, and there are no short-cuts to this. It begins with the law of God, along with Biblical responsibility and integrity in the individual, the family and the church.

None of this happens overnight. It requires individual, family and church change over generations, perhaps 50-100 years, and that’s what we have to be considering and working towards.

As long as the governments can kick the can, they will do so. As long as the voters accept the fact that the government is not dealing with the problems, but simply kicking the can, there’s no reason for the elected representatives to change their ways. The public accepts this; the elected politicians do it. It is the simpler way out in the short run. All that matters politically is the short run. The long run will take place on somebody else’s watch. Some other politician will have to deal with the problem. This is the thinking of incumbent politicians. They get re-elected on the basis of this worldview.[1]

The most foolish think we can do is think like incumbent politicians. We are the ones who must begin to think about the long-term future, planning and acting accordingly. If we don’t, our enemies will. They have been thinking and planning, while we have been negligent and asleep. Our negligence and sloth is now, returning on our heads. It has been now, for generations.

The people of God are supposed to have the answers, for the law of the Lord is supposed to come out of Zion (Isa.2:1-4). It cannot come from any other place, because every other place despises it.

I don’t expect the current lot of Christian leaders to have any part in this. They have been a part of the problem. They won’t be a part of the solution. Most probably, they will oppose every step towards Christian reconstruction and reform. The people who led us into trouble, will have no role in getting us out of it.

The Reformers, 400-500 years ago, had no help from the religious status quo. The status quo fiercely resisted them. Why would it be any different today? Thus the reforming leaders of the future will have to be prepared to be pioneers, apparently going against the tide.

This will require a lot of foundation building, much of which will be without much obvious support or encouragement. But this is the thing: it will have to be done by someone.

Is that what you want to be part of?

 

 

[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “European Investors Ignore the IMF,” 17/7/2015.

How Salman Khan Has Smashed 3,000 Years of Classroom Education Mythology

Gary North – September 30, 2015

Ever since the days of ancient Egypt, priesthoods of various denominations have had an alliance with the state. They trained the next generation of literate bureaucrats.

The state wanted literate bureaucrats. The priesthood wanted state support. It was a convenient alliance. It still is. In our day, the priests are priests because they are certified by the state to do the training. This is called academic accreditation. The priests are agents of the state.

All of this has rested on a myth: the myth of classroom education. In less than 10 years, the Khan Academy has undermined this myth beyond repair.

According to its website, the Khan Academy now has 26 million registered students. Registered. Not just dropping in to see videos, but actually registering.

The Khan Academy went online in 2006. This means that, in just nine years, it has grown to the largest educational institution in the history of mankind. This growth is accelerating.

One man, with no formal training as a teacher, single-handedly has taken over the education of at least 26 million students.

Think about what this means for the educational establishment. They have claimed for over a century that a teacher must have specialized training in order to become an effective teacher. He must spend years in specialized classes in state-accredited universities in order to be sufficiently competent to teach a roomful of 30 students at a time. But Khan is teaching 26 million students at a time.

It is now too late to stop him. There have been too many people who have come on board to praise the operation. There have been no major critics who have gained an audience. Nobody inside the educational establishment has been able to stop this avalanche which is rolling down the side of tenure mountain.

The videos are now being used in public schools. He is going to be training a generation of high school science students. He will add other courses soon enough.

He has proven that by paying somebody nothing, that person can become the primary teacher in 100 classrooms, 10,000 classrooms, or 100,000 classrooms. If the students can speak English, he becomes the primary teacher. He has turned the entire teaching establishment into the equivalent of teachers’ aides.

What does this do to the myth of the certified teacher? What does this do to over a century of progressive education?

CLASSROOM EDUCATION AS REDEMPTIVE

My father-in-law R. J. Rushdoony wrote a classic book, The Messianic Character of American Education (1963). It is a history of two dozen of the major figures in the coming of tax-funded education. He went back to the primary sources, as nobody else ever had, to show exactly how the founders of progressive education believed that the public schools would serve as an alternative to the Christian church. They saw it as redemptive institution.

Now, one man, with no financial backing initially, has undermined the entire theology of progressive education.

He is not dumbing down the material. Anybody can get online and master the material. You can watch a video 10 times. The educational establishment has nothing to do with the project, other than employing specialists in testing. There is no ideology to this program. There is no theology of redemptive state funding. The state had nothing to do with this program. It is a one-man show.

Basically, in less than one decade, one man undermined the entire theology of the progressive education movement. Critics of progressive education have come and gone, and they have had zero effect in rolling back the system. Now one man has obliterated the entire theology.

His videos have infiltrated the public schools of America. Every time a student watches one of his videos, another pillar of progressive education is knocked down. That student is being taught by someone who never went through this screening process of state licensure and certification.

In the next recession, when public school budgets come under fire again, what are the tenured bureaucrats going to say when the local school board calls for a doubling of the size of the high school classrooms, with one teacher and one low-paid teacher’s assistant doing little more than taking roll? The teachers have already abdicated. What will all the graduates of the teacher institutions do then? If they teach kindergarten through fifth grade, they may have jobs, but high school teachers can forget about careers.

The myth of the tenured teacher goes back to ancient Egypt. The priests controlled the supply of literate people. This is a major source of control by priesthoods, which were always in alliance with the state. Now there is no way to control the flow of information into the households of the masses.

PASSING THE EXAM

I have been contacted by a graduate of medical school about the possibility of creating a one-year course in the Ron Paul Curriculum on the basics of medicine. In other words, it would be an introductory course that we might call a pre-pre-med course. He is willing to do it for free, but of course we will pay him if he produces the course, and if students want to take the course. He is dedicated. He wants to get the message out. He could do it himself online if he really wanted to.

There are going to be innovators in every field who do this. The secrecy associated with ancient guilds is going to be broken.

At some point, some law school graduate who got all A’s and who passed the state bar exam is going to start putting on free courses for the general public on the intricacies of the legal system. Others will imitate him. Students are going to be able to get an education that is better than most state law schools. They will be able to pass the bar. On what basis can they be stopped? Why is it necessary to go through the classroom training, if the online training is just as good, and the students can pass the bar? How will the tenured bureaucrats secure their position under these conditions?

Then it goes to medicine. Then it goes to architecture. It goes to every field.

If a student can come out of a free online curriculum on YouTube, and he can pass whatever entry exam is required, what becomes of the justification for the modern university system, which absorbs half a trillion dollars of mostly public money every year?

The myth of classroom education is dying. Classroom teachers have always insisted that you cannot learn in the context of distance learning. There has never been any statistical evidence to show this. But the tenured bureaucrats want to spread the gospel of the necessity of classroom performance. Salman Khan has single-handedly destroyed that mythology. It’s basically gone. This has never happened in human history. In less than one decade, he destroyed the foundations of this myth.

This is going to undermine the state. This is going to undermine the whole state certification system. As long as free online videos train a person to pass a competitive exam, there is no justification for the public support of the infrastructure that enables people to pass the exam.

It will become clear soon enough that the whole policy of screening by means of a costly classroom is no longer valid from an educational standpoint. The classroom screeners are going to have to find another line of work. As long as any profession screens in terms of a final entrance exam, it will not matter how the person who passes the exam got the training to pass the exam. If the exam is valid as a screening device, then the entire classroom empire is an exercise in the reduction of supply of qualified candidates to pass the exam.

Anyone whose income is dependent upon the screening device of a graduate school program to reduce the supply of future competitors had better wake up and smell the coffee.

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (4)

The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble; and those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You (Ps.9:9-10)

I had coffee recently with a Christian man whose life experience in recent years remarkably paralleled mine. Married and homeschooling with 3 children, he and his family had been attending what he thought was a conservative Baptist church in northern Brisbane, which took the step of nominating a woman for the position of elder, who was soon ordained. This is despite the fact that the notion of women holding positions of leadership or authority in the church is expressly prohibited by Paul (see I Tim.2:11-15).

When my friend challenged their pastor about what was happening, his response was significant. He said that Paul’s apostolic comments have to be considered from the perspective of Jesus. Jesus (he said), liberated women, so now there was equality of the sexes. Women elders? No problem.
A couple of weeks earlier, we’d been briefly attending another Baptist Church in Eatons Hill, where we live. At a Saturday Working Bee, I asked one of the pastors if the church had elders. Yes, it did, he said, and he rattled off the names of the 7 elders. Three of those names were females. Oh well. That was the end of that.

We’d seen something similar happen in 2013, in another big, supposedly conservative church in northern Brisbane. The Senior Pastor indicated from the pulpit that the church wanted to nominate some new elders for the congregation to consider, but that we wouldn’t be reading the relevant Biblical text this morning.

That was interesting. The relevant text (I Tim.3:1-7) indicates that overseers (or elders) are to be the “…husband of one wife…” (v.2). Then, we found that one of the people nominated for the position of elder, was a woman.

There were other issues. I’d had a major disagreement with the earlier Senior Pastor, back in 2002. He’d been repeatedly making reference that year, to the notion of God’s “unconditional love.” He made this statement to a congregation of 1,000: “God loves you-unconditionally.”
That triggered a yellow flag in my mind, so I went searching and reading: probably 50 hours. I concluded that the idea of God’s “unconditional love” is nonsense. If He loves all people unconditionally, how did He “hate Esau?” (Mal.1:3), or repeatedly harden Pharoah’s heart, before drowning him in the Red Sea?

More accurately, His love is an aspect of His covenant relationship with His own people, not all people. Even then, don’t go counting your chickens. The Bible says that

Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord… and did not enquire of the Lord. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse (I Chron.10:13-14).

Two relevant theological statements are:
1. Election is with a view to function.
2. Disobedience leads to dispossession.

I’ve concluded one thing. The leadership of the modern church is walking away from the Bible, in droves. The authority of scripture is not merely being questioned; it’s been discarded, years ago. Naturally this is disappointing, but after so many years of observing it now, I’ve stopped being upset about what is now, a fact of life.
An American wrote this recently:

I went with a friend recently to her local Episcopal Church. I could not recognize it (from when we were kids). Her church is led almost exclusively by women. The rector, bishop, almost every post, is filled with a woman. No worries there, but still very different from when we went to our childhood church long ago. The current rector, the past rector, the future rector, all are women…

Women seem to fill almost every leadership role…The emphasis in my friend’s California Episcopal church is focussed on gay rights. During the two services I went to, there were prayers of joy about the Supreme Court decision… I guess I expected to see “some” women, but not close to 100% women in all leadership roles.

When the leaders of the flock of God are wolves in sheep’s clothing, the flock of God has to either choose new leaders, or get out. There is no other legitimate option.
Now, the church is being severely challenged by the issue of homosexuality. And those church leaders that have already caved in on other fundamental issues relating to the authority of scripture will probably do the same on this one. Why wouldn’t they? People are generally consistent. If they fled the field of battle on one basic issue, they’ll do it again on the next one.
When King Saul proved to be a disaster, God didn’t wait long. He said to His prophet Samuel,

How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons (I Sam.16:1).

Conclusion: I’m not interested in trying to prop up corrupt, dying institutions. It proves to be an utter waste of time. Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead.” I’d much rather go looking for where the faithful saints are. I know they’ll probably be in some ignored, out of the way place, looking after sheep like David was, or in the cave of Adullam with a motley crew (I Sam.22:1-2), but that’s OK. That’s pretty normal. That’s where reformation generally starts.
What about you?

It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly then to divide the spoil with the proud (Prov.16:19).

Public School Indoctrination: The Latest Re-Write of American History

By Gary North (www.garynorth.com). February 08, 2020

I have a Ph.D. in American history. My field was colonial American history.
I have just learned something that I was never taught over half a century ago. As a matter of fact, in my subsequent reading in the field, I did not know the following. The American Revolution was fought to keep blacks enslaved in the South.
You see, King George the Third and that other fellow — I think his name was North — were dedicated abolitionists. What they wanted was to bankrupt the plantation system of the South, despite the fact that the South paid more taxes to the British government than any other region of the country. But that didn’t matter. No, sir: Great Britain wanted to free America’s slaves in 1776. So, Jefferson, Washington, Mason, and the other slaveowners got together with those Adams fellows, and John Hancock, and Paul Revere to launch a revolution against Great Britain.
Do you find this narrative unlikely? Well, that’s because you have not been exposed to the new curriculum that is being imposed in every state in the Union. It is promoted by The New York Times, that self-proclaimed paragon of anti-fake news. That is the news outlet whose slogan is “all the news that’s fit to print.” The new curriculum is called the 1619 Project. Think of it as anti-fake history.
What’s that? You say you don’t remember 1619? That was the year that the first blacks were brought to Virginia as slaves. It turns out that, according to the 1619 project, this event was as important as the American Revolution in colonial American history.
You find this hard to believe? That’s because you’re behind the times — or, as the case may be, the Times.
As a voter whose money funds your local schools, you are allowed to find out about this project if — and only if — you are a paid subscriber to The New York Times. The report is here.
One news outlet that you can access without paying has summarized what is going on.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Times’s lead writer on the project, argued in her introductory essay to it, “The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Our Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaims that ‘all men are created equal’ and ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.’
“But the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst.”
Hannah-Jones went on to contend “that the year 1619 is as important to the American story as 1776.”
Non-Dr. Jones, historian, added this: “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.” I am not sure how conveniently this fact was left out of my training, but it surely was left out. I took a graduate seminar from Douglass Adair, who had been the editor of The William and Mary Quarterly, by far the most prestigious scholarly journal devoted to colonial American history. He never mentioned it.
The amazing thing is this: most of the states north of the Mason-Dixon line by 1783, the year the war officially ended, had voted to abolish slavery. Apparently, by fighting the war against the abolition of slavery by the British, the Yankees became convinced of the legitimacy of British abolitionism. Yet they kept on fighting and dying to win the war to defend Southern slavery.
A group of historians have written to the times to express their dissatisfaction with this narrative. “On the American Revolution, pivotal to any account of our history, the project asserts that the founders declared the colonies’ independence of Britain ‘in order to ensure slavery would continue.’ This is not true. If supportable, the allegation would be astounding — yet every statement offered by the project to validate it is false.” One of these historians is James McPherson, who won the Pulitzer Prize in history. Another is Gordon S. Wood, who is generally regarded as the dean of historians of the American Revolution and its aftermath. He also won the Pulitzer Prize. Another was Princeton University’s Sean Wilentz, who wrote the book: The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln.
It’s obvious to me what the common thread is that links these critics: they are living white males. They don’t understand what is really important about teaching American history. They did not discuss this with non-Dr. Jones. They were not on this panel.
They did not hear non-Dr. Jones: “When my editor asks me, like, what’s your ultimate goal for the project, my ultimate goal is that there’ll be a reparations bill passed.” They also did not hear her say, as she said when she began explaining the background of this project, this is the biggest project that The New York Times has ever done in terms of total media saturation. She said there was no resistance at all. Somehow, this does not surprise me.
So, in order to make certain that the coming generation votes for these reparations, this program is now being taught in 3,500 schools across the United States. That’s just the beginning.
CONCLUSION
I am waiting for the American Revolution in education, when parents rise up against the school boards locally, and vote all of them out of office. I am waiting for the new school boards then to cut the funding of the local schools by like, you know, 70%, which they could do with online video instruction. They could adopt the Khan Academy, which is free.
I am waiting for parents to figure out what the public schools are doing to their children. I have been waiting for this since 1962, and so far my expectations have proven fruitless.
I wonder what it would take for the schools to teach that would get a comprehensive revolt by American parents. I have not been sufficiently creative to come up with such a curriculum revision. Certainly non-Dr. Jones and her editor have not elicited such a response.

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (3)

                   Conviction vs. Preference

…Let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Dan.3:18).

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

The men who uttered these statements, held Biblical convictions about how they ought to behave. Holding Biblical convictions and acting on them got them into trouble. They knew it would get them into trouble, but they acted on those convictions, anyway.

This is what men and women in the Bible did. When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been kidnapped, he acted on his convictions. He took his life in his hands, and went and fought, and rescued Lot (Gen.14:12-16).

But there was a lot more to Abram’s convictions, than just being willing to put his life on the line for a relative. That was physical courage, but God requires of us much more than that. When the king of Sodom said to him, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself” (Gen.14:21), Abram responded with a statement that the modern church steadfastly ignored:

I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich’ (Gen.14:22-23).

Refusing money or property that shouldn’t be taken requires convictions, and a clear sense of priorities. Moses did similarly. When Moses saw one of his brethren being beaten by an Egyptian, he killed the Egyptian (Ex.2:11-12). But once again, this was more than a case of physical courage. The Bible tells us of Moses, that he

refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward (Heb.11:24-26).

When shepherds came to drive away the daughters of the priest of Midian when they were preparing to water their flock, Moses “stood up and helped them [the daughters]” (Ex.2:15-21).  When Jesus witnessed the corruption of the temple of His era,

He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables (Jn.2:15).

I’ve walked out of jobs three times, the first time being 1986. I was working in a really good Christian school in the Blue Mountains of NSW, where I’d been since 1981. But through the course of the year, I formed the conviction that my days there were coming to an end, that something else was coming up and I needed to leave. The school closed at the end of 1987.

In 1987, 900 hundred kilometres to the west, in Mildura, Victoria, I walked out of a service station job, when the boss wanted his staff to sell cigarette lighters with a naked girl on them. I left, and God provided another job immediately.

In 2005, I walked out of a well-paid educational position in Brisbane, because I’d formed the attitude that the management had become disingenuous with clients, compromising Biblical ethics in their pursuit of the vast sums of government money available.

Did those decisions cost me? Sometimes they cost me a lot. Am I sorry about any of those decisions, now? No.

Political leaders have sought to control the church, at least from Abram’s day. Little has really changed much. Political leaders want to extend and secure their power, and they don’t appreciate community rivals, whoever they may be.

When confronted by Moses and Aaron, Pharoah declared,

Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go (Ex.5:2).

But the modern church is a confused church. It’s been that way for well over a hundred years. It’s confused, firstly because of its dreadful theology, leading to all manner of false doctrine, ideological aberration and practical shallowness. These four things have led directly to one significant, deadly outcome: the church has been easy game for political manipulators. It’s forgotten it’s supposed to hold Biblical convictions, and act on them.

Like most successful twentieth century political leaders, Hitler was a master political manipulator. He knew how to get around the church of Germany. In fact, the church made it easy for him, because the Lutheran and Catholic churches (which were predominant in Germany), were State churches, funded from taxes. They didn’t understand that conviction and preference are two, vastly different things; thus they were compliant. They only knew this:

He who takes the king’s shilling, does the king’s bidding.

Hitler despised them, but he was politically shrewd and wanted their support. Of the German Protestants, Hitler said to one of his aides,

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]

Anyone who thinks that this was merely an aberration of Nazism is making a mistake. Hitler in his manipulation of the German church merely followed on from Bismarck, 50 years earlier. It’s normal now, all over the West.

The fact is, the church wants money, and it wants its people to get money. Where it comes from is rarely the point. So, if governments hold out wads of cash for Christian families in the form of some kind of Social Security payment or educational grants for “Christian” schools, what could be wrong with that? This short-sighted attitude leads directly to the political manipulation that Hitler utilised.

Money is not evil, but where it comes from is the critical factor. Modern governments want to control the electorate with money in the form of electoral bribes, and everyone’s used to it. It’s the new normal, but it’s manipulative and evil.

In the mid-1940s, the Labor Party in Britain decided to create a system of State-financed national health care. They knew that they would not readily gain cooperation from the private physicians of Britain. So the Labor Party created a plan. First, they made it illegal for non-participating physicians to sell their practices upon retirement, thereby extracting a major capital tax from the physicians. Second, they offered relatively high salaries (for the post-war years) to all participating physicians. Third, they offered high positions in the new, compulsory system to the leaders of the British Medical Association. Nye Bevan, the Labor Party’s master political strategist, who served as Minister of Health, promised Party leaders that the Party would gain the support of the medical profession’s leadership. “How?” he was asked. His answer shall ring down through the ages: “We shall stuff their mouths with gold.” So the Labor Party did, and the medical leadership capitulated, just as Bevan had predicted.1

Whenever the church becomes ambivalent about money, it has exposed itself to compromise and corruption, and this has always been deadly. A compromised church is a silent church, and a silent church is always ripe for judgment. Can you imagine Moses accepting a golden payoff from Pharoah, Elijah being paid by Ahab, or John the Baptist being silenced by Herod with gold?

Political leaders think, “This is how you do it. Throw money in front of them. That’ll fix ‘em.” But as The Animals sang, fifty years ago,

We gotta get outa this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do. We gotta get outa this place, girl there’s a better life for me and you.

The answer is not (generally) to leave the country. It is to understand that a game of cat and mouse is being played, and we’d best stay out of it. We have to do what godly people have been doing for thousands of years, when political leaders seem to hold all the political and legal aces: we hold to our Biblical convictions, and follow our own plan.

We must be careful to adopt the long-term strategy of the early church. They did not rise up against the Roman legions. They did not become guerillas. The Jews did, and they were scattered, becoming an identifiable minority to be persecuted throughout the Roman Empire. The Christians adopted a different strategy, although suffering intermittent persecutions-a strategy of avoiding a frontal assault on Rome. By 313 A. D., the Christians triumphed; a non-pagan Emperor came to power. [2]

Conclusion:

Money in the hands of evil people is sometimes a lure dangled before believers. It’s especially challenging when those evil people are political leaders. But Abram didn’t fall for it, neither did Moses, and neither did Jesus.

One of the ways the godly foundations of the church must be re-laid, will be by the church asserting its independence again, turning away from all forms of illegitimate taxpayer funding. And when we renounce his thirty pieces of silver, Caesar won’t be able to control, manipulate and silence us.

Perhaps then by God’s grace, light will begin to shine on our path, again.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts (Ps.145:4).

 

[1] Quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.329.

 

1 Gary North, (Ed.,) “Tactics of Christian Resistance,” 1983, p.146-147.

[2]  Gary North, (Ed.,) “Theology of Christian Resistance,” 1983, p.xvi.

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (II)

Your Name, O Lord, is everlasting, Your remembrance, O Lord, throughout all generations (Ps. 135:13).

We make a big mistake as believers, if we centre the purpose of God in our lifetime. Our lifetime is certainly important to us, but God has a far greater time-frame in mind than the few years on the planet that we’ll have.

This means that we have to think about those years when we certainly won’t be here. We won’t be around, but our children and our grandchildren will. We can’t live their lives for them, nor should we try. But what we can do is help prepare the next generations of God’s people for faithful service of Him.

For this, homeschooling presents us with a great opportunity, and more. We can fulfil our obligation to the Lord to use our time productively, with the next generations in mind.

I turned 60 this year. It’s one thing to have a birthday. But when the first digit on your age changes as many times as mine has, you realise that statistically, there can’t be a lot more of these. We simply run out of time, run out of life.

In my office on the wall, I have a photo taken of the property where I grew up, near Cowra in the central west of NSW. In the foreground is a mob of sheep, and five hundred metres back is my home till I was 18. Another five hundred metres back, is the home my grandfather built around 1910, where my father (born in 1918) and his siblings grew up. The last of my father’s generation died in 2000. Now, the property is farmed by my cousins and their sons. Life moves on, to the next generations.

Abraham was the first of his family to be called of God. He sojourned in the promised land, knowing that God had promised it to him, but not just yet. For God said,

I will give it to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God (Gen.17:8).

Abraham and Isaac both lived in tents, dug wells, and built altars to the Lord. Some family traditions are a waste of time, but not these ones. When you have lots of livestock (Gen.13:2) and dependent families (and Abraham must have had over 1,000 people-see Gen.14:14), a good supply of water is critical. But Isaac’s well-digging was fiercely contested by the Philistines (see Gen.26:12-25), because they were envious of him.

Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but it was Joshua who led them into the land. And what was the centrepiece of God’s encouragement to Joshua? Faithfulness to the law of God.

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 according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:8).

David had it in his heart to build a temple for God, and that was good. But it wasn’t his task- it was Solomon’s. All David was supposed to do was prepare for it, by assembling the raw materials for its building.

David was a great man, but Solomon, who seemed initially to show great promise, ended up in compromise and idolatry (I Kings 11:1-13). Though God had appeared to him twice, he frittered away his great inheritance, influenced by hundreds of foreign, pagan wives: “…the foreign women caused even him to sin” (Neh.13:26). In this, he did what his father had actually initiated: he married lots of wives; something God’s law (Deut.17:14-17) specifically forbade Israel’s kings to do.

This much is clear: the next generation of God’s people either builds on the past successes, or abandons them.

Everyone has to pass the baton, sometime. But what we must do as well as we can, is make those preparations for others who come after us, even while they are children.

This requires some things. It requires that we have faith in God, that He will lead and keep our successors just as faithfully as He has led and kept us. If we leave something of worth behind, they will have something to build on.

The first thing to leave for our children is a godly example. This aspect of leadership is a prominent theme in scripture.

It is a show of false modesty for a parent to say, “Well, my role is not a very important.” You are important, because you will spend a significant portion of your adult years modelling a lifestyle to your children, and then perhaps your grandchildren. Saying, “I don’t model anything,” is not facing the facts; you may not deliberately do so, but it will just happen in the day to day affairs of home and family, as others observe your speech, attitudes, behaviour and decisions.

Godly Gideon said to his three hundred men, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do” (Judges 7:17).

Even evil leaders understand the importance of leadership. Abimelech said to his followers, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do likewise. All the people also cut down each one his branch and followed Abimelech … (Judges 9:48-49).

Leadership by example is God’s way. The Bible says that “…God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro.5:8). Jesus commanded us to “take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…” (Mat.11:29), and He also said that “when he [the good shepherd] puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (Jn.10:4).

When Paul explained to Timothy the requirements of an overseer (see I Tim.3:1-7), implicit in his description is that the overseer is to be an example to those he leads, while Peter plainly says that the elders are to be “examples to the flock” (I Pet.5:3).  Paul said, “the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil.4:6). He also said, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (I Cor.11:1).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                            

Everyone godly person leads with the hope and prayer that those who come after them will follow the Lord, and build on the useful foundations laid before them. For God wants to lead successive generations.

…Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees. He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back,” seven times. It came about at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea” (I Kings 18:42-44).

Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (I)

        If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps.13:7)

It’s deeply upsetting when the good things in a community or nation are being progressively destroyed.  The good and godly institutions of the West like marriage, continue to be under pressure. We know this is not right. But lamenting is insufficient for the Christian, or it should be. Why?

The Christian believes in certain things. He believes in a sovereign God Who made the world in six days, Who rules all the affairs of men. His ethics are found in scripture, and He’ll hold us all to account concerning them.

We have to do a lot more than shake our fists at the humanist’s parade. They may be parading, but we must be working at articulating and building a God honouring, viable alternative. And that cannot happen overnight.

Nehemiah heard of the state of Jerusalem when he was in Susa. He was told that

The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burnt with fire (Neh.1:3).

Nehemiah was deeply upset about this. The Bible says that he

sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven (v.4).

The scripture then records the seven verses of Nehemiah’s prayer. He’d been greatly upset, so he prayed and fasted. Is that where he stopped? No. Now, he acted in faith, which godly people must always do. He had a plan, that he put before his master the king. He said

    …send me to Judah, to the city of my father’s tombs, that I may rebuild it (Neh.2:5).

Lamenting just won’t ever be enough for the believer, because if we stop at that, we’ve never gone far enough. Yes, lament if you wish, but ensure that it leads to the thing God always wants it to lead to: prayer and action.

When we got married in 1979, I heard this simple saying:

            Men of action, have satisfaction.

Nehemiah moved from hearing, to lamenting, to praying (with fasting), to acting, and we must do this too.

How do we do it? Well, the Bible tells us. It says that

Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell (Isa.58:12).

The godly man has to begin with his family; their education and discipleship. He has to begin at the beginning with what God has given him, and this will require his dedication, his time, and some of his money.

Thankfully, the cost of a godly education in terms of dollars continues to decline in relative terms. The internet is going to keep driving this cost down. Economics tells us this: as the price of something is reduced, more is demanded.

That means that there is and will be a growing market for home education. That means that over the next few decades, the ranks of home schoolers are likely to broaden, while public education has already peaked: it’s struggling.

The Bible speaks of the consequences of this man’s activities:

Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever (Ps.112:1-3).

But the godly couple knows there is more than just their family that needs to be rebuilt. They have to consider the church, too. Like the family, it’s of vital importance for the future. Paul declared that                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (I Cor.3:10, 11).

So, the godly couple are investing in their church: their tithe, their faithfulness and their time. The church is all about God and His people. They know it’s a God ordained, essential social institution of the future, which has received magnificent promises from God:

You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isa.62:6, 7).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                              There are many things wrong with our society, and it doesn’t require a rocket-science degree to understand it. But what are we to do? We have to go back and begin at the beginning.

And where is that? With God and His Word; with the family and the church.

Events do take place that are disappointing and disheartening, but we have to look beyond these, and accept the encouragement that Nehemiah received from his fellow-workers, hundreds of years before Christ:

…Let us arise and build (Neh.2:18).

The Challenge for Every Christian Parent (4)

Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their sacred altars and cut down their Asherim- for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God (Ex.34:12-14).

People have always tended to live out their religious beliefs. Pharoah was a humanist, and he lived out his. He saw that the Hebrew population was rapidly expanding and could be a threat, so he said to 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 the same.

…when Herod saw that he had been  tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under…(Mat.2:16).

Hitler was a humanist. He commanded that

All of the German youth in the Reich is to be organized within the Hitler Youth. The German youth, besides being reared within the family and schools, shall be educated physically, intellectually, and morally in the spirit of National Socialism…through the Hitler Youth.[1]

Now, you might be thinking, “Well, what’s that got to do with us, today in Australia?” Our previous humanist, feminist, pro-abortion Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whilst the Federal Minister for Education in 2008, said in Parliament in August 2008, that

               parents of school-aged children are obligated to send them to school.

Why was school so important for Julia? Because this granted government teachers the power for humanistic indoctrination. She was utterly indifferent to the wishes of parents. Gillard was reflecting the attitude of all socialists, historically. In 1918, a Congress of Soviet educators was told that

We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them.[2]

There is something Christians have been slow to understand. To our lasting shame, our enemies have understood the power of governmental educational indoctrination, far more than we have. And if you have fallen for the old and tired idea that we could teach them godly principles at home whilst they went to the State School, you haven’t realised how quickly this foolish notion falls down in practice.

Why?  Parents don’t recognise the religious war being waged against their children through Public Education. As North commented,

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.[3]

Religious neutrality in education is a fraud, because all education is religious. Why?

All education is based on values. The question is, “Whose values?” Someone dictates the values communicated in public schools, and over the last couple of generations those values have been progressively secular; God doesn’t get a mention. Almost every text book in public education reflects this fact.

God gave the responsibility for education to parents, because all education is religious. They would be on the spot. Parents love their children, and they have a vested interest in what their children are believing and why, for it is their children who will be at least playing a role in caring for them, in their old age.

The scripture commands us,

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (II Cor.6:14)

When you send your child to a State school, you implicitly bind your child to the ideology of that school; its curriculum, its staff and its peer-group pressure. You may not want to, but that’s what enrolment really means. Is it any wonder that in our era, such a high proportion of children from Christian families depart from the faith? In our folly and naivete, we have taken our children’s hands and walked into the lion’s den of public education, and seen them over time, religiously mauled.

If we want to be faithful to God, obeying the implications of the New Covenant, this will have to stop, now.

 

 

[1] Hitler, December 1, 1936, quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.349.

[2] Quoted in “Separating School and State: How to Liberate America’s Families,” Sheldon Richman, p.xv.

[3] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999. Ch.28.

The Basics of Success Are Not Taught in School

By Gary North, 6/6/2017

A site member provided a long testimonial about his success:

Learn, learn, learn. Practice, practice, practice. Over a long, long, long time. Are you prepared to make this sacrifice? There is no other route. Don’t forget this.

This is a reasonable formula for success.

I think these two principles, which boil down to learn and sacrifice, are best taught in an environment of personal mentoring by somebody who has been successful. Probably the best movie I ever saw on this was a teenage flick, The Karate Kid. The trainer, Mr. Miyagi, was the incarnation of self-discipline. He knew what was required for the young man to be successful. The young man had to start out doing grunt work and mastering it. It was not clear what the relationship was between the grunt work of waxing the cars and success in karate. But, later in the movie, we learn the connection.

There are movies about teachers who take a classroom of misfits and turn them into competent kids. Some of them may even be true. But it takes a remarkable teacher to do this. We all know from personal experience that there are not many of these remarkable teachers. It is a Pareto distribution curve.

I think success takes a combination of factors. One of them is basic talent. I have only two of these: the ability to write clearly and the ability to speak clearly. I was also able to persuade people. That is a matter of rhetoric. Nobody taught me how to do this. I learned it on my own initially, and then I continued to do it for over 60 years. I got good at it. But I had the basic skills, which I think were innate. Not everybody has these.

Then there is the question of opportunities. Doors get closed. Windows open. It is not clear why these windows get opened. I had a few of these. I probably had a lot more than I remember. One of the reasons why we ought to keep diaries is to remind ourselves in retrospect of the doors that closed in the windows that opened. It would make us humbler.

I think tenacity is innate. I don’t think it can be taught. Anyway, I don’t know how to teach it. Winston Churchill spoke of tenacity as being crucial. So did Thomas Edison. He called it perspiration, and he made a contrast with inspiration. He was a great believer in perspiration. And yet it is obvious that he was one of the most inspired inventors in the history of man. He brought good ideas to fruition, and he developed a series of procedures that enabled lesser men to do the same.

The combination of innate talent, a mentor who develops this talent in a young person, and a tenacity toward opportunities is unique. It cannot be programmed.

I think tenacity can be developed. Any innate skill can be developed. But it takes tenacity to develop it. It takes a willingness to stick to your knitting.

Of all of the capacities that I would look for in a young person to train, it would be ethics. The ability to distinguish right from wrong is crucial. This can be taught, and it must be taught. Then there is the secondary ability: the ability to move from theory to practice. This used to be called casuistry. It is the ability or part of applying general principles to real-world situations. It takes years of decision-making to develop this skill.

This is why I think the most important single goal that somebody can have is wisdom. The book of Proverbs is devoted to this topic. Wisdom basically is the ability to be a successful casuist. Somebody sees a situation, he understands the fundamental moral principles involved, and that he has the courage to apply the moral principles to his role in the situation. This ability is exceedingly rare. I am a providentialist. I believe that this ability, above all others, is the one that is blessed with success. Success means greater responsibility. It may mean greater money. It may mean greater power. But, above all, it means greater responsibility.

We live in an era in which people do not want responsibility. Every era is marked by this, but ours seems to be afflicted by this burden. People will not step up to the plate. They do not want to be responsible for the outcome of difficult decisions. A person who will not take responsibility is not going to wind up a leader by default. There are people who are irresponsible in terms of their judgment, yet they wind up leaders. They have this in common: they are not afraid of responsibility.

In my book, the classic person in this mold is George W. Bush. He spoke as though he were a fool. He made bad decisions. I don’t think he was stupid. I don’t think anybody gets through Yale University and the Harvard Business School who is stupid. Critics kept saying he was stupid. Not so. He just had bad judgment. He surrounded himself with people who also had bad judgment. They worked as a team.

Hillary Clinton is also such a person. Her husband had bad judgment ethically, but he always got away with it. He charmed his way out of it. He did do this in a society that winks its eye at corruption. That is what our society does. In contrast, Hillary had no charm. She also had no charisma. She was exactly what she appeared to be: an opinionated, screeching, bad-tempered woman with poor judgment, beginning with the bad judgment of marrying Bill Clinton. She never recovered from that. She never recovered from her switch from Goldwater conservatism to Saul Alinksy radicalism. She adopted Saul Alinsky, and she wound up with a man who preferred Monica Lewinsky. Somebody could write a chapter on this: “From Alinsky to Lewinsky.”

Bad ethics pollutes everything a person has of real value. It doesn’t matter what your skills are. It also doesn’t matter what your opportunities are. If you are morally corrupt, you will foul your own nest.

Students don’t learn good ethics in the public schools today. It is illegal to teach good ethics in the public schools today. Immoral people who have formed immoral groups work together to control the public schools in order to reproduce themselves. The good sense and decent ethics of young people do restrict the success of the corrupters in this task, but it is getting worse and worse for young people to survive the system without losing their integrity. It usually begins with the loss of their virginity. Their enemies know this. This is why they created coeducational dorms on university campuses. They know exactly what they’re doing.

Parents can teach good ethics. Anyway, righteous parents can do this. They may not be great mentors. They probably don’t have tremendous teaching skills. They turn their children over early to other specialists who teach them specialized skills. But if the parents know right from wrong, and they teach their children to understand the difference between right and wrong, they can make a major difference in the lives of their children. If the parents don’t get this right, the children will be disasters.

I knew a man in prison when I was involved in a prison ministry. He was regarded by those around him as fearless, and not a man to be tampered with. He was a Christian, but he had been a really bad man. He told me that he had been taught his skills as a criminal by his father. His father was a thief, and he taught the son to be a thief. The son learned his lesson well. That was why he was in a maximum-security prison. From father to son, the moral corruption spread. I think of the Kims of North Korea. What better examples do we have than this trio?

Then we have oddities of history. Consider the father-son duo of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. The father was known as a philosopher. In all of history, he may have been the best example of a classical philosopher king. He wrote philosophy. He was also a war monger. He was a persecutor of the church. His son was debauched. He had hundreds of concubines, both male and female. But he left the church alone. The church was better off under the corrupt son than the philosopher king father.

There are sons who do not learn the lessons their parents taught them. Parents have complained about that from the beginning. It started with Adam and Eve. But people with bad ethics usually get overturned by the outcomes of their decision-making. If this were not true, we would live in a world almost totally evil. We don’t. Bad decisions eventually undermine the decision-makers. If we believe that this is a cause-and-effect universe, we believe that this is the case. But the modern public school system does not teach such a view of causation.

This is one of the great problems of our age. It is why I think homeschooling is the wave of the future. Parents who want their children to be educated in a moral environment are going to pull their children out of the public schools eventually. This, I believe, is the most important single institutional challenge facing the modern world. We are winning in a lot of areas, but it is slow going in persuading people to pull their kids out of the public schools. The lure of free education is just too great. It is worse than the lure of Social Security and Medicare.

The Challenge for Every Christian Parent (3)

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Mat.28:19-20).

From the days of the early church, Christians have recognised that the Great Commission didn’t commence with their government or neighbours, but with themselves and their children, at home.

Furthermore, the Great Commission doesn’t begin and end with the New Testament. How do we know this?  Because Jesus told the Jews, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am” (Jn.8:58), and “I and My Father are one” (Jn.10:30). Paul also reminds us that “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction…” (Ro.15:4).

Thus Christian must go back to Genesis to begin to appreciate all of the commands of Jesus, and familiarise themselves with all of scripture as it applies to education. Hezekiah for instance, tells us that “…a father tells his sons about Your faithfulness” (Isa.38:19).

Consider Abraham in relation to the subject of education and discipleship. God said of him,

For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him (Gen.18:19).

This means that education is a parental responsibility. Aspects of it may be delegated, but if we delegate, we must ensure that those entrusted with this responsibility will hold the same attitudes and philosophy that we do. Otherwise we are merely giving our children over to the godless, and the Bible tells us that “…bad company corrupts good morals” (I Cor.15:33).

Over 100 years ago, Dabney commented,

It is the teaching of the Bible and of sound Political ethics that the education of children belongs to the sphere of the family and is the duty of parents. The theory that the children of the Commonwealth are the charge of the Commonwealth is a pagan one, derived from heathen Sparta and Plato’s heathen republic, and connected by regular, logical sequence with legalized prostitution and the dissolution of the conjugal tie.[1]

All State or Public education, and even education under the authority of an Education Department falls into this category. It is good for a Christian school to employ Christian teachers, but that’s only one aspect of education. What if those that ultimately oversee the curriculum have no time for God and His Word? The integrity of the educational process will quickly be trashed.

Luther observed this nearly 500 years ago. He wrote that

I am very much afraid that the universities and schools will prove to be the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the holy scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount …every institution in which men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.

But we in the modern Church haven’t taken a lot of notice of this of late. Our eyes have been on social acceptance, the money and the potential careers for ourselves, and this has led to no end of compromise.

Perhaps because we were educated at Department registered schools, we’ve said to ourselves for a hundred years, “Education means school.” But Departmentally registered schools merely perpetuate a worldly system with no relationship to scripture, so that children continue to be chronically separated from their parents whilst being educated, when parents were the ones charged by God with educational responsibility from the beginning.

The American Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machan recognised this. He wrote in 1926:

I think that when it comes to the training of human beings, you have to be a great deal more careful than you do in other spheres about preservation of the right of individual liberty and the principle of individual responsibility; and I think we ought to be plain about this — that unless we preserve the principles of liberty in this department [of Education] there is no use in trying to preserve them anywhere else. If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might as well give them everything else as well.

Moses did not say to the children of Israel after they had left Egypt, “Get those kids back through the Red Sea each day. That way, they’ll get educated.” No, concerning education, Moses passed on to them the commands of God (see Deut.6 & 11). That meant direct parental responsibility: no monopolising Department with power over other people’s children, no bureaucracy, no schools, and no onerous taxes for education: presently some $15,000 for each state schooled child, annually.

Education by parents, using the law of God, should have been the foundation for Israel’s future godliness, liberty and prosperity. Isn’t it about time we in the Church took our marching orders seriously, threw out the world’s pagan influences, and followed suit?

Now, that would be exciting!

 

 

[1] Robert Dabney, “Discussions,” 4:194 quoted in Gary Demar, “God and Government,” Vol.3, p.272.