Training the Next Generation (III)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph.6:4).

Discipleship is always the most critical part of training the next generation. I work in education, and the big issues raised by many individuals are academics, and university entrance. Doesn’t that warn us that our priorities are seriously flawed?

In scripture, academic ability doesn’t make it very high on the list of desirable attributes for children. In fact, it’s not even mentioned. What is mentioned is that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov.1:7). So, the first and most important place of study for every believer ought to be the scriptures.

What’s happened that the Church has been diverted? Well, we’ve simply permitted ourselves to be caught up in other priorities, such as the pursuit of money, a career, and other socially acceptable goals. And meanwhile, what God has called us to gets shunted to the bottom of the list of priorities, if it makes it to the list at all.

Could that be an explanation of where our society is up to today? Of course. If we Christians never bother to put the kingdom of God and His righteousness first in the education of our children  (Mat.6:33), how can we expect to see social outcomes that are consistent with the kingdom?

You’ve heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Until we’re ready to change the inputs to our educational practices, the outcomes won’t improve.

This requires a lot of things, beginning with homeschooling. It also requires that parents go through a process of re-prioritising. Their children need parental leadership in finding out what life is all about, and to make their life plans accordingly. So, success in true Christian education begins with parents changing their attitudes.

Consider this text:

All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers (Deut.8:1).

The level of confidence exhibited here by God, is breathtaking. All this group of people had to do, was to obey God. Nothing else really mattered in the conquest of Canaan. This meant that the ideology of the people of God was going to be absolutely critical for their future.

The Bible tells us of the generation that came out of Egypt, that “…they were not able to enter because of unbelief” (Heb.3:19). Thus the generation who died in the wilderness had a set of false beliefs that ultimately destroyed them. They had a false ideology.

The Google Dictionary tells us that

An ideology is a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute one’s goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology is a comprehensive vision, a way of looking at things as in several philosophical tendencies or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society.

This is precisely what God was wanting to establish in His people when they came out of Egypt. He said then,

Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine (Ex.19:6).

This tells us one thing: we’d better make sure we have accurate beliefs!

But it tells us more than that. Have our beliefs in the Church, and has our ideology, really been accurate? Taking this a bit further, could it be that we have failed to become really dominant in the communities of the world (as God promised that we would), because we’ve been believing things that were not true, according to the Bible?

That’s a frightening thought, because the Christian faith has been very strong on the issue of beliefs, which we’ve always considered critical. Paul testified that “…having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed, therefore I speak,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak” (II Cor.4:13).

The former US Senator Ron Paul made an important point:

                                   A true revolution has to be ideological.

This is the lesson: if we really want to see the next generation effective in the nations of the world, we will have to teach them Biblical ideology. And there is plenty of it.

Politics cannot produce character: Christianity must. The decline of faith is a decline of character and a decline of character is the forerunner of political decay and collapse. Christianity has an obligation to train a people in the fundamentals of God’s grace and law, and to make them active and able champions of true political liberty and order.[1]

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.552.