Beginning with Homeschooling (18)

Education in the Hands of the Godless

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 (J. Gresham Machen, 1926).

The scriptures never authorise God’s people to commit their children’s education to the care of evil people. In fact, the Bible commands us to do the opposite. We are to be particular and discerning about education, because “…children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps. 127:3).

We are entrusted with children, and we’ll give an account to Him for this sacred trust. That requires that we be particular about their company, because “… the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov.13:20).

You don’t want your children to spend time around fools, because fools will harm them, the Bible says. So, what must we do? Keep them out of the company of fools, and the best way to do this is to at home educate them.

But there’s more. The biggest issue in relation to education is values. Whose values do you want reproduced in your children? Yours or a stranger’s?

The Bible says,

When a wicked man comes, contempt also comes, and with dishonour comes scorn (Prov.18:3).

This was where Lot got into trouble. He “settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord” (Gen.13:12-13). Lot convinced himself this move down amongst the godless would be OK, but he was deluded. Later, when he was visited by two angels, who had come to rescue him before God destroyed the city, the men of the city surrounded his house, and called out to him,

Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them (Gen.19:5).

We don’t know how long Lot had resided there; months or years. After Abraham interceded for Lot (Gen 18:23-33), God got them out of Sodom all right, but they’d been corrupted; well educated in Sodom’s perversity. His two daughters received a form of education there. They later considered it legitimate to have children by getting their father drunk, then deviously having intercourse with him (Gen.19:30-38).

Who is in charge of your children’s education?  If you’re relying on some distant government department to competently care, you are relying on a weak reed.

Why do I make that claim? If there is one thing that government departments have proven now, competency is a stranger to their radar. The two things that really matter to bureaucrats are maintaining their jobs, and maintaining the annual budget. Self-interest rules, not competency.

If there has been any universal religion in the second half of the twentieth century, it has been the religion of the bureaucratic welfare State.[1]

You take the task of education away from parents, and you can be sure that the quality of that education will fall away. One of the main reasons is that parents have a vested interest in maintaining the quality of their children’s education, and will go to great lengths to ensure it takes place.

But teachers?

If it all goes pear shaped, will it make any difference? With some yes, but with many, they don’t care. They still have their job next year, because in the public system, the bureaucracy will not permit bad feedback to affect the teacher’s future, unless it is blatantly criminal.

Professional competency is not critical in a public system, be it education, health or welfare, or any other. Who knows, and who cares? What becomes critical for the bureaucrat is being able to get his pay-check each fortnight, and ensure his long term future in the job.

You are being foolish indeed, to expect competency and quality from such a system.

Anyone who expects the bureaucratic order to reform itself is living in a fantasy world. Bureaucracies do not change; they just get worse. They get more grasping. Until their budgets are cut, nothing changes bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is expanding like a cancer, and it has been for 100 years.[2]

Conclusion:

You didn’t need a bureaucracy to conceive, give birth to, feed, clothe and otherwise raise your child, teach him your language, develop his social skills, use table manners or do his shoes up. Whoever said you now need a bureaucracy to educate him?

You don’t find that in the Bible, but you do find parental responsibility for education. You find “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph.6:4), the very thing Lot failed to do.

Your family doesn’t need to suffer some variation of Lot’s disaster, but that will require your obedience to God.

Fellow Christian parent, when you give an account to God for your children’s education, will you be joyful, or fearful? The time for obedience is now.

 

[1] Gary North, “Moses and Pharoah,” 1986, p.280.

[2] Gary North, 2013.

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