From Generation to Generation (1)
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations (Ps.90:1).
Parents who decide to home school should ask themselves what they are going to use. But there is a much more important question for them to resolve.
“Why are we doing this?”
I know there are plenty of legitimate but negative reasons for home schooling: the poverty of public education, the peer-group of schools, poor curriculum and lack of standards. There is no sign this will change soon.
But it’s not sufficient to have lots of negative reasons. Christians really ought to have positive reasons for taking on this task, because it is the positive reasons that should dominate and motivate them, most of all.
I’m a great believer in the discipleship role of the church, but in this, we have to begin at the beginning. Where is that?
In the home and family. Discipleship is great, and it begins with Dad and Mum. In fact, 80% of discipleship should be completed at home. Speaking to Timothy, Paul referred to “…the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure it is in you as well” (II Tim.1:5).
Later, Paul went on to say that “…from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim.3:15). Timothy’s faith was initiated in his home.
It is the family unit which is central for the construction, or reconstruction, of culture…The day-to-day instruction in righteousness which all child-rearing involves is the very heart of a civilization. It is the law-order imparted by parents to children which will determine the success or failure of a society.
Thus the home schooling of a Christian child is a vital aspect of their upbringing. Not because they have learned to read and write (important as those things are), but because for believers, education and discipleship are really one and the same thing.
Home schooling parents do well when they recognise their accountability to God in preparing their children for life. They have these children for a season, which passes remarkably quickly. What should happen in those years?
Hopefully, a lot of things. Firstly, children should understand that they are sinners, destined for hell apart from the grace of God through the blood of Jesus.
Secondly, each child should learn to love God’s Word, so that “…in His law he meditates day and night” (Ps.1:2). Thus their life is to be driven by obedience and faithfulness to God’s Word.
Thirdly, children should learn to be diligent and profitable individuals at home, with domestic tasks where they learn diligence, leading on to employment. This of course is thoroughly Biblical. “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Prov.22:29).
Fourth, children should learn that the Bible must be at the centre of a godly culture. For those of us who hope and pray for great things to happen in our nation spiritually, this can seem unlikely. But the Bible warns us, “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech.4:10).
Right under our noses, great and powerful things with huge potential nationally, may very well have commenced. As these Christian home schooling families multiply, and then home schooled children marry and home school their own children, the seeds of revival and great national change are potentially being laid.
There really is a connection between what people believe, and how they reproduce; demographics do mean something. The humanistic nations around the world (like Japan, most of Europe and Russia) are actually dying, for the populace are not having sufficient children. Pharoah wanted to stop the population growth of the children of Israel, because he was afraid of losing control of Egypt (see Ex.1), and the growth of Christian home schooling today promotes fears among modern humanists, too. They should be afraid.
I believe in being optimistic about the future, because unlike many believers today, I have an optimistic eschatology. The scripture says that “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet” (I Cor.15:25), and He wants to use the church to accomplish this. There really is a great future for the church, despite all the problems which it’s had for 2,000 years, and what we witness today.
A godly people really can re-establish a godly culture, and I believe they will. That’s what God wanted when His people went into the promised land. They were required to initiate a total and irrevocable break with the land’s idolatrous past, utilising God’s law as their base, ridding the land of its evil beliefs and practices, establishing a new, godly culture. Whoever said we should do any different?
When Moses was returning to Egypt, he thought it would be fine to take his adult sons back there, uncircumcised. But Moses had not obeyed God’s requirements; his folly nearly saw him killed (see Ex.4:24-26).
But you thought that discipling your children meant keeping them at home, and teaching them Maths and English by doing their Times Tables, and reading good poetry? Well, what if the Holy Spirit wasn’t happy with such a modest plan, and He wasn’t about to let you off the hook so easily? He has grand plans for them that He wants you to cooperate with, just as He had before the Exodus.
God wants His people preparing to disciple the nations, so we Christians will have to change our attitude about the future, if we want to prepare the way for our children and grandchildren.
So be scripturally ambitious for your children and grandchildren, expecting God to be using them in years ahead. And if He’s going to use them, He wants you to be diligent in training them in the fear of the Lord, to be “…a wise and understanding people” (Deut.4:6).
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor.15:58).
 Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “The ‘Little Things’ of Life,” 16/5/2016.