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.

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