What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(8)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 4th May, 2021

The Bible specifically commands that God’s people are not to make covenants with ungodly people. Why? Because God’s people are bound in covenant to God, through Jesus Christ, and He is a jealous God. He is jealous for the love, affections and the obedience of His people; He wants their hearts. There are many texts dealing with this, such as Ex.34:10-16, Deut.7:1-6; 12:1-4; 20:16-18, Num.33:50-56; Judges 2:1-4; II Cor.6:14-18.

Every time God’s people disobeyed him in this context in the Bible, God said the results would be disastrous. (Joshua 23:11-13 is a good example.)

The Biblical position with regard to alliances is that alliances are religious acts…a common cause and a common faith motivates the allies.[1]

The most obvious application for this, is in relationship to whom we marry, but it applies to all areas of our life.

The Christian parent needs to consistently apply their faith to education, as an important aspect of life. This is a non-negotiable issue. What does it mean to be faithful to God, in the raising of children? Do I really believe I can expose my children to the influence of evildoers for twelve years, and then give a good account to God for how they have been raised? This was Lot’s delusion. Is enrolment in a godless educational institution, consistent with the scriptures’ command, to “train up a child in the way they should go?” (Prov.22:6)

Children are a God-given inheritance for our conquest of the world for Christ. They are a means of subduing the earth and exercising dominion under the Lord. If we give our children to state or private schools which are not systematically Christian in their curriculum, we are then giving the future to God’s enemies, and He will hold us accountable for laying waste our heritage. [2]

In about 2002, while I was working for Australian Christian Academy in Brisbane, Australia, a church-attending woman came into our office to enquire about homeschooling. During our conversation, she admitted that she was troubled by a comment that her seven year old son in a state school, had made to her:                   

Mummy, why did you put me in a school that doesn’t believe in God?

The issue of educational accreditation is a significant religious issue for Christian parents. It may be one of the most significant tests of their faith in life. It is really a case of, “Who is Lord of my family?” It is a test of our faithfulness. Because much of the modern church is syncretistic, many can find a good excuse.

Syncretistic?

It’s an attempt to combine two religions, and it very commonly has an ulterior political motivation. Syncretism was Israel’s problem, from the time they came out of Egypt. Aaron tried to maintain the façade of faithfulness to the Lord, when he produced the golden calf (Ex.32:1-8).

Ahab may have wanted to maintain the facade of the worship of the Lord, but he also wanted to maintain his grasp on political power; so he didn’t want to offend others (including Jezebel), who were Baal worshippers. He tried to maintain an impossible religious compromise, with a political motivation. That was Ahab’s way: compromise, rather than initiate conflict. But, as someone has said,

The path of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked.

Ahab’s syncretism only brought God’s curse on his family (I Kings 21:25-29).

Conflict for the Christian is necessary, and an aspect of our faith. The early church had lots of it, and it frequently led to the persecution and martyrdom of individuals. No one that I know likes conflict, but bearing in mind that we will all give an account to God at a later date, we must ensure we make wise choices. “If we please God, who does it matter whom we displease?”

Conclusion:

Elijah said to the people in his day,

“How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word (I Kings 18:21).

In relation to our childrens’ education, we must make choices which:

a) Are pleasing to God.

b) Will lead to their long-term benefit, assisting their education/discipleship.

c) Are decisions which they will see as being consistent with our Christian faith, which they can draw an example from, over time.

                                                                                                                                               

Is that what you’re doing?


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.89.

[2] Rousas Rushdoony, “In His Service,” 2009, p.20.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(7)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 27th April, 2021

       1.Educational Accreditation:                                                                                                                             

         There was conflict between Rome and the early church. Rome’s policy toward all religions was that no religion had a right to exist unless it was a licit religion, duly licensed by the Empire, and possessing a certificate which that religion or cult was supposed to hang on the wall of its meeting place. A part of the procedure whereby licit status was secured, was to appear before a Roman imperial centre, and there to put a little incense on a brazier before an image of the emperor or a battle insignia, and then to declare briefly ‘Caesar is Lord!’ That was all. It was an acknowledgement of the sovereignty of Caesar over every area of life and thought.[1]

When we say that we believe in God and in Christ, we are saying that we are putting our faith in a higher Being. When a school is accredited, the school is putting its faith in a higher institution, which grants the school legitimacy. When a school is accredited by the state, the school is putting its faith in the state and being accepted by the state. Thus, accreditation is a religious act. This explains why accreditation is one of the means used by humanistic governments to control Christian schools.[2]

State control of education has always been a key component of humanist and socialist ideology; an article of their faith promoted since Aristotle, and espoused by Marx and Hitler. Engels, (Marx’s co-writer and supporter) claimed that,

with the transfer of the means of production into common ownership, [communism] the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society…The care and education of the children becomes a public affair; society looks after all children alike, whether they are legitimate or not. [3]   

State education has always been hostile to Christianity, and the family. As early as 1864, John Swett, the Superintendent of California state schools, claimed that

the child should be taught to consider his instructor…superior to the parent in point of authority… the vulgar impression that parents have a legal right to dictate to teachers is entirely erroneous…parents have no remedy as against the teacher.[4]

As early as 1930, humanists realised that education and in particular public education, would be a means of alienating students from Christianity. In that year, Charles F. Potter, a signatory of the first Humanist Manifesto,indicated that

education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday School, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teachings?[5]

Rushdoony highlighted the religious claim of public education:

Since a sovereign must have absolute power, the state, where it claims sovereignty, whether a democracy or anything else, moves towards totalitarian powers. Sovereignty with such powers becomes the saving power, and the state becomes man’s god and saviour. It then governs and controls man’s total life.[6]

Christian parents must understand that Departments of Education have a deeply religious reason to maintain an educational monopoly. If departmental individuals are not believers in Jesus Christ, they will be hostile to the faith, for Jesus said that “he who is not with me is against me” (Mat.12:30).They know that Christian faith is communicated primarily within the family. The department may give lip-service to the notion of family influence within the curriculum or a school, but that is all. That is merely the maintenance of a good façade. What counts to them, is the maintenance of departmental power.

Strong family structures are a threat to the humanistic state, as they represent an independent power base, and are difficult to control. This is one reason why socialists have always hated the family. The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, when she was the Federal Minister for Education, indicated in Parliament (25/8/2008) that “parents of school-aged children are obligated to send them to school.” She was utterly indifferent to the wishes of the parents. This reflects a consistent socialist view.

If the child is in a government registered school (be it a state school, private, or “Christian”), the child will spend a large portion of their time away from their parents and family, being progressively instructed in material which has departmental approval, in an age-segregated classroom. Over twelve years, that computes to some 14,400 hours, of departmentally approved, worldview indoctrination.                

There is a second reason why education departments are keen to maintain control. Like the silversmiths of Acts 19:23-27, they want to protect their business monopoly, and their future. If a large proportion of the community was able to successfully educate their children, without any reference at all to an educational bureaucracy, that bureaucracy would clearly be irrelevant. That could mean the loss of hundreds, and ultimately many thousands of tax-payer funded jobs, the total collapse and elimination of seven state or federal departments in Australia, and a massive saving to the taxpayer. I believe that would be a good thing, and a logical outcome of Jesus’ promise, that “every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted”(Mat.15:13).

They cannot afford to let this happen, so they will fight tooth and nail, and coerce families by various means of intimidation (including the threat of prosecution), to try and ensure children are enrolled in a departmentally registered institution. Any other scenario would be absolutely anaethema-unthinkable for them.

Nowhere in the Bible does God delegate the education of children to the state or to the disciples of other religions.[7]  


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “The ‘Atheism’ of the Early Church,” 1983, p.15-16.

[2] Robert Thoburn, “The Children Trap,”1986, p.96-7.

[3] Marx and Engels, Selected Works, 1976.

[4] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Messianic Character of American Education,” 1995, p.80-81.

[5] Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.54.

[6] Rousas Rushdoony, “Sovereignty,” 2007, p.471.

[7] Shortt, ibid., p.55.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(6)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 20th April, 2021

The Pattern of Breakdown of Old Testament Discipleship:

Others have been with those who rebel against the light… (Job 24:13).

The incest of the daughters of Lot: (Gen.19:30-38) What was different about the education and discipleship of the daughters of Lot, compared to that of Isaac, Abraham’s son? How had they been so influenced in their upbringing, that they could conclude it was perfectly appropriate to trick their father into drunkenness, so they could have sex and fall pregnant to him? Clearly, the attitudes and behaviour of the inhabitants of Sodom around the girls during their upbringing, had a marked impact on them, and their father.

The scripture says that Lot was “oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men… [and] felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds” (II Pet.2:7-8). But foolishly, he did not consider these were sufficient reasons to take his family and leave the city; he required a visit from angels to persuade him. When the men of the city approached his door, wanting to rape the angels who were with him, he offered to give his daughters instead to the mob, promising that they could “do to them whatever you like”(Gen.19:8). The angels were able to save the lives of Lot and his daughters, but the girls’ subsequent behaviour shows that they had already succumbed to the morality of Sodom.

[Lot] selected a city where his children could not be discipled and educated properly in the Bible. He wanted to live in the luxury of a corrupt society with a wicked educational system, instead of wandering around in a bunch of tents with Abraham…the long-term price was great. Lot ended up living in a cave…more importantly, he lost his children. [1]

B) The rape of Dinah: (Gen.34:1) It appears that Dinah went alone, when she “went out to visit the daughters of the land.” Whether Jacob knew she was going is not clear, but this is not the point. While it is easy to be wise in hindsight, she should have been accompanied and protected, if she was to go at all into the company of people she knew nothing of. This instance reflects Jacob’s negligence in the care of his only daughter, and his failure to be responsible in the subsequent negotiations with Hamor and Shechem. As a result, there was needless revenge and bloodshed on the part of Simeon and Levi (Gen.34:25-29), so much so that Jacob feared that they would all be destroyed.

C) The rape of Tamar, and murder of Amnon: (II Sam.13) The sin of our children cannot always be prevented by our diligence. But we are obliged, as much as it lies within our power and responsibility, to behave wisely and circumspectly, knowing that there is corruption in every heart, whether it names the name of Christ, or not. This David did not do, in his oversight of his children. When Amnon requested of David that Tamar be sent into him, to prepare him some food, David did not perceive any impropriety. But Amnon went one step further. Being with her half-brother in a bedroom, when everyone has been dismissed by him from the room (v.9), was itself a place of vulnerability for her. But she has no apparent inkling of any danger.

Amnon’s rape of his half-sister Tamar was a family tragedy. It was the second in a series of tragic events within David’s family, which relate to David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and his murder of Uriah. Was David at fault in relation to Tamar’s rape? He was Amnon’s father, and had not successfully discipled that young man.

David had written the Psalm, “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life and loves length of day that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” (Ps.34:11-12). Perhaps David and her mother had not trained Tamar (like Dinah), to avoid circumstances that could leads to compromise or danger. What David clearly didn’t do, in relation to Amnon, was to “know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds” (Prov.27:23).

King David’s inability to act justly after the rape of Tamar in dealing with Amnon, set in motion a further series of events, spanning a number of years. Absalom, angered by his sister’s rape, is never consoled by justice being done, and being seen to be done, to Amnon. He is angry with Amnon, but also frustrated and angry with his father. There appears to be no penalty for Amnon, for an offense that in some circumstances would result in capital punishment (Deut.22:25). David was “very angry (v.21), but what does Amnon care about that? The injustice is swept under the carpet.

David is unable to act, presumably because the criminal is his own son, and he is torn between a conflicting sense of the need for justice for the Lord, for Tamar, his desire to avoid a public family scandal, and his attachment to Amnon. He fails to put into practice his own injunction, that “…he who practices deceit will not dwell within my house” (Ps.101:7). David is emotionally manipulated by the events of the day. This may have been what Amnon was confident about, all along.

Thus Absalom murders Amnon; an awful, but in some ways, a logical conclusion (v.29). But there is one person who plays a subtle, perhaps indirect role, in both the rape of Tamar, and the murder of Amnon. The Bible describes Jonadab, David’s nephew, as “a very shrewd man” (v.3). Jonadab knew before both the rape of Tamar, and the murder of Amnon, something of the possible outcomes. Initially the “friend” (v.3) of Amnon, Jonadab was also aware of Absalom’s conspiracy against him. When King David hears the initial news, that there has been a slaughter, that“not one [of the king’s sons] is left” (v.30), Jonadab is able to explain to him, that “…only Amnon is dead” (v.33).

What can we learn from these three tragic Old Testament examples?

Firstly, we are instructed that every father has authority from God to “manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity” (I Tim.3:4). This is effectively a New Testament rendition of God’s command to Abraham (Gen.18:19).

Job, who probably lived in Abraham’s era, also took his obligations as a father very seriously (Job 1:5). One minister whose views I respect, has written that “by far the majority of church families I know are not protective enough of their children.”[2]This is a critical aspect, if fathers wish to see their family inherit the promises of God. 

Secondly, it is the devil’s classic strategy when attacking a family, to send an evil thought to a weak family member, via a person who appears to be perfectly innocuous. The devil of course, appears to be “an angel of light” (II Cor.11:14). Who would have thought that a demonically inspired serpent in the Garden could have brought down the whole human race, or that Jonadab (David’s own nephew), could have participated in two evil conspiracies, which ended in a rape of one family member and the death of another? Fathers need to be aware of this demonic strategy, and respond accordingly.

Thirdly, sins in the family, may not be a father’s fault; but they are his responsibility. They happen on his watch. A father’s failure to act firmly, decisively and protectively when necessary, can have disastrous consequences in his family. Sin has a remarkable capacity to intrude into the family, the most central place of human activity, as Genesis graphically shows.

Conclusion:

We sometimes make an error in majoring on the sins of commission, such as murder, rape and adultery, sins which are addressed in the Ten Commandments. But sins of omission, which Adam, Lot, Jacob and David committed, can be just as dangerous and deadly, as sins of commission.

Adam’s first error was in not protecting his wife in the garden, from a devious, lying, slanderous interloper. That was an aspect of God’s command to “cultivate and keep it” (Gen.2:15). At a critical point in their families’ development when a crisis was looming, these four men failed to take initiative and act protectively. The Bible warns us that, “Like a trampled spring and a polluted well, is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked”(Prov.25:26).


[1] Ray Sutton, “That You May Prosper,” 1997, p.116.

[2] Dr S. M. Davis, “Changing the Heart of a Rebel,” 1998, p.1.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(5)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 13th April, 2021

Deuteronomy: An Analysis of two Chapters:

Deuteronomy, chapters 6 and 11 expand on God’s promises to Abraham. They have many similarities to those promises, and the two chapters are similar to each other. Time has moved on since Abraham; perhaps 500-550 years, but God, being the Unchanging One, has kept His covenant with Abraham, as He promised. Now, He is speaking through Moses, to the group of 2 to 3 million people, who are Abraham’s descendants. They are ready if they’ll obey to be the recipients of God’s promises, made originally to their forefather Abraham, in Genesis 18.

Six significant words are used repetitively in Deuteronomy 6 and 11. A close analysis of these words is critical to understand God’s purpose in educating and discipling the children of Israel, and our children today.

“Teach” is used 3 times, “listen,” 4 times, “sons,” 7 times, “possess” or “dispossess,” 7 times, and “land,” 19 times. The word “command” (or “commandments” or “commanding” or “commanded”) is used 26 times, whilst “Lord” is used 33 times.

From an educational and a discipleship point of view (education and discipleship being subjects I consider inseparable), it could be said that these are the six most important words in these two chapters, about education.

Drawing on the use of these 6 words, we can construct a one sentence summary of the two chapters, which reflects and explains God’s educational purpose for His people, at all times:

   Teach your sons the Lord’s commandments, so they can possess the land.

Abbreviated further, we could say:  Education is for possession.

We can now make a summary:

The Bible teaches us, that

a) God had given revelatory words within the family, to the person He had chosen to be in authority-the father.

b) These words are in the form of authoritative instructions and commands, from God.

c) Obedience to those words leads to life, blessing and dominion.

d) God expects the father to faithfully represent Him.

V. Education in Psalms and Proverbs:

A) Without wishing to deal in an in-depth way with either of these books, the Book of Proverbs is substantially a book of a father’s instructions to his son, the father being designated by God as the primary instructor. Once again, it is parents who are designated as God’s choice, to educate their children.

43 times, Proverbs uses the word “son,”and on 20 of these occasions, the even more personal term, “My son,” is employed. Perhaps the most important thing a father is to teach his children, is the fear of the Lord (see Ps.34:9-11).

B) The mother’s role in the education of her children, is clearly stated (see Proverbs 1:8; 6:20; 31:1, 26). The bride in the Song of Solomon, said to her husband, “I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me” (Song of Sol.8:2). The family is thus the primary place of instruction.

C) Psalms and Proverbs warn us that one of the most destructive things to do to any young person, is to let them be in the company of fools (see Ps.1:1-3; Prov.13:20; 22:24-25). The Bible doesn’t merely warn of the potential of bad consequences; it predicts them as being an inevitable result.

Furthermore, Ps.106:34-39 is a history lesson on the children of Israel, explaining Israel’s steps down into idolatry. Having failed to destroy the peoples as the Lord commanded them, they then “mingled with the nations, and learned their practices, and served their idols”(v.35). Like the children of Israel, childrens’ association with others subjects them to the influence of others, leading to the formation of habits, and to lasting character change. Socialisation can be of a positive or negative nature.

The Christian person doesn’t doubt that socialisation for children is important, for the scripture says, “He that walks with wise men will be wise…” (Prov.13:20). Socialisation is essential. The critical factors are,“With who?” and “For what purpose?” The Bible clearly teaches us here, that Christian children gain no benefit in mixing with ungodly people, whose values are qualitatively different to theirs. The consequences will be damaging, and sometimes irreparable:“…the companion of fools will suffer harm.” A person’s moral environment (as Lot discovered, to his lasting pain) is of great importance.

A survey presented in 2001 in the U. S. showed that within two years of graduating from high school, between 70% and 88% of teenagers from evangelical families stop attending church.[1]

As one writer indicated,“all too many churchmen view the undisciplined and amoral products of statist education as evidences of the failure of these schools. On the contrary, they are evidences of their success.”[2]


[1] Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.51.

[2] Rushdoony, quoted in Shortt, p.57.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(4)

Taken from, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

By Andrew McColl, 6th April, 2021

Introduction:

The best and truest educators are parents under God. The greatest school is the family …the moral training of the child, the discipline of good habits, is an inheritance from the parents to the child which surpasses all others.[1]

Hebrew education was intensely practical. The common opinion held that a man who did not teach his son the law and a trade, the ability to work, reared him to be a fool and a thief. It is said that Simeon, the son of the famed Gamaliel, observed; ‘not learning but doing is the chief thing.’ [2]

I. God, our First Educator:

Adam and Eve’s education in the garden, is instructive. Having made all things in six days, God’s command to Adam and Eve, was that they should “rule and have dominion”(Gen.1:26-28), which some have called the Dominion (or Cultural) Mandate. He gave them commands and instructions regarding their responsibilities in the garden, which was to be a proving ground for them. His law is perfect (Ps.19:7), and His education was perfect (Job 36:22), but this doesn’t mean that life was easy for them. There was plenty of work to do in the garden, and this couple had to work at everything from scratch, without tools, ladders, a manual, a hardware shop, or a home. But God blessed them (Gen.1:28).

Adam and Eve’s education meant that they learned to obey God’s Word, understanding that there would be consequences for their disobedience (Gen.2:17). God Himself provided them with their theological understanding, their epistemology (their source of knowledge), their ontology (understanding of who they were), and their axiology (their values). As part of their education, Adam and Eve would need to be taught and understand mathematics (1:28), botany (2:15), agriculture (2:5, 15), language (2:19-20), systems of classification (2:19-20), defence (2:15), human anatomy, biology and reproduction (2:23), and teamwork (2:23).

II. Noah’s Educational Process:

God’s plan to destroy the earth because of wickedness in Noah’s day, meant that after the flood, He would be left with a couple, their three sons and their daughters-in-law. The coming cataclysm required that He commence a new educational process; the eight people would need additional information. So, He began with a father.

God spoke to Noah (Gen.6:13), and gave him information, instruction and commands (6:14-8:32), and promised to make covenant with him (6:18). The survival of Noah’s family required that he accept God’s educational directions. His family needed to accept that he had heard from God, and in accordance with God’s revealed plan, they needed to carry out all the necessary work for 120 years. They would need to be pioneers in building the ark, and pioneers after the flood, rebuilding a godly civilisation.

After the flood, God blessed them (9:1), repeated the command to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth (9:7), and made the promised covenant with Noah (9:8-17).

III. God identified Education as a vital Role for Parents: Gen.18:17-19.

God had a plan for Abraham. He had chosen Abraham, just as Christ has chosen us (Jn.15:16), and this meant Abraham had authority in his family and household, which may have numbered many hundreds, or even thousands of people (see Gen.14:14), to command, direct and teach.

The first aspect of Abraham’s authority from God, was to “…command his children…to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice”(v.19). If these conditions were met, the promises of God to Abraham and his seed would eventuate. These aspects of God’s promises to Abraham, are applicable to parents today (Heb.13:8).


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” 1973, p.185.

[2] ibid., p.183.

What Does it Mean, to ‘Train up a Child?’(1)

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov.22:6).

It’s logical that parents have questions about their children. Godly parents want to honor God in their child’s upbringing, and they generally know they need to teach them to honor and fear the Lord. They also may wish to know if there are specific things they should be doing for each particular child.

This is what Manoah and his wife sought, from God. When his wife reported to him that a man of God had visited her and spoken to her about the son she’d miraculously have, and what she should do (Judges 13:6, 7), Manoah wanted to know more. He immediately made his petition to the Lord:

O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born (Judges 13:8).

This was not a presumptuous request, and the Bible says that “God listened to the voice of Manoah…” (Judges 13:9). Does this mean that all our God focused requests to God about how to bring up our children, will be answered?

In his case, his wife had been visited and given angelic information. When (at his request), the angel returned and visited his wife again, and she called Manoah to meet him, nothing was added. The angel simply repeated what he’d told his wife initially, but he honored his request for another visit.

Samson, John the Baptist and Jesus had a number of things in common. They were all conceived miraculously, after one or both of their parents were visited by an angel, who foretold something of their son’s birth and calling. And all of these men died violently. Dying violently is not something a godly parent seeks for their child, but it was plainly a part of God’s calling of each of these three men.

When John was born, and Zacharias’s tongue was loosed and “…he began to speak in praise of God” (Luke 1:64), “…fear came on all those living around them,” and people said,

What then will this child turn out to be? For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him (Luke 1:65, 66).

We don’t generally know what our children will turn out to be and to do, but sometimes there are giftings evident in them from a young age, which indicate something. We hope and pray that they will “…know the Lord” (I Sam.3:7), and that their upbringing, education and company should encourage them in that direction. And this is primarily a father’s responsibility, for the scripture commands fathers to

…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph.6:4),

which means daily exposure to scripture, and the law of the Lord.

This means that our time is required for our children. The idea of absentee parenting has no basis in scripture. Rather, it directs us this way:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up (Deut.6:5-7).

Conclusion:

The scripture records many cases of parents who received understanding from God, in relation to their children’s future. God expected them, as He expects us, to be responsible for our children, as faithful steward unto Him. It means preparing them for a life of service, dominion and accountability.

Is that what you’re planning on?

Children Don’t Need School (4)

Part of Job’s testing was the loss of all his children (Job 1:18-19), as well as the loss of his material wealth (1:14-17). His blessings consisted of the restoration of his wealth beyond what he had possessed before (42:12), as well as the birth of 10 children (42:13). As a final gift, he was granted long life (42:16-17). In short, he was given the capital he needed to begin once again to exercise dominion over the earth as a godly family man: tools, children, and time.[1]

The godly person values and loves his children, but he doesn’t idolize them, or deny them the necessary pains of life. They are like him: subject to the many temptations of life, and needing the grace of God. They are to be disciplined, as unto the Lord, and this is initially a father’s responsibility.

Denying them the discipline of the Lord is actually neglectful, and a form of abuse. It seems that David was guilty of this, in the case of Adonijah. The scripture says of him, that

His father had never crossed him at any time by asking, ‘Why have you done so?’ (I Kings 1:6)

It seems that he’d gotten to adulthood and never had his will crossed, his bottom smacked for disobedience. When David was old, this lack of discipline in Adonijah became evident: he wanted to be king!

The first chapter of I Kings puts all this on the table. The second chapter tells us the unfortunate consequences for that young man, when his half-brother Solomon (now the king), had him executed for what he considered was a conspiracy against him.

Adonijah, when at the feet of his parents as a child, had never learned when to stop, so he found out as an adult, the hard way.

                        Adonijah wasn’t submissive,

                        Adonijah was ambitious,

                        Adonijah couldn’t wait, and

                        Adonijah died violently (I Kings 2:19-25).

All of this was tragic and could have been avoided, if David had disciplined him as a child. This shows us that:

                        Life is not about what a child wants.

                        Life is not about what a parent wants.

                        Life wasn’t about what a disciple wanted (Mat.16:21-28).

                        Life wasn’t even about what Jesus wanted (Mat.26:39).

                        Life is about doing what God wants (Ps.40:8).

The Bible does command us:

Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you discipline him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol (Prov.23:13-14).

How do we do this?

Understand what the Bible says about rebellion and disobedience (I Sam.15:22-23). That is the critical issue. The Christian parent in obedience to God, wants something more than outwardly nice children. What they seem to perform like is irrelevant. What’s in their heart will be reflected in what they say and do.

Rebellion has been in every man since Adam. Don’t ignore it, or deal with it half-heartedly.

                        The goal of discipline?

                  The child learns to listen (Ps.81:11-14).

                  The child learns to obey.

                  The child learns self-discipline.

If a child learns to listen, honour and obey your voice, he’ll probably do the same to Jesus Christ’s Word. That’s the goal of the exercise. You will have served him (and the Lord) well. In the course of my work, my wife and I have visited hundreds of homes, and we could tell within 10 minutes whether the children were disciplined or not!

Parents shouldn’t have to repeat themselves, when instructions are given. Also, avoid raising a voice with a child. Otherwise, you are training a child to only respond to you when you shout.

If a little child cries or complains after given an instruction, he is making a rebellious statement: “I don’t like this, and I’m telling you, and everybody.”  That is rebellion, even if he outwardly does as he is told.

If a child shows the least displeasure in response to a command or duty, it should be addressed as disobedience. If a child sticks out his lip, you should focus your training on his bad attitude.[2]  

The goal is that a child learns to “…do all things without grumbling or complaining” (Phil.2:14). A person’s mouth tends to reveal what’s in his heart. If he grumbles and complains at your instructions, he will grumble and complain at God’s.

                          When Administering Corporal Punishment

a) Make sure it’s private.

b) Make sure you’re calm.

c) Make sure the child understands why he is being punished.

Children, when they know they are about to be punished, may put on a tantrum, or suddenly shed lots of tears (ostensibly of remorse), or scream, or say, “It’s not fair!” or I hate you!” These and many others are manipulative tools, which a naive parent can be shocked, tricked or intimidated by. Tears may seem to be ones of penitence; they are probably ones of regret that he’s been caught, and to supposedly imply that he’s sorry.

Why is he“sorry?” Because he’s getting a smack, and is hoping to come up with a good religious formula that might get him out of trouble, right now.                                                                                          

He knows he’s done wrong. He knows you are planning to punish him. He thinks,

I’ll put on a theatrical scene, to try and bluff my way out of this.

Any rebellious behaviour, initiated to avoid punishment, should receive a quiet warning: “If you don’t obey, I’ll give you an extra smack.”  

A spanking is made effective, not by its severity, but by its certainty…your calm dignity will set the stage to make it more effective.[3]

d) Instruct the child calmy,  to bend over and hold onto his ankles.

e) Administer the punishment: as they get older, make it more strokes, or harder, or both. “Select your instrument according to the child’s size.”[4]

f) Give him some time (perhaps 30 seconds), to stop crying. Don’t let rebellion or anger come into any part of this.

g) Instruct him to hug you (this is a command, not an option), and say “Thanks Dad, I needed that,”and then to confess his sin to God, and ask for His forgiveness.

h) Instruct him to ask you to forgive him. He has offended God, but he has also offended you.

i) Hug him and pray for him, and tell him you love him.

Discipline is the forerunner of discipleship. Ultimately, he should be self-disciplined.

Conclusion:

Children need the discipline of the Lord from their parents, firstly from their father. It’s his task to lead in this. A parent is unloving to deny them this, and disciplining them is a matter of faithfulness to God, Who calls them to His service, not merely to the service of men.

We actually prepare them to serve God as we discipline them, for their rebellion needs to be confronted, head on.

And His promise is,

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him (Prov.22:15).


[1]Gary North, “The Dominion Covenant,” 1987, p.164.

[2] Michael and Debi Pearl, “Train up a Child,” 1996, p.83.

[3] ibid., p.46.

[4] ibid., p.47.

A $1 Trillion Spending Cut

Gary North – December 05, 2020

From 2010.

This will not be done. It will not be done because Americans do not really want major spending cuts.

To demonstrate my point, let us consider America’s sacred cow, tax-funded education.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s Factbookthe United States spends about 5.3% of gross domestic product each year on education. If that estimate is accurate, this means about $750 billion a year.

The United Nations estimate places the figure of 5.7% of GDP.

That would mean expenditures in the range of $800 billion a year. If we assume that about 80% of these expenditures are funded by governments at various levels, we are talking something in the range of $600-$650 billion a year.

There is no economic reason why 100% of the expenditures on education should not be paid for by the parents of students or by the students themselves, when they reach college or graduate school level. There is also nothing that says that a government has the moral authority to coerce parents who hold to one view of education, or one view of how the world works, to subsidize the educations of other families, whose children attend schools that teach a view of the world closer to that approved by the subsidized parents.

To say this is to announce one of the most hated heresies of the modern world. I mean “heresy” in the good old-fashioned way that it was meant in the Middle Ages and in virtually any society prior to the Enlightenment. This heresy involves calling into question the legitimacy of a priesthood, self-appointed and self-policed, which gains its money from the civil government.

The establishment of churches funded by tax money has been common in most societies throughout history. I contend that it is basic to the modern world, too. The modern priesthood is the educational establishment in each nation. Tax funding goes to those institutions that have been certified as reputable by the priesthood.

An educational institution that claims to be legitimate in the modern world is pressured strongly to become accredited by institutions that are run by the priests whose standards are enforced by the state. An institution that sets up a college that is not approved by one of these accrediting associations cannot issue certain kinds of degrees without breaking the law. This system of accreditation extends all the way down to infant care.

The state regulates educational establishments, even including home schools, in order to preserve control over the content and methodology of education. In earlier centuries, a similar oligopoly was run in conjunction with state funding and also state coercion. Churches policed the society, including the morals of society, by means of a monopoly granted to them by the civil government.

The state in seventeenth-century New England could legally compel church attendance by every member of the society. What is not understood is that this law was rarely enforced in Boston. In his book, Winthrop’s Boston (1965), Darrett Rutman concluded that the churches of Boston three centuries earlier could contain only about 25% of the residents of Boston at one time.

The modern educational system is far more compulsory than churches were in New England in 1665. The school bus system is indicative of just how compulsory it is. On this point, read my story of the two buses.

Local governments, state governments, and even the Federal government use tax money and the threat of violence against any parent who does not agree that the state has the right to shape the content of his children’s education. This has been going on for so long that most Americans accept this regime as somehow established by natural law. The irony here is that the schools teach Darwinism, and Darwinism has no concept of natural law. Darwinism destroyed the concept of natural law. If the universe is evolving in autonomous, unpredictable ways, in terms of such random phenomena as genetic mutation, there can be no such thing as natural law. No social order is permanent; no legal order is permanent. The laws change as society changes.

In the modern world, anyone who suggests that all tax money should be withdrawn from the funding of educational programs is regarded as a crackpot. I am such a crackpot. I believe that the state does not have a moral right to compel parents to support other people’s educations.

If it were my decision, I would shut off the funding by the state for every school in the United States, including the military academies. This would add something in the range of $600 billion to the private sector. Governments would not be able to persuade parents and others to hand over their money at the point of a gun from one person in order to subsidize the education of another person.

One of the oddities about life is that a statement regarding a widely believed moral imperative in one area is regarded as morally unsustainable when virtually the same statement is applied to another area. What virtually everybody accepts as self-evident truth in one area is regarded as self-evident error in another area.

In order to discuss tax-funded education, I want to change the topic from tax support of educational institutions to tax support of churches. The logic that I am about present applies equally well to both forms of institutional arrangements. But the public is unwilling to accept the logic of the disestablishment of churches when it is applied to disestablishment of education.

DISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM

In 1818, the state of Connecticut ceased funding the Congregational churches of the state. In 1833, Massachusetts followed Connecticut’s lead. Massachusetts at that time was the last remaining state in the United States that used tax money to support churches.

Critics of the tax funding of churches had a number of arguments. I present here a brief summary of some of the more famous of these arguments, as a way of explaining the justification for the disestablishing of education. As you read these arguments, substitute the word “schools” for “churches.”

THE MORAL ARGUMENT. The issues of life that are dealt with in churches are of fundamental importance. These issues are life-and-death issues. Some churches believe that there are eternal life and death issues.

There was a time when virtually all Western churches believed this. To compel someone to spread the message of a rival religion is an intolerable form of state coercion.

THE PRACTICAL ARGUMENT. Politicians rarely give much thought to the fundamental issues of life. They are too busy getting elected and reelected. They cannot devote the time necessary to sort out fundamental truths from fundamental errors. To imagine that they can select the churches that are deserving of financial support at the expense of others that do not share the same views, is to impute a degree of wisdom not possessed by government officials. Politicians can barely be trusted to run the government, let alone run the churches.

THE POLITICAL ARGUMENT. To allow this year’s majority in the state legislature to set standards for what should be taught in the churches is to grant them too much power to shape the thinking of the voters. The politicians will use this power as a way to subsidize those churches and those ministers who preach a message that is congenial to the majority in the legislature.

When a majority of votes in the legislature can determine the content of what is going to be taught in the churches, a society has transferred enormous authority to politicians to shape the thinking of the next generation. This is a way for politicians to preserve their majority, despite the fact that, had they not funded those churches that are favorable to their viewpoint, they would have been voted out of office at some future election.

The politicians will use the power of civil government to extend the public’s acceptance of those political views and political conclusions that are favored by the present majority in the legislature. This will turn politics into a battle zone between rival churches.

THE INTELLECTUAL ARGUMENT. Competition is basic to progress in every area of life. Churches should therefore compete apart from tax money that favors one procedure or one set of principles over another.

If tax money is used to fund churches, the quality of the preaching will decline. If preachers know that they are going to receive guaranteed income from the state, they have less incentive to preach according to the beliefs of the members of their congregations. If their income can be maintained apart from the donations from their members, then incentive to slack off increases.

There is an incentive to trim the content of the preaching in order to meet the standards of the latest political majority. Preachers who don’t hold to such views have a harder time starting rival congregations, because the older congregations are the recipients of tax money.

This subsidizes the status quo. The public is kept from hearing new ideas, better ideas, and more effectively preached ideas precisely because congregations are not in control of the purse strings. A minister who has been granted certification by the hierarchy in a tax supported denomination is granted immunity for poor performance in the pulpit when counseling. There will be a dumbing down of preaching precisely because more effective preaching does not receive its economic reward.

THE CHARITY ARGUMENT. Throughout Western history, churches have been a major source of charitable giving. Members of local congregations contribute money to the churches, and the churches pass some of that money back into the community by supporting the poor. Christianity has repeatedly preached but the support of the poor is morally obligatory, and furthermore, the success of the church will always be related to its success in charitable giving.

When the state provides the funding for the churches, the charitable impulse is weakened. Members assume that the money coming in from other taxpayers will go to the support of the poor. They more readily accept the concept of the welfare state, but they accept it as flowing through their local congregations. The impulse to sacrificially give to the poor is cut short, because the state provides the funds to support the poor.

The church then becomes a paid agency of the state, operating in terms of the latest rulebook governing state welfare expenditures. The church becomes an agency of the modern welfare state, while individuals within the churches feel less pressure to fund private programs of charity. The ability of charitable giving to become more effective is cut short, because the state’s money will continue to fund the church’s charitable ministries, just so long as the church conforms to the rulebook governing the distribution of tax funded welfare.

When compassionate conservatism funds church- run welfare programs, conservatism will become less compassionate. So will church members. “See this badge? See this gun? You’re going to be compassionate, or else.” This was not what Jesus had in mind.

THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR ARGUMENT. Whenever state funds are used to subsidize any program, the outlook of lowest common political denominator takes over the funding. The reason for this is that voters can exercise authority over politicians by putting them into offices or tossing them out of office. The politicians want to be elected or reelected. They cater to the opinions of those groups of voters that have the greatest clout at the polls.

Those voters who are most easily swayed by emotional arguments rather than by scientific or factual arguments become the swing voters who will determine the outcome of close elections. Under such circumstances, the opinions of the broad mass of voters will prevail in every area of government. To the extent that the broad mass of voters are not well informed on theological matters, to this extent with the funding of churches by the state debase the quality of the preaching as well as the intellectual content of the preaching. Churches will look to the state as their source of funding, which places them at the mercy of the lowest common denominator voter. The opinions shared by these people will determine which denominations win or lose in the arena of public opinion. This arena is not the arena of competitive preaching; it is the arena of political vote-getting.

SUBSIDIES AND INTELLECTUAL BLINDNESS

If these arguments make sense to you when applied to churches, you should consider their validity when applied to all forms of education. As far as I can see, the same problems of tax funding that are involved in the establishment of churches also apply to the establishment of educational institutions. The same conflicts, the same temptation to the misuse of power, the same lowest common denominator principle, the same tyranny apply to the tax funding education as applies to the tax funding of churches.

As surely as Congregationalists in Massachusetts could not understand the logic of these arguments in 1825, or 1725, so the members of the established church of political salvation do not understand the logic of privately funded education. It took decades of criticism from Baptists and Quakers to persuade the members of tax-funded churches to give up their claim to other people’s money.

It is worth noting that within five years of the decision of the Massachusetts government to cease funding the Congregational churches of the state, the government began funding local schools. A Unitarian lawyer, Horace Mann, became the first major official in the new state educational system. He made tax-funded education respectable throughout New England. That heritage now is widely accepted throughout the country.

One of the best books on how tax-funded churches took advantage of their power to box out independently funded churches in The Churching of America, by Finke and Stark. Tax funding weakened the established churches so much that they could no longer compete when the subsidies ended.

Back in the 1950’s, theologian and historian R. J. Rushdoony identified the underlying commitment of tax-funded education. He wrote a book on the background of the public school systems, with extensive citation from primary sources regarding the faith of the original educational bureaucrats in the ability of state education to make mankind better. Rushdoony called his book The Messianic Character of American Education (1963). He called the public school system America’s only established church. He called the employees of this church “priests.”

The interesting thing is that a liberal theologian and historian, Sydney E. Mead, wrote a book in the same year that also identified the public schools as priestly. Rushdoony opposed the educational priesthood. Mead favored it. He called his book The Lively Experiment. That experiment has been deadly for competitive education, just as it was for New England’s Calvinist churches.

The transfer of tax money from the churches to the schools replaced the older system of established religion. The underlying principles of tax funding have not changed. The underlying presuppositions of the benefits of this funding have not changed. The difference is this: there were a lot of Baptists in the early 1800’s, and there were a lot more of them by 1890. They had the votes. They opposed tax-funded churches. They had been on the receiving end of that tyranny for too long. Unfortunately, they adopted the religion of public education with the same fervor that other denominations did in the nineteenth century.

CONCLUSION

I am of the opinion that we will continue to see $600 billion or more per year of tax money pour into America’s only established churches. It would be nice, as citizens, to get that money sent back to us in the form of tax rebates, and then to see the tax codes revised in future years, so that the money would never be sent to the politicians in the first place.

I wonder if most Tea Party members would agree with me. I wonder how many of them would agree with me. Probably about as many as would agree that Social Security and Medicare should be abolished.

The deficits will rise. The defaults will come. Home schools will flourish.

___________________________

This was published on June 12, 2010. The original is here.

The available budget cut then was $600 billion.

Here is good news. The percentage is down to just under 5%.

Here is bad news: total government spending on education is over $1 trillion.

Judges 13 and Christian Education (2)

Historically, the biggest intruder and violator the family, the church and a free society has confronted, has been the State. It was the State under Pharoah that kidnapped the Hebrews and murdered their babies, and sought to kill Moses (see Exodus 1-2). It was the State that murdered Jesus’ forerunner John, that tried to kill Jesus as a baby (see Mat.2), then murdered Him around AD 33. Not content with this, it then attacked His church (Acts 12:1-3; Rev.13:1-7).

It was the State under Henry VIII in England that opposed the Reformation. He had the great translator of the scriptures into English, William Tyndale, hunted down in Europe, then strangled and burnt in 1536, and Henry’s daughter Mary was named “Bloody Mary” for good reason; she put some 300 Protestants to death.

The twentieth century graphically bore out this homicidal tendency of evil governments.[1] Its tyrants didn’t only kill those of other countries in war, they began and continued with their own.[2]  Any Russian, German or Chinese person under the reigns of Stalin, Hitler or Mao, had very good reason to be afraid for their life, at the hands of their own government.

Thus the care and education of children is not committed to government, but to parents, so it was to Samson’s future parents that the angel spoke. He firstly visited Manoah’s wife (v.3-5), then at Manoah’s request (v.8), he appeared again, to his wife (v.9). When she then hurried to find her husband, and he returned and beheld the angel, he asked,

Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation? (v.12)

The angel does not answer Manoah’s question directly. He merely gives Manoah a summary of his original direction to Manoah’s wife, and twice (v.13-14) directs her to do what he commanded her, in their first meeting. Why is this relevant?                                                             

Jordan’s comment is helpful:

Why did God appear to the woman rather than to her husband? Is it because Manoah was a bad man, so God had to bypass him? Not at all. It is because the theme, again, is the Seed of the Woman. God appears to the mother, to instruct her how to raise up the Seed. Similarly, God appeared to Rebekah, not to Isaac, to give instruction about the primacy of Jacob over Esau (Gen. 25:22f.).[3]

Whilst both parents have the responsibility to raise their children, it is evident that in this case, along with Rebekah (Gen.25:22-23), it is the mother who received the word of the Lord, and in this case, she is to avoid any wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. Matthew Henry wrote,                                                                                                          

Observe from Manoah’s enquiry, [1] In general, that, when God is pleased to bestow any mercy upon us, our great care must be how to use it well, and as we ought, because it is then only a mercy indeed when it is rightly managed. God has given us bodies, souls, estates; how shall we order them, that we may answer the intent of the donor, and give a good account of them?

[2] In particular, those to whom God has given children must be very careful how they order them, and what they do unto them, that they may drive out the foolishness that is bound up in their hearts, form their minds and manners well betimes, and train them in the way wherein they should go. Herein pious parents will beg divine assistance…[4]

In this case, the angel gave Manoah no more information than he’d given his wife. He actually summarised what he’d already said, reinforcing to Manoah, “Let the woman pay attention to all that I said” (v.13).

Manoah’s question to the angel related to his future son’s vocation. But a person’s calling is way more important than their career. In the examples of Samson, John the Baptist and Jesus, all of whom were conceived miraculously, they were all destined to die violently, early in life. None of them had a career, that we know of. Manoah’s question to the angel (“What shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?”) was a legitimate one, but the angel gave him no answer to it.

Was it for this reason? Gary North has defined a calling from God as

the most important thing that you can do in which you would be most difficult to replace.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                              The thing that was uppermost in God’s mind in relation to Samson was his calling, explained by the angel to his mother:

…he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Judges 13:5).

If parents are to prepare their children for anything, it is for this: their calling. Vocations are fine, but they must be secondary to the call of God.

Now here’s my question: What has God prepared your children for?  Are you doing anything about it? 


[1] One of the consequences of the First World War, was some 900,000 French children being orphaned.

[2] Hitler ordered the execution of the Christian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1945, weeks before Hitler committed suicide.

[3] James Jordan, “Judges: God’s War against Humanism,” 1985, p.225-226.

[4] Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary, “Joshua to Esther,” p. 204.

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 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. Our eyes have been on other things like 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 that has nothing to do with the Bible, 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, “You’ll all have to go back through the Red Sea each day to Egypt to educate your children.” 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 taxes used for education.

This would be the foundation for Israel’s godliness, liberty and prosperity. Isn’t it about time we in the Church took our marching orders seriously from the God of heaven and earth, and followed suit?


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