Beginning with of Home Schooling (27)

Children and Education

By Gary North, from “Unconditional Surrender,” 1994, p.181-184.

Children are a tool of dominion. They are to be sacrificed for in their youth. They are to be instructed carefully and continually in the law of God.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deut.6:6-7). 

The time spent in training children in God’s law is time well spent, for it is a capital investment. It does produce the next generation of godly, dominion-minded families. The Bible says, “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

This leads us to an extremely significant conclusion: education is the moral responsibility of parents.  They are the ones who must determine whether or not their children are being taught the truth. They are responsible before God for the rearing of their children. They are held responsible even for the content of their children’s education. This is why it is a great responsibility to bring children into the world.

The modern State has asserted its responsibility to educate children. This is the means by which the modern State has arrogated to itself the position of the established god on earth. The government schools have become the established religion of every nation on earth. Humanism, which is the worship of man and his works, rests on this crucial institutional foundation:  the tax-supported, State-regulated, hypothetically neutral, deeply religious humanist school system.

There can be no neutrality, yet the government schools have almost completely stamped out Christianity and the law of God by means of the neutrality myth. The State forces Christians to finance schools that teach a rival religion, the religion of humanism. The State has also attempted to regulate Christian and independently financed schools. At every point, the State has substituted tenured bureaucrats who are virtually impossible for parents to remove from authority, while it has removed parents from the seats of power in setting curricula or any other standards.

The modern State, which is a messianic, supposedly man-saving institution, has used the tax-supported, compulsory schools as the primary means of stealing children from God, by removing them from parental control. Christians complain about taxation, but they have tithed their children to the State. They have abdicated their financial responsibilities – “Let the State finance my children’s educations”– and in our day, they have abandoned almost all other aspects of their instructional responsibilities.

They have turned the production of citizens over to tax-financed, State- directed schools. The priests of the religion of humanism have been able to enlist the support of many generations of

Christian parents, who have decided that it is easier to transfer the responsibility for educating their children to bureaucrats hired by the State. Naturally, parents have to delegate responsibility to someone. Few parents have the time or skills to educate their children at home. But the fundamental principle of education is the tutor or the apprentice director.

Parents hire specialists to teach their children along lines established by parents. The private school is simply an extension of this principle, with several parents hiring a tutor, thereby sharing the costs. But the parents, not the tutors, are institutionally sovereign.  Since someone must bear the costs, education should be parent-funded.  Anything else is a transfer of authority over education to an imitation family.

Children are to honour their parents (Ex. 20:12). It is the first promise which is attached to a commandment: “… that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Ex.20:12b). So the parents owe their children education, food, shelter, and care, but the children owe their parents honour. This means financial support. There are mutual obligations based on personal bonds. No one in the transaction is to become an endless giver, and no one is to become a perpetual recipient.

The modern messianic State has intervened here, too. The State promises to uphold men

from womb to tomb. The State promises to become the new father. The impersonal, bureaucratic State has substituted its rule for the father’s rule, and its children– perpetual children– are to remain obedient to it all the days of their lives.

The Bible tells us that children grow up and begin new families. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen.1:24). There should be no perpetual one-way obligations. Parents are to train their children to be obedient, but also independent. They are to foster maturity in their children. The State wants perpetual children, complete obedience. The State is a sad imitation of a family. It is a pseudo-family which threatens human freedom.

Beginning with Home Schooling (24) “In Everything I Showed You…”

You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:34-35).

I am convinced that most people who commence Home Schooling, hardly know what they are getting into. We certainly didn’t. I didn’t know that it would lead to moving interstate for two professional jobs, amounting now to thirteen years, and still going.

Nor did we know what it would mean in terms of our children, how it would flavour their upbringing, or their attitudes as adults, but it has. Parents have to think about this. I don’t for a moment claim it’s always been easy, but I haven’t seen any negatives, either.

This is what we were supposed to be doing, from the beginning. The idea that we could delegate education to an institution, and then try to find Biblical validity for the practice, is comic at best.

Parents have to accept that they are going to be central to the practice of their children’s education. In fact, if Abraham did this successfully, God said it would lead to him inheriting the promises of God. He said concerning Abraham,

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 promised him (Gen.18:19).

What is a key to success in this?

John Paton was a missionary to the New Hebrides islands, from 1887. His missionary predecessors to the islands in 1839, were killed and eaten immediately they set foot there, so he knew this continued to be a very dangerous place; it most certainly was.

What inspired him to go there? His father of eleven children was a man devoted to prayer, praying with his family daily. Many years after attaining adulthood, Paton wrote,

How much my father’s prayers at this time [i.e. as a child in Scotland] impressed me I can never explain, nor can any stranger understand. When, on his knees and all of us kneeling around him in Family Worship, he poured out his whole soul with tears for the conversion of the Heathen world to the service of Jesus, and for every personal and domestic need, we all felt as in the presence of the living Saviour, and learned to know him as our Divine friend.[1]

Consequently, before he was twelve years old, Paton said, “I have given my soul to God, and was resolved to aim at being a missionary of the cross, or a minister of the gospel.”[2]

The apostle Paul took this matter of personal example, very seriously. He wrote to the Corinthians,

Be imitators of me (I Cor. 11:1). 

He wrote to the Philippians,

The things you have learned and received and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil.4:9).

He wrote to Timothy,

The things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (II Tim.2:2).

And then,

You followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, and sufferings… (II Tim.3:10).

Conclusion:

It’s a big thing to try and live up to Paul’s parting words to the Ephesians, “in everything I showed you…” But if godly parents will take this charge seriously, they will most likely like Abraham, inherit the promises of God, along with their children. For,

A righteous man who walks in his integrity- how blessed are his sons after him (Prov.20:7).

Is that what you’re living, working and praying for?

 

 

[1] Quoted in John Piper, “21 Servants of Sovereign Joy,” 2018, p.543-44.

[2] Piper, p.545.

Beginning with Home Schooling (26) Judges 13 and Christian Education (II)

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 William Tyndale 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 committed 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, after identifying him, 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’s comments here are helpful:

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 direct 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, only weeks before he (Hitler) committed suicide.

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

[4] Matthew Henry’s Commentary, ‘Joshua to Esther,’ p.204.

Beginning with Home Schooling (25) Judges 13 and Christian Education (I)

Introduction:

Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, “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.” God listened to the voice of Manoah… (Judges 13:8).

The notion perpetrated by some, that the Old Testament is somehow an outdated document and of little use today, has brought immeasurable harm to the church. Furthermore, it is an idea that has no Biblical validity, and thus is a foolish notion that should be rejected out of hand. The scripture plainly tells us that

…whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Ro.15:4).

After His resurrection, when Jesus met up with two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He reproved them for their unbelief (Luke 24:25). Then

He explained to them the things concerning Him in all the scriptures (v.27).

Later, Paul gave the Corinthians a somewhat lengthy historical lesson on Israel’s history (I Cor.10:1-10), explaining that

…these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (v.11).

Quite simply, the Christian educator must be prepared for instruction from any passage of scripture, from Genesis to Revelation,

…for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (II Tim.3:16-17).

Firstly, we see in this passage from Judges that “the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years” (v.1).

This is the seventh time that the scripture records a phrase like this in Judges. (See 2:14; 3:8; 3:12-13; 4:2; 6:1; 10:7). It was nothing new for Israel since coming out of Egypt, led by Moses. Once again, their idolatry led to servitude at the hands of their enemies. The scripture then informs us (v.2) that Manoah’s wife was barren. A nation in idolatry and servitude, and a barren wife! Not such a good start for any husband.

But Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life…” (Jn.11:25). For the repentant individual, family, church or nation, despite a multitude of past failures, there is always hope in the Lord.

And in this bleak family and national situation, God sends an angel, who visited Manoah’s wife, saying,

…Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son… (v.3).

God had visited barren women before (Sarah-Gen.21:1-2; Rebekah-Gen.25:20-22 and Rachel-Gen.30:22-24), and there would be a number more before the closing of the canon, Hannah (I Sam.1:19-20) and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-7, 57) being only two. In the case of Rebekah, God had spoken to her while the twins were in her womb (Gen.25:21-23), giving her advance knowledge of the nature of the boys, and by inference, a specific obligation towards them (see Ro.9:10-13). Now He spoke to Manoah’s wife in relation to her duties and obligations concerning this promised son, even while in her womb.

What does this mean?

Parents have serious responsibilities towards God in relation to their children, to prepare them in and for their calling before Him. Manoah’s wife was directed by the angel to take certain steps for Samson, even before she had conceived.

Does the scripture give us an earlier direction in this regard, from even before the patriarchs? Yes, it does.

Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth…” God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen.1:26, 28).

Some theologians have called this passage the Dominion Mandate. Children are the responsibility of their parents, and in emergencies, their families. When Esther was left orphaned, she was adopted by her Uncle Mordecai, who “…took her as his own daughter” (Esther 2:7). Churches also, have a responsibility to care for their own, and to protect the church and family from the intrusions of evildoers.

What may be a surprise for some, would be that the angel visited the woman, not her husband. But in the totality of scripture, this was not so unusual. Probably the most famous case of this, was Mary’s angelic visitation from Gabriel, with the news that she would bear a son (Luke 1:26-38). As “…a helper suitable…” (Gen.2:18) and “as a fellow heir of the grace of life…” (I Pet.3:7), husbands should rejoice in this visitation, and if the word of God should come to a family by this means, we should be glad.

(To be continued)

Beginning with Home Schooling (22)

The Independent Educator

By Andrew McColl, 3rd September, 2019

Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgements which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey (Deut.6:1-3).

True, godly, independent education begins with the Word of God, not the word of man, or anyone else. This is the fearful error our first parents made in the garden, and it is the error that the vast majority of parents have been making since then, even among those that claim to want to give their children a “godly” education.

Jesus promised us that,

…If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (Jn.8:31-32).

But our enemies have known that naivete was one of our susceptibilities, and they have played on it, hard. In the early years of the Reformation, Luther 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.

Thus there has been almost unceasing pressure on parents, to place their children “…where the scriptures do not reign paramount.” In what ways has this pressure been manifested?

I am sometimes amazed how much parents want the approval of others, for the choices they are making for their children’s education. This is often sad; even pathetic. Sometimes it seems that the fact that a school has “Christian” in its name, or advertises its “Biblical values,” has “Devotions” each morning, or a massive cross out the front of the school, or advertises the large proportion of their former students who now attend university, is sufficient to ensure significant enrolment numbers.

But all this is superficial. It doesn’t mean that this is a “Christian school.” It simply means that it has some of the common external forms of a Christian school, which are useful for its promotional material. That glossy brochure they use? An advertising tool for gullible parents.

What doesn’t get much publicity, is that private schools in Australia are funded by the State, and the State inspects the school, especially its documents, and its curriculum.

If those documents don’t stack up, that school has a big problem. I was working in a school in 1983 that was inspected, and one of the teachers had not completed her Student Roll correctly. Believe me, that was a major issue. We didn’t have playground fights, abusive teachers or students sitting in run-down school buildings in stifling heat, but one incorrectly completed Roll?

Bureaucratic inspectors will find fault with anything they can. And they don’t want to see too much evidence of the Bible, or God, or Jesus Christ in a school. These are off-limit matters, for they imply religion, ideology and fundamental values.

So when Christians are taken in by superficiality, they have no one to blame but themselves. They ask for trouble and they most certainly will get it. Purporting to provide a child with a Christian education is not the same as giving him one. Finney was right:

I would rather pay any price at all within my means, or even to satisfy myself with one meal a day, to enable me to educate my children at home sooner than give them over to the influence of public schools. Remember that your children will be educated, either by yourself or by someone else. Either truth or error will possess their minds. They will have instruction, and if you do not secure to them right instruction, they will have that which is false (Charles Finney, 1792-1875).

Secondly, Christian schools want funding. Of course, they haven’t considered the implications of this, because funding cannot and should not be offered without a certification and approval process, through the Department of Education.

Is this what Deuteronomy directed parents to do? No, it did not. It left the responsibility to educate children with their parents, as independent educators. And, whatever resources or curriculum they chose to utilize had to be consistent with “…His statutes and His commandments…”

But timid and poorly taught believers haven’t gone this far. Their leaders haven’t: why should they? They may talk about giving children a “Christian education,” but let’s face it: talk is cheap. When they talk about a “Christian education,” they are really meaning a Departmentally approved school, funded by taxpayers. That means a Departmentally approved curriculum.

But what if the Department of Education is dominated by godless bureaucrats who are intolerant of anything Christian? 99% of “Christian” schools want the State’s funding, because it’s essential for the school’s continuation, including the teachers’ wages. So, the school removes anything offensive from its documents, to placate the Department’s inspectors.

“Christian” and offensive? Get it out-now.

Conclusion:

But you really wanted to give your child an independent Christian education? That’s good. You’ll probably have to do it yourself at home, without registration with a godless department.

And isn’t that what God commanded us to do in Deuteronomy, anyway?

Beginning with Home Schooling (21)

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.

North writes,

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.[1]

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.

Conclusion:

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).

[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “The ‘Little Things’ of Life,” 16/5/2016.

 

Beginnings of Home Schooling (20)

By Gary North (www.garynorth.com), June 25, 2019

Remnant Review

In a free society, an individual is allowed to withdraw from the establishment, whatever the establishment is.

The freedom to withdraw is the essence of freedom. It is the legal right of the individual to say no personally, as long as he is willing to bear the costs of saying no.

The problem is, reformers rarely come to us in the name of our right to say no and withdraw. They come in the name of capturing political power, and then using the state to force our opinions down the throats of the public.

They tell us that some elite group has gained control of the government. These nefarious people are forcing their views down our throats.

Usually, this assessment is correct. This is exactly what has happened. This is what state power is all about. But then the reformer says that we owe it to ourselves, to the nation, and the world to organize into a political action group in order to capture the top-down hierarchical state system that the other elite group has used to shove its views down our throats.

When people hear the siren song of capturing agencies of government power, they are tempted to believe that this strategy will liberate them. They never think about the obvious, namely, that the problem is not who runs the agencies; the problem is that the agencies exist. When the agencies exist, there will be competition for getting into control of the agencies. Power mirrors power seekers. This was the thesis of F. A. Hayek in his chapter in The Road to Serfdom (1944), “Why the Worst Get on Top.” They understand the use of power. They are systematic in their quest for power. They are ruthless in their quest for power.

REFORMING THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

I think this is most obvious in the case of tax-supported education. For over 60 years, I have heard conservatives demanding an overhaul of the public schools. They come in the name of conservative principles, or so they tell us. They say that the public schools have been captured by one or another elite group. They want us to organize the special interest group to recapture the public schools, state-by-state.

This is a totally utopian goal. The public schools have always been controlled by elites. The whole point of the public schools was to give the elite control over the content of the education.

In English-speaking North America, this goes back to 1642, when the Puritans of Massachusetts mandated the creation of schools in each town. They did it in the name of making certain that the children were indoctrinated in the theology of Puritanism. It was an early case of the church-state alliance. Here is the text of the law, which was published by the colony in 1648. The title of the publication: The Book of the General Lawes and Libertyes Concerning the Inhabitants of the Massachusets Collected Out of the Records of the General Court for the Several Years Wherein They Were Made and Established. It has been reprinted by the Liberty Fund here.

For as much as the good education of children is of singular behoof and benefit to any Common-wealth; and wher as many parents & masters are too indulgent and negligent of their duty in that kinde. It is therefore ordered that the Selectmen of every town, in the severall precincts and quarters where they dwell, shall have a vigilant eye over their brethren & neighbours, to see, first that none of them shall suffer so much barbarism in any of their families as not to indeavour to teach by themselves or others, their children & apprentices so much learning as may inable them perfectly to read the english tongue, & knowledge of the Capital laws: upon penaltie of twentie shillings for each neglect therin. Also that all masters of families doe once a week (at the least) catechize their children and servants in the grounds & principles of Religion, & if any be unable to doe so much: that then at the least they procure such children or apprentices to learn some short orthodox catechism without book, that they may be able to answer unto the questions that shall be propounded to them out of such catechism by their parents or masters or any of the Selectmen when they shall call them to a tryall of what they have learned in this kinde.

This law established the equivalent of what is known today as Child Protective Services. It had the power to remove the children from their parents and turn them over to foster parents.

And further that all parents and masters do breed & bring up their children & apprentices in some honest lawful calling, labour or imploymet, either in husbandry, or some other trade profitable for themselves, and the Common-wealth if they will not or cannot train them up in learning to fit them for higher imployments. And if any of the Selectmen after admonition by them given such masters of families shal finde them still negligent of their dutie in the particulars aforementioned, wherby children and servants become rude, stubborn & unruly; the said Selectmen with the help of two Magistrates, or the next County court for that Shire, shall take such children or apprentices from them & place them with some masters for years (boyes till they come to twenty-one, and girls eighteen years of age compleat) which will more strictly look unto, and force them to submit unto government according to the rules of this order, if by fair means and former instructions they will not be drawn unto it. [1642]

This law did not persuade parents to conform. So, a replacement law was passed in 1647. It created tax-supported schools. It was done in the name of anti-Catholicism, but without mentioning Catholicism.

It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these later times by perswading from the use of Tongues, that so at least the true sense and meaning of the Original might be clowded with false glosses of Saint-seeming-deceivers; and that Learning may not be buried in the graves of our fore-fathers in Church and Commonwealth, the Lord assisting our indeavours: it is therfore ordered by this Court and Authoritie therof;

That everie Township in this Jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty Householders shall then forthwith appoint one within their Town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the Parents or Masters of such children, or by the Inhabitants in general by way of supply, as the major part of those that order the prudentials of the Town shall appoint. Provided that those which send their children be not oppressed by paying much more then they can have them taught for in other Towns.

Two centuries later, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts established the first state Department of Education in 1837. In 1833, the state finally had abolished its established church. It was the last state to do this. After this, it no longer paid Congregational ministers to perform their tasks. Yet within four years, a new state church was established. It was run by a Unitarian lawyer, Horace Mann. He became the first great promoter of tax funded education in America. Wikipedia describes Mann.

It was not until he was appointed Secretary in 1837 of the newly created Massachusetts Board of Education that he began the work which was to place him in the foremost rank of American educators. On entering on his duties, he withdrew from all other professional or business engagements and from politics.

He held this position, and worked with a remarkable intensity, holding teachers’ conventions, delivering numerous lectures and addresses, carrying on an extensive correspondence, and introducing numerous reforms. Mann persuaded his fellow modernizers, especially those in the Whig Party, to legislate tax-supported elementary public education in their states and to feminize the teaching force. Most northern states adopted one version or another of the system he established in Massachusetts, especially the program for “normal schools” to train professional teachers.

He was elected to Congress in 1848.

COERCION IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM

The call to reform the public schools is inherently a call to keep the state strong. It is the call to use coercion in the name of liberty. It goes back to Horace Mann.

the public should no longer remain ignorant;
that such education should be paid for, controlled, and sustained by an interested public;
that this education will be best provided in schools that embrace children from a variety of backgrounds;
that this education must be non-sectarian;
that this education must be taught using the tenets of a free society; and
that education should be provided by well-trained, professional teachers.

These are not the tenets of a free society. These are the tenets of the state-controlled society.

The enormous success of Horace Mann’s vision is seen in the fact that conservatives today accept his fundamental principles. They accept the public schools. They accept the idea that the state has the right to extract money through the threat of coercion from families that are committed to a particular worldview to fund schools that will systematically teach their children to reject that worldview. They believe in neutral education, which is a myth. It was a myth first promoted in the Prussian schools, where Horace Mann visited in 1843, and returned home to promote that vision of education.

DE-FUNDNG THE SYSTEM

It is inherent in the nature of tax-funded education that an elite group wants to control the next generation. It does so by control of the educational establishment.

The solution to this is not the capture of the public school bureaucracy. The solution to it is the defunding of all education. All of it. In the classic words of Eliza Doolittle, in response to her father’s request for money, “Not a brass farthing.”

The public school system truly is America’s only established church. The likelihood of being able to persuade the public to cut off all farthings to the public schools is essentially zero.

There has been much greater liberty in the United States for parents to pull out of the system than in most European countries. But the cost of doing so has always been so high that only a tiny fraction of American parents has done this. They’ve usually done it for religious reasons.

Today, with online education, parents can pull their children out for very little money. If they use the Khan Academy, it costs them nothing except time. Nevertheless, fewer than 2 million children are homeschooled. By comparison, total enrollment in tax-funded schools is in the range of 57 million.

Until people are willing to fund their own children’s educations, there will not be a successful movement to defund the public schools. Until people realize that they are victims of the public school system, they will not resist them politically.

The educational solution is not a reform movement to capture the instruments of power. The solution is to withdraw support from those institutions. In the case of education, it has to begin with homeschooling and private education. But private education is expensive. Only the elite can afford it. Not many families can afford $8,000 to $20,000 a year per child to send their children to brick-and-mortar schools. But they can afford homeschooling.

CONCLUSION

The solution to the monopoly of the United States Postal Service is the de-funding of the USPS. But this will take time.

It begins with secession. This has taken place. It began with email, which was followed by texting. Today, there is no economic justification for the USPS. People have grown used to it. It is an ancient institution. But people are no longer dependent on it. If it disappeared tomorrow, hardly anybody would notice. They would get less junk mail, which I like to think of as opportunity mail. But I am in the opportunity mail business. The USPS works for me. But I would be glad to vote for a candidate running for Congress whose only promise was this: “Cut the funding to zero of the USPS.” The trouble is, nobody could be elected if that was the heart of his platform. But it would be a good touchstone of his commitment to limited government.

The Internet is an engine of freedom. It lets us secede from the monopolies established by the state. People do this to benefit themselves economically, never thinking about the fact that they are undermining the economic justification and therefore the political legitimacy of the modern state.

Here is my reform slogan: Secede and De-Fund, Not Capture.

Beginning with Homeschooling (19)

Education in the Modern Era

The twentieth century was the century of government in the West, more than at any other time in the last two millennia. In the twentieth century, government steadily entrenched itself as the foremost institution of society, so that society has become steadily centralised. The individual, the family and the Church have been progressively pressed into society’s background, because government has demanded the dominant role in society.

It was the recognition that the Bible was at the foundation of western civilisation that led to restraints in the size and expansion of government. Christians historically have led this cause. This provides us with an explanation for work of Alfred the Great, as he utilised the law of God to structure much of English law, the Magna Carta (written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton), the opposition of the English Puritans to Charles I (culminating in their trial and execution of him), and in modern times to much of the ideology of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. It was Reagan who said in 1986 that

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’

Nowhere has the growth in the role of government been more evident than in education. Four generations ago, the family was recognised as the responsible institution to educate children, in agreement with scripture. But ambitious, arrogant governments and their bureaucrats could never be content with parents determining how their children were educated.

That would never do! What would parents know?

Jesus Christ made an observation concerning the Pharisees, which can legitimately be applied to governments of our era. He said

Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted (Mat.15:13).

What did He mean?

All people and institutions need to observe Biblical boundaries, given to us by the God of heaven. If they do not, they are implicitly claiming that “There is no God: we do what we like,” and in doing so, they risk His judgment.

Ultimately the Pharisees destroyed themselves, through their hostility to God and His Son. Forty years after Jesus made His comments about them, the Romans came to Jerusalem, and they weren’t happy. Just as Jesus had predicted (in Mat.22:1-7), and as He warned His disciples (Mat.24:15-34; Mk.13:14-30; Luke 21:20-32), the Romans burnt the temple, destroyed the city, and every person within was either killed or enslaved. Now, as He also predicted, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone…” (Mat.21:42). Yes, they could get rid of Him, but His would be the last Word.

Like Jesus Himself, the Christian person can never afford to ignore the facts of life around him, even if people about us are violently in conflict with scripture. What we must do is get our marching orders from the Word of the God of Creation, and proceed accordingly.

And in terms of education, He requires that parents take responsibility for the education and training of their children. To pass this vital parental task over to a tax-funded bureaucratic government department, that employs atheistic teachers utilising an ungodly curriculum that promotes the religion of humanism, in the presence of an evil peer-group, cannot be construed to be faithful to God; it is in violation of His clear commandments to parents, found in Deuteronomy, and a multitude of other places in the scriptures.

Many years ago whilst working for Australian Christian Academy, a woman made an appointment to see me, to talk over the idea of home schooling her seven year old boy. As we spoke together, she admitted she’d been convicted when her son (who attended a State school), had said to her, “Mum, why do you send me to a school that doesn’t believe in God?”

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                      

Every era passes, and Jesus’ warnings to the Pharisees (and to us) haven’t gone away.

In our era, there are plants that our Heavenly Father has promised one day to uproot. In that day, will we be subjects of His judgement, or will we glory in His salvation?

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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The Mother in the House

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord (Ps.128:3-4).

He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord! (Ps.113:9).

One of the mistakes we’ve been making in the church for over a century now, is neglecting the Bible’s teaching on the role of women, and specifically mothers. We’ve commonly liked the idea of babies, but what then? This has caused us no end of pain, as the world has taken a lead from our inaction, and gone on to make all sorts of foolish and evil assumptions about what it thinks mothers ought to be doing, with some dire consequences.

The teaching responsibility of godly parents begins with the father. We see this in Genesis, when God speaks of Abraham, declaring that

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).

Alongside this, the woman’s original role given before she was created, was to help her husband. According to the Bible, every mother has a powerful and influential role as a teacher as well.

Proverbs 1:8 says:

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 6:20:

My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.

Proverbs 31:1:

The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him.

Proverbs 31:26:

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching [or law] of kindness is on her tongue.

Song of Solomon 8:2 says

I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me.

Today, when a woman says, “I’m just a mother,” it tells me that she’s been brainwashed by someone. Someone’s convinced her there is something diminutive, second-rate or of little consequence about what she does. Like Eve in the garden, she’s believed a lie.

Mary Pride, in her book “The Way Home,” is helpful here:

Careerism is based on an inferiority complex, as follows.

  • Only men’s work has worth. Women’s traditional work is useless.
  • Therefore, I must get a job to prove I am somebody. If all the action is out in the men’s “economic-opportunity sphere,” well then, we’ll all have to crowd into that end of the bus.

But ‘tis not so, not so at all. As I sat there that day in the doctor’s office wondering what word would better express my career than “housewife,” a word flashed into my head. Homeworking. That word is the centre of the passage in Titus [ch.2:5] which tells young wives how to live a Christian life.[1]

It’s no accident that humanists have been attacking for centuries the thought of mothers being at home with their children. They hate the notion, because they understand that the godly home is the cradle of the Christian faith for any society. They understand the powerful teaching role mothers can have with their children, and they will crawl over broken glass in their attempts to subvert this.

With the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Soviets knew what they had to do. They soon declared that

[The Soviet family] is an organic part of Soviet society. Parents are not without authority … but this authority is only a reflection of social authority…. In our country he alone is a man of worth whose needs and desires are the needs and desires of a collectivist…. Our family offers rich soil for the cultivation of such collectivism.[2]

If you thought these ideas would have been limited to Communist nations, you’d be in for a rude shock. The West has been increasingly drinking from the same ideological well as the Communists, since their revolution. Forty years ago an American woman declared that

If we want to talk about equality of opportunity for children, then the fact that children are raised in families means there’s no equality…. In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.[3]

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                 It’s powerful when that Christian mother is requiring that Johnny memorise a verse of scripture, use an adjective in a sentence, or is teaching Suzie to recite her times tables.  Why?

Because they have entered into a process with their children that almost inevitably will lead to much, much more than just the knowledge of sentence structure or multiplication. They may not have recognised the implications, but they have begun a process in their family that God has ordained since Genesis.

In that home and family, the beginnings of social reformation are taking place. Given time and the faithful obedience of generations, the fruit of this promises to be nothing short of remarkable: the reconstruction of families, churches, communities and whole nations.

And for what goal? The re-establishment of a Christian culture, and a God-honouring Christian civilisation in the world.

Christian mothers should get out of bed tomorrow, with a plan. Will you?

 

[1] Mary Pride, “The Way Home,” 1984, p.132.

[2] Soviet family theorist Anton S. Makarenko, “The Collective Family, A Handbook for Russian Parents,” pages xi-xii, 42.

[3] Dr. Mary Jo Bane, Assistant Secretary of Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services, 1993-1996; currently Thornton Bradshaw Professor of Public Police and Management, Harvard Kennedy School; quoted in “The Family: It’s Surviving and Healthy” by Dolores Barclay, Tulsa World, August 21, 1977.