Rebuilding the Godly Foundations (2)

Your Name, O Lord, is everlasting, Your remembrance, O Lord, throughout all generations (Ps. 135:13).

We make a big mistake as believers, if we centre the purpose of God in our lifetime. Our lifetime is certainly important to us, but God has a far greater time-frame in mind than the few years on the planet that we’ll have.

This means that we have to think about those years when we certainly won’t be here. We won’t be around, but our children and our grandchildren will. We can’t live their lives for them, nor should we try. But what we can do is help prepare the next generations of God’s people for faithful service of Him.

For this, homeschooling presents us with a great opportunity, and more. We can fulfil our obligation to the Lord to use our time productively, with the next generations in mind.

But when the first digit on your age changes as many times as mine has, you realise that statistically, there can’t be a lot more of these. We simply run out of time, run out of life.

On my office wall, I have a photo taken of the property where I grew up, near Cowra in the central west of NSW. In the foreground is a mob of sheep, and five hundred metres back is my home till I was 18. Another five hundred metres back, is the home my grandfather built around 1910, where my father (the youngest, born in 1918) and his siblings grew up. The last of my father’s generation died in 2000. Now, the property is owned by my cousins and their sons. Life moves on, to the next generations.

Abraham was the first of his family to be called of God. He sojourned in the promised land, knowing that God had promised it to him, but not just yet. For God said,

I will give it to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God (Gen.17:8).

Abraham and Isaac both lived in tents, dug wells, and built altars to the Lord. Some family traditions are futile, but not these ones. When you have lots of livestock (Gen.13:2) and dependent families (and Abraham must have had over 1,000 people-see Gen.14:14), a good supply of water is critical. But Isaac’s well-digging was fiercely contested by the Philistines (see Gen.26:12-25), because they were envious of him.

Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but it was Joshua who led them into the land. And what was the centrepiece of God’s encouragement to Joshua? Faithfulness to the law of God.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1:8).

David had it in his heart to build a temple for God, and that was good. But it wasn’t his task- it was Solomon’s. All David was supposed to do was prepare for it, by assembling the raw materials for its building.

David was a great man, but Solomon, who seemed initially to show great promise, ended up in compromise and idolatry (I Kings 11:1-13). Though God had appeared to him twice, he frittered away his great inheritance, influenced by hundreds of foreign, pagan wives: “…the foreign women caused even him to sin” (Neh.13:26). In this, he did what his father had actually initiated: he married lots of wives; something God’s law (Deut.17:14-17) specifically forbade Israel’s kings to do.

This much is clear: the next generation of God’s people either builds on the past successes, or abandons them.

Everyone has to pass the baton, sometime. But what we must do as well as we can, is make those preparations for others who come after us, even while they are children.

This requires some things. It requires that we have faith in God, that He will lead and keep our successors just as faithfully as He has led and kept us. If we leave something of worth behind, they will have something to build on.

The first thing to leave for our children is a godly example. This aspect of leadership is a prominent theme in scripture.

It is a show of false modesty for a parent to say, “Well, my role is not a very important.” You are important, because you will spend a significant portion of your adult years modelling a lifestyle to your children, and then perhaps your grandchildren. Saying, “I don’t model anything,” is not facing the facts; you may not deliberately do so, but it will just happen in the day to day affairs of home and family, as others observe your speech, attitudes, behaviour and decisions.

Godly Gideon said to his three hundred men, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do” (Judges 7:17).

Even evil leaders understand the importance of leadership. Abimelech said to his followers, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do likewise. All the people also cut down each one his branch and followed Abimelech … (Judges 9:48-49).

Leadership by example is God’s way. The Bible says that “…God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Ro.5:8). Jesus commanded us to “take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…” (Mat.11:29), and He also said that “when he [the good shepherd] puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (Jn.10:4).

When Paul explained to Timothy the requirements of an overseer (see I Tim.3:1-7), implicit in his description is that the overseer is to be an example to those he leads, while Peter plainly says that the elders are to be “examples to the flock” (I Pet.5:3).  Paul said, “the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil.4:6). He also said, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (I Cor.11:1).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                             Everyone godly person leads with the hope and prayer that those who come after them will follow the Lord, and build on the useful foundations laid before them. We cannot ensure this will happen. But this we know: God wants to lead successive generations.

…Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees. He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back,” seven times. It came about at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea” (I Kings 18:42-44).

Children Don’t Need School (11)

Biblical economics affirms that children are a blessing, since they are a form of social capital. Men are to become effective stewards of God’s resources. They are to invest in their children by constantly training them in the precepts of biblical law (Deut.6:7). They are to encourage them to take up a productive calling before God. But parents are entitled to a return on their investment. Children are supposed to provide for their parents in the latters’ old age. Parents are therefore to be honored (Ex.20:12). Honoring God involves giving one’s financial substance (Prov.3:9). Parents are also deserving of this financial honor.

Jesus strongly criticized the Pharisees of His day for their denial of this law, in the name of tradition. They refused to support their parents by claiming that they were themselves without assets, having “given to God” all that they had (Mark 7:6-13). This “higher spirituality” in defiance of God’s law was repudiated by Christ.

Children must support aged parents. The parents get the financial security they deserve; their investment in their children is returned to them in direct fashion. This increases the likelihood that parents will honor their obligations while their children are young. The family becomes a trans-generational economic unit-one worth investing in.[1]

The Christian person is obligated to hear the word of God and obey it. Logically, there will be occasions when he finds that his structures of belief and action lack integrity, and he needs to change.

God doesn’t need to change what He thinks and does. We do, for we are His servants, and as we grow in the faith, we learn. Christian maturity presupposes we’ll need to change in order to conform to His perfect will, and this will inevitably involve our attitudes to money, assets and giving. It also involves our family, and our children.

“Constantly training them in the precepts of biblical law,” means they will come to know that the scriptures are extremely practical, relevant documents, designed to be understood and applied. This commences with the Ten Commandments[2], with all their applications to life, then should continue to studying the case laws (Ex.21-23).[3]

These help us to see how God has structured His Word to be extremely practical. We are not to be like blind men, intellectually groping around for some kind of truth, but to seek out  scriptural instruction. That was the intention of us having His word, from the beginning.

The Psalmist wrote,

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart (Ps.119:34).

Biblical law will show us just how much we in the church have walked away from His Word. Every part of the nonsense that most of the world is enduring today over Corona-19, has to do with God’s people neglecting to be instructed from Leviticus 13 and 14, which deals with laws relating to contagious diseases. In summary, only those infected were to undergo restrictions. Taking note of these, we could have instructed governments of the folly of “Lockdowns,” of enforced wearing of masks, closing state borders and other awful intrusions into our liberties, so that the community could go on in its normal state. And this would be just the beginning.

Public schools have taught us there is another way: the humanistic way. When Christian parents send their children to the public school, they are subjecting them to 14,000 hours of humanistic indoctrination, spread over 12 years. Is it any wonder that so frequently, they abandon the faith?

But, the Bible says that

Adversity pursues sinners, but the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity (Prov.13:21).

Conclusion:

Educating our children at home requires parents to seriously consider what they believe and why. It means we have to go and seek out what the Bible says about a host of important subjects (like economics, taxation and defence) that may be new areas of study to us. And that means investigating godly authors who have gone and done their work, leaving it to posterity.

This will be good for us, our families, the church, and the community. And social health will be the consequence, because “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” (Ps.33:12).

And children don’t need school.


[1]Gary North, “The Dominion Covenant,” 1987, p.170-71.

[2]Rousas Rushdoony, “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” 1973.

[3]Gary North, “Tools of Dominion: the Case Laws of Exodus,” 1999.

Counting the cost of national maths failure

National Correspondent Brisbane

Researcher Matthew Dean says first-year students have knowledge of maths concepts but lack the skills to solve problems. Source: News Corp Australia

Academics are concerned that assignment-based assessment methods are rendering a generation of Australian children innumerate.

WHAT’S five times four? Geophysicist Peter Ridd was gobsmacked to see a first-year university student pull out a calculator to work out the no-brainer equation.

The James Cook University professor blames the dumbing down of a generation of Australian students on modern teaching philosophies that deride rote learning as “drill and kill”. His alarm is echoed by eminent maths, science and education professors concerned that under­qualified teachers, “student-led” pedagogy and assignment-based assessment methods are rendering a generation of Australian children innumerate.

“Modern educational theory says you don’t need knowledge because it’s all online; there’s Google,’’ Ridd tells Inquirer. “But you ultimately do need a basic proficiency in spelling and numbers; you need knowledge inside your head. I’ve seen uni kids, when I’ve asked them ‘What’s 61 x 0?’, pick up a calculator.’’

Scientist Jennifer Stow, a former Harvard University researcher with a PhD from Monash University and a postdoctoral degree from Yale, shares Ridd’s dismay. As laboratory head at the University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Bio­science, and a principal research fellow with the National Health and Medical Research Council, she teaches science to undergraduates and trains PhD students.

Stow is “flabbergasted” by what she views as substandard skills in maths and English among many Australian undergraduates. Foreign PhD science students outnumber the locals in her field, she says, because local students are so far behind in maths.

“They can’t do basic maths,’’ Stow tells Inquirer.

“A lot of them haven’t learned the times tables at school, they haven’t been drilled in spelling and they come to university not being able to do division.

“There are lots of international students at university now, and kids from places like Singapore have got much better reading, writing and maths skills than the Australian kids.’’

The sliding standards are spelled out in the latest results from the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment. The international PISA test, last conducted in 2012, reveals the numeracy levels of Australian teenagers have plunged so far in a decade that four out of 10 lack “baseline” maths skills.

Australia’s maths performance in Year 10 fell by the equivalent of six months of schooling between 2003 and 2012. Australia dropped from 11th to 19th place in the league table of 65 countries. China, Singapore, South Korea and Japan topped the class; the average 15-year-old from Shanghai is 1½ years ahead in maths than a typical Australian student. Just 15 per cent of Australian students were top performers, compared with 55 per cent in Shanghai. One-fifth of Australian students were ranked among the poorest performers in maths, in contrast to 3.8 per cent of Chinese students.

The national curriculum for maths has won broad support from maths teachers and university educators. Kevin Donnelly, one of two educational experts appointed to review the curriculum for the Abbott government, believes style and quality of teaching count as much as the content.

“If it’s not rigorous, and teaching isn’t explicit and well structured, you do get into trouble,’’ he tells Inquirer. “There needs to be rote learning, memorisation and mental arithmetic so it becomes automatic. The fashion for the past 20 years has been very much against memorisation and we need to bring that back.’’

The steady decline in mathematics performance in Australian schools has resulted, in turn, in a shortage of qualified maths teachers. Thousands of children are being taught maths by teachers who specialised in humanities subjects at university.

“At high school the person teaching physics is more likely to be a physical education teacher than someone qualified to teach science,’’ notes Ridd.

Forty per cent of Australia’s maths teachers are “out of field”. Queensland’s Auditor-General has revealed that one in eight maths B teachers in years 11 and 12, and one in three maths teachers in years 8 to 10, lacks a tertiary qualification in maths. Four times more phys-ed teachers graduated from Queensland universities than maths teachers in 2012. The audit noted a shortage of maths, science and technology teachers in high schools — but an oversupply of physical education, music, drama and dance instructors.

Stephen Norton, a senior lecturer in mathematics education at Griffith University’s school of education and professional studies, tests the numeracy of all his would-be teachers. The results are worrying: the average undergraduate teacher has the maths skills of a Year 7 student. Half would struggle with a Year 9 National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy test, which measures basic levels of literacy and numeracy for 14-year-olds.

Norton believes most univer­sity teaching courses fail to demand “reasonable levels of numeracy’’ from trainee teachers. Instead, course lecturers concentrate on teaching “learning theories, the role of technology, mathematics of indigenous cultures, learners’ attitudes towards mathematics and curriculum trends”. A typical four-year teaching degree, Norton says, dedicates just 32 hours to the teaching of maths.

“Every year I test my students and they’ve got the understanding of a Year 7 or Year 8 kid,’’ he says. “Maybe 25 per cent have a good knowledge. They struggle with fractions and proportional rea­soning and anything to do with algebra. I believe it is our res­ponsibility in universities to make sure we can remediate that.’’

Norton is critical of schools’ emphasis on “inquiry-based teaching” at the expense of drills and memorisation. Performance is falling, he says, “not because our kids are dumber; it’s because they haven’t got the basics”.

“We’ve got to find a balance where we don’t stifle creativity but we give students the basics to apply in higher order ways,” he arg­ues. “On the one hand, we want kids to discover how to do things themselves and be persistent and resilient. But what happens when you have inquiry-based pedagogy, with teachers who don’t ­really know the discipline and don’t emphasise the basic skills, is that children end up falling behind.”

One example of the modern “student-directed learning” style is the maths homework set for 10-year-olds at a Brisbane state school this week. “Write a reflection that highlights at least 2 areas in maths that you feel more confident about as we draw to the end of Year 5,’’ it says. “List at least two target areas that you would like to work on and explain what strategies you will use to take responsibility for your learning.”

Ridd, the James Cook University scientist who despairs at the reliance on calculators for simple sums, is highly critical of Queensland’s unique but controversial assessment methods for high school maths. While other states and territories rely on regular external testing of kids’ maths ability, Queensland high schools set a series of written assignments that can be 10,000 words long.

“We (scientists) want someone who can solve an equation and add fractions,’’ Ridd says. “The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority wants someone who can write an essay. The problem for us is the mark that comes down from the high school is a very poor predictor of whether the students can do simple maths. The subject has been hijacked by education theorists who have no idea what’s going on.”

A Queensland parliamentary inquiry has recommended that external testing be introduced for 50 per cent of students’ marks in years 11 and 12 — in line with the southern states — with a limit of one written maths assignment each year.

The Liberal National Party government, having sat on the findings for 14 months, is now promising a “draft response” by Christmas. This week it published a vague “30-year vision” on education reform, which referred to the need to “attract, retain and reward the best and brightest teachers”. It will appoint 300 “master teachers” to 463 schools next year. Queensland is also reviewing its OP system, which ranks students on their “overall position” in relation to other students, without external exams.

It is telling that Education Queensland’s selective Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology — reserved for the state’s brightest students — has shunned the official curriculum. Instead, its students study the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which the academy describes as a “program for rigorous learning and assessment”.

Matthew Dean, a researcher and former first-year lecturer at the University of Queensland school of mathematics and physics, believes teachers who let kids use calculators at primary school are “ruining children’s lives”.

In a submission to the national curriculum review, Dean explained that technology had a “smart end” consisting of the creators, and a “dumb end” of consumers. “Rather than making all Australian students and parents pay to be at the dumb end of technology, a good education system would give students the freedom to one day be at the smart, creative end, if they so choose,” he wrote. “The way to this freedom and ability is through mastering mathematics — the power of thought behind science and technology.”

Dean likens reciting the times table to learning musical scales on the piano: boring and repetitive but essential to mastering more advanced pieces. Having lectured first-year maths students at university for five years, he notes that many have knowledge of mathematical concepts but not the skills to solve problems. “It’s as if they’ve done a mathematical appreciation course,” he says. “They know of things but don’t have the skill to do it themselves.”

Nationally, the number of Year 12 students enrolled in advanced maths has fallen 22 per cent in a decade, choking the supply of graduates for research institutions and industry.

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute is warning of a looming skills shortage for industries such as banking, mining, information security, IT, biotech and communications.

Stow, whose groundbreaking medical research is tracking the movement of proteins within cells, complains that high school students are getting “dumber by the minute”. She champions a return to the times tables and spelling bees in primary school. “There is no substitute for rote learning and it is the only way to build neural networks and imprint things into your brain,” she insists.

A surgeon, Stow argues, has no time to Google in an emergency. “You can’t operate that way,” she says. “You need a certain amount of basic skills and instant recall to do the job properly. You’ve got a computer; it’s called your brain.’’

Appreciating the First Lady (6)

Every household and every person needs help to get things done. I agree with the statement that

A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, but he needs his wife to help him,

but it’s only a part of the story. It’s also been said that

A woman’s work is never done,

and this is just as relevant. Where am I going with this?

Husbands need the help of their wife, but busy wives may need the help of their husband too, to get their tasks completed. Marriage is a two–way street, whereby each assists the other.

We’re having visitors for lunch today, and I’ve got things I want to do, in terms of some writing. I think these are important, and I need to do these. So far, so good.

But what about what my wife needs to do, too? Is she able to cope with the house and food preparations, by herself?

Let’s be practical. Sue works part-time with me, and this can be between two and five days a week. When its five, there is more to be done to ensure the household tasks get done, and nothing gets omitted, so she needs my help.

I think a man ought to be willing to help his wife in her tasks, and never think it is somehow beneath him. That’s pride, not godliness. Yes, he has a role to lead and direct his home, but her work sometimes needs his assistance to take a load off her, so that she isn’t floundering.

Thirty years ago, a friend of mine claimed that he didn’t believe in doing “women’s work,” whatever that is. He never did marry, though he had an opportunity. Was there a connection?

Christianity is highly service oriented. Jesus Christ is called “My servant…” by God (Isa.42:1). Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, and later went and died for them all. Paul instructed us, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…” (Phil.2:5). So, wise husbands (like all good leaders) are happy to lead through service.

The smooth functioning of any household requires the participation of every member, to get things done efficiently, and there can be overlap of responsibility. I don’t think of myself as superior to Sue, as though all help should be directed to me, only. That’s how tyrants and abusers operate, and I don’t want to be in that company.

She is not to be my slave or door-mat, but all of us need to bear in mind the Biblical command,

…through love serve another (Gal.5:13).

My fellow husband, is that what you do, too? It’s the servants who get honoured in the kingdom of God.

Appreciating the First Lady (2)

Is God’s leadership authoritarian? No.  How do I know that?

Authoritarian leaders like all tyrants, are moral cowards. What matters to them is the maintenance of their authority, not the truth, or what is best for those they are supposed to be serving. This is always a highly destructive attitude for any leader to hold, in a family, a business, a church or a nation.

Nabal (I Sam.25) was an authoritarian leader of his household. The Bible says he was “…harsh and evil in his dealings” (v.3). When his servant observed how rudely he rejected a request from David’s servants for material assistance, the servant pointed out to Nabal’s wife Abigail, that “…he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him” (v.17).

In his folly, Nabal destroyed himself (vs.37-38). If it hadn’t been for Abigail’s wise and brave intercession with David, Nabal would’ve brought destruction upon his whole household.

Authoritarian husbands in the church hide behind Bible verses that suit their argument, like Ephesians 5:24:

But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be subject to their husbands in everything.

Should wives obey this verse?

Of course, but husbands are foolish if they view this text in a one-dimensional manner. A wife’s help towards her husband has many facets to it, that some husbands don’t understand. It’s taken me a long time to understood all the ways my wife can help me.

On many occasions we’ve been out somewhere, and when we got home, my wife had some observations to make about what had taken place. Sometimes, it was because she thought my comments to others were excessive, or I had come across as extreme, or arrogant, or I needed to tone down the rhetoric. Sometimes she thought I’d shown too much attention to another female, and she said so.

Those sorts of comments are blunt and confronting. They are not designed to stroke and comfort my ego, and it’s only a fool who thinks his wife should be there to comfort his ego, because the Bible says, “…God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). And I’ve had to reflect upon what I’d said and done, and also consider verses like these:

A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool (Prov.17:10).

Reproofs for discipline are the way of life (Prov.6:23).

He who regards reproof will be honoured (Prov.13:18).

Faithful are the wounds of a friend… (Prov.27:6).

Every husband has to ask himself this question:

Which is better: to love, accept and submit to the truth (regardless of who gave it to you, or the consequences), or be an egotistical fool? You don’t need a lot of Bible knowledge to answer that question.

Naaman in the Bible shows us what a difference this can make. Twice (see II Kings 5:2-3, 13) he took advice from people who were under his authority, one of these being a captured little girl from Israel. On both occasions, taking advice from someone under his authority, propelled him towards his healing from leprosy.

It’s easy for a husband to say to his wife,

God put me in authority, and I’m not taking no advice from you.

But all he proves in the process, is that he’s getting dangerously like Nabal.

There is a lot more on this subject in the Bible, if husbands (who can be proud and arrogant), will care to pay any attention. Like,

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life (Prov.31:10-12).

Conclusion:

If husbands understand the Biblical role of their wife, it will lead to them appreciating her. It will lead to them making greater room for her opinions and attitudes, and all the household members will benefit from the greater harmony and richness of relationship this will bring.

Shouldn’t every godly husband want this?

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honour and life (Prov.22:4).

The Catastrophe of Fatherless America

Jun 19, 2020 by Jerry Newcombe

Much of the mayhem we see today is linked to fatherlessness.

Around this time we celebrate Father’s Day. But fathers in our culture have not recently appeared very important—at least according to Hollywood and other culture-shapers.

We used to have programs like “Father Knows Best” or “Leave It to Beaver” with a respectable father figure. Then we devolved to Archie Bunker on “All in the Family.” He was the stereotypical bigoted, benighted patriarch who was not worthy of emulation.

Then we devolved to Homer Simpson, the buffoonish dad, who was anything but a role model.

Of course, in many households today, there is no dad. And that’s a serious problem. So many of the children in fatherless homes begin life at a serious disadvantage. The breakdown of the family at large has caused a huge crisis in our society. For instance, statistics show that the majority of prison inmates come from broken families.

Fatherlessness is a serious blight on American life. As the family goes, so goes society. And, contrary to what the left says (who spend much of their energy diminishing traditional gender roles and arguing that whatever “family you choose” is just as good as the real thing), fathers are integral to the life of a child.

 

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Take an example. What is it that is devastating the black community today? Many in our current climate would say the main issue is racism. But sociologically, cultural pathologies are linked closely to poverty. And poverty is linked closely to the structure of the family. Government subsidies (by which the left buys votes) has created a permanent underclass of people by subsidizing fatherlessness and unemployment.

Prior to the Great Society, the rate of illegitimacy in the black community was relatively low and families were intact. And as economist Thomas Sowell points out, the poverty rate for African-Americans fell by 40 percent from 1940 to 1960—just before the “Great Society” welfare programs. Today, the illegitimacy rate is over 75%, which is devastating—by virtually all accounts.

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I remember many years ago when I attended an “evangelical church” in Chicago that was a little on the liberal side. One of the lay leaders, a man, got up and prayed, and he said, “Our Father, Our Mother….”

I was thinking, “What?!?” So I asked him after the service about the unorthodox prayer.

His response was that that church was in the shadow of the most notorious housing project in the city, Cabrini-Green. Fatherlessness was a huge problem there. Most people growing up there had a negative feeling about their earthly father because he was absent or drunk or abusive. Cabrini-Green was such a disaster that it has since been torn down.

In his book, Hearts of the Fathers, Charles Crismier notes that many American children today lack the “God-ordered earthly anchor for soul security” because dad is not in the home. He notes, “It is well known but seldom discussed, whether in the church house or the White House, that fatherlessness lies at the root of nearly all of the most glaring problems that plague our modern, now post-Christian life.”

For example, take the issue of poverty. Says Crismier, “Children living in female-headed homes have a poverty rate of 48 percent, more than four times the rate for children living in homes with their fathers and mothers.”

He points out that fathers are so important in the Bible, beginning with God the Father, that the words “father,” “fathers,” and “forefathers” appear 1,573 times.

Obviously, children in fatherless homes can survive and even thrive despite that handicap. But what a better thing it is to follow God’s design for the family.

There’s also a link between fatherlessness and unbelief. About 20 years ago, when he was a professor at New York University, Dr. Paul Vitz wrote a book, The Faith of the Fatherless. In that book he showed how famous atheists and skeptics in history had virtually no father figure in their life or a very negative father.

As examples, he cites Voltaire, Bertrand Russell, H. G. Wells, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Paul Sartre, Thomas Hobbs, and Sigmund Freud, among others.

Conversely, Vitz found that strong believers often had positive fathers or father figures. In an interview for Christian television, he told me, “I would say the biggest problem in the country is the breakdown of the family, and the biggest problem in the breakdown in the family is the absence of the father. Our answer is to recover the faith, particularly for men, and we’ll recover fatherhood. And if we recover fatherhood, we’ll recover the family. If we recover the family, we’ll recover our society.”

If you’re a father and you stay with your children and you love your wife, you’re a real hero and role model. Keep it up—our nation is counting on you.

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Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is the senior producer and an on-air host for D. James Kennedy Ministries. He has written/co-written 32 books, e.g., The Unstoppable Jesus Christ, American Amnesia: Is American Paying the Price for Forgetting God?, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (w/ D. James Kennedy), and the bestseller, George Washington’s Sacred Fire (w/ Peter Lillback)   djkm.org  @newcombejerry      www.jerrynewcombe.com

Under Whose Shadow?

The Bible says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps.91:1). This is reassuring for the Christian person, to know that as we trust and obey Jesus Christ, He will protect us from evil.

Recently as I’ve been reading history, I have been examining how Christians over many hundreds of years, have handled evil governments. And the overwhelming evidence from history, is that we’ve handled them very poorly.

Why? The most common problem we have faced, is our own naivety. We somehow ignore the fact that our enemies are religious people, with anti-God motivations. We console ourselves with optimism.

He can’t really be that bad, and if he gets into government, he’ll want to get re-elected again, so he won’t push that strange agenda he seems to have.

Many times, Christians have finally understood the truth about their enemies too late, and their tardiness has cost them their lives. Of the Protestants of Germany, Hitler said:

 You can do anything you want with them…they will submit…they are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.[1]

The Dutch had some concerns about Hitler in the 1930’s, but they consoled themselves too.

The Dutch government tried to ignore the signs, assuring the people they did not need to worry because Holland’s desire for neutrality would be respected. At the end of 1939 the prime minister assured the people in a radio broadcast that there was absolutely no cause for alarm. He quoted an old Dutch poem…

“People often suffer the most by anticipating suffering that never happens.

They, therefore, have more to bear than God gives them to bear.” [2]

But in May 1940, Germany invaded Holland, and the Dutch surrendered after five days.

What is your attitude towards political leaders? Do you trust them? Remember that the Bible’s warning is, “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation” (Ps.146:3).

Have the West’s politicians been any different to Hitler, in terms of their attitudes towards the Church? I don’t think so. People seem to come and go, but naivete amongst believers in relation to political leaders, seems to remain the same. Political leaders want us to think that they can be trusted, so they will get our votes.

Where have we commonly fallen down in this? When we have been offered tax-payers’ money to do something that did not require tax-payers’ money, such as the education of our children. Or when we have believed that the public education of children is “free.”

Christians will employ every intel­lectual artifice imaginable in order to justify public education. And yet, what is government education based on except a wealth-redistri­bution scheme? Likewise, what is Social Security except a gargantuan behemoth of a wealth-redistribution scheme? What is the authoriza­tion of billions to prosecute unnecessary war except a wealth redis­tribution scheme? Christians will fight to the end for these things as morally right, and yet the funding for these things is based on insti­tutionalized theft.[3]

Christians excuse this. We say, ‘Well, everybody else gets taxpayers’ money to educate their children. Why shouldn’t we?”

But in saying this, we reveal that we have tacitly accepted the confiscation of monies for the education of the community, as though it was a legitimate government practice. We like the idea of access to a “free” service. We say, “It’s free, so I’ll take it,” forgetting that everything of value comes at a price. We are really saying, “Yes, we believe in the shadow of the Almighty, but there’s another shadow, we can walk and trust in.”

God has some pretty blunt words for those who deceive themselves into thinking they can trust godless people.

Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord… “who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharoah and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharoah will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation (Isa.30:1-3).

Here’s a question: does God in His Word authorise the government confiscation of money from the taxpayer, so the government can then be responsible for the education of the community? (You should answer this question “No.”) The education of children is a parental responsibility.

Abram had a different attitude to receiving “grants.” He said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the Lord God most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal or anything that is yours, for fear you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’ ” (Gen.14:22-23). God’s next statement to Abram, is “Do not hear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great” (Gen.15:1).

What happens when Christian institutions receive large amounts of tax-payers’ money? They say to themselves,

Isn’t this great! We know there’s plenty more where that came from. All we have to do is continue this happy relationship, and everything will be fine.

But in doing so, they become indifferent to God, His Word and His standards, and become dependent on the government that only had the money to spend because it confiscated it from tax-payers in the first place. The institution has entered into a relationship that can only have one outcome:

There was a young lady from Niger,
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger,
They returned from the ride, with the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

What is the only responsible choice for the believer? “‘Come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord…” (II Cor.6:17).

Whose shadow are you walking in today? Make sure it’s the Almighty’s, because every other shadow is a counterfeit-a continuation of that original lie in the Garden: “You shall not die…”

 

 

[1] Found in Rauschning, “The Voice of Destruction,” p.54 (quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.329).

[2] Moore, P., “Life Lessons From The Hiding Place,” 2004, p.92.

[3] Joel McDurmon, “God Verses Socialism,” 2009, p.34.

2

The Challenge for Every Christian Parent (4)

Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their sacred altars and cut down their Asherim- for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God (Ex.34:12-14).

People have always tended to live out their religious beliefs. Pharoah was a humanist, and he lived out his. He saw that the Hebrew population was rapidly expanding and could be a threat, so he said to the Hebrew midwives,

When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live (Ex.1:16).

Herod was the same.

…when Herod saw that he had been  tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under…(Mat.2:16).

Hitler was a humanist. He commanded that

All of the German youth in the Reich is to be organized within the Hitler Youth. The German youth, besides being reared within the family and schools, shall be educated physically, intellectually, and morally in the spirit of National Socialism…through the Hitler Youth.[1]

Now, you might be thinking, “Well, what’s that got to do with us, today in Australia?” Our previous humanist, feminist, pro-abortion Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whilst the Federal Minister for Education in 2008, said in Parliament in August 2008, that

               parents of school-aged children are obligated to send them to school.

Why was school so important for Julia? Because this granted government teachers the power for humanistic indoctrination. She was utterly indifferent to the wishes of parents. Gillard was reflecting the attitude of all socialists, historically. In 1918, a Congress of Soviet educators was told that

We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them.[2]

There is something Christians have been slow to understand. To our lasting shame, our enemies have understood the power of governmental educational indoctrination, far more than we have. And if you have fallen for the old and tired idea that we could teach them godly principles at home whilst they went to the State School, you haven’t realised how quickly this foolish notion falls down in practice.

Why?  Parents don’t recognise the religious war being waged against their children through Public Education. As North commented,

The modern State seeks to steal the legacy of the faithful: the hearts and minds of children. The educational bureaucrats today have imposed a massive system of ideological kidnapping on the voters. This is the inherent nature of all compulsory education, regulated education, and tax-funded education. Education is not neutral. The bureaucrats have built a gigantic system of humanist indoctrination with funds extracted from all local residents in the name of common-ground education.[3]

Religious neutrality in education is a fraud, because all education is religious. Why?

All education is based on values. The question is, “Whose values?” Someone dictates the values communicated in public schools, and over the last couple of generations those values have been progressively secular; God doesn’t get a mention. Almost every text book in public education reflects this fact.

God gave the responsibility for education to parents, because all education is religious. They would be on the spot. Parents love their children, and they have a vested interest in what their children are believing and why, for it is their children who will be at least playing a role in caring for them, in their old age.

The scripture commands us,

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (II Cor.6:14)

When you send your child to a State school, you implicitly bind your child to the ideology of that school; its curriculum, its staff and its peer-group pressure. You may not want to, but that’s what enrolment really means. Is it any wonder that in our era, such a high proportion of children from Christian families depart from the faith? In our folly and naivete, we have taken our children’s hands and walked into the lion’s den of public education, and seen them over time, religiously mauled.

If we want to be faithful to God, obeying the implications of the New Covenant, this will have to stop, now.

 

 

[1] Hitler, December 1, 1936, quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.349.

[2] Quoted in “Separating School and State: How to Liberate America’s Families,” Sheldon Richman, p.xv.

[3] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999. Ch.28.

The Day Solzhenitsyn Chickened Out

Gary North – December 12, 2019

Alexander Solzhenitsyn did not fear the Soviet establishment. But he feared a humanist twerp educator, so he remained silent in the face of petty tyranny.
I learned of this only this week. I was astounded at what I’m about report.
This much is well known. In 1978, Solzhenitsyn gave a lecture at Harvard against the humanism of the West and specifically the United States: A World Split Apart. He accused the West of a loss of courage.
Maybe the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. . . . Should one point out that from ancient times decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?
He then said this:
In today’s Western society, the inequality has been revealed of freedom for good deeds and freedom for evil deeds. A statesman who wants to achieve something important and highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly; there are thousands of hasty and irresponsible critics around him, parliament and the press keep rebuffing him. As he moves ahead, he has to prove that every single step of his is well-founded and absolutely flawless. Actually an outstanding and particularly gifted person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind hardly gets a chance to assert himself; from the very beginning, dozens of traps will be set out for him. Thus mediocrity triumphs with the excuse of restrictions imposed by democracy.
Two years later, he faced a test. He then imitated the weak-willed, frightened bureaucrats whom he had criticized at Harvard.
In November 1980, Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in the presidential election. The following brief story was published in The New York Times almost a quarter century later. It was reprinted on the Free Republic site the next day.
A Cold Morning in Vermont
By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: June 13, 2004
IGNAT SOLZHENITSYN understands why so many people have warm thoughts of Ronald Reagan, but one of his earliest memories is on the frigid side.
In 1980, Ignat was an 8-year-old transplanted to Vermont by his father, the famous chronicler of Siberia’s gulags. As Ignat tells the story, on the morning after the presidential election he got a taste of American political re-education at the progressive private school he and his brothers attended.
In response to the Reagan victory, the school’s flag was lowered to half-staff, and the morning assembly was devoted to what today would be called grief counseling. The headmaster mourned “what America would become once the dark night of fascism descended under the B-movie actor,” recalled Mr. Solzhenitsyn, who is now the music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. “At one point he interrupted himself to inquire if anyone present did not share his gloomy view of the Reagan victory.”
The only students to raise their hands were Ignat and his two brothers, Yermolai and Stephan. After a stony silence, he recalled, they were sent outside, without their coats, to meditate on the error of their ways underneath the lowered flag. Vermont in November was hardly Siberia, but there was frost on the ground, and they spent an hour shivering and exercising to stay warm. Still, Ignat said, their political exile was a relief from sitting in the auditorium listening to the party line.
The American education system from kindergarten through graduate school is dominated by narrow-minded, arrogant, gutless little twerps like the headmaster of that unnamed academy in Vermont. They have run the show since about 1950, and they have behaved, on occasion, just like the petty fondling headmaster. They are gutless wonders, but in dealing with subordinates who are completely under their jurisdiction, they like to push people around. This is nothing new.
What was new was this: the father of these boys remained mute. This story did not reach the public until 2004. Solzhenitsyn died in 2008.
If he had had an ounce of courage in the face of that spineless headmaster, he would have called a press conference. From around the nation, reporters would have come. He then would have told them the story of what the twerp did to his sons. The story would have been reprinted in every major newspaper in the country. I suspect that the TV networks would have been there, too. Then they would have gone to the spineless twerp for an explanation. The spineless twerp, half chameleon and half jellyfish, would have folded. He would have apologized. He would have crawled on his belly in front of the media. If the Board of Trustees had recognized the threat to donations, they would have fired him. But he got away with it. He got away with it because Solzhenitsyn chickened out. Solzhenitsyn crawled on his belly in private. He ran for cover. He would not defend his sons.
He had not buckled to the threat of the Gulag Archipelago, but he buckled in the face of a spineless twerp who was in charge of some unknown, overpriced educational safe haven for rich liberals in Vermont.
If you refuse to defend your young sons, you are lacking in courage. If you can take on the American establishment in a paid speech at Harvard, but you can’t take on a spineless twerp who treats your sons like this, there is something missing in your worldview.
Why didn’t he pull his sons out of that school?
I regard him as probably the greatest single voice of prophetic courage in the 20th century. More than any other individual, he was responsible for undermining the reputation of the Soviet Union in the West, putting the lie to half a century of mild-mannered, halfhearted criticism of the USSR by the American intellectual establishment. Yet when push came to shove where it mattered in the lives of his sons, he ran for cover. He huddled in the corner afraid to say anything.
How can this happen?
It happens because people really are afraid of the American intellectual establishment, whose authority extends downward into the school systems. Parents learn early to shut up, buckle down, and fork over the money. This is true of the public schools; it is also true of elite private schools. People send their children to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, where their own worldviews are undermined by the faculties. They keep doing it, generation after generation. It began at Harvard in 1805, when Congregational Calvinists sent their children to be educated in moral philosophy by the newly appointed Unitarian who held the position. The practice is still in force.
He ended his Harvard speech with this call to action.
Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man’s life and society’s activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?
If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge, we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.
Yet when push came to shove, he buckled. He paid a small fortune to send his three children to be educated by humanists, and his children paid the price early.
Christians should stop paying this price. They should stop paying humanists to educate their children.
In 2018, a literary magazine financed by the U.S. government published this article: “A Tiny Village in Vermont Was the Perfect Spot to Hide Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.” It may have been perfect for him, but it was not perfect for his sons.

Christianity and the Academy (4)

Education must be Independent

Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the best convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist. Such a tyranny … used as the instrument of destroying human souls, is certainly far more dangerous than the crude tyrannies of the past.[1]

I have found that one of the hardest things to do, is to convince Christians that the State will only harm their children’s education. It is a matter that most Christians are reluctant to consider, and find even more difficult to accept. Why? It is linked to the fact that we have all grown up with State controlled education. It has been part of our culture for about 150 years, and thus is considered to have de facto legitimacy. It is one of those things that, because of the compromise of the church in the nineteenth century, has come about with the passing of time, and seems to be here to stay.

But it is essential that Christian people submit to the Word of God, and allow it to direct them in all things. In the case of education, there is no Biblical warrant to permit the State to have any responsibility, as education is a parental responsibility (Deut.6; Prov.22:6; Eph.6:4).

Where responsibility rests, authority lies. To permit the State’s participation in the task of education, immediately leads to a shift in authority from parents to the State. The State then immediately requires taxation to carry out its responsibility, and it has to set up a massive bureaucracy, purchase land and buildings, employ staff, etc. But this is just the beginning of the problems.[2]

The Bible speaks very firmly to people who undertake a task, independent of the Word of God: “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, “who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharoah and seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharoah will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation” (Isa.30:1-3).

The question can be asked, “What happens when the State controls education?” Putting aside for the moment the obvious issues of inefficiency and huge expense in all State systems, there is an even more important issue: indoctrination. A child spends some 14,000 hours over 12 years, being indoctrinated in a hostile world-view which is communicated through the curriculum, through teachers and by other children. This has been admitted by humanists for a long, long time. Charles Potter, a signatory of the Humanist Manifesto in 1930, wrote 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? [3]

Education departments and their schools are not religiously neutral, benevolent institutions. They are always involved (implicitly or explicitly) in the process of indoctrination. Because all education is founded on a religious foundation, this will be humanistic, because the premise of State controlled education is itself humanistic. Christians who think they will be able to “reform the system,” are deluded. The “system” only exists because of the negligence and disobedience of Christians, and fiercely resists real reform. Parents should take responsibility for everything. They may home educate their child, or delegate the task of education to others, but pay themselves for whatever they choose.

The modern State seeks to steal the legacy of the faithful: the hearts and minds of children. The educational bureaucrats today have imposed a massive system of ideological kidnapping on the voters. This is the inherent nature of all compulsory education, regulated education, and tax-funded education. Education is not neutral. The bureaucrats have built a gigantic system of humanist indoctrination with funds extracted from all local residents in the name of common-ground education. This justification has always been a lie, from Horace Mann’s public schools in Massachusetts in the 1830’s until today. From the late nineteenth century until today, leading American educators have been forthright in their public pronouncements of their agenda. This agenda is deeply religious. John Dewey, the “father” of progressive education, dedicated humanist, and philosopher stated his position plainly: “Our schools, in bringing together those of different nationalities, languages, traditions, and creeds, in assimilating them together upon the basis of what is common and public in endeavour and achievement, are performing an infinitely significant religious work.” [4]

The humanists know exactly what they are doing, while Christians are confused about what they really want. Christians would like to inherit the promises of God in relation to their children, but unlike Joshua and Caleb of old, they are ill-prepared to face the conflict that is therefore inevitable, and so they procrastinate or excuse themselves. This has been an indictment on the leadership of the church for over a century. We have been procrastinating and excusing ourselves on this matter, ever since State education was established in Australia in the 1850’s, and our situation has only got steadily worse.

In the early years of the 20th century, the Fabian Society of England came out strongly in favour of state aid to independent Christian schools. When a board member resigned in protest, George Bernard Shaw rebuked him strongly. Nothing, Shaw held, would more quickly destroy these schools than state aid; their freedom and independence would soon be compromised, and, before long, their faith. Events soon Shaw to be right.[5]

What has been evident for generations, is that State accreditation for education, along with funding by the State, leads to control by the State. “He that takes the king’s shilling, does the kings bidding.”

 

This unconscionable compromise by Christians must end, if Christians hope to have any substantial influence in their society.

Parental control of child rearing, especially education, is one of the bulwarks of liberty. No nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family…The best way to improve education is to return control to the parents who know best what their children need.[6]

 

[1] J. Gresham Macham,“Christianity and Liberalism,” 1923.

[2] An excellent resource on this, is Bruce Shortt’s “The Harsh Truth about Public Schools,” 2004.

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

[4] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.28.

[5] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.446.

[6] Dr Ron Paul, U.S. Senator, (www.lewrockwell.com), 2007.