The World’s Second Oldest Religion (6)

By Andrew McColl, 26/7/2022

When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side,’ I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already…What are you? You will pass on. Your descendents, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.’[1]

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.[2] 

This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.[3]

These boys join our organisation at the age of ten…and they will not be free again for the rest of their lives.[4]

Like everybody else on the face of the earth, socialists are deeply religious people. They may of course deny this, saying “I’m not religious at all. I’m an atheist,” why merely indicates which religion they actually hold to: humanism.

Hitler was a humanist and a socialist. To understand the ideology of Hitler and Nazism, is to begin to comprehend the ideological background of the State’s compulsory education in the west of our era. Hitler and the Nazis were serious about the ideological indoctrination of German children. They wanted to ensure that German education produced good Nazis, who were willing to fight and die for the cause. They got the outcome they wanted-at a price.

That meant that the State in Germany under Hitler was paramount. This is the normal humanistic position. Family and community were now to be defined politically. Children were for the State. Whatever goals and aspirations a family might have for its future had to be subordinated to the goals of the State, set by the Nazi party, and Hitler.

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

with the transfer of the means of production into common ownership, [communism] the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society…The care and education of the children becomes a public affair; society looks after all children alike, whether they are legitimate or not. [5]

For socialists, this is a very important issue. They either have control of children’s education, or they do not, and they leave it entirely up to parents. But that’s out of the question for them. Socialists don’t want to miss a vital opportunity to indoctrinate children.

Julia Gillard, in her former role as the Federal Minister for Education, said in Parliament on the 25th of August, 2008 that

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

In 2002, I became acquainted with the fact that Education Queensland was seconding Police officers to visit families who had not registered, and so had not received permission to home school their children with the Department. The reason for the police visit? None was given. It was a means of Departmental intimidation. Why? Put it this way.

Can you imagine what would happen to the Department, if thousands of families all over Queensland began withdrawing their families from school, and home schooling them without the Department’s permission? You might have a whole department that becomes redundant.

Perish the thought! Hundreds of millions of dollars, saved by taxpayers! Under the guise of “the educational welfare of children,” the Department was guaranteeing its security and longevity. Who was really serving who?

Socialist politicians want to engage in the religious and ideological indoctrination of children, so they can call on a government department to do the job. The Department is committed to its own security of tenure, and will if necessary, enlist the police to do its dirty work.

And you thought this was about the education of children? It most certainly is, and this is the outcome when we leave education in the hands of government; our plans as parents are subverted by governments that have an ideological agenda to fulfill, that uses a department with a vested interest in ensuring its own perpetuation.

The best interests of children? They were forgotten, a long time ago.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                Humanists are deeply religious people, and they want to use social institutions such as State education to propagate their agenda. The Christian community must be aware of this, and act accordingly.

You want something different for your children? That’s good. But don’t expect the unilateral support of the status quo for your choice. Hasn’t that always been the way?


[1] Hitler, Nov.6, 1933, quoted in William Shirer, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” 1968, p.343.

[2] Hitler, December 1, 1936, quoted in Shirer, p.349.

[3] Hitler, 1937, quoted in Shirer, p.343.

[4] Hitler, December 4, 1938, quoted in A. Klonn, “Youth of the Third Reich,” 1982, p.80. See “History of Quotations,” M. Cohen & J. Major, (Eds.) p.759.

[5] Marx and Engels, ‘Selected Works,” 1976.

The World’s Second Oldest Religion (5)

By Andrew McColl, 19/7/2022

The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God-this is his task on earth.[1]

The discipleship which Jesus Christ spoke of in the Great Commission (Mat.28:18-20), is not an isolated statement in scripture. It is predicated on lots of Old Testament teaching, beginning perhaps in Genesis 18:19, which is God’s description of 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 spoken about him.

There is a lot more about the parental responsibility for education, in Deuteronomy, chapters 6 and 11, and the Book of Proverbs. This shows us that discipleship is firstly a family responsibility. I cannot claim to be faithful to God in playing my part in discipling the nations, unless I have begun with my children. It’s a case of pure negligence for a Christian father to say concerning the education of his children, “Well, that’s not my problem. I’ll leave this to the Sunday School teachers, or the pastor.” The pastor and the Sunday School teacher won’t be there on the day of accountability.

This leads me to the next point. Many Christian parents whose children are attending a State school are awkward about identifying the humanist religion in public education. Why? It’s embarrassing for them. If they identify it, they know that they’ll need to do something about it, and they don’t want to. So, they fall for the old lie that says, “If I ignore this problem, it’ll go away.” It won’t.

I have an acquaintance who serves as a Chaplain in State Schools. He knows they’re not good places to be, but he sends his 13 year old daughter to one every day. Why? He’s been bluffed out by the system, and doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to take her out and home-school her.

All of this points to one thing: God will keep judging His people, if they fail to get the message. He warned Israel about this:                                                                 

If you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it will come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your sides, and they will trouble you in the land in which you live. And as I plan to do to them, so I will do to you (Nu.33:55-56).

Jesus spoke about accountability in His parable about the talents (Mat.25:14-30). The servant who refused to trade with what his master had entrusted him, Jesus described as a “wicked, lazy slave” (v.26). The master in Jesus’ parable commanded his servants to “throw out the worthless slave into outer darkness (v.30).

Is this merely an economic parable, dealing with money? No, for Jesus is warning us about ALL the things that He entrusts to us, and that includes our children.

Now, no doubt some could say to this, “Andrew, you won’t win many friends talking like that.”

Well, I’m not interested in winning friends, as much as I am in warning Christians to obey the Lord. In fact, speaking of friends, Jesus told his disciples that “You are My friends, if you do what I command you” (Jn.15:14). He reduced the billions of people in the world whom He could classify as His friends, to one group of individuals characterised by one thing: obedience.

Now, here’s the test for you and me. According to our demonstrated obedience in relation to the discipleship and education of our children in the Christian faith, preventing them from being indoctrinated in the world’s second oldest religion (humanism), are we going to pass the grade?


[1] Robert Dabney, (circa 1890), quoted in Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.356.

The World’s Second Oldest Religion (4)

By Andrew McColl, 12/7/2022

It is the teaching of the Bible and of sound Political ethics that the education of children belongs to the sphere of the family and is the duty of parents. The theory that the children of the Commonwealth are the charge of the Commonwealth is a pagan one, derived from heathen Sparta and Plato’s heathen republic, and connected by regular, logical sequence with legalized prostitution and the dissolution of the conjugal tie.[1]

The idea of the family began in God’s mind, as we read in the Bible. Genesis shows us that God created a man and a woman, and they had children.  Of course, all families have problems, but the true institution of human history for procreation, education and inheritance has been the family.

The family’s potential for education, influence, social power and prosperity in the community hasn’t gone unnoticed. The great rival for the family historically has been the State, which has very commonly resented the power of the family, and sought to control and misuse it, for the State’s own ends.

Does this mean that the State Biblically, is somehow illegitimate? No, it is not. The Bible speaks much of the legitimacy of government. But the great problem the family and the Church has faced historically, has been the tendency of ruthless governments around the world to usurp the role of the family, even to the point of viewing the family as a threat, and trying to destroy it.

The Biblical evidence of this is clear. When Pharoah had Israel in bondage, he viewed the high procreation rate of the Israelites as a serious 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). North comments,

The more progressive modern socialist ideology appears, the more satanically backward it becomes. The spirit of Pharaoh still lives. The anti-dominion defensive spirit of modern socialism has its roots deep in the past, as well as deep in hell.[2]

1,500 years later, Herod’s attitude was similar. Unlike Pharoah, he was not threatened numerically by the birth of the baby Jesus, but he wanted Him killed, nonetheless. When the wise men displeased him by not reporting back to him where Jesus was, he “…became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all in its vicinity, from two years old and under…” (Mat.2:16).

These instances should warn the Christian family: do not expect evil, socialist rulers who hate God to be sympathetic to your cause, or your well being. Evil rulers attempt to control and manipulate the family, and these attempts have been most ably illustrated in the field of education. Again, North comments that

No institution has been more effective in stamping out conservatism in the United States and everywhere else than the tax-funded school system. If I were given the choice of which to get rid of, the income tax or the public schools, I would not hesitate for a moment. I do not care if the federal government taxes my income, so long as local governments do not tax my income in order to fund the public schools. The battlefield for the hearts, minds, and souls of Americans has been fought in the public schools more than in any other arena.[3]

In Australia we have seen this plainly. The Victorian Minister of Education in 1984, Joan Kirner stated that “Education has to be about overthrowing the capitalist system, and making it socialist,” whilst only two years later, the NSW Minister for Education, Rod Cavalier, claimed in Parliament that “children belong to the State.”  Not much has changed since then.       

Thus the world’s second oldest religion still survives, and one of its clearest manifestations is through socialist, deceptive governments, which in their hostility to the family consciously set out to control and manipulate education.

The challenge in this is not so much that it happens, which is bad enough. What is worse, is that the majority of Christian families don’t seem to know, or if they do, they (unlike Joseph and Mary) are reluctant to do anything to protect their children from the ravages of an evil government, which through the arm of Education Departments sets about to ideologically kidnap them.

May God have mercy on these parents in their day of accountability.


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

[2] Gary North, “Moses and Pharoah,” 1986, p.27.

[3] Gary North, “The Greatest Single Failure of the Conservative Movement,” (his website), 19/6/2012.

The World’s Second Oldest Religion (3)

By Andrew McColl, 5/7/2022

God creates us; He does not coerce us. Because the humanistic state is not our creator, it can only remake us into its appointed image by coercion. Thus, education in the hands of the state is coercive, compulsory, and a form of humanistic predestination. In every sphere, the state is coercive because it is anti-God, anti-Christ. It insists on playing the potter with the lives of the people. But nothing is more evil or more deadly than a non-god playing god. We then have the triumph of the demonic.[1]

Education in all parts of the world is not in a good state. Why? We’ve excluded God from it. The State, the institution that clearly has a vested interest in manipulating education for its own ends, has for 150 years in Australia made itself responsible for ensuring education took place, while the family has been quietly but systematically excluded from the process. And meanwhile, the Church has effectively had its head in the sand.

Whenever God is excluded from any human endeavour, we can expect that endeavour to go into a steep decline. It no longer has the ability to move forward with meaning or legitimate purpose.                                                                                                                                                           How do we know this? 

God’s original command to Adam and Eve was to “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.1:28). But when this command is ignored in an educational context (or any other), there is no foolish, stupid or nonsensical idea that comes into the human heart, that will not be ignored.

We know this, because the Bible warns us of it in Romans 1:21-23:

…Even though they knew God, they did not honour Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

When the human heart rejects the knowledge of God, our hearts turn from the Creator to the creature-in worship! The very things we were supposed to rule over begin to rule over us, and we begin to idolise them: corruptible man, birds, four-footed animals and crawling creatures. This partially explains the modern environmentalist movement.

Rushdoony’s comments here are helpful:

To abandon the triune God of scripture and His infallible word is ultimately to abandon all things, to abandon meaning for nothingness. Modern man has retreated into nothingness in his flight from God. Even there, however, all things are unendurable, and modern man is haunted by dreams of terror, unreason, and destruction, because, having fled from God, he flees also from God’s creation, which includes his own being. To flee from God to nothingness is to run headlong into judgment. Philosophy becomes pretension and evasion, and man’s despair a façade for his wilful sin.[2]

This explains why modern man has run to the hopelessness of existentialism and nihilism and any other ism he could find, that excused him from facing up to the God of the Bible. Anything but God! But like a man on a tread-mill, the more he runs, the more he realises he is going nowhere. He can’t get away from the facts of God which he views every day in all of creation (including himself), so well expressed by the Psalmist’s rhetorical questions: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there” (Ps.139:7-8).

 If God did indeed create heaven and earth and all things therein, then nothing can have any meaning or interpretation apart from God. Inasmuch as all things came into being by virtue of His sovereign decree, all things have meaning only in terms of His eternal counsel. The only true interpretation of any fact, including man, is in terms therefore of God the Creator and providential Controller.[3]

Christians will never defeat humanism, the world’s second oldest religion, until they are finally prepared to identify it accurately as a religion implicitly linked to Statism: an idol for destruction. It must be pulled up from the ground root and branch, and that process must begin in our hearts. Then, parents will be able to continue to ensure that the education of children is a family responsibility, completely unrelated to the State. And then, the nations of the world will have liberty they have never dreamed of.

As Van Til puts it, ‘Either presuppose God and live, or presuppose yourself as ultimate and die. That is the alternative with which the Christian must challenge his fellow man.’ [4]


       [1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Romans and Galatians,” 1997, p.178.

[2] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Death of Meaning,” 2002, p.83.

[3] Rousas Rushdoony, “By What Standard?” 1959, [1995], p.9.

[4] Rousas Rushdoony, ibid, p.112.

The World’s Second Oldest Religion (2)

By Andrew McColl, 28/6/2022

The Bible tells us in the first statement about the devil, that the serpent was “…more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made” (Gen.3:1).

Not many Christians are crafty. Generally, I’m glad they’re not. We’re the ones who ought to be the straight-shooters; the plain speakers who never lie, and tell it like it is.  But we make a dreadful error if we think that all people will be like us. They won’t.

When you are dealing with a crafty person, it pays to be one step ahead of them, and to have some knowledge of their track record. How can you do that? Firstly, you have to know what they’re like, and where they’re likely to lead you if you give them half a chance. The Bible, speaking of the devil, tells us that “…we are not ignorant of his schemes” (II Cor.2:11).

What are his schemes? One of the first things we can see from the Bible is that the devil is a liar. Eve was right. After eating the fruit in the Garden, she responded to God’s challenge saying, “…the serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen.3:13).

Jesus, speaking of the devil, said “…he was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn.8:44).

Religions always involve the dissemination of information and knowledge, and separating facts from fiction. So when we think about education, we’d better realise that it’s a deeply religious issue, and that there are lots of lies around, all of them coming (directly or indirectly) from the devil. What are some of these?

1. Parents can’t educate their children. Only qualified teachers can do that.                                Well, that’s not what the Bible says. It puts the whole responsibility for education with parents. Don’t believe me? Look at Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 11, and Ephesians 6:4. Dabney said, over 100 years ago,

The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God-this is his task on earth.[1]                                      

2. Governments are responsible for the education of children, so they’d know what’s best.            

Everyone is religious in one way or another, and governments are made up of religious people, elected from the community. People take their religions with them, wherever they go. If they start off as humanists, when they go to Parliament and pass legislation, then humanism is what they’ll enact into law. Dabney also said,

                                                                                                                                               It is the teaching of the Bible and of sound Political ethics that the education of children belongs to the sphere of the family and is the duty of parents. The theory that the children of the Commonwealth are the charge of the Commonwealth is a pagan one, derived from heathen Sparta and Plato’s heathen republic, and connected by regular, logical sequence with legalized prostitution and the dissolution of the conjugal tie.[2]

3. Children need to be socialised amongst their peers, and that’s where they’ll learn how to get along. It takes a whole village to educate a child.                                                                             The Bible tells us that “He that walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov.13:20). If you place your child in an educational environment for 12 years (that’s 14,400 hours of school time) with a large proportion of fools, the Bible promises a guaranteed outcome: “harm.” Is that being responsible? As Oswalt wrote,

It is of critical importance that we equip our children to be Christian before we demand of them that they change the world. It is a violation of both Deuteronomy 6:1-6 and Ephesians 6:4 to commit children to an ungodly structure.[3]

 4. Children need a ‘well-rounded’ education.                                                                              Think of a curriculum with every aspect of Christian content carefully removed, that promotes atheism, Darwinistic evolution, same-sex behaviour, where children are exposed to consistently foul language, sexual perversion, drug use and bullying. Some people call that “a well-rounded education.” The Bible calls it an abomination. Martin Luther warned

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.

5. The Education Department will give you helpful advice about education.                                  The Education Department has a vested interest in perpetuating itself. Would any departmental person advise you to withdraw your well-behaved child from their school, when it will cost them funding? No children-no Department. They want your child there for the sake of the Department’s longevity, and their job. But there’s more.

The State’s principal concern in overseeing the education of children has never been the educational development of children but merely its own control of the educational process.[4]

6. Your State School teacher will give you unbiased advice about your child’s education.             Every State school is funded on the basis of numbers. More children: more money for the school. You want unbiased advice? Don’t ask the State school teacher. If he loses too many children, he could lose his job. The best interests of the child are secondary. But there’s more. As Nigel Lee wrote,

Like Hitler, Vladimir Lenin saw the value in monopolizing education and bringing it under the exclusive control of the State. The process for change had to begin with the children. The sooner they could be taken from their parents and broken from their links to the past, the sooner the reprogramming could take place. In his Principles of Communism of 1847, Engels had advocated the “education of all children, as soon as they are old enough to dispense with maternal care, in national institutions and at the charge of the nation.”[5]

7. If children are educated by their parents, they won’t be ready to face the real world.             What world do parents live in? They have to face all the issues of life that the rest of the community faces. Parents make great educators, they know their child better than anyone, and with the free market and the internet they can find all manner of educational resources, along with their own knowledge and experience. Oh, and forget about all the wasted time and money in cars, and on buses and trains getting to and from school.

8. A child educated at home would miss out; they couldn’t ever go to university.                          Miss out on what? An awful curriculum, a lot of wasted time, and a peer group busy with drugs, perversion and bullying. Compared to children who attend school, a similar proportion of home schooled children go to university.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                         The devil is a seriously religious person. Since the Garden of Eden, he’s been disseminating knowledge and information about his religion (humanism), and most people swallow his lies. Furthermore, he promotes lots of lies about one of the more serious religious activities- the education of children.

Here are my two final questions:

1) How many of these lies have you believed?                                                                                      2) What are you going to do about turning this around and obeying God in relation to your children’s education?


[1] Robert Dabney (circa 1890), quoted in Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Government Schools,” 2004, p.356.

[2] Robert Dabney, “Discussions,”4:194, quoted in Gary Demar, “God and Government,” 2001,Vol.3, p.272

[3] Leon Oswalt, in Gary North, (Ed.) “The Theory of Resistance,” 1983, p.339.

[4] B. Adams & J. Stein, ‘Who Owns the Children: Compulsory Education and the Dilemma of Ultimate Authority,” p.9. (Quoted in Gary Demar , “God and Government,” 2001, Vol.3, p.252.)

[5] Quoted in Francis Nigel Lee, “Communist Eschatology: A Christian Philosophical Analysis of the Post-Capitalistic Views of Marx, Engels and Lenin,” 1974, p. 351. (3) Quoted in Lee, “Communist Eschatology,” p. 350.

The World’s 2nd Oldest Religion (I)

By Andrew McColl, 21/6/2022

God’s way places responsibility on every man, whereas all humanistic patterns remove government from God and man to the state, or to the autonomous individual. God’s law in every sphere limits the powers of man, church, state, family, and all human agencies. Its basic thrust is man’s responsibility: “Thou art the man” (2 Sam.12:7). Statism assumes a caretaker role which denies implicitly that man is created in God’s image and has a calling to govern himself and his spheres of responsibility.[1]

One of the commonest mistakes people make in relation to education, is to view it in terms of academics. They want their children to be educated, and so they think primarily of subjects such as Maths, Science and History. Of course, these are aspects of education, but the fundamental issues of Education are not subjects such as Maths, Science and History. They are values.

Values are derived issues. They indicate why we think a certain way, and values are founded upon the religious presuppositions that people hold to. Christian values are derived from the knowledge of God in the Bible. This explains why a truly Christian education is fundamentally different to a Buddist, a Moslem, a Hindu or a humanistic education. Christian values are derived from scripture, whereas other religions are derived from other texts or viewpoints.

Thus it is a vain thing for Christian parents to send their child to a State school, and ask for a class on religious education (of perhaps an hour a week), to be superimposed onto a humanistic curriculum. It is an affront to the First Commandment:

You shall have no other gods before Me (Ex.20:3).

It is saying to God, “You be Lord of 3%. The rest of my child’s time at school, he/she will be devoted to paganism.” And it’s implicitly saying to a child, “I want you to be educated in the Bible for 3% of your week, and the other 97% of your school time, you may as well be a child of the devil.”

The humanists have known this for a long time, a lot longer than Christians. They have engaged in what Gary North calls “ideological kidnapping.” The humanists must be struck by how blind Christian parents have been now, for over a century. In 1983 a leading American humanist wrote                                                                                                               

I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being … The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing the classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state universities. John Dunphy, (“The Humanist,” Jan/Feb 1983.)

To say that we Christians have been a bit slow on the uptake is to be charitable. Furthermore, a lot of pastors and preachers have not been a help; they have been compromisers too. When there’s mist in the pulpit, there’ll be fog in the pew. When church leaders are compromisers, what can we expect of the people?

Nonetheless, God holds Christian parents responsible for their childrens’ education. This has been His message since  the law of Moses. As Rushdoony comments,

in Deut.6:7-9, parents are ordered to teach their children the faith. This is to be done “diligently.” The future of the family and the nation depends on the godly education of the generations to come…Failure to teach our children and to instruct them in the faith and in God’s law often rests on an implicit humanism.[2]

God’s message to Israel through the prophet Elijah was clear: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. But the people did not answer him a word” (I Kings 18:21).

What about you? What values do you want your children to hold to, right through their lives? It’s an exercise in wilful deception to think, “We’ll give them a Christian education at home, and save money by sending them to the State school.”

Now is the time to make your position of obedience to God absolutely clear to all around, including your children. Yes, obedience to God’s Word can be costly, and may mean confronting issues you wish weren’t there. But Jesus said, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat.6:10). He said also, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn.8:32).

Do you really want your children meeting Jesus Christ at judgment day, having embraced the world’s second oldest religion?


[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Deuteronomy,” 2008, p.9.

[2] Rushdoony, p.117.

Getting a Handle on Higher Education

By Andrew McColl, 14/6/2022

The State’s principal concern in overseeing the education of children has never been the educational development of children but merely its own control of the educational process.[1]

 Almost everyone needs some form of higher education. But what sort? And who should pay for it?

For more than a generation, we in the West have said, “Well, the government ought to provide for this.” But there is a problem with government funded education. Perhaps it would be better to say, “There are many problems with government funded education, one of these being the cost.”

In 1991 aged 35, I decided I needed to go to university to gain a Bachelor of Arts. Because I had a family and was working full-time, I studied for my degree externally from the University of New England, at Armidale in country NSW, Australia. My B.A. took me six and a half years.

This suited me, because it meant I was able to be with my family and keep working, while studying. I generally went to university for about a week annually to do a compulsory residential school, and there was no cost to me to stay on campus, as I generally stayed with my brother and his family nearby.

I paid for the course myself: no loan. Because I paid for each semester before I started, I got a 20% discount. The university employed its lecturers to teach me, and I paid. The “User-pays” philosophy is a sound one for all things. I wanted the degree, and I paid for it. I had a couple of failures, and I had to do extra courses to compensate. No government money came into it (except that which was paid to the university), and that kept it simple.

You see, a funny thing happens when people get something for nothing. They don’t value it in the same way. “Free” education generally leads to a higher rate of failure, because students tell themselves, “It doesn’t matter too much, because it was free anyway.”

I understand about 15% of Australians go to university. If there was no money provided by government to go, would the same number go? Probably not. Not as many could afford it. But if there was no government money, would there be less failures? I believe so.  

So, we can probably say with some safety that for some students, government money subsidising them subsidises their university failure. What a waste.

But there’s more. When governments say, “We’ll encourage and finance university studies,” who gets paid? The process quickly becomes politicised. If some ivory tower educational bureaucrat on a six-figure salary decides we need more rocket scientists and brain surgeons, but we don’t need more accountants or computer technicians, guess which institutions or courses will get the money?

Also, when there is a big sum to be divided up by someone, everyone has their favourites. So bias and cronyism quickly creep in to the decision-making. The wishes of students and parents? Irrelevant.

A much better process is to let the free-market choose. Students go and study what they want, and the institutions chosen by the students get the student’s money. The institutions that are profit and market oriented will do well. Those that don’t have the best reputations, or are inefficient or lax, will either have to lift their game or go bust. That keeps it really simple.

Our three sons all studied at government instrumentalities called TAFES: Technical and Further Education. Their common conclusion? It was very ordinary. No staff had any get up and go, or desire to excel.

Staff were lazy. There was no profit motive. Well, why should taxpayer’s money be confiscated to subsidise staff and institutions like that?

The internet and smart educational providers are putting pressure on all of that. Students will be able to get qualified cheaper, while getting a quality education. The old men in tweed jackets that had security of tenure, that never had to strain themselves to compete, will be out of a job, and that’s a good thing for us all.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                        Governments should have nothing to do with higher education, or any education for that matter. It’s the surest way to bring about corruption, a loss of standards, and inefficiency, because governments have their own agendas they’ll pursue. And any educational institutions that can’t stand the heat of the free-market’s kitchen, should get out of the kitchen. They’ll have to.


[1] B. Adams, and J. Stein, “Who Owns the Children: Compulsory Education and the Dilemma of Ultimate Authority,” p.9. Quoted in Gary DeMar, “God and Government,” Vol.3, 2001, p.252.

Homeschooling: A Reluctant Mother’s View

By Jessie Hodge, 1992.

Can I Teach My Children?

When my husband, Ian, and I began to consider the question of education for our children he was quite emphatic that they would not be going to a government school. I then assumed that a Christian school was the only other option. He often hinted at home schooling but I was nervous and thought, “I don’t have the ability to educate my children!”

At Ian’s insistence and by trial and error, I successfully taught my first child to read before the age of four. At about this time I was hearing more and more of children who were still illiterate after spending many years in school! (Some years later I taught a 29-year-old illiterate to read and I then knew that the rumours about illiteracy were very true.) My next child was also reading quite well by age four.

Despite the fact that I had taught two of my children to read I still felt intimidated by the professional teachers and thought that I could never do the job as well as they could. One of the most frequent questions I get asked about homeschooling is “Are you a qualified teacher?” This question used to make me feel uneasy at first but now when I see how well my children seem to be doing, particularly in the literacy skills, my lack of credentials seems unimportant. In fact at one stage I had some local mothers bringing their children to me to be taught to read because they were concerned at their lack of progress!

Children Can Teach Themselves

Our first child spent three years in school and during the last two of these years he was using the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum. Ian had always believed that a child should progress according to his own abilities and this curriculum made that possible. When we decided to home school we continued to use this curriculum. Having become familiar with it during the two years prior to home schooling this made me feel a little easier when I commenced homeschooling our children. Because the curriculum is self-instructional and my children could read they needed little tuition from me apart from the occasional new concepts in Maths that caused difficulty.

Using a well established, self-instructional curriculum gave me more confidence to home school firstly because I knew my children would cover all the necessary subject areas, and secondly, if for any reason I was unable to spend time in preparation or supervision, there would be no interruption to lessons because they were already prepared with clearly written instructions and set work to do.

When Do I Do My Housework?

Yes, with five children I do have some. I used to be fanatical about having a clean and tidy house but with each new addition to the family I’ve had to make a few changes to my ideals or go crazy. It’s difficult — impossible? — to have five children in your home 24 hours a day and have a show home! Some people love clutter but I’m one of those strange people that find it very difficult to be organized when surrounded by it. If I can see that the clutter is being used I don’t mind but I encourage the children to put toys and belongings away when not in use otherwise they’ll make one mess after another for me to get frustrated over and then waste everyone’s time while we search for missing things.

Most mothers today have a full time job away from their home and they get their housework done so why can’t I? Sometimes I wash at night so that the clothes can be pegged early next morning. But even on disrupted mornings it’s nice to be able to peg clothes or do other urgent chores without the pressure of getting everyone out the door to catch a bus or train to work or school.

Do I Have a Daily Routine?

I have always tried to have some sort of daily routine but with new babies being born this has not always been possible and each year has had its own set of problems. Since the birth of my first child I’ve always known that you don’t get very much done around the place during the first six months of a new baby’s life. My fourth child was born one month after I commenced homeschooling and although I didn’t quite know what problems to expect with homeschooling I knew just what to expect from a new baby. He seemed to be awake many more hours than any of my previous children or was it my imagination? At that stage only two of my children were school age and I was so glad that I had taught them to read well before my fourth child arrived (never put off till tomorrow what you can do today!) Although there were many frustrating days I somehow managed to give the older children some of my time and even if I wasn’t available they were teaching themselves with their self instructional curriculum.

In the second year of homeschooling with less nappies to wash and a baby who took a little less of my time I turned my attention to my third child and began teaching him to read. I made sure he was reading fairly well by the time he was five so that he too would be able to begin to educate himself from his books like his older brothers and sisters. Two months after he started his first official year of schooling child number five arrived. So again I commenced another cycle of breastfeeding, nappy changing and washing etc. When number five became less demanding of my time I turned my attention to number four and began teaching him to read. So I feel a bit like the man who operates the merry go round — as you send one safely on his way, you then help another get started.

Children’s Daily Routine

Our present daily routine goes something like this. We rise about 7:00 a.m. and the children get dressed, make their beds and do various allotted chores such as emptying the dishwasher, setting the breakfast table, making toast, feeding rabbits etc. After breakfast they clear the table, brush their teeth and hair and complete any jobs they didn’t do prior to breakfast.

About 8:15 a.m. we have devotions where we read the Bible, sing a hymn and pray. After this we spend about ten minutes learning and memorizing the bible passage (usually about 10 verses) that has been set for the month. At 8:30 a.m. the children go to their desk and begin their daily goals.

The ACE system advocates the use of a weekly goal chart on which you write the pages to be completed in each subject for each day. This teaches the children to organize their day to ensure that they achieve their daily aims. I prefer to set the goals for the younger children so that their goals are realistic and achievable (i.e. not too hard and not too easy). As they complete each subject for the day they cross it out on their chart. With this system I am assured that they are moving consistently through their workbooks and they have no excuse for not knowing how much work to do. It’s a great way to teach children to manage and be responsible for their time and efforts.

It’s All in a Day’s Work

A typical morning could go something like this. The children open their workbooks and start while I finish pegging the washing or maybe dressing the youngest child. I then see how my youngest student is progressing and will often sit with him to make sure his writing is neat or listen to him read social studies and science to ensure his pronunciation is right and generally to encourage and motivate. I sometimes wish they needed more help than they do because I actually enjoy explaining things to them but they rarely need this sort of help.

However, occasionally the situation will arise where I’m trying to explain a new and troublesome concept in Maths or English grammar and at the same time my three year old strikes a problem with his bike, puzzle or whatever and he begins to scream. Just then another child develops a problem and also wants my attention. In the middle of this the phone rings and chaos then reigns. By the time I come off the phone no schoolwork has been done, I have to sort out a teasing match that developed into a fight and the youngest child didn’t quite make it to the toilet in time and has left a wet mess for me to clean up. Thankfully not every day is like this, and yes, I do try to discourage phone calls during school hours.

The younger children usually have their goals completed by midday when we break for lunch. I sometimes find the afternoon more frustrating than the morning because I have older children trying to work and younger ones needing to be occupied in some other manner. Finding ways to keep them out of mischief requires new ideas and, as always, mother’s supervision. Although I enjoy sewing, knitting and needlework, I’ve never been the sort of mother that has had a lot of ideas and inspiration when it comes to arts and crafts for children, so I usually let them work this out for themselves as long as they are quiet. Since I’m addicted to cross-stitching that’s one craft the older children can do! Sometimes we just walk to a nearby park or reserve for a bit of exercise and fresh air. On other afternoons an older child might suddenly develop the urge to cook something — oh the bliss and mess of it all!

Practical Advantages of Homeschooling

Despite all the problems involved in homeschooling there are many simple advantages that I’ve just about taken for granted. I can’t forget the hassles I had getting my eldest child to the bus stop during his first year at school. During that year he seemed to take forever to eat his breakfast and get dressed and we were always running late. Because we had a deadline to meet which was a 15-minute uphill walk away I always felt under stress getting there on time. Some mornings we just didn’t make it and I had to phone a friend to give him a lift to school. Some mornings my three year old was still asleep or the baby was wanting a feed. When it was time to meet him in the afternoon I usually had a sleeping toddler who had to be disturbed if I couldn’t find a babysitter.

Many mums spend almost an hour in travelling time just to get their children to a Christian school. In that time my children have finished a good proportion of their schoolwork for the day.

Good health is another advantage of homeschooling that can easily be taken for granted. On cold wet days my children are warm and dry all day and this means they are far less likely to be infected with colds and flu which often result from wet clothing. They also escape many other infections which spread easily from one child to another in the school environment. At home I can make sure they are eating nutritious food each day and this of course also goes a long way towards good health.

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child

The Bible says: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” and I certainly find this to be the case on many days. Just recently I walked into the boys’ bedroom and was greeted by piles of clothing scattered all over the floor. My two youngest boys had decided to play in the cupboard where I store clothing not currently in use. It had taken much time and effort for me to sort this clothing into about ten different bags according to size, season etc., and here it was in a big jumble in the middle of the floor. Not being a person who “tolerates fools gladly” there are many “hair tearing” days such as this when I would love to have a full time nanny.

Not surprisingly, then, many mothers inquiring about homeschooling have been concerned about the problem of discipline. I’ve had comments made such as: “How do you get your children to do their work — my children don’t take any notice of what I say?” These mothers have a problem, and worse than that, they are creating problems for society by raising undisciplined, spoiled children who only want to please themselves. To be sure, the most difficult and frustrating aspect of homeschooling is discipline. It is the first and most obvious problem that confronts the homeschooling mum — controlling and managing your children — and yet it is probably the most important aspect of home schooling.

If more mothers were willing to take on this task, instead of paying other people (with my money!) to do the job for them, families would be much happier and societies would be better off. I’ve had mothers tell me that they are glad to see their children go out the door each day, and others who moan and groan about school holidays when they have to babysit their own children for a few weeks. With this parental attitude, is it any wonder we are seeing aged parents abandoned by their children in nursing homes? Discipline does require much time, effort and patience in following consistent guidelines so the children know exactly what they are being punished for and why. I’ve still a long way to go in mastering this problem, but my husband constantly reminds me that “if I can’t control my children at age four what will it be like when they are sixteen years old?”

Coping with a Home Business

For the past six years we have had a home business which involves selling books by mail order. When we first commenced homeschooling Ian was at home for at least part of the day and he did all the work involved in running this business. Two years ago he commenced a full time job in the city which takes him away from the home from 7 a.m. until 7 or 8 p.m. This is not the ideal situation to be in when running a home school, however there seemed to be no other alternative until the home business was established and could support us.

I’m sure every homeschool has its own problems and frustrations but in order to ensure that the main goal, namely educating your children, is achieved each day, it is best to try and do this at every available opportunity. For example, last year when my two year old would have an afternoon nap I would use this time to process accounts and orders on the computer. However I was often interrupted by my four year old who wanted to help or at least be entertained.

I explained to him the value of computer equipment and that he could only help if he did sensible things with it. The result was that he learned to recognize the capital letters of the alphabet by helping me with my typing (you could call this “killing two birds with one stone” or “making the most of a bad situation”). Sure, I could have done my computer work much faster without him being around — but he was around — and so I made the best use of the time I could, but I won’t say it wasn’t frustrating at times.

Many other afternoons are interrupted by the necessity for me to go to the banks or local post office to collect mail, including boxes of books which have come in from overseas. The mention of “going out in the car” brings different responses from the children. Some of them grab the car keys and are out the door in a flash (free at last!), while the others complain about another boring trip to the post office.

By the time I get my belongings together and head out the front door I can hear that World War III has broken out in the car. Before I can reverse the car from the garage I have to discipline the warriors, try and remember who’s turn it is to sit in the front seat and maybe settle a dispute about who will be near the window and who is in the middle. I’m reaching the stage where I need a roster system to keep track of who sits where. I’m also starting to realize that perhaps I should plan my week differently to eliminate any unnecessary trips of this nature.

Life’s Like That

Going to the bank has never been a favourite past time of mine because of the usual lengthy delays. Recently it was my misfortune to have to go to the bank with four children in tow, to open a new account. Much as I desired to jump the counter and complete the application form myself, I stood patiently for twenty minutes gritting my teeth while the female clerk casually filled in the form. I wasn’t bored however, as during this time there was plenty for me to do such as untangle my five and seven-year-old boys who had decided to have a wrestling match in the middle of the floor, reprimand my three-year-old who was fascinated by the locking device on the bank entrance door and persisted in locking customers in and out of the bank, and various other scenarios that children get up to when confined in a small room with nothing to do but stare at blank walls.

The two wrestlers reluctantly but finally settled themselves on the floor (there weren’t enough chairs) while the three year old stretched out comfortably across the entrance way to the bank. He hadn’t tripped too many customers before his 13-year-old brother who had just returned from an errand to the post office, decided to walk on him as he came through the door to see if he could encourage him to remove himself to a better location.

I could imagine the thoughts going through the minds of the onlookers as I tried to answer questions at the desk while trying to keep four healthy, lively children out of mischief, “Oh that poor woman with all those children — hasn’t she heard of a school or pre-school?” As for me, I was trying to remember what life was like before homeschooling. But I wouldn’t swap it for anything (most of the time, if you know what I mean).

When Do My Children Mix With Other Children?

This is the most frequently asked question and the inquiry seems to revolve around two concerns. Firstly, how will my children cope when they finally face the real world? Secondly, don’t they miss the companionship of children their own age?

Most children these days are quite aware of what is happening in the real world thanks to the explicit details given in the news media. As far as coping with a society whose lifestyle may be contrary to their upbringing I don’t believe my children’s task will be any more difficult than mine was, although increasing pressures will not make it any easier.

I was child number eight in a family of ten children, lived next door to a family with eleven children and was educated in large primary and high schools. Did this make my life in school or the workforce any easier or enjoyable? Not always. To “get on with others” usually meant conformity with the majority, and so despite all my socializing, I was often a misfit because of my Christian upbringing.

One of the reasons I survived in these hostile environments was because I belonged to a loving, secure family, where strict discipline and high morals were encouraged. I could therefore make a comparison between the two environments (family or valueless society) and it wasn’t difficult for me to decide which one I preferred.

It isn’t easy, however, to swim upstream and I know of children with similar upbringings to mine who couldn’t cope with peer pressure and so conformed to be accepted. Although some of them returned to their family values in later years, is it really worth the risk of putting your children under that sort of pressure?

With regard to companionship my children thoroughly enjoy any time they spend with friends outside of the family. However they are just as happy amusing themselves either with their own individual interest or with another member of the family. If my children seem to be needing companionship (i.e. someone to talk to or play a game with) they are usually quite happy if I become the companion.

Nearly every person I have ever associated with has been through a large public school. Has that ensured their ability to overcome shyness, be extroverted and able to get on with everyone they meet? Certainly not! Although fairly quiet-natured, my brothers and sisters make friends easily and quickly, and people often comment: “Oh he or she comes from a big family.” Not once have I heard the comment: “Oh he or she went to a public school!” There is no doubt in my mind that the learning centre for the art of mixing and making friends is not the school but the home.

I do not want my children to learn to “get on” (conform) with those who oppose their Christian faith and way of life. However, I do encourage them to be friendly and caring towards others, beginning, naturally, with the immediate members of their family. They learn from the Bible that “if a man wants to win friends he must be friendly”. They also learn from the Bible many other friendship winning traits such as compassion, kindness, goodness and truth.

When I compare my totally different childhood with that of my children I believe that if they develop the same godly characteristics that I was taught they will have no trouble making friends later in life and getting on in society.

Conclusion

Can I recommend home schooling? Families need to weigh up for themselves the relative advantages and disadvantages of this option and the alternatives. As my husband says, choices in life depend upon which set of problems you want. Homeschooling is not ideal, and has its own set of problems. The public schools, and private Christian schools offer yet another set of problems.

It seems the better question is this: are the problems insurmountable? They certainly are not. This is not an attempt to play them down, for they are real and difficult. The rewards, however, must outweigh the disadvantages. As a family we believe we’re providing the best available opportunity for the children by homeschooling. If happiness in the home, godly training, and advancement in the children’s education are a guide, the advantages of home schooling are certainly there for those who are willing to try it.

It’s All in the Family

By Andrew McColl, 15/2/2015

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck (Prov.1:8-9).

Near the beginning of the year, I find myself being drawn back to the centrality of the family in God’s purpose. Despite the fact that He was the Son of God, Jesus came to earth as Mary and Joseph’s first child, and He certainly had lots of siblings to interact with as He grew up. The locals where He grew up later said of Him,

Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? (Matt.13:56).

In every way, there would have been lots of similarities between Joseph and Mary’s family, and yours. There would have been spilt milk, lumps and bumps, tensions, sickness, differences of opinion, misunderstandings, along with some anger and sin. Frankly, it’s been that way since Genesis, and I don’t see it changing in a hurry.

Families really do have remarkable capacities, which we do well to understand and appreciate, which are well beyond what can be covered in this letter today.[1] And this is all part of His design! When the Lord made Adam in the Garden, even though as a part of creation he was “very good” (Gen.1:31) and without sin, God said that there was something about him that wasn’t good. He didn’t have Eve!

And when the Lord brought her to Adam, he realised what he’s been given. He said

This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh… (Gen.2:23).

Thus God’s plan is that togetherness begins in a family.

But there is much more to family that just the togetherness of husband and wife; that’s just where it all kicks off! For almost all families there is procreation, along with the preparation and education of children for maturity and independence.  That will mean lots of very important things: training in the knowledge and fear of the Lord, discipleship, along with the many aspects of preparation for life and adulthood. And this is a big part of why God gives children to parents; procreation just the beginning.

The Puritans believed the Bible: they believed that children were a gift from God, and that having them was a holy vocation for parents. Parents were thus to bring them up “…in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). (One of them even gave 10 reasons why mothers should breast-feed.) They also believed in family worship at home, along with the father’s duty to be reading and expositing scripture, and praying with the family. They were powerful and influential people in their time, and we would do well to emulate them.

I agree: problems with children can be tiresome for us parents. But of course, we are all in the process of learning and growing. Those problems we are encountering with our children are actually good for us! In the process we should be developing patience and lots of God –honouring virtues and fruits.

“Father’s instructions” and “mother’s teaching” are vital aspects of what the Lord wants us to share with our children. They are vital family issues, recognised by Solomon as early as 950 B.C., and the homeschooling family has abundant opportunities to provide their children with these. And very often they can be in non-formal, casual circumstances and conversation.

When the Bible says, “Give me your heart, my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways” (Prov.23:26), it is really referring to those opportunities that parents have with their children to capitalise on the intimacy of family relationship and interaction, to have a powerful and God-ordained influence on a child. Children learn by what they see and hear.

And the object of this is that

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you (Prov.23:24-25).

Of course, no family should ever see itself as absolute, or totally independent. We are all to be in fruitful relationships amongst the Lord’s people, His church. God’s plan is that the  family, church, and State be interdependent, mutually supportive structures, never competing against one another.

Thus pastors, elders and others should be authoritative and influential leaders, and as spouses and parents, it’s to our advantage that we are subject to them. Moses was a great leader, but even he needed an outsider’s help through Jethro’s understanding and advice (Ex.19:13-27), to carry out his tasks more effectively. The Psalmist asked the Lord,

Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; it is oil upon the head; do not let my head refuse it…(Ps.141:5).

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                Let me encourage you today: take your marching orders as a parent from the Bible, for it has much to say about the responsibilities of parents regarding their children, beginning in Genesis. And as we parents take our responsibilities seriously in the discipline and training of our children unto the Lord, it will have a marked impact on them for good.

And on our day of judgment, we’ll be able to give a good account of how we’ve discharged our responsibilities as parents. It all begins in the family.


[1] See my book, “The Significance of the Godly Family,” 2009.

AN EDUCATIONAL COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLE (6)

Total Depravity

By Rodney N. Kirby (about 1980)

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen.6:5).

We have looked previously at one aspect of the Biblical teaching on “the nature of man”—the fact that man is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). This month we look at another aspect of man’s nature —his sinfulness. When Adam sinned, his sin affected not only him, but the whole human race, of which he was the representative head. Every person born of Adam, then, inherits a sin nature—a natural bent and desire toward sin. This affects all of man’s capacities—his intellect (cf. II Cor. 10:5), his will, his desires, etc. Man, left to himself, naturally inclines toward evil and away from God and His Law-word.

Content

There is much emphasis placed in modern education on creativity. The teacher is to give the child information, materials, etc., so he can express his imagination freely. This is seen in the fine arts, and in “creative writing.” Now, there is a place in the Christian school for creativity. However, our text gives us a warning in this area. It says that “every imagination. . . was evil.” We must not stop with enabling the child to express himself freely; he may (and, at first, most likely will) express a sinful imagination.

We must show him how his imagination is not in line with Scripture (say, a non-Christian thought being expressed through allegory), and how he can bring it in line with God’s revelation. One’s imagination is not neutral, and we must not say, ‘Oh, but you will suppress the child’s creativity if you, critique his work.” Paul tells us that we must bring every thought (including “creative” thoughts) into captivity to the obedience of Christ (II Cor. 10:5). Children must be taught how to express themselves creatively in submission to God’s Word.

In our economics and government classes, we must also remember the sinfulness of man. We cannot rely upon man to solve our economic or social problems; man is sinful, and will progressively move farther from God’s Law into apostasy. It is quite easy to point this out in liberalism —collective man (m the state or democracy) is looked to as the saviour from all our socio-economic ills. With the liberals in control, there is more and more oppression—of the rich, of the poor, of Christians, etc. But conservatism (as it is generally preached) has the same flaw. As this is being written, the Republican National Convention has just been held.

While we may agree with many of the positions taken, yet there is one basic flaw—it is all based, just as in liberalism, on man. To be sure, it is the individual man, rather than collective man. But Ronald Reagan’s words are still ringing we can “make American great again; we can re-establish respect for America among the other nations of the world; we can bring our productivity back up; etc. Only God can “make America great,” and we must be careful to make that fact clear to our students. The blessings of Deut. 28 do not come from a free market economy per se, but from a God who blesses faithfulness to His Law-word.

Methods

Since the child is sinful, we cannot depend on him to decide what he should learn, and when and how he should learn it. He will not choose what he needs (as defined by God’s Word), but will choose those things which least enable him to obey God and exercise dominion. However, those who advocate open classrooms either do not see this, or they deny it. Open classrooms are those in which the children, individually, decide which of several subjects they will study, how long they will study it, and how they will learn it (educational games, worksheets, books, etc.).

Maria Montessori was a prime advocate of this methodology. She believed in the natural goodness of the child; he would thus choose wisely what he needed and was ready for at the time. If he wanted to study math all day, he could —or art, or music, or for that matter, recess. The teacher was merely to provide him with the apparatus needed to do what he desired. However, if we, with Scripture, view the child as sinful, we cannot trust him to learn what he needs. The teacher (and administrator) must decide what the student will learn, and when.

There is a variation on the open classroom concept in vogue today in many Christian schools. This is the individualized course of study, best represented by Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.). While the student does not have complete freedom of choice as to subject matter, he does proceed through the booklet at his own pace. To be sure, the teacher does monitor his progress, and can detect any slothfulness. And, it is admitted, it is easy to understand the rationale for such a program as A.C.E.—a small school can offer all twelve grades, with only a few teachers. (The writer is using a similar curriculum in tutoring several Cambodian refugee children.) But it would seem that the A.C.E. and similar programs still have not considered sufficiently the sinful desire of the child not to work up to his capacity.

Discipline

It is popular to submit rules for classroom behaviour to a vote—giving the children a chance to experience “participatory democracy.” Also, the children will more readily obey rules they themselves have drawn up, it is said. However, if the child has a sin nature, as Gen. 6:5 says, then he cannot be trusted to make his own laws. The child may make laws against every kind of wrong behaviour except his own.

Even Adam before the fall did not make his own laws; how much less would a fallen, depraved human being be capable of doing so! Such “democracy” is actually training in autonomy—when the child grown up, he will no more look to God’s Law than he does in school. He will be a thoroughly trained-autonomous humanist.

Since the child’s heart is sinful, Christian teachers cannot expect discipline (even Biblical discipline) in itself to have a lasting effect on the child. Only the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit can change the heart. We may, and must, make the child conform to Biblical Law; but we cannot change his heart to make him desire to obey that Law. The sinner’s problem is not just bad behaviour—it is a bad heart, which produces bad behaviour.

Thus, Christian discipline is distinguished from behaviour modification, which sees only the outward behaviour, and uses external means to change that behaviour. Gen. 6:5 tells us that the heart is wicked, and so it is the heart that must be changed. Christian teachers must pray for their students diligently, asking God to give the children a new heart, one on which His Law is written (Jer. 31:33). Only in this way will our discipline truly be effective.