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Last week I told you about a homeschooling mother who, out of personal principle, chooses not to enroll her children in Private Christian Schools. She also took time (responding to one of my earlier articles) to present two reasonable challenges. She believes the verses I always use to “prove” that homeschool-only training is the best do not succeed in making it the exclusive Bible choice. Nor, interestingly, does she think they provide adequate proof that the Private Christian School (PCS) option should be ruled out. She also asks why a PCS might not be a legitimate option for some families in certain situations. “My” verses are Deuteronomy 6:1–9; Psalm 1; 34:11, Proverbs 1:7; 13:20; 22:6; Isaiah 54:13; Jeremiah 10:2a; Matthew 18:6; 28:20a, Luke 6:39–40 and Ephesians 6:4. Take a minute to review them when you can. This part of her challenge is the easiest so we’ll start there.
I believe these several verses constitute a biblical doctrine of discipling which says that God has planned the family unit so that the parents alone are responsible for children during the critical years from birth up to the mid-teens. Please remember that “discipling” is a much broader concept than traditional teaching of academic facts by rote and then evaluating with a one-time test. But, let’s face it, this classroom-setting method, by definition, is how most U.S. adults think of education today in the K-12 and college years. And for most parents who are regularly “too busy,” you sometimes sense they’d like nothing better than to go on thinking that way in order to justify keeping personal educational involvement at home with their kids to a minimum.
Discipling, conversely, is a dual approach. The child is still presented with academic as well as biblical facts, stories, and examples. Let’s call this collection of material our “tools.” But in the discipling approach these academic and the biblical tools are carefully woven together into an integrated, coordinated whole. And it’s done daily on a subject-by-subject basis. When done well, this composite will give your children what is called a “biblical worldview.” Once ingrained, it lets the grown child see that, when applied daily to all of life (and unto God) it will provide a practical foundation for managing every situation at work, in marriage, at home, at play, at church, in illness, in one’s planning and ambitions, in political contributions to the community, etc., every day, forever.
A key point is that each worldview-learning child is different. Different in the way they are receptive or resistant to what the discipler is hoping to do with their minds. Different in the manner, style, and speed with which they catch on to it all. Different in what their blind spots and gifted areas are. In other words, the discipling task is custom-fitted to each child. Obviously, God knew all this at the outset. He knew that only His chosen parents had the adequate degree of interest, love and dedication to do the job to His standards. But let’s be honest: Few modern parents have been adequately taught about our country’s Christian heritage or of the parental biblical duties necessary to preserve this glorious national/personal spiritual summit. Sadly, because 99% of U.S. parents are denied this message, most graduates, whether finishing high school or even college, celebrate graduation day as the day when “all that darn studying and learning is finally over—forever.” For most of them it’s, “goodbye to tool acquisition and to effective life application of the tools—forever.” Little do they know what this sad attitude portends.
But back to the verses in dispute: It’s true that (in Hebrew and in English) there is no explicit, “home-disciple only” verse or passage. And none saying, “don’t you dare hand over your child-discipling task to others outside the home.” Instead, honest parents know that truth can be discovered because, throughout the Bible, God regularly implies and expects us to infer … logically. He doesn’t list every possible life situation. For example, nothing in the Bible says Christian computer games are bad. But should they ever be allowed? All of them? And when playing these “Christian games,” what is it that’s not being done that would have been more personally profitable and Kingdom-advancing?
Another example: Does the Bible ever speak favorably about “state schools?” No. Does it warn against worldly indoctrination? Yes; all over the place in all 66 books. So, really, it takes very little extended thinking by an honest parent to see the risky link between enrolling a child in an anti-God public school and disobedient surrender to humanism, that is, in many of life’s challenges parents are obliged to infer their way to obedience. “Yes, but mustn’t my kids attend the public schools in order to be obedient to the ‘salt and light’ command,” ask many among the naïve. Attention, you parents and pastors who hold that view: Just as adults must undergo lengthy preparation to become effective salt and light transmitters in tough overseas missionary situations, similarly your kids are not yet salt and light equipped to move into the jaws of the public school beast and to take it on. Don’t kid yourself at your child’s expense. Any theoretical “transforming” will be of (-) NEA/ACLU-generated, “fire & brimstone” enormity, not of any salt & light ideal. Satan will use his disciples, including staff employees, your children’s unchurched classmates, the textbooks and various media to be “witnesses” to carry out his agenda. To be continued next time.