Friday, November 11, 2005

Our children as missionaries

Yesterday, Tony left me a few comments and questions that are fairly common among Christians concerning homeschoolers. Here's what he said (in red) my response is below

I have a few questions or points to consider. And please do not misunderstand, I am not opposed to homeschooling. But I am worried about Christians being to quick to withdraw from the world and also being too critical of those "left behind".
First, scriptures tell us that friendship with the world is enmity with God. (James 4:4) No soldier in active duty entangles himself in civilian affairs. (2 Timothy 2:6) So it is not that we are withdrawing from the world. Our generation is engaged in a spiritual war. Every generation has the same battle to fight. As a parent, I am not going to send my children into a system which says that there is no God to be trained for that war. Our nation would be foolish to send untrained soldiers to the Middle East. The same would be true here.

Further, I am not critical of those "left behind". I am criticial of government education that promotes the state as higher than the parent or God.

Tony then asked these questions,
1. If all Christians homeschool, how do we go minister and provide an example to those in our public schools? These are not evil people, they need Christ as much as we do, but how will they be influenced? Aren't we just abandoning them to the "bad" influences from which we are fleeing? Is this not giving up?
The scriptures tell me to go out into all the world and preach the gospel. I don't limit my evangelism (nor my children's) to the schools or their schedule. The influence our family has on other families is not limited by the need to contain my children for six hours a day in a classroom. We go out into ALL the world. At times that has included our whole family going into the public schools for presentations. (My husband has been to the public schools three times in the last month.)

We are not abandoning those children to the "bad" influences. Their parents are responsible for whatever influences are upon their children. I have not given up on them. However, I'm not willing to give up the discipleship of my children to reach them.

Also, you are assuming that my children are only going to be an influence for good. Scripture says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. That includes mine. They do foolish things that will be a 'bad" inlfuence on others. (Trust me! I see what they do to each other!)

A child doesn't necessarily become wise just because he's homeschooled. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In order for my children to become wise they must learn to love and fear the Lord. And then the knowledge that they learn can be applied with the wisdom of God to guide them. That will come as they learn under the discipleship of their parents not a godless institution that says that there are many ways to God. The curriclum is the "bad influence" as much as any child is.

2. Just because you are a Christian of deep faith and conviction, does not mean you have the skill sets or aptitude to be a good teacher of all the subjects that our children need.

I never claimed to have all the skills necessary to teach all subjects. I don't know many who do. But I sure don't have. My children are quite capable of learning many subjects on their own. Especially since they have not been given the mindless drivel that kills their love for reading and learning.

Your statement also assumes that the schools have hired the teachers with the aptitutde to teach these subjects. I'm not sure that claim can be made in most schools. Is homeschooling the perfect answer? No, there is no perfect education this side of heaven. All educational choices will have gaps. I accept that. And so do those who enroll their children in the public schools. They are willing to exchange Christ and the wisdom of the the Bible applied to their teaching while I'm willing to exchange a state of the art Chemistry lab.

3. If Christians isolate themselves, how do we bring the Kingdom of God to fruition on this earth? Christ clearly calls us to be a light to the world. Do we not think our children are smart enough to eventually detect the hypocrisy of teaching them the song "This Little Light of Mine" behind closed doors? Hide it under a bushel--NO!

The short answer to that question Tony is NO. I don't think my five year old unbelieving child is capable of discerning a lie from the truth. What child is?

They may eventually come to the knowledge of Christ and realize the foolishness of some of what they have been taught. But that doesn't mean that some of the residual effects don't remain. I am a case in point. The effect of what the "classrom" model created in me was not always positive. I learned that the grade was more important than the truth of the information being taught. I learned to compete against those I should learn to serve. I learned to ignore my siblings and prefer my friends. I learned that getting knowledge is more important than getting wisdom. All of these and more were "taught" to me by the schools that tried to educate me.

No Tony, our family is not hiding our light under a bushel. And we're not hiding it in the four walls of the classroom either. The world is our classroom and our lives a daily testimony to HIS saving power. When my son holds the door for a lady; when I talk to the lady in the grocery line; when my daughter prays for her baby sister's "oweee"; when my husband goes into the school and does a Civil War presentation; when my daughter teaches piano to the neighborhood children; when our family takes a meal to a friend; we are living the life of the believer. We are giving a cup of water in HIS name.

When scripture says, "Go out into ALL the world and preach the gospel." that's exactly what we're doing every day.

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