Friday, May 26, 2006

How Should Christians Educate Their Children?

This is another post in an on going discussion about whether Christians should have their children in the public schools. This is lengthy but it establishes my belief that the bibilical mandate for the Christian parent is to educate our children so they will grow in wisdom.

In Dr. Beam's email he said,
As far as what Jesus did before He was 12, the Bible is silent. You are assuming that He was not taught by anyone but his parents but that is an assumption made from silence. And what about Jesus appearance before the teachers in the Temple...would you suggest that he shouldn't have engaged them in discussion because they might influence Him in a negative way since He was only 12?
I am not assuming that he was only taught by his parents. But I am assuming he was not taught by the the the ungodly and pagan. Further, I submit that the Bible is not completely silent on what Jesus did before the age of twelve. In Luke 2:40 it states,

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
He grew in strength and was filled with wisdom. How is wisdom gained, Dr. Beam? According to the scripture, wisdom is gained by walking with the wise. Proverbs 13:20 states,

He who walks with the wise becomes wiser still but the companion of fools suffers harm.
For Jesus to have gained in wisdom he would have to walk with the "wise" not the "fool". Who is the fool? Scripture identifies two groups as fools or foolish. From Psalm 14:1, "He who has set in his heart that there is no God" and Proverbs 22:15, "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child". We cannot expect that Jesus would have been filled with wisdom while sitting with those whom the Bible calls fools. That would be contrary to the Truth of God's Word. Psalm 1 states,

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
So the Bible is not as silent as some would like to believe, on how Jesus would have grown in wisdom. This early teaching in wisdom enabled him to sit amongst the teachers at age 12 and engage them. But clearly, even that small glimpse into Jesus' life isn't justification for putting our children into a pagan system for 8 hours a day for 12 years. Even His parents saw that this would not be beneficial for Him. As parents they understood that to continue His growth in wisdom, He must be walk among the wise. It worked. Scripture records in Luke 2:52 that "Jesus grew in wisdom, and stature, in favor with God and man."

In the same way, we cannot expect that our own children will grow in wisdom while sitting with the "scoffers" in the public schools. As an institution, they have declared that there is no God. The curriculum and structure is built on that assumption. To use your own words they are "in disarray and pagan to the core." They are the "fools" teaching "foolish children". With that as its core there is no foundation for wisdom to be established.

Moving on to your next point,
I think for everyone to be called to step away from the public school is giving up the ground to the devil. What if every born again believer removed their children from the public school system? Some say the system would collapse and yet do you really believe our country is going to allow the total collapse of free public education? I think rather than the system collapsing you would simply create a completely godless enterprise that would turn out a generation of children with no hope because they have nothing but darkness as an example.
As you previously stated, the schools are "in disarray and pagan to the core." There is no foundation for wisdom. It is a system built on "sinking sand". They are already turning out a generation of children with no hope. From a Christian perspective the schools have already collapsed. The question is do I want my children to sink with them?

The issue does not rest on whether my children will be a salt and light or whether the public schools will fall apart if all the "good" children leave. The question for me, and every Christian parent, is; what does the scripture say about how to become wise? That is my goal for my children's education. I believe that God's Word is clear; my children become wise by walking with those that know and fear the Lord. Until the public schools are willing to acknowledge and fear the Lord, my children should not be taught by them. We will not allow them to become part of the collateral damage in the battle to save the public schools. As a Christian parent, homeschooling provides the best means to enage the culture (and the school children within it) without compromising my own children's growth in wisdom.

Lastly Dr. Beam said,

I certainly hope your comments about my preaching in a Christian church, teaching in a Christian college and having a talk show on a Christian radio station were not intended to insult me. Saying that I sit back in my "cloistered office of Christendom giving marching orders" is unfair...

I am constantly looking for opportunities to leave my "cloistered office" and engage the culture with God's Truth. I assure you, I am daily in the battle.

My comments were not meant to insult you. Not any more than your assertion that homeschoolers "cut and run" from the culture. I did, however, find it ironic that you would ask our children to sit for 8 hours a day in with the godless and pagans while you enjoy sitting daily with Christians. As a mature believer, I would expect that you would engage the culture as you do. But you also have the benefits of surrounding yourself with the Godly who will encourage you as you engage those with differing views. That is not the case in the public schools.

By placing our children in the schools, you are asking them to do what you are not even asking Christian students in your college to do. That is, spend the majority of their time with non- believers and allowing them to be taught by them. Daily requiring them to memorize the lies and falsehoods necessary to get "straight A's" to please mom and dad. And then turn around and have the mental stamina to "debate" the lies that are being taught to them! That is a tall order for one so young. At that pace, it is no wonder that most Christian children enter the schools professing a faith but come out twelve years later doubting the existence of God and the Truth of His Word. Jesus said it best in Mathew 18:6
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Dr. Beam, if you as a pastor and parent can demonstrate how scripturally a young believer can grow in wisdom while sitting in the counsel of the ungodly and come out unharmed, I am open to hearing it. But in the meantime, I'm not going to give the enemy any more ground to plunder. This is not a retreat from the culture. But the best armies do not do train their soldiers on the battlefield. There are too many opportunities for unncessary casualties. No, we will educate our children at home. Together, we'll memorize God's Truth not man's lies and engage the culture as God provides opportunities. And I can assure you, we are daily in the battle.

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