Can we “save our culture” through growing the home education movement? Some people think so. I’d like to share with you some thoughts on this topic today, linking it to a longer article we have had on our website if you are interested in reading about it further.
This post/article is best understood by Christians who eagerly desire to serve Christ, seek to grow in knowing God’s Word, and are concerned about proclaiming the gospel message. Non-Christians are of course, welcome to read it but it won’t be as meaningful unless the person reading it knows the Lord personally.
A “Biblical Mandate” for Christian Parents?
“Mandate: a command or authorization to act in a particular way… any authoritative order or command…to make mandatory” definition from Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, 1991.”
Heads nod emphatically at the glimpse of tackling a burning issue. Lips and eyes quietly comment on the guilt unnecessarily initiated by the well-meaning but misled. Voices of the “experts” shout across the internet and other forms of media, bombarding the gut-feelings of brothers and sisters who sense that something is not quite right. But little is said formally, being left up to “anybody else” to bring to the forefront—the pain, the pressure, the confusion, the fear of saying something openly about a growing problem in the Christian home-schooling movement across North America.
I am first of all a Christian—a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour. I believe in the final authority of the Holy Scriptures and I believe in its life-giving principles for my life today. I believe that there are Biblical mandates—directions for Christians in how to live in such a way as to bring honour and glory to God, while we live IN the world while not OF it (John 17:15, Philippians 2:15, 1 John 2:15-16). I believe that Christians should be different than the non-Christian world around us, both in the “telling” of the good news to these precious people for whom Christ died and rose again (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20) and in the “showing” of a godly lifestyle by our morality and attitudes (John 14:21-26). And it is impossible to live for God without Him dwelling within — we need His power for we cannot do what we should do in our own strength or with our own wisdom (Romans 8:7-9). We still fail sometimes and there is always forgiveness—God is so faithful, even when we are not (1 John 1:9)!
I am also one of those “home-school moms”. During school-days (and vacations), I juggle kids from babyhood to teens, household tasks, various ministry opportunities, plus a home-based business. My husband is an immeasurable encourager and helps when he is home. We are very thankful to have the blessing to home educate our family. The flexibility is incredible, the overall atmosphere is uplifting, the learning is fresh and foundational. But here is where many home schooling blogs or articles stop…at the “positive-side” of the home school movement. (Yet thankfully, there are some that go on in a gracious manner and I hope to do the same here.)
Of course I too could stop short of mentioning “anything amiss” and like so many others, submit to a quietness over this issue. But my Christian standards bring me to face it head on because it involves the Bible, not just an opinion. Its’ persuasiveness seeps into the simple delight of home education, souring corners of the Church. I must call to remembrance what the Bible actually teaches (and what it does not) on the issue of parents teaching their children at home.
Is home-schooling a Biblical mandate?
We are to act wisely. We are to avoid evil influences. We are to be on our guard against deception wherever we are. Depending on the situation, it may be very prudent to choose home education or private school instead of public school. Since wickedness is prevalent and sometimes tolerated in our society, including public schools (and elsewhere—it is inescapable on this earth), some choose to home school to avoid the amounts of immorality, bullying, horrific literature, and untruths their children would be exposed to. But other Christians place their children in the school system so that they can be a light in the midst of a dark world and/or so that they can grow stronger in their faith when opposition comes. I ask, is one family “sinning” and the other one “not sinning” when they make a choice for the location of their children’s education? Why not simply thank the Lord that you have a legal opportunity to make a choice as a citizen of Canada [or a different free country] and not reject others if they choose something different than you? This comment goes both ways—to Christians who think it is “crazy” to home-school (“it’s not missional, too isolationist”, etc.) and to the Christians who think that sending your children to a public education system is somehow becoming an ungodly parent. Continue this into career choices and you get the idea that only ministry positions are right and secular work is “wrong” or similar. There is a danger when each thinks of their preference or personal leading from the Lord as a general “mandate” and thus, an “obedience versus disobedience” issue.
(This article/post is from the section of “Our Twist” regarding the topic of integration which it somewhat fits with. It was more difficult to figure out where it should actually go on this website when we first relaunched it. It also fits with our encouragement (“Encouragemints”) section, thus the reason for posting this here too. Homeschooling is a wonderful calling, a privilege, a blessing but it will never “change our world”. Only God has the authority to do that. He desires His people to be faithful at whatever He calls and enables them to do for His sake. I love to see the growth of the homeschool movement but I never want it to distract me from the greater call of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please, my brothers and sisters in Christ, strive for a gospel-centered life more than an education-centered one. People need to know the Lord. Proclaim Him in whatever capacity He leads you into.)