Covenantal Families 6 /Discipleship God's Tool for Dominion/ Preserving The Heart Of Homeschooling Part One PDF Print E-mail
Covenantal Families

 

      This is the first part of the series of lessons that Candy and I gave in our God and Government classes prior to our conference, and undoubtedly one of the most important lessons Candy and I have given, if not our most important message, because of the grave situation we face in the present homeschooling community today.
      For some of you, this series of lessons will initially make you defensive, yet we believe if you go back to the prior lessons posted on our website www.theresnoplacelikehome-summers.com on Covenantal Families/Children-God’s Tool for Dominion Through Discipleship and study the scriptures, you will realize the peril we face if we do not completely turn our hearts back to our children by diligently discipling them according to God’s will—rather than according to the dictates of our desires or the
dictates of others.
      Unfortunately, most of us have not torn down many of the high places that still remain in our hearts. Receiving a thorough indoctrination of humanism during our own public school education, we find it difficult to leave Egypt completely because it is comfortable, it is what we know, and it is what we experienced for twelve years of our lives. It is what the majority of our church members, our co-workers, our neighbors and extended family members are still doing.
      Let us carefully consider the present consequences of the fulfillment of William Booth’s prophetic words. “When Booth was asked by an American newspaper what he regarded as the chief dangers ahead for the twentieth century, he replied tersely: ‘Religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.’” (Taken from The Old Evangelicalism: Old Truths for a New Awakening by Iain H. Murray)
      Candy and I would add to this: Homeschooling without parents discipling their children in their own homes!


                                               Fiercest Battle Ever Fought

 

      Presently we are facing the fiercest battle ever fought over the hearts and minds of our homeschooling families. Will history testify of our faithfulness to the divine covenant of discipleship, or will it bear witness of an apostate people? The question remains, Will we choose Jesus, the Son of the Father, or will we, like the Greek and the Hebrew fathers and mothers before us, cry out, “Give us Barabbas. Crucify Jesus! His blood shall be on us and our children!”
      In light of biblical, historical, and personal evidence, we will demonstrate the similarities that preceded the fall of the Greek Empire and of Jerusalem with homeschoolers’ present abandonment of their divine duty to disciple their own children. As home shapes the destiny of nations, we must ask ourselves, “Where will ours be in 25 more years?”
      Let’s face the stark fact that in a very short time, we will all soon be dead. No longer will we have the opportunity to speak truth into our children’s lives, so what needs accomplishing must be done speedily. For as eternal creatures, our lives ultimately lay the foundation for future generations.
      When considering the vast importance of our role, we must remember above all else that our children are eternal creatures, who will either live forever with God or apart from Him. With this in mind, carefully examine your lives. Are you raising your children for God’s throne room or for the world’s playroom? Are you preparing them for their noble station in the King’s court, or are you bending their necks toward the world? Sadly, many mothers are so anxious about their children’s society that they neglect the weightier matters of eternity. What is even more grievous is that fathers, instead of leading the family according to God’s Word, look to their wives to make those decisions and acquiesce like Adam before us.
      Fathers, where are your hearts? Are you being obedient to God’s calling, which requires you to lead your family and to disciple your children?
      Mothers, do you love the honor of your calling? Do you derive contentment from being at home with your children? Attending to your husbands, your children, and your homes reflects the holiest service of worship that you can offer God!
      Fathers and mothers, please listen carefully. Family is a divine institution, which God created for taking dominion for His glory on this earth and for the preparation of serving Him for eternity. Our mission then is of the greatest import, for our lives are living epistles that offer others either a foretaste of heaven or a foretaste of hell. And since we walk in the midst of such a crooked and perverse generation, let us be ever more diligent in leading other fathers home to disciple their children and other mothers home to serve their families.

 
                                                       Safely Home

 
      Candy and I rarely read a book written during the past century, much less rarely one written in the last twenty years. However, we were delighted to read Tom Eldredge’s book Safely Home. After reading Safely Home, which gave voice to our views on schools’ usurpation of parents’ biblically ordained responsibility to educate their own children, we were so pleased to have a like minded, biblically perceptive man living within our own state and honored to have him consistently attend our CHEF conference. But we particularly appreciated Tom’s historical research on the decline of Hebrew education and the consequences of their demise because of this abrogation.
      Dads, this book is a must read for all homeschooling families! It is a very easy book to get through and one that could be easily read to the family in a week at the dinner table.

The following is Doug Phillip’s foreword to Safely Home: “The American Church spent the better part of the twentieth century living with the implications of the isms of the nineteenth. The revivalism of Finney and others became the intellectual predecessor to the technique-driven, program-based church. The evolutionism of the nineteenth century gave us a sociological approach to worship which demanded age segregation. The egalitarianism of the post-Civil War era taught us to view the local church as a connection of completely independent individuals, instead of as members of families, of covenanting communities, and as heirs to a patriarchal legacy. Likewise, the feminism of the post-industrial revolution, driven in part by the rise in absentee fathers, turned the church into a matriarchal society with women as the primary communicators of spiritual truths to the next generation. By the twentieth century, the combined effect of these noxious, anti-familistic isms had finally taken its toll on the local church, transforming many into baby sitting operations.

But perhaps someday we will look back upon the early years of the twenty-first century as the turning point. What happened?

After years of broken marriages, rebellious children, and misplaced priorities within the church, some parents have begun to cry out to God. The cry has been answered by a Holy Spirit-driven desire on the part of fathers to turn their hearts to their children, by the rise of the home education movement with its emphasis on parent-directed Hebrew education, and with the wonderful rediscovery of historical and biblical roles for men and for women.

Even more importantly, many of these parents recognize that apart from their ability to intimately know Jesus Christ and to communicate the kind of obedience that He showed to the Father, that their best laid plans for family revival will fail.

Remarkably, many church shepherds are catching on to the fact that, despite a smorgasbord of programs, the majority of the children born to believing parents will reject the faith of their fathers and blend into an increasingly pagan society. They, too, grieve at the destruction of the family within their flocks, but they are at a loss for what to do.

The significance of the book in our hands is that it offers concrete, biblical solutions to the crisis of priorities between the church, the family, and the culture of our day. In this sense, the book is not only timely, it is historic, because it marks one of the first of what we hope will be many books which directly address the all-important need for revival and reformation between the family and the church—a revival which can occur when men reject Greek lifestyles, education programs, and business philosophies, in exchange for a distinctively Hebrew approach to family life and culture.

Here is great hope for fathers and mothers. Men need not fear. They need not live under the bondage of misplaced priorities, of wrong lifestyle choices, of family-segregating educational philosophies, or local churches driven by youth culture. Men (and women, too) can go safely home.

Thank you, Tom, for the courage to communicate what we so desperately needed to hear, but few were willing to say. May God give a mighty vision to many, and may family reformation spread throughout the Church.”

 
                                                Excerpts from Safely Home

 

      The following are excerpts from Safely Home by Tom Eldredge, pp. 7-37: “In the early days of Greek civilization, strong families, stemming from a robust religious heritage, were a central defining feature of the culture…the extended family provided protection and stability for its members that could not be matched by any other institution. These extended families were able to amass great wealth, as the hundreds of family members all worked to contribute to the well-being of the entire family….As the people enjoyed the wealth they had accumulated, they tended to forget about their gods, give less attention to the family, have fewer children, and give more attention to the state, which to them was clearly the true benefactor of their property. The laws ceased to protect the family as an institution and focused instead on the rights of individuals. In time, the extended family as a power ceased to exist.”
      “As men gained greater independence from the family, women expected to be relieved of some of their domestic burdens as well. The care of children’s minds, the most time-consuming responsibility in the family, was turned over to institutions outside the family and often to the state. In the quiet power struggles between the family and the state, the state welcomed the opportunity to train the children of future generations. This trend continued until the people finally came to view public control over education as essential for the future security of prosperity.”
      “Free from their domestic responsibilities, women spent more time outside the home. Thus, the breakdown of the institution of marriage began to accelerate….After the family lost its power, all that remained was the all-pervasive, socialistic, democratic government and individuals…The role of the family was replaced by the state, and each person lived his life clamoring selfishly for his share of the government services and rights.”
      “As the philosophies of Plato and Socrates were accepted, Greek civilization turned from the family as the central, guiding culture force to an anti-familistic culture, represented by the individuals and the state alone. It could be said that the Greek civilization committed suicide. When they destroyed the family, they destroyed the only institution that had any spiritual meaning to it, and that contained any meaningful relationships. Without this, there was no reason to bring children into the world.”
      “The Greeks were not aware that their society was imploding, nor did they see the far-reaching implications they would experience for dumbing-down their family life. They could not see that an anti-familistic culture can never sustain a civilization. There were no Christians to stand up for the institution which God designed, so the family lost that historic struggle.”

 

                                       Greek Education and the Gymnasium

 

      “For at least six centuries, Greek culture was primarily agrarian. Greeks lived as isolated,  self-governing, extended families and clans. Family life was holistic, meaning that education, work, and even recreation took place in and around the life of the family. Children were essential to the success of the Greek family and were integrated into every part of the family life. Care for the mind and body was provided within the framework of the family. Family rule was made up of traditions, religious beliefs, and family policies. In short, the early Greek family functioned as the social unit
for civilization.”
      “Whenever cultures promote and protect the God-created institution of the family, they experience prosperity. This is true regardless of whether a society is predominantly pagan or Christian. It is true because God’s laws of success and blessing, each ultimately rooted in doctrines of honor and obedience to lawful authority, are applicable at all times and for all people. It is equally true, however, that absent a moral compass pointing to faith in the one true God, the most advanced cultures are unable to manage their success or sustain the values which gave rise to their success in the beginning.”
      “Prosperity must be matched by a multi-generational family vision or it will devolve into indolence, selfishness, and moral profligacy. Lacking a godly vision, the beneficiaries of prosperity view prosperity as an end in itself, or at least a means of promoting pleasure-seeking.”
      “Commerce, efficiency, the accumulation of wealth, and the quest for greater comfort and entertainment ultimately drive the priorities of the society….Power and wealth assumed paramount importance. However, without the family to provide moral structure to society, the Greeks needed an instrument for bringing order and security to society. They found the answer in the highly organized political and military state….”
      “Sometime after 600 B.C. it became totally anti-familistic. Sons of Greek citizens, probably less than two thirds of the population, were now educated by the government.”
      “The Greeks did not rely entirely on schools for the boys’ education. Many youths were taught by tutors….both Greeks and the Romans used this system in combination with the grammar schools, academies, and other secondary schools, which the Greeks and Romans are credited with developing. Once a Greek boy reached the age of sixteen, he was to be educated in a gymnasium…to become an athlete, a warrior, and a communicator…The state controlled the system of education to ensure the uniformity of doctrine and thought. Especially important was the need to train the Greek citizen-soldier to develop loyalty to the state…the gymnasium became the antithesis of the biblical and Hebraic approach to education. Where Hebrew education had stressed learning in the context of family relationships, multi generational training and the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, Greek education and the establishment of the gymnasium emphasized the development of the child as a creature of the state who finds his identity as an individual, not a member of a family.”
      “Long before Darwin ever penned The Origin of the Species, the Greeks taught a form of evolutionism which emphasized man as a creature en route to physiological and intellectual perfection …Later, Nietzsche would adopt the Greek evolutionary ideal with a vengeance in his work Mensch and Ubermensch (Man and Superman), a book which helped fuel Adolf Hitler’s vision for the education of the student athlete, soldier, and superman of the future.”
      “Academic and athletic competition were the cornerstone of the Greek vision for training supermen. The worship of the body and the exaltation of human reason were indispensable components of the Greek philosophy.”
      “The Greek athletic and intellectual vision was enormously successful. Many cultures in and around the Hellenistic world would embrace this vision. At one point, even the Jews, the very people of God, actually petitioned the state to set up a gymnasium at Jerusalem in the immediate vicinity of the Temple. They petitioned the state, notwithstanding the fact that traditional Hebrew education with its emphasis on a reverence for God, familial relationships, holiness, humility, and moral development was the very antithesis of the Greek ideal, with its deification of reason and its glorification of the body. The Hellenization of the Jews contributed to cultural downfall and judgment. The hearts of children turned from their parents. After all, the gymnasium was much more attractive to the youth than the old fashioned relationship-driven approach to training with its emphasis on submission to authority, humility before God, and traditional wisdom.”
      “The Hebrews had no biblical model of competitive athletics with which the Greek ideal could be compared…The Hebrew father spent his time in a more serious endeavor discipling his children and providing for his family. Hebrew physical educating meant learning how to do useful work and serve others. The Hebrew vision for maintaining the body avoided both the Greek extreme in which the body was worshipped…Paul would later explain that the body was to be treated with respect and care as the temple of the Holy Spirit, but that physical exercise was not to dominate the life of the Christian: For bodily exercise profiteth little (1 Timothy 4:8).”
      “Another purpose of the Greek gymnasium was to create an entire nation of soldiers who could serve the state and further its interests… In contrast, the Hebrews were commanded to think in terms of self-government and decentralized state power. In fact, God had communicated to them that He did not want them to build their nation by following the example of the heathen nations.”
      “The final use of the gymnasium was for the development of oratory which…emphasized logic and rhetoric…by which he could demonstrate his elevated reason and abilities.”
      “In biblical worldview, knowledge, logic, and rhetoric are not ends in and of themselves, but tools to advance the kingdom of God . True knowledge is the act of understanding reality consistent with the revelation of God. Logic is a reflection of the character of God. In the Bible, people spoke eloquently and persuasively because they learned to think God’s thoughts after Him…Jesus Christ is the reference point (not the autonomous Greek mind of man) for interpreting all of reality and for growing in wisdom and knowledge.”
      “The goal of Greek education was to raise children from infancy to be creatures of the State. The driving religious philosophy behind this system was the worship of man….Man and his autonomous reason were the measure of all things.”
      “In contrast, godly educational systems are built on the foundation of the fear of the Lord…Every thought must be taken captive to the obedience of Christ….Hebrew education emphasized the equipping of the mind and body of man for the glory of God as an agent of dominion over the earth….The Hebrew method of training the full man takes place within the context of family relationship, discipleship, and personal training.”

 
                                          The Decline of Hebrew Education

 
      “Nathan Drazin offers this insight into early Hebrew education: Jewish education was never something extraneous to life or merely an instrument that served to prepare for life and that could later be discarded when its utility was exhausted. Jewish education was rather synonymous with life. It unfolded life, giving it direction and meaning. In fact a modern Hebrew term for education, Hinuk…means dedication…the child…was dedicating his life to the service of God and the observance of all His laws…”
      “Hebrew fathers enjoyed the blessings of apprenticeship as their boys grew older. It was normal for the children to work together as a family (Genesis 46:7)…Using homeschooling, God would be able to reach a higher goal than the impartation of knowledge. The personal, relational, humbling, face-to-face process of education in the home and by the family was the best context for producing love.”
      “The Apostle Peter, a Hebrew disciple, understood the importance of relationship in education. God designed an educational process which would produce heart knowledge, not just head knowledge. Even the word training denotes the need for relationship in contrast to the world’s word education. Hebrew training began with relationship; its goal was perfect love: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (2 Peter 1:5-7).”

 

                          Carefully Consider the Struggle That We Face Today

 

      “In 466 B.C., because the Israelites had strayed from the path of righteousness, God allowed the first temple to be destroyed by the Babylonians….seventy years later, in accordance with God’s plan, a remnant of people from the lower two tribes returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Though they left Babylon behind them, Babylon remained in their hearts. The troublesome times Nehemiah and Ezra had with this remnant are recorded in the books that bear their names…when the remnant rebuilt the temple the people did not know their heritage and did not understand the historic relationship between God and the Israelites. Thus they failed to trust God to lead them back to strength and righteousness….Further aggravating these problems, the people continued to intermarry with the surrounding heathen nations…the restored Jewish settlement could not seem to escape the influence of the powerful pagan cultures that surrounded them…Athens was enjoying its golden age, and pagan culture later to be termed classical was sweeping the world.”
      “Eventually, out of fear of reprisal the Jews virtually invited the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great to take over Jerusalem….they no longer trusted Him to deliver them from the hand of great and powerful enemies hence the passive acceptance of Alexander’s rule, with its strong pagan message. (Alexander, after all, had been tutored by Plato’s greatest pupil, Aristotle.)”
      “After 150 years of this steady erosion, many Jews had turned from the law. They even abandoned their ancient and highly successful system of educating children in the home and built a gymnasium in the immediate vicinity of the temple in Jerusalem . Josephus, in describing this period of great apostasy, writes that many of the Jews, ‘were desirous to leave the laws of their country, and the Jewish way of living according to them, and to follow the king’s laws, and the Grecian way of living; wherefore they desired his permission to build them a gymnasium at Jerusalem.’”
       “In this way, the High Priest Jason, in support of the Greek ruler Antiochus Epiphanes and with the cooperation of upper class Jews, conformed the young…students completely to the Greek style of life by means of gymnasium education (2 Maccabees 4:10). Education in the gymnasium included not only sports, but also Greek religion, philosophy, science, medicine, architecture, literature, oratory, and music—a liberal arts curriculum.”
      “The cultural assimilation to Hellenism could be observed among the rabbis as well as the simple people. It manifested itself in their language and their appreciation of Greek philosophy, even in their admittance of statues into their homes and synagogues….Thus by the time of the first century B.C., elementary schools were rather widely established outside the synagogues to give instruction in reading and writing to younger children. History records that the idea of a Hebrew public school system was first formally promoted by Shimon ben Shetah around 37 B.C. Prior to the time, from Ezra (445 B.C.) to the Hasmonean period (142 B.C.-37 B.C.), a father taught his son the covenant law, of that act of teaching was itself a covenant stipulation. And you shall impress them upon your children. Now the Pharisees, controlling as they did the internal affairs of the land, created a system of public schools…. A later Pharisee, Joshua ben Gamala, spelled out his general rule by specifying that each district and each town should have a free school for children. The covenant and its oral traditions could be transmitted most effectively only in schools.”
      “For eighteen hundred years the Jews had not structurally altered God’s law regulating the education of children. The Jewish leaders at this dark time in history now made it a law that Jewish children had to leave home daily and attend houses of teaching to learn the law at the feet of the rabbis who had made the new compulsory school law….parents were no longer deemed qualified to teach their children, despite the law’s injunction that they do so.”
      “It was in this setting that God sent John the Baptist to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children (Luke 1:17). The scribes had put themselves in a place that God had never designed for them between God and His people, and between the fathers and their children.”
      “The fathers did not turn their hearts to their children; thus, the Jewish nation was not ready for its Messiah. They no longer knew the law as a covenant relationship…the failure of the Hebrew father to heed the educational mandate, given them by God, a failure involving the very heart and soul of life and covenant; their relationship with their children (Matthew 18:5). ‘No man cometh unto the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6). Jesus…showed that relationship was at the heart of the Gospel message.”
      “God designed the father-child relationship to teach this principle. God’s people were not just to know about their children, but to know them as they walked by the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). They were not to delegate the education of their children to the scribes. Their refusal to receive the spiritual revival called for by John and embodied in the person of Jesus Christ resulted in the destruction of the Jewish civilization in 70 A.D.” (Safely Home by Tom Eldredge)