The concluding remark in the e-brief to the New South Wales parliament on the question of home education is that “much of the division of opinion (about home education) centres around whether the greatest right and responsibility for a child’s education rests with the state or with parents” (Drabsch, 2013, p. 13). This is the question that must be revisited and satisfactorily answered. Drabsch admits that it “was the introduction of compulsory education that saw responsibility for the education of children generally shift from parents to the state” (p. 2).
In my PhD Dissertation I wrote:
By the mid 1800s, “… in country districts the denominational system was unsuitable – too many small rival denominational schools were being established” (Barcan, 1980, p. 78). By the late 1800s, across all the colonies, Free, Secular and Compulsory education campaigns were launched. This resulted in the Free, Secular and Compulsory education Acts variously introduced across all of the colonies.
In September 1874 James Greenwood, a Baptist minister who was also a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald, formed a Public School League whose objective was a ‘national, free, secular and compulsory’ system” (Barcan, 1980, p. 139).
Victoria, in 1872, “was the first colony not merely in Australia but also in the British Empire, to provide in combination, free, compulsory and secular education” (Barcan, 1980, p. 176). Queensland began the process in 1870 but did not complete it until 1900. South Australia set in place legislation in 1892, Western Australia in 1901, New South Wales in 1906 and Tasmania in 1908 (Barcan, 1980, p. 151). “State control of the purse ensured centralized control” of all aspects of education in the new states of Australia after federation (Barcan, 1980, p. 177). (Box, 2014, p. 106).
It is rather ironic that the the push for transferring responsibility of children from their parents to the state was lead by members of the Baptist Church in Australia. This is expected of the Communists, because the tenth objective of Karl Marx, in his program to introduce international communism was:
“10. Free education for all children in public schools. … ” (Marx and Engels, 2010 , p. 27).
However, the Biblical position is that children belong to the Triune God, and God has entrusted the responsibility for the care and nurturance of children to the parents of those children as a trust.
According to Rushdoony (1983) the issue that resulted in Christians being fed to lions and variously tortured by the Roman state was that the early Christians exalted Jesus Christ as Lord over the state (as represented in the person of Caesar). He wrote:
Peter’s message to the elders and scribes, recorded in Acts 4:12, best sums up the conflict we are involved in today: Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
It is important for us to understand the context of this verse. With the statement, Peter effectually issued a spiritual declaration of war against the Roman Empire. When Augustus Caesar took the helm in Rome and had consolidated his power, a great celebration was held throughout the Roman Empire. It was called the “Advent” celebration — a very significant term, and a very religious one. It was the Advent celebration because Augustus Caesar had come, in all the fullness of his power. The heralds — again an interesting word — were sent to the far corners of the Roman Empire with a great Advent proclamation: “There is none other name under heaven whereby men may be saved than the name of Augustus Caesar!” It was the proclamation of Caesar, of the state, as man’s savior.
We can understand, then, why conflict between Christ and the Caesars was inevitable, why the church went through all the troubles it did, year in and year out, and why men were martyred for the faith. It was because of this question: “Who is the Lord, or sovereign? Who is the savior?” (Rushdoony, 1983, pp. 7-8).
Sovereignty and Providence, as universal realities, do not disappear with their denial in theology. If Sovereignty and Providence are no longer acknowledged in the Triune Creator God, as revealed in the Bible, the principles are then taken up by the state. This is what happened in the late 1800s. Compromised theology in the pulpits of Australian churches transferred absolute sovereignty from the God of the Bible to the civil state, and with that transferal went the ownership of the children.
This question of prior responsibility for the children will not be settled in the favour of parents until the church once again thunders from its pulpits the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God, and once again God’s people think His thoughts after Him — having the mind of Christ.
Barcan, A. (1980). A History of Australian Education. Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.
Box, L A. (2014). A Proposal to Deschool, then Unschool Australian Biblical Christian Education. Unpublished dissertation submitted for fulfilment of Doctor of Philosophy, in the School of Applied Theology, New Geneva Theological Seminary, Virginia, U.S.A.
Drabsch, T. (2013). Home Education in NSW. Sydney: N.S. W. Parliamentary Research Service. e-brief 15. Downloaded 25/09/2014, from: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/publications.nsf/key/HomeEducationinNSW/$File/Home%20schooling%20GG%203.pdf
Marx, K. and Engels, F. (2010 ). Manifesto of the Communist Party. Moore, S. (1888) [Translator into English]. Marxist Internet Archive.
Rushdoony, R. J. (1983). The “Atheism” of the Early Church. Vallecito, California: Ross House Books.