Education, Home-Based Education

Home education, community values and Divine heart surgury

Huffman (2006) wrote that “important values are the ones that individuals and a society actually live” (p. 58).  Lived knowledge, not just memorized facts, is critical to proper community cohesion.  The only values that can be consistently lived in the context of social cohesion are those values which are anchored in Truth.  Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  Therefore, the only consistently liveable values are those values which are anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ.

For example, throughout the New Testament there are a number of “one another” verses.  To follow those instructions leads to social cohesion, but to deny the validity of those instructions, and to seek to live contrary to those instructions can only lead to social collapse.

“be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:5).  As much as possible, we are to live at peace with one another.  It is impossible to live in community if there is no peace.  Warring communities experience ongoing violence, bloodshed, disrupted daily life, disrupted sleep, etc.  Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, and only He can facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation where there has been a sinful act that has scarred the peace of a community.  Repentance, forgiveness and cleansing in the blood of Jesus is the only answer to a community that has lost its peace.

“care for one another” (I Corinthians 12:25).  Caring for others requires selflessness.  Glenda Jackson (20013) in Origin of the Centred Self? teaches that self-centredness arises from making decisions that are based on personal, subjective inclinations, without consideration of the long-term, objective bases for decision-making.  If there is no ownership of consequences and consideration of the fact that consequences inevitably flow from acting out personally made decisions, then there can be no genuine care for others.  At the apparently inconsequential end of the decision-making process I may feel that it is my right to eat as much chocolate as I want.  In my mind, and as far as I am concerned, it harms no one, so it is my right.  Well, as I eat more and more chocolate, I get fatter and fatter.  My body accumulates acidity and reacts to the high intake of sugar.  Eventually my body begins to break down, and I become tired, chronically sick, and I become dependent upon others to take up my share of life responsibilities.  I then consume medical attention that is subsidized by people who are working and paying taxes.  The Bible commands that we are to enjoy all things in moderation.  My subjective decision to eat as much chocolate as I want, puts time, effort and financial strain upon a lot of other people around me.  My selfishness puts me in a position where I really have no care for others.

Jesus has dealt with the self life.  He died upon the cross, and the Bible teaches that if we believe in Him, then we also died with Him, and have been raised into newness of life.  Our self life is dead, and therefore we can live a life that is motivated by care for others, through faith in Jesus, and through the power of His Holy Spirit working in us.  We can embrace the commandment of Jesus to care for one another as a gift of grace, rather than as a damper on our personal, self-centred rights.

“have fellowship with one another” (I John 1:7)  The Greek word translated fellowship is ‘koinonia’.  The word koinonia implies having communion, sharing in common, making a contribution, being in partnership, participating together, making a pecuniary benefaction.  In short, koinonia implies sharing life together at many levels, including financially assisting one another.  It is the kind of relationship that one would expect within a family.  The Bible teaches that those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are born again, regenerated and adopted into the family of God.  That family relationship knows nothing of racial, cultural, language or class distinction.  Jesus Christ truly has broken down the walls of division.  Wherever there are two or three gathered together in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who are committed to loving Him by obeying all that He has commanded, there is the family of God, and there can be enjoyed the deep life-sharing of koinonia.  It is not good enough to simply cry, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord” and not live consistently with the commandments of the God who dwells within the temple of the Lord.

The opposite of having fellowship with one another is the dog-eat-dog climate of ‘get from others as much as you can get, without letting anything go from your own stash’: “A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22).

There are many other “one another” commandments in the New Testament (“love one another”, “wash one another’s feet”, “show honour to one another”, “live in harmony with one another”, “encourage one another”, “admonish one another”, etc.).  These are the kinds of values that Huffman, I presume, is referring to.  He could not be referring to the opposites to these values, because they cannot be consistently lived in a social setting.

All of these values depend upon the Lord Jesus Christ to overcome the sinful tendencies of the unregenerate heart.  The Bible claims that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it.”   The only solution to such hearts is for the old stony heart to be removed, and a new heart of flesh to be put in its place.  Only the Triune God, through the atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, can perform such heart surgery.

These things are not taught in our local state schools.  That is why Christian families need to educate their children from a home base.  As families the fruits of a changed heart can be modelled for the children, and through this modelling, the children can learn of their own need for divine heart surgery.

References

Huffman, H. A. (2006). Driving character through policy and practice. School Administrator. 63 (9), pp. 58-59.

Jackson, G. (2013). Origin of the Centred Self?  http://www.Xlibris.com.au : Xlibris LLC

 

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Education

What about Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)?

The Bible does not teach rights.  There are no stated or implied rights anywhere in Scripture.  The Bible does teach, however, responsibility and privileges.  The Biblical argument is: “If you obey… then …; if you disobey … then …”  Privileges are withdrawn when responsibilities are not taken up.  It is possible, for a time, to claim privileges whilst shirking the corresponding responsibilities.  However, God is not mocked.  Sins committed in private will eventually be shouted from the rooftops, if not repented of.

The claim to rights, however, is to clamor for the privileges without reference to the corresponding responsibilities.  A rights orientation will always lead to conflict in the marketplace.  As one claims rights, then it will be at the denial of privileges to another.  For example, when a woman claims the right to control her body, and by exercising that right she has the baby in her womb murdered through the process called abortion; by exercising her right, she has denied the privilege of life to the baby.  None of us have a right to life, and the Bible indicates that there are instances where God will reclaim our privilege when we have neglected to fulfill our responsibilities (murdering – neglecting to show respect for another’s privilege to enjoy life – for example).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states that … “parents will have the right to choose the type of education they want for their child” (article 26).  In a rights oriented society, this may be helpful, in the short term, to obtain liberty in home educating.  However, it is not a long-term solution to the problem of civil resistance to home-based education.  The long-term solution has to be through the conversion of the general population until there is a majority who upholds the sovereignty of God and accepts His sovereign will, as expressed through His Law.  Parents have a responsibility before God to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  This is accompanied with the privilege of choosing for themselves, under God, the method of fulfilling that responsibility – which may include home-based education; enrolment in a local, privately funded, Academy; or tapping into a network of experts throughout the community who assist with the God-given responsibility.  No one has a right to state-funded education.  The satisfying of that so-called right, is to deny others the privilege of stewarding the blessings that God has given them through labour (i.e. taxation to pay for state-funded education is stealing from parents the capacity to fund the education of their own children).

We have a lot of work to do, but we are to be encouraged by the promise that it is the “Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek”.

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Discipleship, Unschooling

Maturity is the goal of education, not just accumulated information

Amongst my research data, one of my respondents said, “Education is about growing a child into maturity.”  Maturity is a recurrent theme throughout the Bible, and lack of maturity is a cause for discipline, or even judgment.

Jesus commanded, in Matthew 5:48, “You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  The word translated perfect could just as well be translated as ‘mature,’ and in fact, in the Amplified Bible, the passage is translated to read, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect [that is, grow into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity].”

The Apostle Paul picked up this theme when he wrote: “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.  You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.  Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity … and this we will do if God permits (Hebrews 5:11-6:3).

The commandments of Jesus, as they apply to every area of life, are the words of righteousness that Paul is referring to.  Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  In fact, it is impossible to please God without such obedience, through the help of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:7-8).  It is through regularly putting these words into practice that spiritual growth takes place.  It is through regularly putting these words into practice that a sense of good and evil is developed.

This is why the great education passage in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “… You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, …”.  Not just as information to be committed to short-term memory for a test, and then forgotten; No! No! No!  Children are to have these commandments demonstrated by willingly obedient parents, who gently, but firmly discipline their children into a life-style of obedience, not as a duty, but as a heart-felt expression of love towards God, and appreciation for all the benefits He has bestowed upon us through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The reward for maturity is an inheritance, and the promised inheritance is the earth.  Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) when he completed His obedient duty to His heavenly Father.  This was the fulfillment of God’s promise that He made to His Son, recorded in Psalm 2: “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.'”  This same reward is given to those who are mature in Christ: “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, … And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things TO THE CHURCH, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:11, 22).  “… made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, …” (Ephesians 2:5-6).  “… to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that THROUGH THE CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities …” (Ephesians 3:8-10).  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world …” (Romans 4:13).  “… the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring–not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, …” (Romans 4:16).

If all we do is help children to accumulate information, coaching them to commit it to memory so that they can pass tests, and examinations, then we fail them miserably.  Doing will always precede knowing.  You do not know, if you are not doing.  A head full of information, without corresponding doing only fills with pride; “puffeth up”.

Unschooling children, through a discipleship emphasis, should be a process of maturation, so that the children will become suitable recipients of the inheritance that Christ has reserved for them: cities (Luke 19:17), nations (Psalm 2:8), and the earth (Matthew 5:5).

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Education

So, what is a good education?

Amongst the home-based educators that I interviewed there was a general opinion that a good education was more than a purely academic education.  However, some home schooling families advocated the classical model (and its strong emphasis on academics), with the intention of producing intellectual giants, and highly employable career aspirants.  Those who advocated education in life, however, placed a greater focus on character development.

So, what is a good education?  I think the words of Jesus are helpful in answering this question.  He indicated that the greatest goal in life was to learn to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and to also learn to love your neighbour as yourself.  If we keep in mind that loving God is measured by the degree to which we are obedient to His commandments (I John 1:3-4; 5:2-3), and not simply some super-spiritual ecstatic feeling, then to that degree we have a very clear picture as to what a good education looks like; and the means whereby such an education is delivered is described for us in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (i.e. in the context of living daily life, and seizing learning moments in the rhythm of daily chores and duties and responsibilities around the home, the neighbourhood, and amongst the affairs of life).

So, what do others think on this matter?

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