The Urgent Need To Restore A Biblical View of Education
By Chris Klicka
(This article originally appeared in the Spring 1988 issue of the Home School Court Report. Because of the importance of this subject, it is being reprinted with some additions.)
With a majority of school-aged children attending public schools, education in America has primarily become a function of the state. The public school system is failing miserably both academically and morally. The state, meanwhile, not content to control only public schools, constantly encroaches on the freedoms of private schools and home schools through various case precedents, regulations, and statutes. As a result, many public school authorities have come to believe they are the guardians of all children. In fact, when I negotiate with public school superintendents, they frequently refer to the children in their school districts as “our” children. It is apparent that superintendents sincerely believe they know what is best for “their” children; thus, they feel obligated to “approve” home schools.
Is this assumption by the superintendents correct? How can we determine who has the true authority and responsibility in the education of our children? Do we need to restore a biblical view of education? Let us consult the best source of truth, the Word of God, which is the standard by which all things are measured.
* God Delegates The Responsibility To Rear Children To Parents
According to scripture, children belong to God, but the responsibility and authority to rear and educate them is delegated to their parents.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are the children of onersquo;s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalms 127:3-5.
In Genesis 33:5, Jacob introduces his children to his brother, Esau, as “the children whom God has graciously given me,” and similarly in Isaiah 8:18, the prophet explains, “I and the children whom the Lord has given me!” (Also see Hebrews 2:13 and Genesis 48:8-9.) Nowhere in scripture can a reference be found where God delegates the authority to rear and educate children to the state. The only time Godrsquo;s people were educated by the state was when they were occupied by a heathen nation which left them no alternatives. Some famous examples were Moses, Joseph, and Daniel. God, nonetheless, has clearly delegated the responsibility and authority to teach and rear children to the parents first. Parents may delegate their authority to rear and teach their children to someone else (i.e. tutor, church school, private school, or public school), but they can never delegate to anyone else their responsibility to teach their children. In other words, God will always hold parents responsible for the education children receive. For this reason, parents need to beware of who is teaching their child(ren), what is being taught verbally in class by both the teacher and the peers, and what is being taught in all textbooks and supplemental books and projects.
* Children Still Belong To God
Although God has “given” children to parents, children are a “gift of stewardship”; this means that parents do not really “own” their children. Parents, therefore, are not free to rear their children as they please because God gives parents certain “conditions” that must be met. God still considers the children to be His children. God refers to Jacobrsquo;s children as “the work of My hands...” in Isaiah 29:23, and David gave thanks to God for being “fearfully and wonderfully made” while in his motherrsquo;s womb in Psalms 139:13-14. (Also see Godrsquo;s claim to unborn children whom He has made and called while they are in their mothersrsquo; wombs in Jeremiah 1:5, Psalms 139:13-16, Job 10:8-12, Isaiah 49:1, 5, and Luke 1:41, 44.)
In Ezekiel 16:20-21, the Lord emphasizes again that the children are His:
Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had born to Me, and you sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols causing them to pass through fire.
God judged these parents severely because they did not meet His conditions for raising His children. They gave their children up to an idolatrous system which hated God. The conditions for educating our children are explained throughout scripture.
* God Mandated Conditions for Rearing Children
Fathers are commanded to “bring them [children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Furthermore, in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, the Lord, after restating His moral law, declares:
And these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and your gate.
(Also see parallel passages in Deuteronomy 4:9, 11:18-21, Psalms 78:1-11.) In other words, Godrsquo;s commands and truth must be taught to the children by the parents, and the teaching must be done diligently. Children are to be trained in the “instruction” of the Lord. How can this be achieved if a child spends six to seven hours a day receiving a public education empty of all references to Godrsquo;s truths?
It is clearly the parentsrsquo; primary responsibility to teach their children “so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied” (Deuteronomy 11:21). These commands to educate our children, of course, cannot be fulfilled once a week at Sunday School. It involves a comprehensive approach to education on a daily basis. The commands of God should be taught to your children when you sit in your home, when you rise up, when you lie down, and when you travel. In other words, all the time!
This comprehensive educational program is to be based on Godrsquo;s commands. Two of the goals of Godly education, therefore, are that children will put their confidence in the Lord and that they will keep His commandments.
For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments. Psalm 78:5-7
The children are likewise told to obey these commandments which are given to them by God through their parents:
My son, observe the commandments of your father, and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; bind them continually on your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you and when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and, the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.... Proverbs 6:20-23.
Again, the comprehensiveness of a Godly education is emphasized. David explains that we need to “meditate” on Godrsquo;s law day and night. (See Psalms 1:1-2, 119.) How can our children meditate on Godrsquo;s law when they are never even taught Godrsquo;s law in the public schools? In fact, we are to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5).
This responsibility is immense. We must train our children to think Godrsquo;s thoughts after Him. A Godly education, therefore, is learning not only to believe as a Christian but to think as a Christian. Unfortunately, public schools and some private schools are teaching children who believe as Christians to think as non-Christians. Since Christian parents in the past have neglected their duty to follow this comprehensive approach to education, generations of adult Christians now apply ungodly principles in their lives and workplaces while simultaneously believing Christian doctrine.
Proverbs 23:7 states, “For as a man thinks; so is he.” Moreover, the scriptures state, “Everyone after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). This passage continues by describing blind people who lead other blind people into the pit. This is why it is so important that we teach our children to think as Christians and to be taught by Godly teachers. Let us not allow our children to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but let them be “transformed by the renewing of their minds, that they may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
* Watch Out For Peer Pressure!
Even though we give our children a biblical education, we must also protect them from “negative socialization.” Scripture warns, “Be not deceived, bad company corrupts good morals” (I Corinthians 15:33). Proverbs 13:20 adds the thought that “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”
* What Is The Content of True Education?
It is clear from the passages quoted above the God delegates the authority and responsibility to teach children to the parents. God requires us to make certain that His Word and principles are applied in a daily, comprehensive manner to the education and upbringing of our children. Furthermore, he will hold us responsible as to how we direct the education of our children. We must be careful not to “cause one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble” by subjecting them to an ungodly education, because Christ explains “it is better for him [the offender of the child] that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea...” (Matthew 18:6). (Note as well the consequences of disobedience outlined in Deuteronomy 28.) Paul further reminds us that if we do wrong, we will “receive the consequences of that wrong...and that without partiality” (Colossians 3:25).
Therefore, let us be careful to provide our children with an education whose content reflects Godrsquo;s character and is based on His Word. Paul promises:
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17.
Scripture speaks to every area of life. We all know that education is inescapably religious. Every subject, as a result, needs to be studied through the lens of Godrsquo;s Word. If we do this, our children will be equipped for every good work and able to apply Godrsquo;s principles to every area of life. Their beliefs will not be separate from their thoughts and actions.
The argument for home schooling has much support from Godrsquo;s Word. It outlines the most successful way parents can fulfill their immense obligations in providing their children with a comprehensive, biblical education. The goal of home schooling is to raise our children so that each of them
will be diligent to present [himself] approved to God as a workman who does not be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15).
Remember this promise: “And all your children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Isaiah 54:13).
I am convinced that God is raising up the home school movement, whose children will one day assume leadership by default because they will be able to assume leadership. May God bless you as you faithfully teach your children to walk in His ways!
Staff Changes at HSLDA
Evidence of the Lordrsquo;s blessing is demonstrated at HSLDA in many areas, and one of the most tangible areas is the ever-increasing work load! A new legal assistant, Susan Dawson, has been hired to assist Chris Klicka. Susan moved from California to Virginia in 1982 and worked for the U.S. Department of Justice for six years before God brought her to HSLDA. This much needed staff addition has made it possible for Pat Ramirez to concentrate her efforts as a legal assistant on Michael Smithrsquo;s assignments.
Annette Holloran, having served as Mike Farrisrsquo; legal assistant during the past year, left HSLDA rather suddenly for the very wonderful reason that God graciously gave her and her husband, John, a baby to adopt. Luke Daniel joined his momma and poppa on April 16th, and both parents and baby are adjusting well. Although we will miss Annette, we rejoice with her and John in this precious gift from God.
Due to Annettersquo;s departure, Mike Farris needed a legal assistant and, once again, God provided by bringing us Debbie Stevenson at just the right time. Debbie, also a native Californian, came to HSLDA after nine years of service with the Christian Legal Society.
Elizabeth Wilson, who has worked faithfully and cheerfully as a receptionist/membership assistant, will be leaving HSLDA in May to serve as a full-time administrative assistant and office manager at her church. We will certainly miss Liz, but we are excited to see how God has led her to this challenging and rewarding new ministry.
In light of Lizrsquo;s new opportunity, we are especially happy to add Katherine Eppley to the membership department of HSLDA. Katherine will one of the voices you hear as you call for general information. She and her husband, Eric, are rejoicing in this special ministry to home schoolers.
In the National Center for Home Education, a division of HSLDA, we are pleased to welcome Suzanne Stephens as executive assistant. Suzanne is a native Oregonian who comes to us via the Chicago area where she served in the Seminar Ministries department of the Institute in Basic Life Principles during the past seven years.
As the summer approaches, we anticipate a very busy application season. Please pray with us that God will strengthen our hands for the tasks before us. We are excited as we look forward to all that God has in store for us in the coming days, and we are grateful for the opportunity He has given us to serve you through HSLDA.
Meet the Staff
In July 1989 we received a letter from Mrs. Laurie Dunn (PA) asking, “Could I suggest mini-personal profiles on the staff for the Newsletter? I like to get to know people I work with.” We appreciated the suggestion and believe it will make contact between the HSLDA staff and our members a little more personal. Beginning with this edition of the Court Report, we will include a short biography of an HSLDA staff member in each issue. We hope you will enjoy getting to know us! Thanks, Laurie!
1989 brought several changes to the HSLDA staff. Cora Prather joined us on July 12, 1989, as the new Assistant in the Membership Department. Prior to her employment at HSLDA, Cora worked for Prison Fellowship Ministries for six years. It was through a co-worker at Prison Fellowship that she first heard of the job opening at HSLDA. Cora recalls, “It was really neat how the Lord worked it all out. I had been praying for three years for a different job opportunity.” Corarsquo;s responsibilities include all aspects of the application approval process and data entry, and she may be one of the first voices you hear when you call HSLDA. One of Corarsquo;s many outstanding qualities is her faithfulness. As surely as the sun rises each morning, you can depend on the fact that Cora is doing her work with great diligence and care.
Cora was born and reared on a farm in West Virginia. After graduating from high school, she moved to Washington, D.C., found a job, married, and has been in the area ever since. Residing in Herndon, Virginia with her three children, Cora takes time for her special interests in reading and cooking, and “especially baking.” Her dream is one day to have her own business called, "Corarsquo;s Cakes & Cookies," but in the meantime we want her to stay right here with us.
When asked about her greatest blessing, she smiled and said, “my children, Debbie, Diana and Michael. God has used them to teach me so much.” She went on to say, “My oldest child, Debbie, was born with Downs Syndrome. God has taught me more through Debbiersquo;s handicap than you can imagine. God used her to open my mind to a whole different perspective. When the Bible says, ‘come unto me as little children,’ I know what He means. With Debbiersquo;s mind like it is, she will always be a small child....Christ-like....so willing to give love. I love her childlike faith.” Cora pointed out that one of her favorite passages is I Corinthians 13 because, “I have been taught what love really is. I used to ask the Lord ‘why me,’ now I ask....why not me!”
This giving spirit is evident in Corarsquo;s life. She radiates an abundance of love, and her simple faith and prayerful heart is a great encouragement to the staff. Cora has just come through a difficult time of testing in her life with a serious kidney infection. Pray with us that God will soon grant her complete recovery. We love having her here!!
Obedience Is Better!
Ten-year old Misty watched through the patio door as her cat played outside on the deck in the California sun. It was late in the day, and she would much rather have been outside playing with her cat Suki instead of sitting inside finishing the dayrsquo;s school work. She reminded herself, “Mom said I have to finish my work before I can go outside.” Then she thought, “My older sister is watching me. Maybe, just maybe, I can finagle my way out of finishing this work so I can go outside with Suki.” It was a tough call for a ten-year old. “Mom said I have to obey. God protects you when you are obedient,” she told herself.
Dissatisfied with the result, the enemy of the soul added a little extra temptation to the pot: Mistyrsquo;s sister had to leave her alone in the room for a while and told her to stay and finish her work. That sunny deck looked better and better all the time, and that cat was having so much fun! It was so nice outside. She probably could get away with sneaking just a couple of minutes outside while her sister was gone. Who would know? But her conscience reminded her, “Mom said I have to learn to obey. God protects you when you are obedient. When you disobey, you move out from under His protection.”
As Misty gazed out the door, fighting the inner spiritual battle, another battle raged around her. The rumbling sound began to grow louder and louder. The earthquake caused the table in front of her to move. Books and glasses flew from their places on the shelves. Mirrors and windows cracked and shattered. Misty was knocked from her chair while objects fell all around her. She looked up just in time to see the chimney come crashing down, collapsing the deck.
While it was not immediately evident, the family later discovered that the cat was buried under the pile of debris from the chimney. When Misty finally learned of Sukirsquo;s fate and realized what could have happened to her had she not been obedient to her mother and her own conscience, she broke down and confided to her mother the temptations she had been fighting that day. She acknowledged that her mother had certainly told her the truth.
Most of the time we are totally unaware of Godrsquo;s protection and intervention in our lives. Once in the while we may have a “close call” which reminds us just how dependent we are on our Creator Who gave us life in the first place. This true account is a precious illustration of just how important it is to be obedient and to resist temptation. That really is the only safe ground to be on!
HSLDA Cancels American Express Cards
Like many of you, we received word from Focus on the Family that American Express has contributed substantial sums of money to Planned Parenthood. We called to verify this, and American Express sent us a full list of all groups receiving donations. We then found that not only has American Express supported the nationrsquo;s leading abortion organization, they have also given to several other organizations who are enemies of traditional American and family values. These groups include the Childrenrsquo;s Defense Fund (the leading “childrenrsquo;s rights” group in the country), the National Organization for Women Legal Defense Fund, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Council for National Policy.
Knowing how many of our members feel about such organizations (not to mention how we feel), we have decided to cancel our American Express Cards, which we used for travel. We would like to encourage each of you who have American Express cards to consider your responsibility in light of this organizationrsquo;s consistent pattern of funding the left-wing enemies of the family. It has been our experience in travel that both VISA and Mastercard are accepted everywhere that American Express cards are accepted and numerous places where American Express is not recognized.
We were delighted to learn that recently AT & T has cancelled their significant philanthropic contributions to Planned Parenthood. We know that the leadership of AT & T would appreciate receiving your positive feedback about this decision in light of the many pressures pro-abortion groups are placing upon this corporation. Toll-free calls to register your opinion can be made by dialing 1-800-842-8369.
THANK YOU! (Letters Received from HSLDA Members)
“Our family sings the praises of HSLDA. We think that you are doing a tremendous job, just being there. The peace of mind you give us is beyond any dollar value. We hope that we will never require your legal assistance, and we continue to support HSLDA “enthusiastically” because we know that others might not be able to home school without your help. I donrsquo;t know how courageous I would have been, deciding to home school in the first place, if your group had not been there. Our three children are receiving a quality education at home, and HSLDA deserves some of the credit. We probably would have been driven by desperation to select home schooling for our children at some point in their educations, but HSLDA gave us the necessary confidence to begin home schooling before we became desperate. The damage that wersquo;ve had to ‘undo’ has been minimal as a result. I know that Irsquo;m so busy raving to others about HSLDA that I probably neglect to tell you what a great job yoursquo;re doing, and I suspect that there are others who feel as strongly as we do, but donrsquo;t find time to mention it to you. So, speaking for an unknown number of parents who are juggling a homebased career, home schooling, church activities, etc., etc., etc.,..we are very, VERY grateful-even if we donrsquo;t always remember to say “thank you’”!
“And I was VERY glad to be able to call you when the request for our portfolio arrived; it was so calming to have someone there on the other end of the phone line, to tell me that it all sounded routine (which, as it turns out, it was!). I remained a bit nervous, but didnrsquo;t lose sleep over it; without HSLDA, I know I would have been pacing the floor at night, with worry!
“Thanks very, very much.”
Thank you so much for the work you are doing. The court case here in Texas brought so much relief to us. Our support group had the boldness to set up a PE program with the City Parks as a result.
With the favorable climate we have here, we do not really feel the need for legal counsel. However, we realize the need in other states and also the huge part you played in settling the court case here.
Thank you so much.”