Saturday, October 9, 2010

Unprofitable Home Defense, 6

Continued from "Unprofitable Home Defense, 5"

Christians must prepare themselves then, for the following results: All prayers, catechisms, and Bibles will ultimately be driven out of the schools. . . . Infidelity and practical ungodliness will become increasingly prevalent among Protestant youth, and our churches will have a more arduous contest for growth if not for existence. (R.L. Dabney talking about the results of Christians putting their children into the public school system in his essay, "Secularized Education")

You, son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their heart, their sons and their daughters, that in that day . . .  they shall know that I am Yahweh. (Ezekiel 24:25-27, WEB)

What a terrible judgment upon a people who had forsaken their God. God told them that foreigners would steal away their children, and they would be helpless to prevent it.

A movie comes to mind, although I've forgotten its title.

In it, a daughter visiting Paris is kidnapped while on the phone with her father. The rest of the movie shows the father tracking his daughter's kidnappers, leaving a swath of destruction until he rescues her just before an Arab sheikh (who has purchased her) sails off with her in his yacht.

Sadly, though, many Christian fathers who would fight to the death to keep traffickers from stealing and selling their children, have given their little ones over, body mind and soul, to a humanistic system that seeks to alienate them from their parents' beliefs and values. Most will lose one or more of their offspring to that system, just as surely as if kidnappers had broken into the house, kidnapped them and sold them to a roving Gypsy band.

A society's loss of its children is a horrible thing, a sign of God's judgment. So, why do Christians give their children over to their spiritual enemy so willingly?

I've seen Christian families lose their children to the faith so many times that I wouldn't be able to count them all. The statistics corroborate my observations: across the board, churches lose 60-70% of their youth.

Parents, however, still think, "It won't happen to me," or "Our schools are not like those schools; we have some Christians who teach in our schools."

Sadly, I've heard parents just about everywhere claim that their schools are different. Makes you wonder whose schools are the same.)

Over a century ago, Southron theologian R.L. Dabney commented on the excuse that it's okay to enroll children in a system where Christ is not exalted as Savior and Lord as long as some of the teachers are Christians.

We need the best men to teach our Children. The best are true Christians, who carry their religion into everything. Such men neither can nor will bind themselves to hold so influential a relation to precious souls for whom Christ died, and make no effort to save them. So the tendency must be towards throwing State schools into the hands of half-hearted Christians or of contemptuous unbelievers. ("Secularized Education")

Dabney could not have hit the nail on the head more squarely if he had been a prophet. Moreover,the system is rigged against the faith, regardless of the presence of individual Christians within it.

As I showed in my second post in this series, although churches in general keep only 20-40% of their youth, there is a small segment of the church that manages to hold on to 94%. Has it occurred to anyone to ask why?

Let's begin by looking at a couple of commands God gave to His people -- or rather a command He gave them more than once:

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons . . . .  (Deuteronomy 4:9)

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

We have a name for the kind of training that Scripture describes here: discipleship. You can see this in the ministry of Jesus, who chose twelve to be with Him. (Mark 3:14)

The disciples learned as they lived with the Master -- walked with Him, ate with Him, talked with Him. This differs markedly from the modern Church's notion of discipleship.

Today, when a church decides to emphasize discipleship, it usually means a series of meetings or classes on the subject of discipleship. But passively learning about discipleship in a classroom does not equal actively doing discipleship in the course of daily living.

And this is the strength of those who have chosen to educate their children themselves. As the children grow, they absorb their parents' faith and convictions along with their lessons -- what Jay Adams calls "education in the milieu." (See Back to the Blackboard) For most, their faith in God becomes the matrix that holds all the rest of their knowledge and opinions together.

Contrast the results of home educators with what most churches accept as the norm. By their fruits ye shall know them.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge . . .  seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6)

In his comment on this verse, John Calvin says that the prophet

. . . now assures the whole people that God would bring a dreadful judgment on them all, that he would even blot out the whole race of Abraham, I will forget, he says, thy children. Why was this? The Lord had made a covenant with Abraham, which was to continue, and to be confirmed to his posterity . . .

The Lord made this covenantal promise in light of an understanding that the generations to come would grow up under covenant discipleship. Note God's words concerning Abraham:

. . . seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (Genesis 18:18-19)

Because subsequent generations of Israel not only violated the covenant themselves, but also neglected the discipleship of their children, God told them through Hosea that He would forget their children. Calvin's commentary on that warning continues:

[T]hey departed from the true faith, they became spurious children; then God rightly testifies here, that he had a just cause why he should no longer count this degenerate people among the children of Abraham. How so? “For ye have forgotten my law,” he says: “had you remembered the law, I would also have kept my covenant with you: but I will no more remember my covenant, for you have violated it. Your children, therefore, deserve not to be under such a covenant, inasmuch as ye are such a people.

A generation has arisen in the American Church that has -- for the most part with the "blessing" of pastors -- forsaken the true, Biblical discipleship of their children and put them in peril of forsaking God and being forsaken by Him.

R.L. Dabney foresaw this danger over 100 years ago. He wrote about it in an essay entitled "Secularized Education." ( To read it, click here and scroll down to find the link.)

This discussion continues here.


The Warrior said...

Just as good as the last one. Just when I think you're done, you hammer out some more. Brilliant, simply brilliant.

Gravelbelly said...

Thanks. I'm not sure how much is brilliance and how much is pure stubbornness in refusing to let go of what is manifestly true.

BTW, thanks for the heads up on the formatting problems. I believe it came from the fact that I cut & pasted from various sources with diverse formats. Should be pretty much corrected now.

The Warrior said...

No prob, the formatting looks great now.

And since when is stubbornness a bad thing? :-D

The Warrior said...

Oh, and by the way, the movie is Taken with Liam Neeson, and beyond the part where he shoots the guy's wife and kills in revenge, I thought it was a great movie. I use it for illustrative purposes in a way.

What did you think of it? Discussing the ethics, pros and cons, etc. of films from a Biblical perspective is one of my favorite mini-hobbies. :-)

Gravelbelly said...

Yes! "Taken" -- I recall the name now that you mention it. I didn't want to get into the vengeance part of the movie in my post, because it was completely apart from my purpose in mentioning it. This is a good place to discuss it, though, so thanks for bringing it up.

I view films like this with mixed feelings. Part of me (the better and dominant part, I hope) recognizes that revenge is absolutely contrary to God's commands. Another part of me (the Old Nature?) can identify as a father who might easily go beyond God's directives in order to get back a family member.

The Warrior said...

Gotcha. Agreed (and yes, I know how you're feeling here).

Now how about this. I'm okay with the concept of him killing to save her, not necessarily a revenge killing. So, barring the few times he kills in blatant revenge, what do you think about everything else he did?

-He had the skills and details
-Time was of the essence
-US Authorities would be too bumbling
-French authorities were corrupt

So, do you think it's ethical to do something as he did? (Kind of hearkens back to Nolan's Batman, just a bit.)