Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Response to a commenter: Homeschoolers live in bubbles and are NOT salt and light

Someone recently commented on my blog about my post about the article in the HSLDA magazine by Gregg Harris about his thoughts on the “greenhouse model,” raising kids willing to do hard things, and then learning to let them go and following is my response.

Comment: I've never heard such nonsense in my life....making light of God's commandment to GO OUT into the world and tell others about His saving grace...even a child who has accepted Christ as his Saviour can be used by God. God definitely has purpose in God- fearing children in public school. What a sad society it would be if all Christians stayed at home in their little bubble....children CAN be saved as children, saved children CAN share the gospel in the public school, and other children CAN be saved by that sharing! We are living in a volatile time.....a time to be bold and courageous in our faith - not a time to shelter and coddle the only future this nation has . What a sad, legalistic view of the security and faithfulness of a loving God. ~Jennifer

Response: Thank you, Jennifer, for your comment, however I have to respectfully disagree with you on a few points. I would also encourage you to look into this matter further.

1. YES, kids can share Jesus and do so very effectively, but can they not do so while ALSO under their parents guidance, leadership and direction? I did so when I was homeschooled, as do my own children, with much success.

2. Contrary to a formerly popular, but now diminishing opinion, homeschoolers do NOT live in bubbles. Instead they've been found by secular researchers to actually live more so in the "real" world than do their public/private schooled counterparts. The difference in our family and Greg Harris' family (the author of the article) that you see and oppose has to do with this allegorical "GREENHOUSE". Our children live under their parents watchful eyes, so as to not become indoctrinated by the world, which is becoming more and more essential as time progresses. They are, then, slowly moved out from under our guidance as they mature in the life and the faith.

3. Studies have found that between 70-88% of Christian teens are leaving their parent's faith by the time they are in their second year of college! They've also found that the vast majority of Christian teens do not hold a Biblical world view. YES, there are the other 12-30% of those who DO make it through school with their faith and beliefs intact, but many Christians parents do not want to take that HUGE risk! Here is more data that I blogged about here And here's an article on how some studies who that 3 out of 4 children/teens are leaving their parents faith after being in the public school systems. I encourage you to research these staggering facts further.

4. It seems that today that these so-called legalists are labeled so because someone feels judged or doesn't like what they have to say. It must be noted that TRUE legalism is trying to improve your standing before God. It is the motive, not the deed itself. In other words, true legalism is a type of work-based salvation. Obedience is a heart, seeking to obey Jesus and become more like Him in order to bring joy to the Savior! "Obeying God's laws is an act of praise, not a bribe. Obeying God's commands is an act of gratitude, not a payment. " Dr. Robert G. Spinney I can assure you that I do not homeschool in order to receive praise from others or to make me "holier" in God's eyes, which is what the Pharisees did. Instead our family honestly seeks to obey Deuteronomy 6:6-9 "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." We cannot obey this commandment if we send our children out to school, because then we wouldn't be with them but for a fractional part of a day. Please read more about the CORRECT definition of legalism in my post is full of Scriptures which extol obedience to Jesus and His Word.

5. Let's look a little closer at the Scripture about "salt and light". Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

This passage is taken from the Sermon on the Mount, which was actually preached to the Pharisees and those who thought they were nearly perfect in their obedience of the Scriptures. It was to show them how quickly they can "lose their saltiness" and not recover it and how important it is for them to be examples of God's Light in the world. In this particular part of the Sermon on the Mount, he discusses the salt of the earth and shows that if they lose their saltiness, how can they be made salty again. They will be thrown out (transliterated: "violently thrown out") and trampled on (transliterated: "rejected with disdain"). The section where it says, "loses its saltiness" actually is transliterated from the Greek as "being foolish" or "to act foolishly." Then, after they lose that saltiness, he rhetorically asks how they can be made salty again? They will have lost their reputation for being salty.

So, if Proverbs speaks so frequently about children being naturally foolish (because the control of their sin nature is not yet conquered), why would we send our half-grown children out to be the salt and light without our consistent direction and instruction, which IS spoken highly of in that same book of the Bible? When they are able to BE mature, stand their ground unceasingly, while eloquently and decisively defend their faith as in 1 Peter 3:15 - ("Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."), THEN they are mature enough to be out on their own, consistently free of their childish folly spoken about so often in Proverbs.

See, what there is much that is not understood because those who criticize these beliefs don't know our family (or Gregg Harris - the author of the Greenhouse article and father of some of the most well-respected children/young adults in Christendom). Our children ARE salt and light! The only difference is that at their different stages in the "greenhouse", they minister along side us in various ways! We can actually observe our children living out their faith while we are guiding them in the world. After that greenhouse period of initial training, we can watch them slowly head out into the world. THAT is when they can be salt and light ON THEIR OWN. But for now, under our training and instruction is where they belong.

My questions to you are, Why can't both Matthew 5:13-16 AND Deuteronomy 6:6-9 be used in conjunction with each other, instead of in conflict? Can we not minister as a family to those who are unchurched or unsaved - still being salt and light - while teaching them the Lord's commands while we sit down, stand up, walk along the way, etc. ? Why is there a need to let children go out on their own, with the tendency to be foolish or to "lose their flavor", when there are wonderful and Scriptural alternatives to sending them out not fully spiritually mature?

6. As for letting others instruct and influence your children, consider these verses (and some quotes).

Luke 6:39, 40 "Jesus said: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." Do I want my child to sit under a "spiritually blind" person for 8 hours a day? Do I want him to emulate that teacher? Maybe he will come out of it as the 12-30% who are STRONG and STAND FIRM to the faith, but do I want to take the risk that he will not, especially after considering what Jesus is saying here? I take this warning very seriously. Yes, I can SUPPLEMENT that teaching, but school takes up too much of that valuable time that I have been given charge, according to Deuteronomy 6:6-9.

Proverbs 22:15 "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him." Some children are very responsible and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. These children might do well being salt and light at young ages. However, this clearly states that children are foolish and that they give into foolish things, albeit less and less as they mature. I do not want my children, as sweet and godly as they are, to give in to their foolish ways, lose their saltiness and maybe even determine that their faith is not "for them" at some point in their future.

Jeremiah 10:2 "Learn not the way of the heathen."

Proverbs 13:20 "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."

Psalm 1:1 "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers."

"I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place their child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt." Martin Luther, A.D. 1537
"In not mentioning God, my public school teachers preached a thundering message daily. By implication they taught that God is not relevant to most areas of life..with every lesson, in every class period, all day every day for 12 years I was being taught to think like an atheist in the academic realm and didn't even know that I was being indoctrinated." ---Chris Schlect, Scriptural Worldview Thinking

I hope that you will not take any of this as offensive, but will look up the statistics and studies and read what the Bible says. For more information check out: "Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview" by Israel Wayne. I have yet to hear a biblical argument against any Scriptural principle in that book . Another good resource is Voddie Baucham and his ministry.

Blessings to you,

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