November 18, 2017

Their Future Relies on Us

Their Future Relies on Us

by Craig Smith

“American Indian families were broken by the federal government’s reservation policy. When tribes were forced onto the reservations, to prevent them from leaving to hunt for food, they were, in the early years, supplied with food, blankets, etc., to make them dependent on the federal government. Their children were sent to far away boarding schools to Americanize them and to break the link to Indian life. If a father refused and hid his children, he was arrested and chained to a rock near the agency building until he agreed to surrender his children. Indian character was shattered by two devices: welfarism, and public or statist education — exactly what is being done to the non-Indian population now.”1

As heads of households and fathers to our children, we must not be tempted to think this isn’t true of us here in New Zealand. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall,” warns I Corinthians 10:12. The context of that verse, what the word “therefore” is there for, is how our spiritual forefathers, those whose eyes beheld the curses fall upon Egypt, the Red Sea being divided, who ate the manna day after day; how these privileged people were still drawn aside into idolatry and immorality and thanklessness and were destroyed by God for it.

Consider the situation among Christians in the USA:

The Nehemiah Institute has been testing the world view of students in Christian schools, churches, home schools and other Christian ministries for 15 years. They use the PEERS Test which examines a person’s values and beliefs in the areas of Politics, Education, Economics, Religion and Society. Results from each category are classified into one of four major worldview philosophies: Christian Theism, Moderate Christian, Secular Humanism or Socialism.

Since the mid-1980s when it was common to find Christian students in both Christian and state schools scoring in the Moderate Christian range, average worldview understanding among these students has dropped steadily every year. Between 1988 and 2000, the scores of Christian school students dropped by over 30%. The scores of students from evangelical Christian families who were in the state schools declined by 36.8%! That is to say, teenagers from the more committed Christian families, but who attend secular schools, now typically score in the lower part of the Secular Humanist range: as far as a test can judge such things, they appear to have lost the Faith.

Nehemiah Institute also tested individuals who responded to ads in the Humanist Magazine and the New Age Magazine and found they typically scored in the range from –20 to –80. A score of –20, then, could be considered the threshold of a hard-core socialist (i.e., anti-Christian) world view. At the present rate, Christian students in state schools will start to have average scores of –20 by the year 2014, and those in Christian schools will be lost to the enemy, at least as far as their thinking goes, by the year 2018. That is only one school-generation away; that is referring to children being born today.2

The one piece of good news from all this is that some Christian schools, those using the Principle Approach or Classical Christian, and home educators, have not been declining over those years, but if anything, their scores are getting slightly better! Some believe these people are the true remnant of the Lord, but their numbers are very small.

Do you see your responsibility men? Home educated youngsters — your children — are among the few who, by God’s grace, appear to be raised in a consistent Biblical manner, are compromised the least, are the most faithful in outlook and understanding.  What are the implications? They and you will certainly be targeted by the enemy and may well be the most qualified to provide spiritual leadership in the coming decades.  Noah Webster wrote in the early 1800s:

“All government originates in families, and if neglected there, it will hardly exist in society…The foundation of all free government and of all social order must be laid in families and in the discipline of youth…The education of youth, [is] an employment of more consequence than making laws and preaching the gospel, because it lays the foundation on which both the law and gospel rest for success.”

We home educators have already escaped the dangers of our children being captured by the state schooling system. Welfarism is one to watch: its history in NZ is somewhat different than that in the USA, but the dangers are the same: looking at the Home Schooling Allowance, for example, it is at present totally without strings. Yet should we allow ourselves to become either financially or psychologically dependent upon it, the state could then lead us wherever they wanted us to go by placing conditions upon our qualifying for it.

So now we need to get down to the business of discipling our children to become loyal, faithful, useful, eager and fearless soldiers of the cross.

How do masters normally pass on their specialist skills and knowledge? They find suitable apprentices. Then they mentor them. We have suitable apprentices: the children the Lord sovereignly gave to us. Now the hard part: ensuring that we qualify as masters of the faith we have been entrusted to pass to the next generation, and learning how to mentor.

I would be the last to claim the title of “master” of the Christian life. No way. But I can assume I am way ahead of my children. And as long as I am doing what I can to grow as a Christian, I can assume I will be a few steps ahead of my children and therefore have much to impart to them. Personally, II Corinthians 3:18 has always helped me to keep on striving ahead: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.” I want to conform to His likeness; I want to share that glory; I want to see that evidence of the Holy Spirit’s working in my life over and over again over time; I see that it requires constant change, and I acknowledge that change is not comfortable or stress-free; I further see that I must constantly behold His glory in order to be changed, which I take to mean I must attend to the spiritual disciplines of Scripture reading, study, meditation, memorisation and application; prayer; fellowship; be under the preaching of the Word and a godly church eldership and other things like serving others and personal piety. By the grace of our wonderful Saviour, all these things are a constant joy and delight, not a burdensome duty imposed by some heavenly killjoy. Anyway, it seems that some such personal programme for joyful, enthusiastic growth and maturity as a Christian is needful first of all to fit me for Biblically mentoring my children.

You see, these disciplines are not just important for our growth as men: part of mentoring our children is passing on to them the same disciplines as well as our attitudes toward these disciplines. And we want to pass them on so successfully that our children will just naturally do the same to their children who will do the same to the next generation. This is thoroughly Biblical: “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:1-2.) Note the characteristic of “faithful” here. We must be faithful in all things, for this character quality, like most of them, is caught by our children from us. If we don’t have it, neither will they. If they don’t have it, this whole mentoring exercise breaks down before it even starts. Faithfulness to our children, our wives and marriages, our careers and to our Master’s call means we are not pursuing selfish ambitions. Neither do we allow our children to get the idea that “doing your own thing” is part of life as a Christian. Faithfulness also means paying attention to the “inconsequential details”: “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10.)

As fathers and as mentors of our children, we take advantage of the unique father-son, father-daughter relationship, and exploit it to the max. This means quality time together. And of course, that means quantity time together, for there simply is no other way to achieve quality time apart from quantity time. It works the same in our relationship with the Lord: good things just cannot be rushed. Make commitments to spend certain parts of your day or week with each child: Charmagne gets Wednesday mornings from 6 to 7; Jeremiah has a claim on Saturdays, 1pm to 2 (for example). The children will love this special attention and long for it all week as the high-point. So have expectations or assignments to place on them to remind that you are expecting growth, work, discipline in response to your input. Be realistic in what you expect, and it is always best to be able to in-spect what you ex-pect: rather than just ask Jimmy to pray for his siblings, give him a prayer diary and show how to write specific requests, leaving a place to write specific answers as the Lord gives them. Rather than just ask Jenny to tidy the woodworking bench you both will use next time, mention that you want the old sawdust and shavings swept up and the chisels all laid out in order. Mentoring is two way: you are looking for faithfulness and commitment from them as well as from yourself.

Plan the times together, the more planning the better. Remember you are endeavouring to do a lot here: pass on wisdom and knowledge, important life-lessons, attitudes, values, character traits. The more varied your activities together, the more opportunities to see different strengths and weaknesses: doing a 500 piece puzzle or building a model airplane may allow you to observe patience or a knack for detail; privately plan a talk or allow an urgent fence repair job you can do together to supplant the bicycle ride you had scheduled, as this will enable you to see  — and perhaps give counsel — on how they handle disappointment. Use your times together to plan events and acts of service for the rest of the family.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17.) Expect your children to be observant and tell you of faults they may see in your performance. Teach them how to do this tactfully, for they will surely find faults and blurt them out as soon as they are spied! This calls for patience and humility. They can also review you on your memorised verses just as well as you can review them.

Note well the wisdom of I Thessalonians 2:11-12, “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to lead a life worthy of God, Who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” A three-stage progression is pictured and said to be standard practice of fathers with children: to exhort, or call them when they are young to attain to what you have; to encourage, as they are older, which is what peers and colleagues do to each other; to charge, which is what an elder does to a younger as he is sent out into the world to be independent, leaving the elder behind.

Our ultimate aim is to raise godly men and women who will transfer their dependence (completely) and loyalty (their utmost) from yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, and who will give their lives to the reproduction of the Most Holy Christian faith in their children after them.

Notes:

1. Rousas J. Rushdoony, missionary to the Indians and author of many books; Chalcedon Report, April 2000, p. 25.

2. Dan Smithwick, “One School-Generation to Go, and Then the End”, Chalcedon Report, September 2001, p. 7-8.

From Keystone Magazine
September 2002 , Vol. VIII No. 5
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email: craig@hef.org.nz

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