A Tribute to the Grace of God in the Life of Craig Smith
In the late 1990s six of my children were studying New Zealand as we made plans to live there and become dual citizens. They asked me a thoughtful question that deserved an honest answer. They wanted to know the name of the most important person in New Zealand. After a day’s reflection and my own personal study, I told them the most important figure in New Zealand was Craig Smith, the nation’s most thoughtful home school leader.
When we moved to New Zealand I was able to follow Craig, pray for him, and watch his influence on the national stage. New Zealand was dying at the time, as it madly and recklessly turned its back on its Christian heritage. But Craig and his family were standing against that decline by calling families back to the very essence of Christian civilization, which could be kept alive in the obedient and set-apart Christian family through home education.
Craig understood that home education could breathe life back into dying nations, if it was centered more on faithful family discipleship than academic scholasticism. Craig and Barbara began to lay a foundation for homeschooling families that contained the very wisdom of the great Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century, an intellectual phenomenon that changed the course of history in more than a dozen nations.
Craig was rediscovering and tapping into some of the theological presuppositions that build strong nations, and he knew it. To the best of his ability, Craig was introducing those ideas to remnant of families who were the last and best hope to return New Zealand to the condition of Divine blessing described in the national anthem.
Men of ev’ry creed and race
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our Free Land.
This is why Craig Smith was for many years the most important leader in New Zealand. He was leading the effort to defend New Zealand, introducing the only ideas in the public arena with the ability to guard the nation From dissension, envy, hate, And the corruption of scientific secular statism, which was fast becoming the rival and suicidal god of a once Christian nation.
Craig understood that Education is inescapably a religious discipline and he urged home educators to get their theological foundations in line, and then disciple their children in the truth.
Craig knew and preached the truth that Content in curriculum is never Neutral and that the organization of ideas is driven by faith assumptions which are entirely religious in nature.
One must first fear the Lord before presuming to attain knowledge (Proverbs 1:7).
Craig also understood that Methodology is Not Neutral
Craig made me laugh with his dry remarks about the poor inmates in the local prisons being let out for exercise in the yards. But he and I did not laugh as we watched the government school model become a self-conscious rejection of the biblical model, and an advancement of a humanistic, evolutionary and statist view of the child. This toxic theology enslaves millions, and New Zealand was embracing it without any serious debate.
But Craig Smith was not silent, and the Lord remembers all his words and and sees all the articles he wrote on the battles of his day. Craig was one of the few men who understood the theological concepts of treason, warfare and jurisdiction. He knew a condition of warfare existed in New Zealand few were willing to acknowledge. Even fewer were willing to fight, but Craig fought on, even in the face of criticism from the Evangelical community, learning new lessons from the God of Battles as his life unfolded.
In standing in the gap for his Savior and King, Craig’s passion remained wisely focused on the great priority: family discipleship according to the commands of Matthew 28:18-20. This simple form of home discipleship has been changing civilizations for 2000 years, and Craig understood its raw power, which is available to every willing dad and every humble family:
Moment-by moment training that requires substantial parental involvement through face-to-face interaction that would occur in real-world environments over the course of a day. This is how the world can be turned upside down, and Craig was the tireless defender of Christ’s changeless wisdom, justice and judgment.
With the help of his family, Craig’s proven convictions were not privately concealed, but were published, described, explained, exposited and modeled by the tireless work of the Home Education Foundation. Because of this work, the vision became clear to New Zealand families who were new to Biblical truth: home education is important because it is commanded by God Himself. The Creator ordained the family as the basic unit of civil society. All godly order is built first at home, through family discipleship.
The very culture of the family—both the household and the family enterprise—can be built by any willing family and it becomes the healthy backdrop for the walk-along-side, educational model commanded in Deuteronomy 6 and elsewhere.
Craig Smith is a remarkable man because he is one of the few men of our generation to have practiced everything he believed. He taught his own children and gained invaluable first hand knowledge of how easy it is and how hard it is to disciple a child in the morning to evening model given to men by a Heavenly Father.
Craig’s life was one of trusting perseverance in the battles of his day, and he was ready to engage where and when he was needed, as he did very boldly in the Section 59 battles, speaking without apology in defense of justice, often when no one else dared. All these conflicts were waged in his obedience to his Savior, whom Craig understood to be Lord of every institution, and the King over every monarch and prime minister.
By God’s gracious and providential plan, Craig fought his last battle with an aggressive brain tumour, and he did it as he had waged every other battle: from his home, in perfect peace and confidence, in the joy of Christ, with his remarkable family by his side. Craig’s life is a testimony of unshakable faith in a Savior who works perfect miracles in perfect timing. May Craig’s courageous legacy serve as an example to the men of New Zealand to rise up and be counted with the obedient. And may their combined effort work out God’s glorious plan not only for a free New Zealand, but for Christian civilization the world over.
To God be the glory for the life and legacy of Craig Smith.
By Geoffrey Botkin on behalf of the Botkin family
and Home Educators Across America