Uniting Church and Family
In his classic work Visions of Order, Richard Weaver lists the tenets of the philosophy of education that now dominates the teaching of American youth. He noted that “there is no such thing as a body of knowledge which reflects the structure of reality and which everyone therefore needs to learn. Knowledge is viewed as an instrumentality which is true or false according to the way it is applied to concrete situations or the way it serves the needs of the individual.” Weaver warned that relativism is king, adding that “there is no final knowledge about anything. The truths of yesterday are the falsehoods of today and the truths of today will be the falsehoods of tomorrow.”
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that our current educational system is, at best, a mixture of relativism, positivism, secularism, and humanism. And now educators have taken it upon themselves to tell us that the way to solve the problem is simple: more money. Their allies in seeking huge amounts of public funds are the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington who control the treasury of the United States. Meanwhile, the loss of Christian values marches on, having been replaced by the relativistic nonsense and moral bankruptcy that our educational system has created.
It seems to me that the church is just as guilty as the NEA for this sorry state of affairs. For over 20 years the homeschool movement has been a prophetic voice calling women back to their God-ordained role of motherhood and keeper of the home, and fathers back to their role of providing for, leading, teaching, and cherishing their families. You would think that the church would have embraced this movement, but nothing of the kind has happened. Our program-driven churches see the homeschool movement as a threat to their age-segregated programs, from VBS to Sunday School to Youth Group to Children’s Church. Rather than exhorting fathers to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, pastors view the homeschool movement as abnormal. They refuse to preach on the subject, and even the most popular Christian writers avoid it like the plague. Attempts to reconsider the pedagogy of a distinctly Christian education in the home are considered divisive – witness the refusal of the Southern Baptist Convention to pass a resolution calling parents to remove their children from the public schools.
Consequently, you will look long and hard before you will find a church that is willing unashamedly to encourage the bearing of children, oppose birth control, affirm Christian home education, oppose secular schooling, equip men in their God-ordained role of spiritual leader in the home, speak to the normative feminine role of home-keeping, or consider ending the family-divisive practices of age-segregated ministries.
The forces of secularism have taken control of public schools and have institutionalized a pagan religion in place of the faith of our fathers, yet with very few exceptions churches have refused to reconsider their biblical responsibilities to families. They fail to accept the scriptural dictum that Christian children are not secular individuals but are citizens of a different country with a different set of values, a different set of standards, and a different idea of truth. Even worse, large pockets of evangelical Christianity have been slow to respond to the educational crisis in America. This evangelical mainstream includes most of its academic leadership.
“All things are lawful for me” says the careless Christian, as though being saved gives him the liberty to do as he pleases. But liberty is never license. Not all things are expedient for us, not all things edify, and some things can enslave us (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23). We are not free to do wrong, or to raise our children according to our own philosophy, or to act as though the Word of God has nothing to say about the family. The next generation will pay dearly for our foolishness today.
Over against all this is a movement designed to reunite the church and family, a movement, I believe, that God has provided as a stimulant for His people. The Bible has a great deal to say about the home, and Christ commands us to learn of Him and find rest. The average parent seems to be under the impression that no lessons need to be learned. Not so, say those who will be attending the Uniting Church and Family Conference in Saint Louis this August. Its message will be very simple: there is a way to parent scripturally, and that is by yielding our unsurrendered lives, consenting to our crucifixion with Christ, putting on the Lord Jesus, walking in the Spirit, and obeying the Word of God, even if that means being radically counter-cultural.
You are cordially invited to attend this conference. Let us together seek revival in our families, and in our churches. Let us return to the old, proven paths. Let us hold fast and hold forth the Word of Life (Phil. 2:16). Let a revival begin in my home and in yours.
July 16, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book is Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.