God’s word teaches us that we are to teach our children in the ways of the covenant. In Deuteronomy 6 the description of that teaching process clearly communicates that this teaching is to be intense, thorough, and deliberate. Clearly God understood that He made us in such a way that if we were to eventually be adults that loved Him and walked in His ways we would have to start as children who were taught to love Him and walk in His ways. Clearly God understood that covenant community survives by passing the tradition down to the children.
So what do most American Christians do? They do all they can to make sure that the covenant community survives by exposing God’s covenant seed to a teaching process that is intense, thorough, and deliberate. Most American Christians expend great energy to make sure that the covenant community survives by making sure the traditions and ways of the covenant community are passed down to their children. The problem, of course, is that the covenant community that American Christians are concerned with maintaining is not the covenant community of God’s people but rather the covenant community of an alien god. Christians send their children to government schools and what happens to those children at Government schools is precisely what is explained in Deuteronomy 6, with the minor exception that instead of being taught the ways of the God of the Bible our covenant seed is taught the ways of some molech god.
Step back and think about it. When we send our children to government schools we are effectively dipping and saturating them into an alien covenant that is dedicated to not allowing the mentioning of the name of the Lord of the true covenant. If you include transportation time we do this at the tune of 40 hours a week. If you add extra-curriculum school activity the hours go up proportionally. Now add the factors of how all that they are learning in the government schools is being reinforced by the culture swirling around them and how they are anchored into the false covenant through the roots of the friends that they make in the government schools — friends who share their training — and it is not a wonder that God’s covenant seed grow up pledging allegiance to a god who is not god.
So, we dip and saturate our children in an alien covenant by sending them to the schools of foreign gods. We never explain to them, because most don’t know themselves, the whole idea of Worldview and critical thinking. After dipping and saturating them in the covenant of an alien god we roll them in the breadcrumbs of a culture that is opposed to God and then we deep fry them into this god hating life and worldview by allowing their affections to be anchored in relationships with other believers of this faith we have forced them to embrace.
Then, in order to speak good things to ourselves about what godly parents we are we force them to go to Church with us on Sunday where, in most cases, the message that they are receiving from the government schools and from the culture is again reinforced only this time with a shiny Jesus wax coating to cover it all. As the children get older they begin to wonder about the whole relevance of this ‘Church thing,’ and so 50-80% of them leave when they graduate from High School never to return. And many of the ones who stayed probably should have left with their compatriots.
People, all of this can’t be fixed or balanced by 20 minutes of family devotions around the table in the evening or even by an hour of Bible reading before bedtime. You don’t cleanse a fine cloth that has been dipped and saturated in oil for hours and hours by dipping it briefly in clean water only to put it back again into the oil solution.
Let me say it as plainly as I can. If you dip and saturate your children into the false covenant of an alien god they are going to grow up and be the adherents of that alien god. Sure, the God of the Bible does rescue some but to count on His rescuing some of our covenant seed when we raise them in plain disobedience by placing them into the hands of false priests (School teachers who are not epistemologically self-consciously Christian)is to ‘tempt the Lord thy God.’
And the real kicker is, is that some Christian parents after they have done all this to God’s seed are genuinely shocked and mortified when their little Suzy gets knocked up or when their Johnny gets busted for bumping off the corner gas station or when little Bobby couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Christianity or when little Dot goes on to college and comes home and approvingly tells her parents about her Lesbian suite mates, or when little Alex raises their grandchildren on Nightmare on Elm street movies and Brat dollies or when little Lydia spends her life trying to earn God’s favor.
We can wail all we want about this culture but until we start training and keeping our children it is all wailing into the void.
Postscript — I think one reason (there are many) that we have arrived at this point is because of revivalism. Revivalism communicated that God could do in one jolt what He commands us to do throughout the raising of our children. Revivalism, with one Holy Spirit jolt, could instantly make up for our failings as parents to raise our children in the way of the covenant. Revivalism disconnected in our thinking God’s cause and effect. Whereas God said, “Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it,” we said, “Let just anybody train up our children and trust God to give them a Holy Spirit revival jolt when they get older.” Through revivalism training was disconnected from conversion.
8 thoughts on “Dipped, Rolled, & Deep Fried”
The postscript on revivalism is dead-on. Even when preaching the good news we will not do it in the way God has clearly showed us – we are a foolish, foolish people. We need to wake up and realize that the primary way God has for building his kingdom and his people is through the covenant seed.
All too true, and all very sadly so.
I’m piecing my way through Doug Wilson’s “Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning” right now. It is a bit dated, but I was wondering if you’ve read it? He tries to make a strong case for private Christian classical education, which he thinks cannot be as effectively accomplished in the home by parents (he may have changed his tune a bit since it was written in 1993 when fewer resources for homeschooling were available).
I continue to pray for Reformation, but I also wonder how much longer Christ will tolerate our apostasy before He sweeps away the American church and replaces it with something pure.
Also we need to get back to the understanding that Christianity is the life of the mind without making the mistake of going hyper rational.
Yes, I read Wilson’s work. I see the value in Classical education but I don’t think it is a silver bullet. There are other equally effective and Biblical methodologies out there. I also think, if I recall correctly, that he has changed his tune. I think it was a political move since the homeschooling community gave him a great deal of push back on his insistence that classical schools were THE way to go.
I think most parents can effectively educate their children at home. The key thing is to
1.) Know your child and the way they learn
2.) Understand the concept of living books and great books
3.) Understand that education must be offensive and defensive
The training must not only be what we believe but what we don’t believe
4.) Seek to set all of the educational process on a Biblical foundation.
This will require parents doing a little work themselves to understand things like what makes History biblical or not Biblical. What makes Art God glorifying and not God glorifying…. etc.
5.)As the children get older allow the opportunity for controlled failure.
This means you allow your children to be in situations where they can succeed or fail but if they fail the failure can be immediately examined and spoken to thus making a success out of the failure.
In terms of sweeping away the American Church… Well, I’m pretty much convinced it has already been swept away. Just a few dust balls like me remain.
Thanks for the pointers on educating children. I’d like to hear more about the “concept of living books and great books.” The rest of it I understand in principle, and await to find out in detail in practice.
I pray that your intuition regarding the American Church is like Elijah’s intuition that he was the lone prophet left in Israel, when yet 7,000 true believers remained.
The Janissaries are Coming!
The Janissaries were the fierce conscript solders of the Ottoman Empire. I first heard of the Janissaries in a sermon by Dr. D. James Kennedy and sometime later I found a reference to them in his book, Lord of All.
The Janissaries were a superbly trained and highly disciplined corps and in their book, Dr. Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe draw an analogy to the training received in the public schools in these United States. That if we send our children into the public schools don’t be surprised when they come home and attack us.
The Humanists and Education from Lord of All by Dr. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe
Living books is something I learned from Charlotte Mason. A living book is a book that reads itself so to speak. It draws the child in and refuses to allow the child to put the book down, insisting that the child keep on turning the pages. The great books are those books that have formed the spine of Western Civilization. They serve as the Canon of Western Literature. One can not enter into the living conversation between the generations unless one has digested his or her share of the great books.
I think it is important to note one difference. The Janissaries, while children of Christians, were not volunteered by the Christians to their Muslim overlords. These boys were collected as part of what was called a Muslim blood tax. Every so often the Muslim military would come around to Christian villages and pick out the healthiest and strongest boys to be Janissaries. Christian parents who desired to keep their sons from this practice would sometimes cripple their boys in infancy so as to guarantee that their sons wouldn’t be taken as Janissaries.
Unlike the Muslim practice of old, nobody is forcing Christians to give up their children. Instead they do so voluntarily.
I’m a child right? And the Bible says ‘Out of the mouths of babes,’ right? Well then, here it is folks, I like homeschooling and would choose it 100% over government schools. I would like to personally thank both my parents for making the decision when I was young to homeschool me. It has deffinetly changed my life (for the better, of course)!!!