Homeschoolers’ maturity: let your light shine before others

The other night as I was an audience member for a homeschool theater production of the musical Annie, I was once again struck by how unique Christian homeschooling is as a cultural trend…

Guests who are not accustomed to homeschooling circles almost always remark on how well-behaved and orderly the children are, and how readily they take direction and show respect for those in authority. If you, like me, are used to such things, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

One woman, who had been a teacher in public schools and Sunday schools for over forty years, was dumbfounded that eighty plus children under the direction of about five to seven moms could be so cooperative.

Quote source

Schwartz, A. (2008). The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education [ebook]. Chalcedon/Ross House Books, Vallecito. Location 273-80

Advertisements

Christ trumps the state, and the church must follow

Early Christians were called “heretics” and “atheists” when they denied the gods of Rome, in particular the divinity of the emperor and the statism he embodied in his personality cult.

These Christians knew that Jesus Christ, not the state, was their Lord and that this faith required a different kind of relationship to the state than the state demanded.

Because Jesus Christ was their acknowledged Sovereign, they consciously denied such esteem to all other claimants. Today the church must take a similar stand before the modern state.

Quote source

Chalcedon Foundation, (n.d.) The “Atheism” of the Early Church. Available http://chalcedon.edu/store/item/the-atheism-of-the-early-church/. Last accessed 30th Aug 2015.

The way to solve moral problems

But like virtually all other researchers, she [Dee Miller] advances humanistic solutions to problems of a moral nature. You cannot manipulate the institutional environment (via educational conditioning, regulatory mechanisms, etc.) to solve a moral problem. Antinomianism lacks the power to offer moral answers [to spiritual abuse] and can mount no consistent challenge to spiritual incest. This fatal disconnect is bridged only when the entire Word of God is consistently applied.

Quote source

Selbrede, M. (2013). Liberty from Abuse. Chacledon Foundation. Available http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/liberty-from-abuse-3/. Last accessed 18th Apr 2015.

Puritans refashioning in terms of Scripture

It was not surprising, therefore, in view of the Puritan dedication to Scripture, that they looked to the Bible not only for a new model for the church but also for the state. From the very beginning, the colonies, especially in New England, looked to the Bible for their laws. Because of the royal over-lordship where colonial charters were concerned, a certain amount of English royal law was also retained to avoid conflicts with the crown. But the Puritans essentially wanted a new model, one based on Scripture, for every area of life; we have Cromwell’s New Model Army; we have new model churches; in one case after another, things were refashioned in terms of Scripture.

My two cents

I like that reference to the Bible being a new model for the state—as opposed to an old (and ultimately humanistic) one. If I were forced to take a course on history—but had a choice on which time period or group of people to study, I think I would go for the Puritans.

I have a list of over books that I’d like to read (but don’t see myself getting to it anytime soon). After checking that list, I noticed that more than one was relating to the Puritans. I also saw a product called the Puritan Hard Drive, which seems kind of interesting.

Quote source

Rushdoony, R.J. (n.d) Biblical Faith and American History [Kindle eBook]. Chalcedon Foundation, location 96-101.

In 2013, R.J. Rushdoony’s influence is crystallising

I have been volunteering for [the] Chalcedon [Foundation’s] Extending the Reach (ETR) program for just over three years…There were always two kinds of people at these conferences. The first group consisted of those who were already familier with [R.J.] Rushdoony and who were pleased they could purchase the books they needed to complete their library. The other group  consisted of those who might have heard of Rushdoony, or had never been introduced to his works at all. Some would ask, “Who is Rushdoony?,” which is a fair question that we are always prepared to answer. However at this Missouri homeschool convention things were very different. Nobody asked, “Who is Rushdoony?” They simply wanted more of him. In my 20+ years of ministry this degree of hunger was unlike anything I had ever seen before.

My two cents

This is encouraging and pleasing. Finally, critical mass is on the horizon, after a few decades. I remember reading some article on who was meant to be the assumed current-day leader of the Christian Reconstruction movement once Greg Bahnsen and R.J. Rushdoony died (in 1995 and 2001 respectively). Intellectually at least, the names that stood out to me were Gary North, Gary DeMar or Martin Selbrede—but perhaps there doesn’t need to be a single leader as such.

If anything, it’s better when there are several people at the helm; that way it’s less one-dimensional. The fact that Rushdoony is better known to conference goers (in the 21st century) is evidence of a targeted and successful approach by Chalcedon, and probably more effective than carpet bombing. It’s pleasing to see that upon a first exposure to his work, numerous Christians are not turned off, but drawn back for more writings.

Quote source

Raymond, P.M. (2013). “Family Economics Conference in Missouri” in The Chalcedon Report: Ministry News from the Chalcedon Foundation, June 2013, pp. 2-3

Rights aren’t as universal as politicians make them out to be

In the 2010 federal election, the Australian Greens earned 11.76 and 13.11 per cent of votes in the House of Representatives, and Senate, respectively. With the 2013 election, results are provisional, but this ‘progressive’ party regressed by losing about 1/4 of the vote percentage it achieved in 2010. Whatever the final result:

The Australian Greens believe that…economic, social, cultural, environmental, civil and political rights are universal, interdependent, and indivisible.

Mark Rushdoony wasn’t part of the election, but his insights cast more light:

In our day, much of the talk is political, and too much of it focuses on “rights”…To speak only of our rights is to see ourselves in terms of the state. To speak of duty, service, and responsibility is to see ourselves in terms of God and His commanding Word. The end result of such a perspective is the establishment of liberty.

My two cents

I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I tend to agree that when people rest their political agenda on ‘rights’ (especially in the 21st century), then yes, one result is to remodel the individual to something under the care and control of the state. I’m therefore suspicious of putting all my deontological eggs into such a politicised basket. I hope there are higher powers than the state—and it seems that Christianity affirms this.

With the first quote, I’m not convinced that rights are as universal as political parties make them out to be. This is especially the case across time and cultures; the notion of (and dependency on politicised) rights these days is noticeably different from that of antiquity. Several rights listed by the Greens—especially the latter half—were vague or unknown concepts just a few generations ago. It’s therefore misleading to suggest otherwise, especially if a party believes human beings evolved from other species of the genus Homo (and its corollary that political thought has evolved from the barbaric to the progressive).

In such a framework, the concept of rights is not a universal; at best, it’s a construct that was made up by someone and eventually others decided to agree with it (while those who disagreed were overruled). The related inventions of the state, democratic elections, and politicised rhetoric (that’s emotionally reassuring but historically misleading) followed suit.

At least the Greens are honest enough to admit their platform hinges on a belief—but not honest enough to admit it hinges on an incorrect belief.

Quote sources

  1. The Australian Greens. (n.d). Human Rights. Available: http://greens.org.au/policies/human-rights. Last accessed 15th Sep 2013.
  2. Rushdoony, M. (n.d). June Letter from Mark Rushdoony, Chalcedon President. Available: http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/june-letter-from-mark-rushdoony-chalcedon-president/. Last accessed 15th Sep 2013.

A 21st century formula for twisted public policy

[Bob] Riley [Alabama Governor] has defended his tax increase with explicit references to the Bible, arguing that the commands in Scripture to defend and provide for the poor justify taxing the wealthy more heavily…

One of the principal backers of the plan is a University of Alabama law professor named Susan Pace Hamill. (Alabama’s state universities, it might be added, stand to gain from the increased tax revenues.) Hamill has devoted a great deal of time to developing the argument for a progressive tax system from the Bible. “God,” she says, “…requires that safety nets be created to allow poor and powerless persons a minimum opportunity to meet their basic needs and improve their lives. Certain rights to harvest from the land of others and secure ownership of their own land…are among specific examples in the Bible….” The “right to harvest from the land of others” is from the gleaning laws of Leviticus 19:9-10 and Deuteronomy 24:19-21 as well as Deuteronomy 23:24, 25…

One major error here—and it is common among Christian socialists—is to make a logical leap from the Biblical requirement of charity to the assertion that the civil government should coerce wealth from some to give to others. It cannot be inferred from the passages permitting a person to glean or snack on another’s crops that the state must seize the corners of a man’s field if he is reluctant to obey the command.

My two cents

English: Seal of the Governor of The State of ...
Seal of the Governor of The State of Alabama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an increasing trend in 21st century America (and perhaps other Western countries as well):

Step 1 is to hold the Bible in disdain and ignore it most of the time.

Step 2 is to come up with some type of bad public policy and try sell it to the electorate.

Step 3 is to open the dusty Bible and see if there’s a verse to support Step 2. Usually this involves taking the plain teaching of a verse. Since the state knows better than God, that acts as licence to take that verse and twist it into a phony exegetical platform for Step 2.

Step 4 is to realise that 95% of people won’t notice the twisting. That works because people are humanistic (or possibly antinomian, depending on the verse in question).

I’m glad that Timothy Terrell is among the 5% who did notice—but I hope there are more.

Quote source

Terrell, T.D. (n.d). Raising Taxes in the Name of Jesus. Available: http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/raising-taxes-in-the-name-of-jesus/. Last accessed 27th Jun 2013.