Reversing the Church’s Decline (8)

Conformity may give you a quiet life; it may even bring you to a University Chair. But all change in history, all advance, comes from the nonconformists. If there had been no trouble-makers, no Dissenters, we should still be living in caves (A. J. P. Taylor).

Renewing the church’s interest in the law of the Lord will lead to a renewed desire to ensure that children have a godly education, for passages of the law (such as Deut.6 &11) emphasise and command this from God’s people.

The common, even prevalent notion amongst believers today, that it’s legitimate to send the children of the godly to a State school, an institution fashioned and prepared to inculcate atheism, has no basis in scripture. God has a different view. He said of Abraham, that “…I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him” (Gen.18:29).

If we believe from scripture that God made all things in six days, and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, that He has a purpose for each individual to fulfil in this life, and that He will order all our affairs to bring this about, this must be reflected in what we teach our children. To deny a child a godly education is to fail to prepare them for a life of service and dominion; it is an act of indifference, even hostility towards them, and to the God who gave them to us. And God will bring parents to judgment for this.

But if we believe that “Children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward” (Ps.127:3), then this will be powerfully reflected in both the content of our education, and its context.

What do I mean by context? It means where education is taking place. The Bible warns us that “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov.13:20). Thus to ask or expect a child to complete a godly education for 12 years to the age of 17-18, whilst sitting alongside the ungodly for 14,000 hours of their childhood, is utterly ridiculous. This was the baseless expectation that Lot appeared to have from his daughters whilst they lived in Sodom, and it’s obvious from Genesis 19 how horribly wrong he was.

The fact is that “bad company corrupts good morals” (I Cor.15:33). So, Christian parents must remove children from the influence of evil company, if they really want to ensure they will be “like arrows in the hand of a warrior…” (Ps.127:4). The best way to do this is in the home, where parents can determine what they want children to learn and be exposed to.

Paul spoke of this home influence in relation to Timothy’s upbringing. He said that “I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well” (II Tim.1:5).

My wife and I began to do this 24 years ago with our children, and we’ve never regretted it. This option permitted us to utilise a godly curriculum for them in a supportive context, and to engage them from time to time in conversations, with a view to developing a Christian character and outlook on life. They also enjoyed the company of other Christian children.

Yes, this requires making bold and confident choices for our children’s sake, and going against the tide of a fallen society, but this should sit comfortably with the Christian conscience, for “…the righteous are as bold as a lion” (Prov.28:1). Over time, children understand what we do in making decisions on their behalf, they respect us for it, and then they begin to make such decisions themselves.

Why?

Because it’s been modelled for them at home. They follow their parent’s example, which is exactly what the Bible said they should be doing. Modelling is one of the first tasks of a teacher. It’s what Paul both taught and practiced: “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil.4:6).

It’s time Christians stopped being intimidated by the opinions of the ungodly.  As Taylor also wrote,

There is nothing more agreeable in life than to make peace with the establishment- and nothing more corrupting.

Make bold choices for your children, ensuring they have a godly curriculum and peer-group in their formative years. It’s all an aspect of their discipleship, training them up in the way they should go. And they will bring joy to your heart in years to come, as our sons are doing today. It’s an important aspect of reversing the church’s decline.

    The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honour and life (Prov.22:4).

Ready to be enriched?