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"It is better to grow a child than to repair a man."
emrodd@rodds.net
12/20/98

Dear Friends,

The Classics (Continued)

Definitions

In our last FHC letter, we had an extensive discussion of Biblical education versus classical education. Our motive is to focus our attention towards Biblical education. Throughout the ages, the temptation for Christians has been to go to the pagan, secular world for education. Yielding to this temptation has always had the same result - the eventual loss of generations in the Kingdom. To help readers understand the current times in which we live, we provide several different definitions of the term "classical" which are used by some Christians:

  1. The explicit emphasis on the educational methods and writers from among the Greeks and Romans. It includes study of the mythology of the Greeks and Romans.
  2. An emphasis on the educational methods and content used by leading men in the American founding era. Their education emphasized Greek and Roman learning with a mixture of Christianity.

    These two definitions were the ones we were primarily discussing in our last FHC letter. As noted in that article, such a classical education can take many subtle forms, becoming similar to definition #1.

  3. An emphasis on older educational methods and materials such as British literature, McGuffey's readers, Charlotte Mason's methods etc.
  4. An equating of the term "classical" with the term "basics" meaning an emphasis on basic skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. This definition in itself does not really define a complete philosophy; however, we include it here because some people use the word classical in this way.
Note on scholarship : Some Christians may be called of God as scholars to study certain anti-Christian material, whether it be Socrates or Marx, for the purpose of educating and warning the Church on how these philosophies are tempting us to be distracted from the Lord.

Colossians 2:8
9. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

The error comes in suggesting that all children should be so educated.

Likewise the term "Biblical Education" can have different meanings as well. Definitions in use include:

  1. Education starting with the Bible as the first textbook for educational methods, training in righteousness, and principles by which subject matter beyond the Bible can be approached. Biblical education means searching the Bible for clues to understanding subject matter apparently not covered in the Bible (e.g. engineering). It includes seeking out and creating textbooks, other material, and activities which are consistent with this approach. Note. This is the FHC definition of Biblical Education.
  2. Education which includes the regular study of the Bible as a subject in the curriculum and the choice of explicitly Christian textbooks, other materials, and activities.
  3. Education which includes Bible as a subject and the use of materials from Christian publishers without particular regard to the content or philosophy of those materials.

Book Review

Recommended Reading

We are often asked to recommend reading for high school and college age students (and parents). Marx and Satan is an excellent example (a) written by a believing, thinking Christian, (b) well written, and (c) written by someone with first hand knowledge of the subject. We would classify this book as history, government, and religion. The review is written by our son, Joshua.

Review of Marx and Satan by Richard Wurmbrand


Review of

Marx and Satan

Marx and Satan, written by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, is an intriguing book that looks into some of the publicly available information we have about Karl Marx, the inventor of Communism.

This book reveals that Marx was once a professing Christian. An excerpt from Marx's first book, The Union of the Faithful with Christ states:

Through love of Christ we turn our hearts at the same time toward our brethren who are inwardly bound to us and for whom He gave Himself as sacrifice, [p. 11] .

Are these sincere words from an honest Christian man? They certainly seem to be. Marx's comrade, Friedrich Engels, was also a believer, and became a conservative theologian. He wrote against the liberal theologians of his time who criticized the Bible as the absolute word of God, and he also wrote a number of very sound Christian poems and hymns.

Why did Marx became a God hater who invented not only one of the worst tools of oppression to Christianity, but also to all of humanity? Why did Engels become his accomplice? The turning point in both of their lives occurred at the universities they attended when they learned of a new ``Christian doctrine'' called ``liberal theology''. Engels was aware of the danger of this theology and even wrote against it, yet in the end was not able to conquer the error. He wrote:

I pray every day, indeed almost all day, for truth, and I have done so ever since I began to doubt, but still I cannot go back. My tears are welling as I write, [p. 36]

:pc. What drove the liberal theologians to corrupt the Christian belief of youths such as these? The book that Engels read that first led him to doubt his faith was written by Bruno Bauer, an acclaimed liberal theologian at the time. Bauer says of his own sermons,

I don't recognize myself when I pronounce my blasphemies from the pulpit ... it is a very bad demon that possesses me as often as I ascend the pulpit, and I am so weak that I am compelled to yield ... [p. 37]

:pc. The unbelieving blasphemies weren't obvious to his listeners but were very subtle manifestations of a spirit of error speaking words that fostered doubt and unbelief toward the truth of God's word. Bauer was quite aware of what he was doing, and he certainly had no false pretense of seeking to follow the Scriptures more truly, which is the purported aim of liberal theology.

Wurmbrand exposes how Marx, a former Christian, went on to become a hater of God and the Christian. Marx eventually joined the satanic cult of his closest comrades, and this book explains in detail the evidence of that decision.

The reader learns that Marx was initially opposed to the ideas of socialism and Communism until Moses Hess persuaded him of the usefulness they had in being agents of the destruction of mankind, which was Marx's ultimate satanic goal. Why was Marx so bent on the destruction of mankind? We will never know for sure, but we do know what he wrote in this poem:

&per... I wander godlike and victorious
Through the ruins of the world
And, giving my words an active force,
I will feel equal to my Creator.

:pc. The parallel to Scripture is obvious.

Isaiah 14:13
14. ``But you [satan] said in your heart,
`I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.
15. `I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

:pc. We see an aggression against God in Marx's writings, and apparently he found Communism an excellent means to his end of ``feeling equal to his Creator'', much as satan himself declared. In spite of the death and destruction that the writings of Marx have fostered for over 100 years, neither he nor satan will ever achieve their goal of equality with God. The creature can never replace the Creator.

Wurmbrand challenges the reader in the last part of the book to reject Communism as the satanic religion it is and to accept Christ and Christ's teachings. He also has a discussion of those who attempt to meld Communism and Christianity, which is simply a way of replacing the gospel with satan's teachings.

I especially like the fact that Pastor Wurmbrand is not an academic in a glass tower compiling a set of research facts. Rather, he is a former leader of the underground church of Romania who spent fourteen years in the Communist prison under the palace of Caeusescu, the former dictator of Romania. Three of those years were in solitary confinement. By God's grace and power, he emerged spiritually victorious and sane. He also spent three years in the prison hospital ward from which no one else ever left alive. He was healed by the power and grace of God and is still alive at this writing. Richard Wurmbrand knows firsthand the ravages of Communism, and he also knows firsthand what the saving power of Christ can do. He is a man of keen intellect, and his research is careful, concise, complete, and compelling. Those 14 years and older will find the book an instructional, sober look into the spiritual reality of communism.

Marx and Satan is available from the Voice of the Martyrs for $5.00 plus $3.00 shipping. Their website is http&gml.//www.persecution.com/ . You can reach them by telephone at (918) 337-8015. Their address is:

The Voice of the Martyrs
P.O. Box 443
Bartlesville, OK 74005
USA

Australian readers can contact VOM at:

VOM
PO Box 598
Penrith, NSW 2751
Australia

If your family would like to learn of the practical realities of life for a Christian in Communist Cuba, I recommend I Will Die Free by Noble Alexander, another pastor who spent twenty-two years in a Communist prison system. This book is also available from Voice of the Martyrs for $8.00 plus $3.00 shipping. This book covers history, government, psychology, marriage, and religious liberty.

Y2K Update

FHC has a Unit Study on the Y2K issue available for education. It does not contain firm predictions, but the study does lead families into the examination of the many fields of study affected. The Unit Study is available free via e-mail or for $1.00 + $1.50 shipping. Below, we reproduce the newest sections of the Y2K unit study, followed by the Scripture to consider.

Men and Machines

While we often speak of machines, whether cars or computers, as living beings, they are not! Machines are man-made devices which do not think or create. They can do nothing which was not determined when they were built. When a component of any machine breaks, the machine cannot "think" of a creative way to get the job done. Instead, a man must "think" of how the machine can be repaired. Because machines are built by fallible men, mistakes are sometimes made in their construction (e.g. a car with a poorly designed exhaust system which rusts out in 3 months). In such cases, men must "think" of how to overcome the problem.

Computers and their software programs are machines. Things break. Hardware fails. Errors in software become apparent when certain conditions occur, such as the end of a month, the end of a year, or the end of a century. Other conditions which cause software to fail are new circumstances such as an order with more parts on it than usual, a category of customers ordering something normally ordered only by other kinds of customers, or a sum of accounting values being negative.

In particular, software errors are common when business functions change (e.g. starting a major new product line), the end of the month, and especially the end of the year. In some companies, end of year programs do run successfully until late in January. This is caused by changes in programs and in the data feeding the programs which have occurred since the programs were last run a year earlier. Also, new government regulations and tax reporting requirements may require new programming changes. In fact, due to the extensive testing taking place, some companies may find that their computer processing in January, 2000, runs unusually smoothly for January when end of year processing takes place.

In summary, in computer systems, things break every day and are corrected every day; sometimes with little fanfare and sometimes only after long hard hours by support staff. Some failures cost companies millions of dollars.

With this background, we have noticed that in writings on the Y2K issue, "outsiders" whose experience is in finance or business are often more alarmist than "insiders" who work regularly with computer systems. One reason for this difference may be that some "insiders" may be overly confident in their ability to cope with problems. However, another reason might be that many on the "outside" have for the first time thought about the impact of computer systems failures. Because they do not know that break/fix occurs daily, they assume that when software fails in 2000, the failure will be catastrophic. They also assume that because some software will fail, all software will fail. They don't understand the dynamics of identifying problems, determining what the most important problems are, and quickly getting to a place where normal operations can continue, even if not all systems are fixed simultaneously.

Witchcraft and

Fear-Mongering

What can we say about witchcraft? The Bible clearly warns us to avoid it! While we are encouraged to plan for the future (Prov 20 :18, Luke 14:28, Prov 30 :25), we are not to engage in divination. When predictions leave the realm of what is known and leave the safety of Biblically based prophecy to become wild speculations based upon human reactions, then those predictions become a form of witchcraft. We urge readers to pray and seek the Lord as they read predictions and speculations about what may or may not happen in 2000.

Temptations to engage in witchcraft abound in a world obsessed by stock prices, rather than living productive lives; occupied with the results of the next election, rather than speaking righteousness into the government now in authority; engrossed with the date of Jesus' return, rather than walking blameless and ready for His second coming. As home educators, we are pressured to be concerned with our children having the right credentials for a future world we know nothing about rather than with the necessary Biblical training Christ commands us TODAY.

Witchcraft can be profitable. Divination concerning an unknown future can open financial and other markets. We are concerned about the recent rush of "Christian" novels about future calamities.

I Timothy 6:10
11. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

While profitable in terms of the world's measure of mammon ($$$), are "Christian" novelists feeding the forbidden temptation towards witchcraft? We need the wisdom which only comes from the Holy Spirit to discern the difference between witchcraft and wisdom according to Proverbs 12 :26, "The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, But the way of the wicked leads them astray."

Besides the danger of dabbling in divination, "fear mongering" can become self-fulfilling. Do any of us really want our families (consider the very young and the very old) to go through turmoil? No; neither do we wish to be found saying "Peace, Peace" when there is no peace; nor do we want to be fear mongers. The Gospel is the hope for the inner peace which provides for external peace. Remember the admonition:

I Timothy 2:1
2. First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,
3. for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

Scriptures on Y2K

As we have read our Bibles in daily Bible readings, some Scriptures have provided wisdom which is relevant to how we approach the Y2K computer "bug" issue. Much is being written about possible calamities and ways to prepare, but less is being written to help us keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. These are some Scriptural admonitions which apply to real and potential Y2K situations.

Scriptures :

The entire sermon on the mount! (Matthew chapters 5-7)

Matthew 6:33
34. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
35. "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

James 4:13
14. Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."
15. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
16. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."

Luke 12:15
16. Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
17. And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive.
18. "And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?'
19. I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
20. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."'
21. "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'

Proverbs 3:9
10. Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce;
11. So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.

Matthew 13:22
23. "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Proverbs 20:18
19. Prepare plans by consultation, And make war by wise guidance.

I Corinthians 15:31
32. I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
33. If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
34. "Bad company corrupts good morals."

Matthew 10:27
28. "What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.
29. "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:16
17. "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

Matthew 10:42
43. "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward."

Romans 14:23
24. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

Proverbs 24:16
17. For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

Discipleship as an

Educational Method

Consider the Scriptural model described in John chapter 5. Note how it shows that the son does what He sees the Father doing and think of it in terms of our sons doing what they see their father doing. Furthermore, these verses show us both the heart attitude which allows this discipleship ("The Father loves the Son") and the practical method ("shows Him all things that He Himself is doing").

John 5:19
20. Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
21. "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.

How to Excel

We were struck by Scriptures in Psalm 119 which give us instruction in "how to excel." The verses in the Psalm address very clearly a number of common concerns of Christian home educating parents including:

  1. Will home educated students be able to compete in the "real" world without the education provided by secular colleges etc? (see verse 99 and 102).
  2. How can a home educated student excel when his or her parents have limited educational background or are very new Christians? (see verse 98 and 104)
  3. How can a sheltered home educated student understand the nature of the "real" world without years of experience living there? (see verse 100 and 101).
  4. Aren't we being naive and simple to think that our children can have the understanding necessary to live in the complex modern world? (see verse 130 and 103).

Psalms 119:97
98. O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
99. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies For they are ever mine.
100. I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.
101. I understand more than the aged, Because I have observed Your precepts.
102. I have restrained my feet from every evil way , That I may keep Your word.
103. I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, For You Yourself have taught me.
104. How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
105. From Your precepts I get understanding ; Therefore I hate every false way.

Psalms 119:130
131. The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

The Other Way

(Without God)

The November 9, 1998 edition of the The Wall St. Journal had an article on the front page entitled, "Who Will Teach Johnny to Read?" on the subject of remedial education in colleges. The theme of the article was to open the discussion on the benefits of successful remediation rather than to focus entirely on the poor quality of high school education.

In our experience, when colleges speak of remediation, they are not speaking about acquiring advanced skills such as calculus or writing major term papers. Instead, remediation includes:

The article contained some very interesting numbers:

  1. "About 30% of first-time college students take remedial courses because they can't read, write or do math adequately."
  2. The percentage is often higher at community colleges.
  3. The percentage is rising!
  4. At New York community colleges, up to 80% of incoming students need remedial help.
  5. 70% of the members of the National Association of Manufacturers offer remedial courses themselves. The article notes that this is evidence that such remediation is valuable since these companies are paying for this education themselves.

What does this tell us as Christian home educators?

  1. We need not fear that all the children attending public high school are somehow taking "advanced" subjects our children are missing.
  2. We do need to fear for our nation because our political freedoms depend upon a well educated populace.
  3. We need not panic when one of our children does not learn some basic subjects well until the teen years. We must rest in the Lord and trust Him for His path of life and time for each of our children to develop. Their academic achievement at age 12 is not our goal - their Christian discipleship and power and ability to live in the world while not being of it is our main goal.

Election Lessons

Earl ran for the position of State School Board member in Ohio this past November. This is a non-partisan position. Our State Board is responsible for setting policy, overseeing the Department of Education, and setting standards. It sends recommendations to the legislature when changes require change in law, not just policy. He did not gain the position in the election. However, we wanted to share several lessons learned in the process. Note that we did not spend a lot of money, nor did we set out to raise a lot of money.

1. The fun (and time consuming) part of the campaign was attending candidate nights, breakfasts, and lunches. We highly recommend these to voters as an opportunity to hear from and in some cases, meet and question candidates in person. Sadly, they are generally very poorly attended. We as citizens must take responsibility for the major emphasis of big money for TV and radio since for most, that is the only knowledge citizens have of the candidates.

2. Ideally, TV and radio ads should be useless and disappear because citizens have access locally to much better information.

3. As we neared the election, Earl noted how radio stations advertised their extensive election night coverage. It seems strange that stations will provide hours of coverage of results coming in (news which is out of date within minutes), but will not provide time for in-depth interviews with candidates. Likewise, even newspapers provide only cursory coverage of candidates. Newspapers are prone to provide only basic information (experience, age etc.) but little depth. :note. On the bright side, in NE Ohio, there was an excellent website, www.decision98.org, sponsored by the Ohio Roundtable, which had verbatim answers to a number of questions provided by each candidate.

In reflecting on the imbalance to election night coverage versus candidate coverage coming into the election, we believe this is another manifestation of Americans' fascination with witchcraft (predicting the future). With the State Board election being low key, we had no idea how well he might do; so Earl decided we would go to bed early on election night and get a newspaper in the morning.

4. Earl came to an opinion that there should be NO campaign finance laws of any kind; however, laws against bribery need to be enforced. The current finance laws are an extreme burden on candidates while providing no guard against those with the resources to circumvent the intent of the laws. Earl decided that perhaps the greatest effect of campaign finance laws is to allow the electorate to be comfortable in their apathy in the belief that "someone else" (i.e. the "government") is making sure that no bribery is taking place. This is not the case. There is no "someone else" in a free country. Citizens must be vigilant and elect men and women who are trustworthy.

Current laws in Ohio require an extreme amount of paperwork. For Earl, this was but several hours work. For a legislative candidate, a full time person is required for the extensive paperwork required. Even worse, a candidate must expend much effort to be careful not to violate the law in normal campaigning which includes asking friends to help with a variety of activities.

5. We strongly recommend candidate's nights as a way for churches, home schooling groups, and other organizations to both learn to know candidates and to provide input to them. Some churches and other non-profits sponsor such events with no fear of being "political" and violating their tax-free status. A candidate event to which the organization invites ALL candidates for a particular office is not an endorsement. The typical format is to allow each candidate to speak for a few minutes and then provide 5 minutes for questions from the audience. A better idea is to provide a set of questions for the candidates for each office to address.

While a Senatorial or Gubernatorial candidate is unlikely to come to a local church candidate's night, local judges, city council candidates, State Board of Education candidates, county officers (e.g. commissioners, auditors, treasurers) and State Assembly candidates are likely to accept invitations! In this past election, our US Congressman attended several such events.

New for March 98:

1. See folder FUTURE FHC for ideas to take HSLDA why home school high school and adapt to college.

See Psalm 130 :97-105 and vs. 130 for 'how to excel.

Clarify CLASSICS definitions

Take tech courses only for tech fields (Comp Sci or engineering)

Consider again 10 reasons for HS and apply to college. "The College Dilemma" - letting academia creep in versus need for credential. Similar to dilemmas Christians in Russia faced.

Consider following scripture model - sons doing what the father does. Think of the discipleship(apprenticeship) of verse 20 as the father, who loves the son, shows him all things that he himself is doing.

John 5:19
20. Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
21. "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.

Election lessons:

-Media hours on election results - old news 5 min. later - but no time for in depth coverage. -Apathy in candidate nights. No reporting of depth on candidates in papers. -Should be NO NEED for TV ads etc. -

Novels (especially modern apocolyptic): -induce fear -Think on what is true and right

Review of WSG article on remedial courses and college.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd