FHC HOME

Families Honoring Christ


"It is better to grow a child than to repair a man."
Earl & Diane Rodd 6044 Pine Creek St. N.W. North Canton, OH 44720 USA Phone (330) 305-9318
01/04/97

Dear Friends,

Galatians 1:3
4. Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,
5. who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
6. to whom {be} the glory forevermore. Amen.

New Way to Distribute

We know that some of you have electronic mail via the Internet. We can send these FHC letters via Internet e-mail. If you would like to receive FHC letters via e-mail, please write us or send an e-mail to:
emrodd@rodds.net
If that seems to be rejected (this e-mail address could change in coming months), send to Earl's work email:
emrodd@vnet.ibm.com
Distribution via e-mail is faster and saves us time and money. However, we recognize that there are advantages to paper copies. We promise not to abuse your e-mail or give it away to anyone else!

We would also like to hear from you via e-mail or letter if you have e-mail and prefer to get these letters via real mail rather than e-mail. This helps us to understand how people want to use e-mail.

Difficulties, Helps

The most recent (Volume 11, Number 4) issue of the Home School Researcher PO Box 13939, Salem, Oregon, 97309 - or ask your public library or nearby University library to subscribe) reports the results of a Florida study WHAT'S HARD? WHAT HELPS?" by Richard Medlin of Stetson University. The entire article is recommended reading and we report the highlights here.

Among 22 items rated for difficulty to the families in the study, the top items in difficulty included "Time with my spouse and alone", "Avoiding interruptions", "Time for other responsibilities and activities", and "Physical exhaustion" . Practical issues like work habits, caring for younger children, and motivation were in the middle range of difficulty. Socialization concerns, finding good materials and problems with school officials were at the bottom of the rankings of difficulty.

Among 22 items rated for helpfulness in the lives of the families, the top "My belief that home schooling is best for my children" and "Spiritual encouragement from God"! Next were various forms of support including families, seminars, various aspects of support groups, books and magazines. At the bottom was "My church." The report also noted that the home schooling families reported that they had access to many of the 22 support sources studied.

We report this to encourage readers in two matters:

  1. In spite of what is often written about isolation etc., home schoolers in fact have a wealth of support sources and live active lives. The problem is enough time and energy to do it all!
  2. In spite of the pressure of the world to focus on secular support methods, Christian home schoolers recognize that their Christian faith is the most important source of help.

Taxes and Politics

This item is of particular interest to Ohio readers, but contains an example of an important principle for home schoolers because it illustrates the key problem with so called "school vouchers".

In Ohio, taxpayers can contribute up to $50.00 per year ($100.00 for married taxpayers filing jointly) to candidates for state political races (e.g. governor, state Senate, state House etc.) and receive a tax credit against their Ohio income tax. This means that a husband and wife filing jointly can contribute $100.00 each year to a state candidate of their choice and in effect cost them nothing . Tax credits are a no strings attached method meaning that no politician or bureaucrat determines where your money goes; You do!

While we would prefer no governmental funding assistance of any form for political races, tax credits which allow us to make our own choices is an improvement. The present federal campaign funding system, while requiring extreme levels of reporting, gives tens of millions to some candidates and zero to others. Principled men who try to obey these unconstitutional regulations are often penalized; unprincipled men blatantly ignore the rules and receive no punishment. (Psalm 37 is our comfort.) Likewise in education, if we were to seek any financial relief from the tax burden of paying for government schools while home schooling, tax credits are the only method with any hope of avoiding intense governmental controls.

Introduction

We are back to "normal" life after several torrid months during the recent Presidential campaign. It all started when we decided to go the US Taxpayer's party national convention - sandwiching it in between visiting family and vacationing in Washington and Arizona. Then one day in September, Diane innocently became the point person organizing a tour of Ohio by Vice Presidential candidate, Herb Titus. Thus we were involved! God was gracious to us as a home schooling family. We all, parents and children, learned a lot just by being involved, and we learned even more with the opportunity to spend time with Mr. Titus on his two visits to Ohio. His Christian testimony coupled with Biblical instruction on government were a great blessing.

This FHC letter is primarily devoted to what we have learned through this time.

Why Even Think

About This?

As Christian home educators, we have several reasons for communicating the lessons we have learned in this letter:

  1. We are always seeking how best to teach each subject area as well as seeking to determine which subject areas are worthy of our attention.
  2. Instruction related to real life experience is often very valuable; therefore, actual political activity can be a logical place to teach government.
  3. We have realized, that as is true of many subjects, our public school education was very deficient in teaching government. We parents had learned some basic theory (with all of the Christian principles removed!) but virtually no practical aspects. We are convinced that the way we were taught government has led to the massive apathy we see in the nation today with regard to how we are ruled. Because we were taught no practical aspects, we came away with a view of government as a distant all-powerful solution to all our problems. how to run for office, how to be active in a party structure, how votes are monitored and counted, and what constitutes a political party.

1. God's Kingdom is First

The exhortation of Jesus to "seek first the Kingdom of God" is often seen as a command to us as a way to worship and honor the Lord. Seeking the Kingdom i.e. God is the supreme sovereign over all. His methods are to be preferred. However, as Jesus went on to say, "all these things shall be added to you." Certainly this is true in political activity. Had it not been that we had the opportunity to work with and for people who trust first in God, in His time and ways, political activity would be just a frustrating exercise in facing facing our inability to make people see things "our" way. When we can meditate on God's plans, we can be content with His time and His work. Instead of being frustrated, we can focus our prayers on His will that all men be saved while continuing to work for political freedom for our children and grandchildren.

2. The Challenge of Babel

The conflict of Babel is still with us. The challenge is the struggle between centralized government control and diverse individuals who are united by serving the same Lord and hearing the same Holy Spirit.

The lesson of human history seems to be that there may be a place for a centralized government for matters such as defense, but when we have centralized administration , we are in trouble. (The question of how God would have us defend ourselves is a whole separate question for another day. Note that we in the USA have lost constitutional freedoms in every war). From Babel to King Saul to the Roman emperors to modern America, God has not changed. The New Covenant is the Law of God written on men's hearts. Only then can men form a government in which individuals may be trusted to work for the good of all.

At the party convention we saw an explicit example of the tendency of us all to trust in central government. This came during platform committee meetings on education (meetings which were open and honest unlike the "big" parties). The party platform of the US Taxpayer's party with regard to education is very simple - the Federal government has no role to play in education. The US Constitution provides no such federal power. Several platform amendments were proposed which suggested that the platform use the central administrative power of the Federal government to "make" schools use phonics or teach basics etc. These are laudable goals; however, the party rejected these amendments because Federal government power is not the solution but the major source of the problems we face. Furthermore, when the Federal government creates problems, it then uses these problems as a reason for even more intervention to "solve" the problems.

3. Government is

not Salvation

Presidential candidate Howard Phillips often stated that salvation comes only from Jesus Christ, not government. If we men govern well, at best we can be used of God to punish evil-doers and protect the innocent. Still, salvation comes only by the work of Jesus on the cross. We were very conscious in our prayers that we must always pray for God's will done His way. Our job in the political realm is to be ready for what He calls us do. If He should choose to answer our prayers for mercy on the nation by the salvation of leaders of some other political party, praise His name.

We all fall very easily into the trap of depending upon government for more than we should. In our case, we were aware that after disappointing election results, there was the temptation to feel very down and dejected. And yet, such feelings were nothing more than giving into the view that our government is all we have to take care of us - as if God were not still on the throne just because our government seems to be in the hands of scoundrels for the moment.

A dangerous manifestation of this principle is the tendency of many in Christian circles to look to the government as the provider of charity. Government charity may "sound" good and may "look" compassionate. However, government charity always lacks moral and spiritual content! In practice, Christians are often virtually forbidden from personally participating in government "charity" (as opposed to monetary donations) because of rules restricting expression of religious solutions when working with people. Remember that government "charity" violates the Biblical principle of free will offerings. Governmental "charity" is accomplished by using taxes collected by force - in effect stealing from some to distribute to others. Consider the Scriptures:

Philemon 1:14
15. but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.

II Corinthians 9:7
8. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

(The "goodness" in Philemon 1 :14 is the "goodness" of forgiveness and restoration, not direct monetary giving. This is an important aspect of true Christian charity which is lacking in government programs.)

4. Participative Government

We live in an age of specialization and most Americans have relegated governing to a specialized few. If we are to obey the Bible's teaching in Romans 13, we must realize that under our form of government, obedience requires participation. Participation can take many forms besides working for US Taxpayer's party presidential campaigns, but there are some forms it does not take such as:

5. The Importance of

Principle over Policy

The issue of "Principle versus Policy" is perhaps the most important single lesson we have learned from this year's activities. It is one we are very familiar with in home education. Most Christian home educators have had the experience of taking action with regard to curriculum, teaching methods, and household activities based upon conviction from Scriptural principles even when friends, family, and conventional wisdom (such as schools or churches) were saying it was wrong, and they might ruin their children. We have had to function from principle starting with Biblical truth that God appointed parents to train their children as disciples of the Lord Jesus and develop "policy" (i.e. specific educational child training decisions) based on those principles.

Today, much political action and writing focuses on specific policies. For example, polls query whether we are for or against cuts in school lunch spending or for or against a balanced budget amendment or for or against funding for PBS. Do polls or politicians ever address true principles like:

Political speeches invariably focus on specific policies. Debates always focus on specific policies (sometimes called "the issues") rather than principle. The problem is that most of what a leader will deal with after elected to office are issues which were not imagined when they were elected. In the 1960's presidential debate, the hot issue was policy concerning two islands between China and Taiwan. They were never again mentioned. The debates failed to cover what a president would do when the Russians put nuclear missiles in Cuba! You see, what we should have heard from candidates in the 1960 debates was what they believed and acted on as a matter of principle so we would know if they were the one we wanted in power to make difficult (and possibly quick) decisions.

In this year's campaign, we learned much about the importance of principle versus policy. We have already mentioned one instance of the difference in the USTP platform committee meetings with regard to proposed amendments to the platform calling for more federal intervention in education. We were blessed to hear from candidates who were leaders, if not yet of the whole nation by being elected, then of many of us as Christians by being men who could articulate, instruct upon, and defend principles of government based upon Biblical Christian thinking.

All nations with a British legal foundation have the blessing of a system with a heritage of Biblical principle. British common law is unique in that it avoided endless details and relied on the clear principles of the Bible for righteousness. Modern law tends to the opposite extreme of endless details with no principle at all.

In the United States, we have an even more significant heritage with the concept of constitutional government. Our constitution is not God's Word and it is not perfect. The writers knew it was not perfect, that it was the work of men seeking to act righteously, and provided an amendment process. Note that the Bible has no such amendment process! We believe, however, that the concept of a limited, constitutionally bound government is Godly. Sadly, most in American politics put convenience ahead of principle. In the case of the constitution, it is set up on a pedestal and revered while being steadfastly ignored. This is similar to modern habits of ignoring the Biblical law of liberty which restricts us by righteous principles. Many in modern Christendom revere the Bible but do not read it or obey the commands of Jesus Christ. When we as Christians reduce ourselves to commenting only on specific issues and not principle, we miss the opportunity to witness to God's ways.

Finally, if we err in putting policy over principle, we can make serious mistakes. We were alarmed to see in the Christian Coalition "voter's guide" for 1996 that the balanced budget amendment was considered a "family" moral issue. This is an example of thinking of only the specific policy, a balanced budget, and not the principles of what are legitimate governmental expenditures or methods of taxation. In fact, the balanced budget amendment is a very questionable approach. We already have a constitutional means to balance the vote out of office every Senator, Representative, and President who votes for or signs an evil budget filled with unrighteous and excessive spending. The amendment has the danger of being a means for automatic (i.e. not voted upon) tax increases with no automatic spending cuts.

Another example is the attention given the "partial birth" abortion ban. Surely it is righteous for government to protect the lives of babies partially born. However, focus on such a narrow policy while ignoring the principle of life of the unborn has led to a perverse situation. First of all, many Christians never even noticed that Bob Dole never made an issue of this ban while claiming to be pro-life. Yes, he voted for it, but never championed against the murderous slaughter of the unborn. Thus legislation at the fringes of policy which ignore the principle give politicians safe hiding places to mask their true principles (Dole does not believe in the sanctity of life and the righteous duty of government to defend life). Second, much of the Christian rhetoric on this ban focused on the barbaric nature of the procedure. This is the wrong principle and opens Christians up in the next battle to arguments about "safe" or "painless" abortions, as if an abortion is OK if it does not seem so barbaric as a partial birth one.

6. Pray for People

God has given us a secret weapon which cannot be controlled by the media and which is not even understood by most of the anti-Christ world. That weapon is prayer. Governments from the days of Peter and Paul have sought to restrict prayer only to find themselves the objects of God's answers to prayers! We believe that we as Christian home educators are under spiritual attack to discount the power of prayer simply because the media never mentions anything spiritual concerning God's Kingdom and certainly never reports the works of God day by day.

The Bible calls for us to pray for all men, even kings and those in authority. Reading the following verses, the context seems clear that our prayers are to be for them all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth

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.
4. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
5. who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We believe we can err in restricting our prayers for governmental leaders to have "wisdom", especially on certain issues. Is this a Biblical prayer for anti-Christ pagans? What wisdom they do have is often used for perverted purposes. We also believe our obedience to pray for the salvation of government leaders in the whole world will lead to tranquility and quietness in our homes.

Consider Paul's wish for King Agrippa when the king heard his case. First Paul preached the Gospel to him. The final interchange is,

Acts 26:28
29. Agrippa replied to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."
30. And Paul said, "I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am (i.e. a radical Christian -ed.) , except for these chains."

7. Beware the Pocket Book

Matthew 6:24
25. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Matthew 6:31
32. "Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'
33. "For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
34. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

Christians are often led away from thinking about currents events in Biblical terms of sin and righteousness by the presence or promise of money. In matters of politics, this happens in the following ways:

  1. When times seem economically good, we are all prone to attribute our prosperity to the government of the day rather than to God. We should add that our perception of prosperity is heavily affected by what sources of news we see or hear. We are blind to the fact that a large portion of God-given prosperity is stolen by a wicked and tyrannical government.
  2. We are prone to look to the government to "solve" financial problems (e.g. the cost of medical care) instead of to God for His solutions. Again, our perceptions of financial problems is heavily influenced by our sources of news.
  3. Perhaps the most subtle and devastating deception are the clever, even sincere words of politicians and parties which are words of conservatism. We often are so encouraged in Christian circles to be conservatives that we forget that Christianity is not conservative (i.e. resistant to change) but is absolutely radical in nature. Anti-Christ forces accuse us of being reactionary (i.e. wanting to go back to the past). We do well to counter this charge with the truth that in Christ we want change, not a simplistic longing for the past, but rather repentance and righteousness in the context of the modern world. Paul said, "one thing I do forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3 :13-14).

    Thus we can be deceived into accepting fiscal conservatives as Godly because they talk about a balanced budget or lower taxes. We forget that they still spend millions on funding abortions and many anti-Christ organizations. This issue becomes very subtle because fiscal conservatism can bring improved economic results (at least in the short term) just as an anti-Christ individual will experience better economic times if he is fiscally responsible (e.g. stays out of debt).

8. Christianity is

to be Public!

Christianity is to be a public faith. In matters of government, schools and other public life, we are often led to believe that our faith is OK as long as it is a private matter of the heart. This is in stark contrast to what is in the Bible. Consider:

Acts 17:6
7. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have upset the world have come here also;

These men upset the world!

Jesus told us to act publicly.

Matthew 5:14
15. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
16. "nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
17. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

This concept applies to our daily Christian life. In a participative governmental system such as ours, this includes our active understanding and involvement in government.

The Bible teaches us that the Old Testament is given as examples. Looking there, we have examples of men and women who were submissive to God and to authority; yet their faith was very public in God's time for His purpose. A few examples are Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther, and Ezra. One telling statement of Ezra is,

Ezra 8:22
23. For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, "The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him."

Even in the times of the end, all is very "public", for example,

Revelation 11:12
13. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.

In conclusion, just as Christian home education is not a "private matter of the heart", but an active, visible part of living our Christian faith, so too should our involvement in government be.

Comment on Computers

Leaving politics, we have a final comment for this letter about computer technology. The computer industry is rapidly moving towards integration of computer technology and the entertainment industry. There may come a time where commercial (i.e. computers for work) are no longer the same machines as those sold for the home. We encourage Christian home schoolers to watch this trend and avoid the home machines which are becoming more focused on ungodly entertainment and less capable of being educational and administrative servants. The Internet continues to provide a valuable communications means for Christian ministries. Yet, as Jesus told us, the wheat and tares will grow together. The Wall St. Journal recently reported that the only Internet content providers making money are pornographers. 22. Lessons from Political Action

1. We have a participative Gov. Thus Romans 13 obedience requires active involvement. This can take many forms, but not "watch TV" and let someone else run the country.

2. Gov. is not salvation.

3. Importance of principle over policy.

We believe that in some areas founders were correct: -limited federal gov. with free movement/trade amond states. -recognized needed righteous people with common faith and educated, informed citizenry. -concept of constitution. 5. When the governmnet is illegitimate because of its failure to exhibit Biblical reasons for government, we can either witness the truth with all we see or can get a gun and attempt force.

Babel - battle over centralized vs. distributed. De-Toqevill warned of Centralized ADMINISTRATION.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd