Families Honoring Christ

"It is better to grow a child than to repair a man."
Earl & Diane Rodd 2180 Northland Ave. Lakewood,OH 44107 USA Phone (216) 521-8856

Dear Friends,

This letter is coming out so near to Christmas in order to mail it before the large rise in postage rates on January 1. We have a number of small items to share in this letter and pray that you find them interesting and can develop the ideas and concepts further in your own families and among those with whom you fellowship. We ask readers to please read the last of the items in this letter even if you find cause for violent disagreement with other parts.


In Earl's 23 years in IBM, he has often encountered speakers, consultants, and managers who have discovered great "new" methods and then set out to implement them. Of the methods which are effective, many are clear Biblical methods. Often, men spend years of effort to learn what one Proverb states clearly. A recent example of this has been the emphasis within IBM on training using mentoring

Businesses including IBM have gone to great effort and expense to carefully define and implement what they call "mentoring." Mentoring is a natural process to home educators. We strongly encourage parents to work to make their children aware of the methods being used to educate them so that they understand mentoring. Business has learned how important informal mentoring is to developing skills in employees. The Bible has a simpler term for "mentoring" - we call it teaching by example or discipleship. Jesus used this method almost exclusively! :note. We recommend an article in the Fall 1994 issue of Home School Digest on the subject of mentoring as it applies to home education (page 51, Dr. Clayton Crymes). His definition of a mentor is "a person with a serving, giving, encouraging attitude but one who actively uses these attitudes while exercising six important characteristics or gifts." He describes the characteristics as discernment, tolerance (balanced with clear limits and responsibility for discipline), flexibility, patience, vision, and giftedness.

Americanism vs. Globalism

Recently, we were discussing problems with the "new world order" or globalism in light of the Christian call to go to the nations knowing that God's Kingdom is made of men "from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. (Rev. 5 :9). Christians may be tempted to be nationalistic in order to counteract globalism. However, nationalism has often in history been the guise for racism ("our race" is favored to be rich or powerful) or militarism. We must ask what reason we have to stand for our nation's sovereignty standing against demands for globalism. It is important for Christian families to understand the difference so that we are not caught up in ungodly nationalism. We believe that globalism, like many aspects of humanism, is a satanic deception and corruption of God's truth. God does intend for all men everywhere to be brothers without regard to race or place of birth. However, God's Kingdom unites men on the basis of all yielding their very lives to one King, Jesus! Humanistic globalism today demands allegiance to political doctrines of men which leave no room for God's Word and demands on our lives. With this background, why should we even care about our American heritage? Is it worth the effort to search out the truth about American history and government and teach it to our children? The answer presented below comes from notes our eldest son wrote one day when we were considering this issue.

The important reason for emphasizing Americanism, not Globalism is that American patriotism focuses on the character of leaders and the principles of limited government. Americanism is the principle of a sphere of sovereignty. Americanism's concept of limited government leaves many powers to the people and most importantly acknowledges that the national government is under the authority of God Almighty. One aspect of limited government is that government does not establish and enforce religion. When government establishes religion, it becomes a form without faith. Our founders envisioned a system in which individuals brought their living faith to bear on matters of government without use of compulsion.

Globalism, on the other hand, is the religion of statism - a whole different kettle of fish. "Citizen of America" is someone who knows what government is not. "Citizen of the World" is someone who believes in what government is. "Citizen of America" is someone who knows what their identity is not in. "Global Citizen" is someone whose identity lies in a utopian dream of an all-encompassing and perfect state governed by men who have evolved to perfection in their own strength. "Citizen of America" is busy keeping his rights and performing his responsibilities. "Global Citizen" is prepared to surrender rights to the state.

"Member of an American society" means you are a free person. "Member of a global society" means you are a slave.

So while both distinctive "Americanism" and unregenerate nationalism will both oppose globalism, they do so for very different reasons. The principles of Americanism are what is important, not our isolation from the world (which God commands us to go into). Perhaps the greatest difference between America and most other nations on earth is that traditionally the things which makes one an "American" is not race or even place of birth! The binding factor has been a belief in the American system of limited government and way of functioning. Ultimately, the Bible is the clear and only underpinning of these beliefs. As many people reject Jesus and His Word, the nation flounders to define what it means to be an American.

Free Trade

We have often written that we believe that our traditional American education (like what many of us were taught in school) is deficient in that some important subjects are neglected and other, less worthy ones, are emphasized. One sorely neglected subject is economics. Worse, most economics which is taught is taught from the point of view of accepting the federal government as a god-like force in controlling people and their activities. Thankfully, Christians are generating materials for superior instruction in economics. This includes micro-economics with books on details of home business operation. It also includes macro-economics with books on money, banking, and economic policy.

The purpose of this article is to comment on one economic issue in the spotlight today, that of free trade. Such issues are opportunities for us all to search the Scriptures and talk to our children around the dinner table. The Bible speaks clearly and often on economic matters. Our nation has entered into the NAFTA agreement among Canada, Mexico and the United States and the newest GATT agreement among many nations. Note that GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) has been an ongoing set of agreements for many years. The current GATT agreement went beyond the specific trade agreements in previous years by establishing the WTO (World Trade Organization). First, we must state that in the political realm, we opposed both agreements, not because of the free trade aspects, but because both were hundreds of pages of rules and regulations which:

We are, however, concerned with much of the anti-free trade rhetoric in conservative circles. We want to focus here on Christian issues which we need to teach to our children. There are many economic subtleties of free-trade which are difficult to consider in a short article. One example will suffice to show the kinds of subtleties which occur. Several years ago, the United States decided to protect some of our electronic chip makers by imposing very strict rules to keep the price of chips in the US high enough that US chip makers could continue to sell at a profit. The rules were abandoned after several years because the effect of the rules had been to protect a very small number of chip makers while ruining a larger number of makers of finished products (computers etc.) which needed the chips. You see, the problem is that foreign competitors making computers could buy their raw materials (chips) for lower cost than the US finished products manufacturers. Whether we like it or not, God has so ordained that we are all economically connected to one another around the world. It is often more effective to free our people from excessive taxation and regulation than it is to try to stop imports via tariffs (taxes). Our final comment on the economic aspects is to confess that our experience comes from living in Australia for 9 years. Australia, like most nations, has a schizophrenic policy towards trade. They want free trade in agriculture and minerals (exports) and want protection of high tariffs for automobiles and other manufactured goods. Australia had traditionally protected some industries very heavily. The result was not that the local industry was strong. The result was that prices were HIGH and the local industry always rose to the level of inefficiency such that its prices were the same or higher than the imported products with 50% tariffs. Furthermore, other industries were hurt. For example, because cars and trucks in Australia cost far more than they should have (due to high tariffs and other taxes), every industry which used cars and trucks had higher costs than its foreign competitors thus putting pressure on wages to be lower in order to compete!

Now, the most important aspect of the free trade debate to us as Christian families lies in some of the non-Christian based rhetoric (such as from the Chuck Harter "We the People" radio program which, while conservative and thus in agreement with Christians on some issues, does not claim to have a Christian foundation). There is much scare mongering about "jobs going overseas" (see following article on "jobs"). However, if we believe that government is too big and taxes too high, then it makes more sense to lower taxes and decrease costly regulation on our businesses than to put high tariffs, which are just taxes, on imports. The gravest danger of protectionism is the subtle intrusion of racism in the form of a desire to maintain our standard of living at the expense of others. In economic terms, the protectionist follows the same ungodly economic principles as those who want to limit the population of the earth. They assume that there is only so much prosperity (or "jobs" or however you want to state it) to be had and that we should use tariffs or whatever devices possible to keep more of it for ourselves. However, the Bible clearly shows that God does not view the world this way. He told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. He lists prosperity as a blessing of obedience and poverty as a curse of disobedience. God is first of all the Creator! He can expand the pie. He does not need men to argue over how the pie is carved up as if no more can be created. In Christian terms, we should rejoice that we can work with others to prosper the poor. This is Christian charity in action. Rather than fight against potential prosperity of poorer nations, we should enter the political arena giving glory to God rather than man (as the humanist does when results are good). One aspect of the prosperity of our nation has been the existence of free trade among the states which compete with each other in their tax structures regulatory climates. Of course, this works well because all have a common righteous heritage of law.

One common error in the debate over trade policy is to confuse disruption with the results of freer trade. When trace policy changes (whether tariffs go up or down), disruption occurs. Disruption is painful and often those who are hurt had no part in creating the conditions. The workers who lose employment often had no part in the policies of an industry which was isolated from the realities of life by tariffs. However, Christians, be aware that some change happens no matter what we do with trade policy. Can you imagine if we had tried to protect all of the blacksmiths and carriage makers from the reality of the automobile? God does not leave us to be comfortable in our own strength. Christian home schoolers are exposed to the temptation to attribute their blessings to the the works of their own hands because they have built lifestyles and methods which are in fact godly. Still, the blessing comes from God's hand.

Finally, we encourage parents to discuss such issues as trade with their children. Otherwise they will learn only from occasional TV news they see or from other unreliable sources. We believe that there is much room for Christian debate over trade policy. Constant change and disruption causes unnecessary pain. Tariffs are taxes and government needs some sources of revenue and perhaps tariffs are to be preferred over other sources (although today less than 2% of US government revenue comes from tariffs).

Righteous Consumerism

To balance the above discussion on trade at a national level, we need to look at the actions of individuals as producers and consumers. The righteous actions of individuals are very important to God for in the Proverbs, He makes it clear that unjust business activity is an abomination!

Proverbs 11:1
2. A false balance is an abomination to the \Lord,\ But a just weight is His delight.

Proverbs 20:23
24. Differing weights are an abomination to the \Lord,\ And a false scale is not good.

With regard to trade, we can seek the Lord about how to be righteous in our behavior. In our nation, no one forces us to buy foreign goods. No one forces us to buy from a manufacturer (domestic or foreign) known to us to be immoral, whether immoral in his support of abortion or immoral in his use of child labor. Do we teach our children to always buy the cheapest, regardless of quality, service, or the righteousness of the manufacture or seller? Or do we teach our children to consider price, quality, origin, and moral factors? Diane uses the purchase of foreign made goods as a reminder of peoples in other lands and the need to pray for them. We have intentionally bought goods from one country versus another based on a desire to support struggling Christians. Of course, we often know little about manufacturers and sellers. This is a matter for prayer and research. Just like we have had to develop alternative sources for information on domestic manufacturers' support of immoral causes, so information will become available on foreign concerns which are righteous versus those which engage in immoral behavior.

Most of all, we need to pray and teach our children to pray about not only whether to buy but also from whom to buy. Like all of life, no rules can replace the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. What might look like a purchase from an evil employer of 20 cent an hour labor may be the purchase which enables a missionary church to support a full time evangelist.


While we are in the dangerous waters of economics, we will mention a way of speaking and thinking today which we believe is contrary to God's way. This is another example of how individual thinking and righteous action can have more effect on the nation's economic fate than government. As we train our children to be able to support families, the work of God's servants, and the nation by their work, we need to consider what attitudes towards work we are teaching. Our modern world focuses on "jobs" with the subtle attitude that it is someone else's responsibility to provide a "job". One result of this thinking is the attitude that it is the government's responsibility to provide jobs. In the Bible, work is always defined in terms of the work which needs to be performed, that is in terms of the production. Our modern usage looks at a "job" as a means of gaining income rather than as a way of producing or serving. While this difference can be subtle, we believe that Christian parents should instill the Biblical attitude in their children while praying that the children will have God's wisdom in developing the skills they will need to perform the work which God sets before them.

Public School Taxes

Discussions about the crushing taxes to pay for public schools usually concentrate on education . When we examine what money is really spent for, we find that much of the so called "education" spending is pure socialism. If parents will allow the state to indoctrinate their children, then the state will grant money for day to day expenses. Two big examples of this socialism are:

  1. In Ohio, up to 800,000 children receive free lunches at school! Many also receive free breakfast.
  2. Home educators are well aware that the cost of educating children at home includes not just textbooks, paper and pens, but extra wear and tear on the house, more electricity used, more toilet paper used etc. In government schools, these basic costs of living are socialized by using our tax money to pay for them.

We mention these examples to encourage readers to confront those who piously speak of the need to support "education" with tax money by showing them that the reality is that the state will give enormous socialized benefits to those who will allow the state to take over the total training of their children.

We believe that there is a lot of room for Christian families to examine the Scriptures and conform not just their educational methods and structures, but larger social and family structures, to Biblical principles. However, we don't believe that tax funded government education has a place at all. :note. Our eldest son wrote an extensive paper for a college course which began with the current school prayer debate. His thesis, which we strongly believe, is: Because education is inherently religious, the school prayer debate can never be resolved and therefore there should be no government schools. His paper examines the statements of many in the school prayer debate to see how they try to avoid the inherent religious content of education. Thomas Jefferson perhaps stated it most concisely, That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical...

If anyone would like a copy of the his paper, send us a SASE and a quarter for the printing and we will send you one.

Socialism/Marxism vs. Christian Charity

As Linda studied sociology this past term, we had to come to grips with the differences (sometimes subtle) between socialism/Marxism and Christian charity. We specifically considered the issue of helping the poor and other aspects of charity. These issues are more subtle than purely economic distinctions (see note 1 below). As our children consider charity and encounter theories in books, they need to understand the differences.

Socialism and Marxism can sound very Christlike when the discussion focuses on the needs of those receiving government handouts. Furthermore, the idea of banding together to share the cost of the programs sounds very Christian. There are, however, severe problems when we compare socialism/Marxism with Christian charity.

  1. The Bible tells us to give according to God's command, not man's.

    II Corinthians 9:7
    8. Let each one {do} just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

    Surely, giving via taxes (under threat of imprisonment) is under compulsion and not consistent with Christian charity.

  2. The Bible deals with a proper attitude towards the needy. For example,

    Proverbs 14:31
    32. He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

    Proverbs 17:5
    6. He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.

    However, the Proverbs also tell us about the responsibilities of man towards his own poverty.

    Proverbs 10:4
    5. Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

    Proverbs 19:1
    2. Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity #Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.

    Proverbs 20:13
    14. Do not love sleep, lest you become poor; Open your eyes, {and} you will be satisfied with food.

    Proverbs 21:17
    18. He who loves pleasure {will become} a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.

    Socialism and Marxism always ignore the morality of the poor person as a possible factor in poverty attributing his poor state only to the oppression of others. They also ignore the moral obligation of the rich to identify who the poor are. Instead, they take the process of determining who needs assistance away from the giver (who is robbed of God's blessing by himself helping the poor) and give it to the state, which judges not according to God's criteria.

  3. Socialism and Marism ignore the immorality of stealing from people through taxation. In the recent election, Diane received a letter from the wife of a (Republican) candidate asking for help in the election. In the letter, the wife described how her husband was so glad he had been able to help families and other needy when he had been mayor. The letter made it sound like he had used his own money for these good works! There was no mention that he used our money! We believe we could have used our dollars more effectively in God's service than he did!
  4. Most importantly and perhaps to sum up the other points, Christian charity comes from the Fear of the Lord and the desire to please Him. It is thus God centered . State charity as found in socialism and Marxism comes from a belief that people are entitled to material goods regardless of moral considerations. It uses fear of the state as motivation. It is thus man-centered
:note. 1. Juan Carlos Ortiz's simple definitions:
Everything belongs to us.
Everything belongs to the state.
Everything belongs to God.


We add to our list of temptations to home educating families the temptation towards teaching moralism. Moralism is rampant among political conservatives who believe that there can be common morals with which to tie the fabric of society together without a common God. We will repeat our two objections to moralism:

  1. Moralism without Christ is a deception. The deception starts with the simple lie that morals can have a foundation other than God's Word. It ends with Christians turning to "moral" teachers instead of the Lord Jesus. Remember that many so-called "great" men of history were immoral, abominable people. (e.g. Socrates, Plato). Christians have their children reading eastern philosophers in Bennet's Book of Virtues
  2. Concentrating on merely moral material (e.g. Bennet's Book of Virtues ) robs us of time to learn truly Christian material. Remember that Bill Bennet believes that government education is a good idea because he believes that Christ is not an essential part of developing moral values! There are only so many days and hours to train our children. Will we be bold enough to break away from cultural traditions and be radicals willing to see what God will do when we give our all to Him?
Classics - Art

We have discussed the issue of the "classics" at other times. We have a short comment on the subject of art. Art has traditional associations with immorality. We do need to distinguish between art which violates the second commandment (and leads to lust of the eyes) and the skill of drawing which is a God-given skill with many uses.

An example of the problems we need to deal with was in a recent issue of The Teaching Home in a side bar discussing going to an art museum. The article made a valid point to beware of what was in the museum; however, it fails to deal with the question of why we want to go there at all! We have never taken our children to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Earl happened into the museum one day when a customer suggested a noon day walk across the park to the museum. The problem is not that there is an isolated piece of art not appropriate for young children. The problem is that there are many examples of life-size center folds. Is this the worst moral threat we face? We doubt it. Still, we must ask, "Why do we actually expend effort to go there?"

A root problem with turning to the classics is an assumption that "culture" is somehow good. Remember that the refined "culture" of today is often the immoral entertainment of another age which was severely denounced by God fearing men and women of the day.

Sufficiency of the Holy Spirit
Or Noah and the Ark Building School

We often emphasize to Christian parents that the Holy Spirit is sufficient to give us wisdom to instruct our children. Yes, we can and should learn from the experience of others. However, God has ordained that each of us is learn from the Holy Spirit. Years ago, Diane saw this and included in our book the examples of Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist) and Mary who had no schools or classes to tell them how to train their special sons. Yes, they had the firm foundation of the Bible to provide solid foundations, but they needed the living Word for the needs of the day.

We recently encountered another practical example of this principle. In Noah's day, there were no schools of ark building! There had never before been the same requirements for a vessel (stability in rough waters, no need for sails or other propulsion, size to carry all the animals). Home educating parents often feel something like Noah - we know that the old ways of teaching a subject are not what God wants and we have an idea of what is needed, but we need clear direction from the Holy Spirit for how to do it.


Many Christian home educating families have worked to create a simpler lifestyle with less unnecessary and worldly complications. Such measures can be their own reward and this is good and proper. We do need to be mindful of making up spiritual reasons for what are really practical considerations.

Some groups have intentionally forsaken certain technology such as cars or electricity in order to keep before themselves the reality of being separate from the world. Such techniques may be valid but do not replace a living relationship with the Lord Jesus submitting to His Lordship on the issues He appoints in each of our lives.

One danger is to make living away from technology a badge of honor. The extreme is to look to rapture eschatology as a justification for disdaining technology. At the worst, we fall prey to hypocrites who write expensive books predicting the return of the Lord on a certain date, but who use the profits to buy new computers and sports cars.

Modern technology is a two edged sword. At its best, it provides the means for all of us to have a house full of maid servants (washing machines, vacumn cleaners etc.) without the need for any person to be under subjugation as a slave! At its worst, we make idols out of gadgets and become ruthless materialists placing the value of things over people.

Many years ago Diane understood the blessing of technology. It gave her more time to spend in prayer and in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. When technology is seen from this point of view, then God's Kingdom is advanced.

I Corinthians 7 :29-31 says, But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on ... and those who use the world should be as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.

Table Talk

We believe that a preeminent Biblical method of education is what we call "table talk" as described in,

Deuteronomy 6:7
8. and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

The more we watch our families and others, the more convinced we are that the amount of learning which takes place in this setting (normal life) outweighs formal education. Jesus used this method with his disciples. Can we us it with ours? We would extend the sense of Deuteronomy 6 :7 to include dinner time, driving in the car, or whenever your family finds itself together. This is the time to teach politics, government, standing against temptation, theology etc. For some parents, doing this requires positive initiative because their families did not do it so it is not natural. It may take effort, but we believe that God's Word promises rewards.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd