There will not be an FHC meeting in January. However, there will be an outing on January 2, 1988 for anyone who is free to come. The outing will be at Jumping Creek Reserve on Jumping Creed Road. For those of you who live close enough to consider coming, a map is attached to the newsletter. We will meet at the Sandy Bay Picnic Area. Peter Chivell will have his canoe with him and possible another canoe or one or more kayaks for those who would like to do some canoeing on the Yarra. There are bushwalks starting at the picnic ground and going along the Yarra river. We will meet for a picnic lunch or barbecue at 11AM at the picnic ground.
The next regular FHC meeting is planned for Sunday the 7th of February 1988, probably at YWAM. The next newsletter will confirm that meeting.
Other newsletters and the book The Biblical Basis of Home Training have discussed what the Bible specifically says about the role of parents in training their children. This newsletter is an attempt to look at the the place of the family in Christian theology and come to a very exciting conclusion about Christianity and its unique truth.
Schools and the Bible
The institutional school, as we know it, does not seem to exist in the Bible. The English word :q. school :eq. appears only once in the Bible in Acts 19 :9. This reference is to a school in Ephesus. This school seems to have been a place to which Paul separated some disciples from those who were hardened, speaking evil of the Way.
I had thought that I had heard the term "school of the prophets" from the Old Testament, but a careful check showed that the term used in the Bible is "sons of the prophets."
The King James Version uses the word "schoolmasters" in Galatians 3 :24-25. The New American Standard Bible uses the word "tutor". According to Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament , the word used here means a guardian or overseer and carries a connotation of personal, not institutional, care.
The Encyclopedia Britannica , in its article on the history of education, states that little is known about ancient education. It seems that other cultures have not left much record about how to train children. The Bible is unique in providing extensive instruction on both the theory and practice of training children. What the Bible says is discussed in the book, The Biblical Basis of Home Training . We believe that another book needs to be written on the specific subject of what the Bible says about how to teach children because the Bible has so much to say about the subject. There are Biblical methods of education!
Education in early Christian Times
Early Christians must have faced many of the same pressures as Christians today in that they also lived in a sinful society where abortion, sexual perversion and worldliness were common and accepted. The Encyclopedia Britannica , in its article on the history of education, states that in the third century, school teachers were denied baptism in the Church. Schools at this time followed the "classical" curriculum which means education based upon Greek culture and learning. Apparently, Christians saw that such education was ungodly, because they would not baptize people who taught in the schools. Yet, they made a compromise in being willing to send their children to those very schools! This appears a contradiction to us when seen from the detached position of 15 centuries. We believe that this shows the strength of the deception that schooling in the classical tradition is somehow essential for children of believers. Our challenge is to identify such contradictions in our own culture and individual lives.
The same article continues, saying that by the fourth century, there were Christian schools. These schools continued with the classical (Greek, humanistic) curriculum. The compromise with the culture seems to have been complete. A century earlier, the ones teaching such a curriculum were denied baptism, and now they were encouraged as part of the Church! In the end, Christianity became the state religion and salvation became a gift of men and not of God.
A Special Class
All religions, other than Christianity, carry the concept of a special class of person. Sometimes, this person is called a priest, sometimes a shaman and sometimes a medicine man. Christianity is unique in that all believers are called to be priests. I Peter 2 :9 says,
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
I Peter 2 :5 says,
you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house, for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1 :6 says,
and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
When Jesus was crucified the veil of the temple was torn in two (Luke 23 :45), thus providing direct access to God for anyone who chooses to believe in Jesus. Jesus himself became the way to God the Father as is stated in John 14 :6,
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but through me."
Thus, Jesus is now the only one with a special position, sitting at the right hand of the Father.
Man's Desire for a Priest
Even though God has provided direct access to the Father to each believer through His own Son, offered on the cross, still men in their pride seek to find a path to God through other men and not through Jesus! I believe that this is the reason we continue to see so much clinging to Old Covenant (and even pagan) traditions of a priesthood in the sense of a special class of people who stand between man and God.
In our modern times, a new kind of "priest" has emerged with the coming of advances in science and technology. This priest is the technical specialist whose specialized knowledge and skill is required to solve mankind's problems. The existence of a technical specialist is actually no different from what has existed for all of time, that someone who has spent years in training in a skill can do things which other people cannot. The specialist within this simple statement of his role is an acceptable part of life and simply shows that we do need each other and the variety of skills and gifts that God imparts. What is new in our technological age is that we so readily accept the idea of a specialist that we assume that specialists are needed for every aspect of life, even our spiritual access to wisdom from God. Our challenge is to avoid letting this concept of a specialist invalidate God's clear Word that each believer has access to God without any specialist in between.
The Theological Basis
With institutional schools, parents abdicate training of their children to "specialists". With young children, this means that theological training is put in the hands of someone other than the parents. I use the broad sense of theological here, meaning all things pertaining to God which is all of life. Thus children in the institutional school are taught that someone special, and not merely their parents, is required to teach them the way to God. Furthermore, parents themselves are allowed to continue in the deception that they are not capable of teaching their children the Word and ways of God.
In home training families, parents must themselves take their places as priests in the Kingdom of God to train their children and lead them to take their places as priests. Parents who need help in order to train their own children are challenged to seek the Lord and be discipled within the church. This is why the Bible speaks of the ministry of older men and women who have successfully trained their familes and are available to younger men and women who did not have the benefit of such training in their own families. If all parents and all children take their rightful places as priests with access to the Father through Jesus, then the whole church is educated in the basis of the New Covenant, that is that all believers have access to the Father. I emphasize that this access to the Father without a human intermediary is unique to Christianity and an essential part of it.
When home training families break the bondage of requiring specialized priests for their children, they become the foundation of a true New Covenant Church in which all believers are a "royal priesthood." This is the theological basis of home training!
Earl & Diane Rodd