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 newsletter contains a collection of "mini FHC letters" which have accumulated in our notes over the past months. We pray that readers will find them fruitful reading.

There has been a significant time since the last FHC letter (September, 1991). During this time, we travelled to Australia for the entire month of November. We were blessed in visiting many of you during that time! There is so much which could be said about the trip - one overall impression is God's faithfulness in families who are following His patterns for training their children. During our month, we saw a lot of different families and were thus able to be blessed in the observation of Christian character being built so strongly! It became painfully clear that Christian home education makes a difference. I say painfully because we know children and parents who are not educating their children at home who are missing the blessing.

Mini-FHC Letters

1. The "Charismatic" Movement

Regardless of your individual experience with or theological views towards the charismatic movement, we offer the following view of what may be God's purpose with regard to home education. This lesson came to Earl while listening to a message which discussed some history of the charismatic movement and then urging the listeners to a serious, Bible based Christianity.

There were many characteristics of the "charismatic" movement such as manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12, an emphasis on prayer for personal needs, prosperity and personally hearing from God ("The Lord told me.."). Like all Christian movements, there were elements of truths revived and excesses of the flesh. For our purposes, we want to single out the truth that God does speak to his people as it says in John 10 :16, "I have other sheep. ..and they shall hear My voice..." We believe that this truth is essential to home education both for families to decide to home educate and to be successful once started. Parents cannot begin to home educate without knowing that it is God Himself instructing them to take total responsibility for training their children at home. Furthermore, the day to day challenges of training children require the living Word of God and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to enable us to overcome difficulties and temptations and be successful.

2. Dependence Upon God

While listening to the same message as noted above, Earl was clearly reminded of another simple truth. The truth applies to all men, but we will state it with regard to children in order to apply it to our families in home education. No child is born again, no child is filled with the Holy Spirit, no child is brought to repentance without the direct intervention of God on earth. As we meditate on this truth, we are brought to see our utter dependence upon Him for what we hold to be of greatest importance - discipling our children as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Example of "in the world, not of it".

Many Jewish exiles returned to Israel and Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity and rebuilt the temple (Ezra) and the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah). They came back to live among pagans who were not happy with their return. The inhabitants of Jerusalem feared the Jews' political power and the power of God, for they had heard of the former glory during the days of the kings of Judah. The people were called to be separate from those among whom they lived. For example, the returning Jews were not to marry the inhabitants of the land. The book of Ezra contains the following statement which can serve to us as a clear statement of how we are to live "in the world, not of it."

Ezra 6:21
22. And the sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land to {join} them, to seek the Lord God of Israel, ate {the Passover.}

This statement serves to remind us of two things:

  1. Blessing (the privilege of the Passover) follows separation from the surrounding culture.
  2. All who separate themselves can participate in the blessing. Notice that the verse says "all those who had separated", not just the returning exiled Jews.

4. "Self - esteem"

The modern world, with its humanistic religion, is full of teaching on building self-esteem. We must be cautious of this influence because it often sounds similar to the Biblical teaching to know "who we are in Christ." However, the root of "self-esteem" is counter to the Gospel because "self-esteem" means feeling good about ourselves in our own strength. We recently heard the following statement from Bob Mumford which we believe puts the case concisely",

"Self confidence is the greatest enemy to God's purpose.!"

5. The World's Escape From Reality

One evening this past Christmas season we ventured out into several toy stores. There was not much there to be tempted into buying. The contents of the stores are dominated by the entertainment industry. Most toys relate to movies or TV shows, all a fantasy world. Toys relating to real life are rare indeed - an occasional fireman's hat or police toy. Toys relating to productive work (e.g. factories, tools) are noticeably lacking.

We would describe this fantasy world of entertainment as a world where sin has no consequences and holiness has no blessings. This world of entertainment should be avoided by families seeking to follow Christ who want to be "not of this world." The more we see of the results of movies etc., the more we are convinced that Christians should seek to keep its influence from their lives. Even the so called "good" family programming and movies of the 30's-50's were not so good. Having seen clips of some 50's TV programming, it was clear that TV producers and hosts had corrupt hearts. Codes of ethics may have kept them from explicit bad language, but subtle hints abounded. Movie producers were immoral men from the beginning of Hollywood. We have allowed these men to dominate our country.

In this regard, Rod & Staff publishers have available a booklet by noted preacher/prophet A. W. Tozer entitled, The Menace of the Religious Movie" which is a well presented case against even so called "Christian" movies. The message of the booklet will not be popular, but it is challenging, well presented and worth reading.

6. Reasons to Home School in the High School Years

The following reasons are summarized from the November/December 1991 issue of the "Home School Court Report" published by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

  1. You get to see the completion of your efforts.
  2. You can tailor your home education to provide motivation for your young adult's abilities and calling in life.
  3. You have the option to direct your young adult to early college admission college = university).
  4. You can continue the family building process throughout the teen years when our children are becoming young adults.
  5. You can be confident your young adults are learning. (Note: Studies reveal that public high school students average 2 hours, 13 minutes of academic work per day).
  6. You can continue to influence peer relationships (and replace them with family/friend relationships with a variety of ages).
  7. You can protect them from pressure to conform. You don't have to de-program false teaching.
  8. You avoid enormous diversions away from academic focus and home life.
  9. In school, young adults are literally thrown into a world with an almost unbelievable boy/girl preoccupation with its focus on clothes, appearance and conformance of morals and music.
  10. Vast amount of time separated from family will affect your young adult's family relationships.
In summary, ask the question, "Will the Hebrews send their children to the schools of the Philistines?"

7. Judging

The issue of "judging" is an important Christian issue because of Jesus' exhortation in Matthew 7 :1, "Do not judge lest you be judged. " Furthermore, as home educating parents, we are aware of the need to understand this command so that we do not incorrectly judge our children nor teach them to judge.

In seeking to apply Biblical principles to our lives, we believe we need to think about the meaning of the words involved. In modern English, perhaps a better word to apply to the principle of "Judge not" would be the English word "sentence" as in the sentence a criminal receives.

In Webster's 1828 dictionary, the first two meanings of the verb "judge" are,

  1. To hear and determine a case; to examine and decide.
  2. To try; to examine and pass sentence on.
Thus, we are not to sentence people to eternal damnation - that function is reserved for Jesus, the Righteous. Often, we internally translate "to judge" as "to correct, exhort or instruct in the way that is right." expose unfruitful deeds of darkness.

Ephesians 5:11
12. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

The proverbs make it clear that we are to correct, exhort and instruct in the way that is right. For example,

Proverbs 29:17
18. Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.

Proverbs 19:25
26. Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd, But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.

Proverbs 21:11
12. When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.

Proverbs 27:17
18. Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.

And the Psalms add,

Psalms 141:5
6. Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.

8. Teaching by Example

This study will first examine the concept of leading by example and then make vital application to home education.

Jesus frequently exhorted men to "Follow me". Two examples from among the many in the Bible are,

Luke 9:23
24. And He was saying to {them} all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

John 21:22
23. Jesus *said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what {is that} to you? You follow Me!"

Jesus did not exhort believers to "support him", but to "follow him." Furthermore, Jesus specifically rebuked the church leaders of His day,

Matthew 23:3
4. therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say {things,} and do not do {them.}

Thus, men are specifically warned to teach by consistent word and example.

Peter exhorts elders to lead by example,

I Peter 5:1
2. Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as {your} fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
3. shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to {the will of} God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
4. nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

Peter also instructs wives in the power of leading by example,

I Peter 3:1
2. In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any {of them} are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
3. as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

Paul never exhorts believers to "submit" to him because of his "calling" in God. Rather he says,

I Corinthians 11:1
2. Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

Even when Paul does appeal to believers as an authority in their lives, (e.g. Philemon 1 :8), he does so only to people among whom he lived for extended periods showing them Christ by example.

In our modern "instant" world, men often like to say they are "called" of God to such and such a ministry or place of authority and therefore they should be submitted to, obeyed and followed. A "calling" can come in a minute, leading by example takes a lifetime. The modern emphasis on "calling" rather than example sounds more like the "divine right of kings" from medieval days than it does the Bible. Men claim authority by some "divine right", using the word "call". Most readers can probably think of both good and bad examples of this principles in their own lives. We all have good examples of men or women whose life in Christ has truly been an example for us to follow and an example revealing Christ. We also all have painful examples of men or women who demanded loyalty or submission to their big plans (sometimes called "vision") without opening their lives to us in order to lead by example.

This same principle is vitally important to parents. Truly, parents are called of God to instruct their children. Yet, when it comes to having authority, parents must teach by example. As a parent, I want to be seen by my children as one "having authority", not as one demanding authority. (See Matthew 7 :29. ) The parent who constantly justifies exceeding the speed limit will teach far more about disrespect for lawful authority by his ungodly example. Thus, he negates his teaching on obedience.

While children need to understand that God has placed parents in authority over them, God intends this authority to be established by the example of a life laid down to follow Christ.

Book Recommendation

If you are looking for a Biblically sound book on God's order for the family, we would recommend a book entitled, Family Focus on Christ by Ralph Bouma published by Triangle Press. (Triangle Press, 23 5th Ave. S. E., Conrad, MT 59425, U.S.A.) This book is very easy to read and is devoid of modern "Christian psychology". It will clarify areas of rebellion in all family relationships.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd