Monday, April 27, 2009

Covenant Children

From the closing paragraphs of When You Rise Up by R.C. Sproul Jr.. I'm posting it here to remind me what is at stake in the teaching and training of our children.
Now to our final objection that comes from within the Christian church. Here the concern isn't that if we homeschool our children, they won't be hip enough to win the lost, but that if we homeschool, they won't ever run into the lost. That is, when we homeschool we fail to send our children out into the dying world as salt and light. After all, isn't the purpose of education that our children might have an opportunity to serve as missionaries? Of all the objections we've considered, this one at least has the virtue of not being motivated by the same greedy pursuit of personal peace and affluence that drives the world. I don't doubt that there are parents who sincerely believe it their duty to send their children into a hostile environment for the sake of lost. Their sincerity however, doesn't make it right.
There are two things, on the other hand, that cause me to question that sincerity. First, there is always a line drawn. I've never met a parent who determined to send their teenage child off to a brothel or a crack house for the sake of the lost. The people there are as a lost as the people at the state school. The only difference is, in the brothel or the crack house, the bad guys don't have the authority to make our children sit and listen to their worldview being taught for seven hours a day. But there's another cause for my doubts. I have yet to hear of a parent who is so concerned for the lost that they actually pay to send their children to attend a Muslim school, or a Roman Catholic school. Isn't it at least suspicious that all those who are motivated to send their children out as missionaries send them where it is "free" to attend?
Do I care about the lost? Of course I do. Do my children care about the lost? Enough that they can pray for them at school, out loud, every day. I am homeschooling precisely so my children will be able to know, recognize, and love the enemy, while not becoming the enemy. And just as their ability to love the enemy into the kingdom isn't contingent on their being trained by the enemy, in like manner their ability to love the enemy into the kingdom isn't contingent on their being in the enemy's schools. The greatest thing our children can do for the lost is to so let their light shine before men that they glorify their Father in heaven. My children do, by the grace of God, show forth the glory of the gospel. They humble their father by constantly eliciting the praise of men for their good behavior. I don't want their bushels buried. But neither do I want their flames extinguished. Never will I put my children under the authority of those who are enemies of the gospel, who despise the lordship of Christ such that his name cannot be mentioned. That we must never negotiate.
And therein is the end of the matter. I have tried to make the case in this book, under the authority of Christ, that parents are commanded to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But let me concede this. While biblical education is done by parents' teaching the Three Gs* to their children when they rise up and whey they lie down, the most grievous error we can make is to send them off to schools where Jesus is not plainly, fully, and publicly honored. In that great name may we hasten the day when no parent at the same time claims to serve the King, and yet allows his child to be trained by those who will not name that King. May it never be said again of any of those who name the name of Christ that they rendered unto Caesar the things that are God's--his covenant children.

*His Three Gs are:
Who is God?
What has God done?
What does God require?

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