Homeschooling: An Issue of Biblical Separation

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From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part two of a series. Read part one.

As James writes under divine inspiration, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”

The contributors to online Christian homeschooling forums and parents’ blogs offer hundreds of reasons, and thousands of examples from their own experience, to support their personal decisions to homeschool and to encourage others to follow that course. They communicate with commendable enthusiasm and sincerity. However, much of what they write is purely subjective.

Parents Must Stand Upon Objective Biblical Support

It is disappointing to find that very few of them give objective Biblical support for the imperative of parents’ taking direct responsibility for the education of their children. It is hardly a matter of, “Well, that goes without saying…” It must be said! I wonder if it is too little said in those forums because it is too little said from our pulpits. If Christian parents have no Biblical support for what they do, they are no better off than unsaved parents who decide to homeschool their children with a secular curriculum, or send them to a private school that has no commitment to the authority of Scripture.

As we saw in the first article of this series, homeschooling is, far above all else, a spiritual decision for Christian parents. We must not barter away the souls of our young people by committing them for six or more hours a day, 180 days or more in a year, into the clutches of a system that is vehemently opposed to all that we stand for as believers in Christ and people of the Word. To do so is to place our children back in bondage to that from which Christ has freed us. As Peter wrote to the early Christians,

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (2 Peter 1:2-9)

We often think of these words – and many other such passages – only in a “church context.” But they have just as much to do with the everyday issues of life such as the education of our children. As we said in our first article, all education has a theological basis – whatever that theology may be.

The Essential Core

Homeschooling parents offer all sorts of reasons why they remain committed to their course. But this, I believe, is the essential core: The quality of an education that in all areas is grounded in the truth of God and the message of the cross as revealed in His Word, and views all of life and all of knowledge through a Biblical lens, far excels anything the world can offer. The Word of God veritably shouts this to us. Once again, many of the passages we tend to only think about in the context of the visible church apply just as much to the education of our children, including these:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12-16)

Surpassing Quality

The book of Proverbs, especially in the first nine chapters, speaks frequently of the emptiness of worldly wisdom in contrast to the surpassing value of knowledge gained by godly means and through a Biblical lens. Later in Proverbs we find many passages such as this, which aptly describe the distinction between the world’s methods of indoctrination and education grounded in Biblical wisdom:

A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands. Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit. (Proverbs 14:6-8)

Indeed, much of what is taught as fact in the public school environment – including evolution, sexual perversion and promiscuity, pagan environmentalism, judgments in all areas based on feelings rather than facts and immutable laws – constitutes the cruelest deceit of our young people. We must not do this to them.

The Imperative of Biblical Separation

Homeschooling is very much an issue of Biblical separation. Again, a passage we often think of only in “ecclesiastical” terms very much applies to the education of our children:

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial [Satan]? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Christian parents, will you immerse your children in the uncleanness, lawlessness, darkness, and idolatry of public education, or will you raise them to be proper temples of the living God in this present evil age? What are you asking of God for your children – worldly honor or glory to His name? James by divine inspiration wrote these words to believers:

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:3-6)

Dr. Paul M. Elliott is a founder and president of TeachingTheWord Ministries, and the regular speaker on The Scripture-Driven Church broadcast.

Raised in a Christian home, Dr. Elliott came to personal saving faith in Christ at an early age in the 1960s. He was a manager and consultant in the business world before God called him to the ministry. A frequent conference, seminar, and pulpit speaker, he holds a doctorate in Biblical interpretation, and has written six full-length books and hundreds of articles and booklets.

Founded in 1998, TeachingTheWord is committed to the task of evangelizing the world and edifying the saints, which is Christ’s Great Commission. TTW seeks to support individual believers and the local church by carefully communicating Biblical truth, and addressing critical issues confronting individual Christians, families, and churches.

TTW’s ministry is based on the proposition that Christ’s church must be the Scripture-driven church; God’s inspired, inerrant Word must be our sole authority, and our infallible critic, in every area of life and ministry.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).