To You and Your Children I

education

Education is important. It is how the next generation’s views of God, man and why we are here are shaped. Education is thus deeply spiritual. You cannot separate education from religious presuppositions. There is no neutrality. Facts are determined through a philosophical framework that either glorifies the Triune God of Scripture or does not. Education cannot be carried on outside of a particular worldview. Learning occurs within a pre-constructed framework not an ideological void. The major underlying educational objective is shaping the hearts and minds, the worldview, of future generations. Education is the worldview lynchpin.

Christians and in particular, Christian parents, are engaged in the battle over worldviews. It is a war “between...biblical Christianity where the infinite and sovereign God of the universe reigns and rules and the worldview of the many varieties of man-centred belief systems where finite and dependent creatures work to rule and reign independent of God.”[1]

What is a worldview?

But what exactly is a worldview? Greg Bahnsen defined it this way; “A worldview is a network of presuppositions (which are not verified by the procedures of natural science) regarding reality (metaphysics), knowing (epistemology), and conduct (ethics) in terms of which every element of human experience is related and interpreted.”[2] Nothing is neutral. “You must not set aside your faith in God when you consider anything.”[3] Your worldview must be consistent with the revelation in the Bible. A house divided cannot stand. When parts of your worldview do not comport with the Scriptures things need to change. “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt 12:30).

Education is foundation to intergenerational control

“Whoever claims sovereignty expects his subjects to govern his realm in terms of his name and law. Sovereignty, therefore, brings with it the inevitability of control...The denial of one sovereign assumes the sovereignty of another. The are no exceptions.”[4] When Babylonians plundered Jerusalem they took the best young men to train in the ways of the king (Dan 1). Education was one of the primary means used to make these young men Babylonians. Education is the means to generational transfer of a worldview (or life philosophy). The methodology has not changed since the Babylonian empire. Secular humanists control the majority of our schools. To that degree they rule the world of ideas and worldviews passed on to the next generation. This is a simple but profound fact that many Christian parents do not understand today. It is also an area that there is almost unanimous agreement amongst the broader Christian community. “In 2001, 74% of Australian adults affiliated with a religion, and 70% affiliated with Christianity.”[5] It is also a fact that in 2007 over 66% of Australian school students attended government schools.[6] Christians are united on the education issue like none other. Even though non-government schools have increased over the last sixteen years[7]; the majority of Australian parents send their children to government schools.

Young adults turning their backs on Australian Churches and Christianity

Why is it that the majority of Christians make the exact same educational choice for their children? There is no other area that our Christian community is so united on. Show me any theological issue, other than the deity of Christ, which Australian Christians are so united on? We will fight hammer and tong over which Bible to use, which denomination to be a part of. But the majority of Christian parents make the exact same educational choice and no one can point to book, chapter or verse to substantiate this decision. The majority of Christian parents allow the government to educate their children. And the Church is suffering for it. The involvement in Christianity has declined from 86% in 1971 to 70% in 2001.[8] In fact we have steadily lost our young people, to atheism and humanism.[9] Those under 29 years old represent the lowest percentage of the Church demographic[10] - 14% are between 15 & 29:

NCLS

According to NCLS Research the overall young adult retention rate in our churches is 5%.[11] Yes, the overall retention rate of young adults, those who have been brought up in the Church and turned 15 and stayed within the Church, is 5%[12]. Yes, 95% leave once they hit high school or university. No wonder 15-29 year olds only account for 14% of our Church populous. There is something terrible with these figures. Where have we gone wrong? Why are we loosing our young people in droves? It is a complex issue. But a simple answer is: “if we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education we need to stop being surprised when they come home as fully trained Roman soldiers.” He who controls the education of our children rules the world. Whoever is educating our children is training them how to think. When they reach an age of self accountability they are making a decision which is logical to them.

Humanistic education is one of the reasons for young Christians turning away. I believe it to be the major underlying reason due to education itself being the foundational worldview training framework.

He who controls the schools rule the world

Most know Proverb 22:6, just about off by heart; “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV) But not many cross reference this Proverb with its New Testament equivalent. Luke 6:40 states; “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” (NASB) A brief exegesis shoes that whoever is your teacher is your discipler. You cannot separate education and discipleship; the two go hand in hand. The pupil will not be above his teacher. The trainee will (as a general promise) will not depart from that which he is trained in. Thus, whoever is educating our children is discipling our children. And so whoever is educating the majority of children is discipling the majority of children. Now, if the Bible is true and every pupil will not be above his teacher; you must see the power & importance of education. 

The government and humanists understand this principle. They know that the teacher disciples the student in how and what to think. Listen to what the Depart of Education state in the Thinking section of the Tasmanian State Schools Curriculum; “[d]eveloping students’ thinking skills is at the heart of the Tasmanian Curriculum…Every teacher is a teacher of thinking…Thinking in Health and wellbeing develops understanding of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health.”[13] Our education department understands that the student is discipled by the teacher and discipleship is at the heart of our government education system. The state wants to develop how students think and behave. Not only does the government recognise this with their lips but with their hip pocket too. In the 2007 financial year the Australian Government spent $28.7 billion on primary and secondary school education, nearly half of the $63.4 billion final government spending on education for that year.[14] Our government uses billions of our tax funds to train our children to think within the secular humanist framework. Again, the Tasmanian Education Department shows that they understand the basic principle that “[a] pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” They inform that learning “involves making meaning of the world.”[15] So whoever controls the schools determines how our children make “meaning of the world,” an important compoenet of a worldview (i.e. epistemological theory).

Sir Julian Huxley, a proponent and founding father of Evolutionary Humanism, had a major impact on the west’s modern education systems. He understood these principles well. Huxley, when writing about education and humanism, made these observations; “education must be concerned with man’s place and role in nature, and its raw material is man himself.”[16] He continues; “a lot of cargo will have to be jettisoned [from the previous education model]…man was not created in his present form a few thousand years ago. Mankind is not descended from Adam and Eve…Children are not born with a load of original sin derived from the Fall…There are no Absolutes of truth or virtue, only possibilities of greater knowledge and fuller perfection…How should the new humanism’s evolutionary approach take effect in education…[It must be] comprehensive, in dealing with every aspect of life; it must have a unitary pattern, reflecting the unity of knowledge and the wholeness of experience. It must attempt to give growing minds a coherent picture of nature and man’s role in it, and to help immature personalities towards integration and self-realization.”[17] Huxley realised the power of education in discipling students in a particular worldview. He who pays the piper determines the tune!

By basic calculation the average Tasmanian Government School student spends just under 16,000 classroom hours from grade 1 through 10! That is 224 school days a year equalling just under 1,600 hours of secular humanism per year. Parents who think that spending thirty minutes each evening to download the humanism out of and upload Scripture into their children need to think again. Thirty minutes to an hour of family devotions cannot reverse the effects of the 7 hour school day regime. A worldview is imparted over time. The more hours of exposure to a philosophy the more a child will live out that philosophy. Honestly, how do children respond to “what did you learn today?” We often laugh about or ridicule the standard response of “dunno” or “nuphing!” How do you even begin to retrain your children when they cannot tell you or even realise what they have learnt during the day? The fact of the matter is that they cannot identify the humanism being shovelled down their throats every day because it is their norm. It is what they are accustomed to. They, and many parents, have no concept of anything else and therefore do not know what or how to discuss. 

Lets compute this. Bureau of Statistics figures show 86.7% of Australians spend an average of nearly three hours a day watching TV, ranking us around 7th highest in the world.[18] Every family only has 24 hours to invest in their children. So, what could those hours look like for the average schooled child?

Sleep: 8 hours
Eating and washing: 2 hours
Travel to and from school: 1 hour
School: 7 hours
Homework 2 hours (high school)[19]
TV and socialisation 3 hours
Total = 23 hours

Now what this figure does not include is extra-curriculum activities such as sport or the overlap between the children and parent’s and other children’s schedules. We are already up to 23 hours! Now this extra 1 hour is what has supposedly been designed to overcome the secular humanism being fed to our children by government schools! There is not enough time in the day to compete with school for the minds of our children. We must stop kidding ourselves. It is unrealistic to think you can combat the time spent in school with an hour of reprogramming. It just won’t happen I believe this is a major reason why the Church looses 95% of its young people every year. Now I am not for one minute suggesting God is not sovereign. He is. All things work according to the counsel of His will. He determines all things. And God uses means to achieve His purposes. Parents are the principle means He uses to raise up a godly seed (Mal 2). As parents our responsibility is to be obedient to the commands of God (Deut 28, Jn. 14:15). Over the long term God covenantally blesses obedience and curses disobedience (Deut 28).

What we also need to understand here is that the curriculum does the discipling. Again, the Education Department state; the “Tasmanian government school curriculum guides what schools teach…[and] how they teach [it]”.[20] No matter who the teacher is, the curriculum is designed by the government to disciple the student in how to think as a faithful humanist. Remember he who pays the bills determines the tune. Today’s Pied Piper’s tune is that of secular humanism. It is the rampant philosophy throughout our schools and society.

“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).

Next time I will look at more Scripture texts to support the view of parental responsibility in educating their children. My basic premise is that covenant children must be given a thoroughly Christian education.

End notes


[1] DeMar, G, Thinking Straight in a Crooked World, American Vision, 2001, pp. 40-41

[2] Bahnsen, G L, Pushing the Antithesis, The Apologetic Method of Greg L. Bahnsen, American Vision, 2007, pp. 42-43.

[3] Ibid., p. 13.

[4] DeMar, G, Whoever Controls the Schools Rules the World, American Vision, 2007, p ix.

[5] Australian Bureau of Statistics, “4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2004,” viewed 22 September 2008: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4102.02004?OpenDocument

[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics, “4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2007,” viewed 22 September 2008: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.NSF/Latestproducts/4221.0Main%20Features22007?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=4221.0&issue=2007&num=&view=

[7] Christian Research Association, “Australian Schools - Growth in the Non-Government School Sector,” viewed 22 September 2008: http://www.cra.org.au/pages/00000088.cgi

[8] Australian Bureau of Statistics, “4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2004,” viewed 22 September 2008: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4102.02004?OpenDocument

[9] Bentley, P & Hughes, P, A Brief Review of Church-Related Research in Australia 1975-2005, Christian Research Association, 2005, Online Occasional Research Paper No. 6, p.17.

[10] NCLS Research, “Age profile of church attenders,” viewed 22 September 2008: http://www.ncls.org.au/default.aspx?sitemapid=136

[11] NCLS Research, “Overall Inflow and Outflow,” viewed on 22 September 2008: http://www.ncls.org.au/default.aspx?sitemapid=352

[12] NCLS Research, “Introducing the Inflow and Outflow Model,” viewed on 22 September 2008: http://www.ncls.org.au/default.aspx?sitemapid=134

[13] Department of Education, Tasmanian Curriculum, “Thinking,” viewed on 22 September 2008: http://www.education.tas.gov.au/curriculum/thinking.

[14] Australian Bureau of Statistics, “4102.0, Australian Social Trends, 2008, Education and training,” viewed on 22 September 2008: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/4102.0.

[15] Department of Education, Tasmanian “Learning, Teaching and Assessment principles,” viewed 22 September 2008: http://www.education.tas.gov.au/curriculum/overview/LTAPs.pdf.

[16] Huxley, J, Essays of a Humanist, Penguin Books, 1964, p. 126.

[17] Ibid., pp. 126-17, 132-133

[18] Instal-life, Watch what matters, “What you watch on TV matters more than you think,” viewed 23 September 2008: http://mychristiantv.com.au/whatch-what-matters.html.

[19] The Age online, “Home Invasion,” viewed 30 September 2008: http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Home-invasion/2005/02/04/1107476790672.html

[20](http://www.education.tas.gov.au/school/parents/SchoolLife.pdf)

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