|Posted by John Suttles on December 24, 2013 at 4:00 PM|
How to Sacrifice Your Children
What an interesting concept—a “how-to” on sacrificing our children. Actually, parents in antiquity followed prescribed procedures for passing their children through the fire to Moloch. They were probably not unlike parents of all generations who simply follow the “norms” for bringing up their children. But these same parents fail to account for the shifting “norms” that change almost as frequently as the months on a calendar. Today this one thing is in vogue; tomorrow it is absolutely forbidden. Civilizations, with their way of life, rose and fell. Our own way of life is drastically different from two generations past. Just consider the opening statement. This is a “how-to.” But a “how-to” what? A book—a manual—a CD—a DVD—or just an “e-how” of one or two brief paragraphs?
Ah—but Christians have a Book that has never fluctuated, never been affected by generational dysfunction, never changed. But that’s the problem for many modern Christians. We have a Book. This Book is the Logos, the Word of God—all of which requires reading. Our Book is not given for simply a cursory reading, nor an “e-how” instruction for a specific problem. Our Book is to be read and understood and “straightly cut” for instruction and application. (II Timothy 2:15) The problem is that many modern Christians can’t read well and don’t really see the need. Consequently, they parent their children with the same standard. “I never liked to read.” “I hated history.” I wasn’t good in math.” These excuses form the working educational foundation in many homes; yet, they also chip away at the very foundation of our Christian churches.
In 1647, the Puritans of the Massachusetts colony passed the Old Deluder Satan Law that required all parents to teach their children how to read. Their intention was to guarantee that succeeding generations could read the Bible for themselves, and in doing so, to maintain the foundation of their own religious freedom. Whether we agree with making this a civil law or not, we must recognize the intention of these Puritans. They understood the dangers of their society and the necessity for their children to excel—even beyond themselves—in understanding and obedience to God’s Word.
These Puritan parents wholly embraced the requirement that, as Christians, we are to love the Lord our God with all of our minds. (Matthew 22:37) This was their paradigm that motivated them in the education of their children. They understood that the greatest enemy was the enemy who would steal the words that fed the minds of their children. These were parents whose education had been based in the Bible, languages, and the classics. They knew the enemy and how to fight him.
But modern ignorance of the enemy has deluded Christians, just as our forefathers warned. Feeble attempts have been made to remedy our situation, but too many churches are failing to reap any benefits. Many homeschooled children have been vacuum-sealed in a perpetual infancy of their minds in the name of “sheltering.” Their “unschooled” environment may be a sort of Great Protectorate from detrimental external influences; but the real enemy of the children has been overlooked.
Who or what is this enemy? Our enemy is the Old Deluder himself. His war has always been waged against the Logos; and his most effective weapon is the destruction of His followers by devaluing His Word. (Consider Genesis 3) It follows that something of little value is also little considered. Then what will direct the paths of our children, or correct their ways, or fill their minds? We may have all the external fortifications for their safe-keeping, but what will fortify their minds and provoke them to good works and provide for a godly continuum of generations to follow? Or—have we shipwrecked the next generation?
We must be teaching our children to read; yet not just to read, but what they must read. We must be connecting the dots to show them the wiles of the enemy. We’re so easily impressed by modern religious rebuttals against evolution; but we’ve stopped there as if that was the greatest of all debates. Rather, we should be considering the Great Conversation that spawned such ugly children as Evolution and Atheism and the poisoned venom that nourished them.
Consider how few children are taught to read Shakespeare; and consider how few who read the words with some meaning understand any of the underlying references of Shakespeare to the Bible and to writings of antiquity or contemporary writers of his day. Consider his play Henry V. He showed how the powerful words of King Henry rallied his bedraggled and spent army to overcome the mighty French army. Shakespeare rebuked those whose intention was to demean words and replace them with “sensory images.”
Consider how few children read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress; and consider again how few modern Christian children are required to study it. Yet, the self-educated tinker knew well his Bible and the psychology of man and events of the religious world of his day. Consider in the words of his Christian how he described the enemy as the Leviathan, referencing Job 41:26-29. Pilgrim’s Progress was published in 1678. Thomas Hobbes’ work the Leviathan was published in 1651, invoking the text from Job 41:33 to support his teaching. Mr. Hobbes cloaked his “doctrine” in Christian terminology while he dug up and discarded the foundation of Divine Revelation and rendered our Bibles less authoritative than the Laws of Nature. But Mr. Bunyan’s Christian warned that when “we hear that such robberies are done on the King’s highway,” we must go out in our armor with our shield of faith. (Ephesians 6:16) How many students of Bunyan would have recognized that admonition?
We know that Paul referred to “secular” things and to Greek writers to evangelize and to fortify the early churches. But can we as modern Christian parents accept that the same broad classical knowledge is necessary for our children? Perhaps, we have failed to realize that Ignorance is such a powerful deterrent to classical education; rather Ignorance often breeds contempt of such knowledge. But the contempt of classical knowledge then spills over into contempt of all knowledge, including knowledge of the Bible as Paul admonished Timothy to have. (II Timothy 2:15)
Perhaps when we realize just how little our children understand that the Bibles we cherish are Divinely Inspired, we will be motivated to abide by our own Old Deluder Satan Law to teach them to read. But if we also realize how little our children really care that they don’t understand, we may be motivated to act quickly. But then, if we begin to study ourselves and realize how much the Laws of Nature and “touchy-feely” Science has replaced the Word in the our own minds, we will realize as Mr. Bunyan taught us that unless we go out with our armor and our shield, we will not make the Leviathan yield, for “he fears us not at all.”
Dr. Teresa Suttles