PCA resolution on public schools

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Scott, Jun 15, 2005.

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  1. govols

    govols Puritan Board Junior

    Maybe that is the problem. If you are making minimum wage then they have minimum wage jobs in areas that the cost of living is not so high.
     
  2. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor


    :ditto:

    About not being poor if you have internet access. Most people on welfare in this country not only have internet access (dial-up is free if you have phone line) they have cable tv, a tv, a dvd player etc.

    [Edited on 6-17-2005 by Augusta]
     
  3. Larry Hughes

    Larry Hughes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thom,

    Be careful because this could sound more like trusting in "œchance" and calling it providence. Or as I´ve heard some Christian parents abrogating their duty, "œI just turned him/her over to the Lord". A.k.a spiritual abandonment. There is a difference in trusting in providence and doing my duty, and throwing up my hands.

    I can´t disagree here at all, but I don´t have the PCA background to speak about it, I can speak a bit from the SB direction.

    From the Article: "œWhereas, Sending thousands of PCA children as "missionaries" to their unbelieving teachers and classmates has failed to contribute to increasing holiness in the public schools. On the contrary, the Nehemiah Institute documents growing evidence that the public schools are successfully converting covenant children to secular humanism, and Whereas, We are squandering a great opportunity to instruct these children in the truth of God's word and its application to all of life;"œ

    They are correct. I found it increasingly fascinating that non-covenantal churches are internally inconsistent here. For on the one hand they classify their children as being outside of the Covenant, yet send them out as "œmissionaries" to the schools and mission trips - if not explicitly then implicitly. This contradiction is as obvious as the noon day sun.

    Furthermore, it teaches children that they can "œwork their way to heaven", rather than "well the Lord can use it." (That's what the Gospel's for). If you don´t believe it (this is what kids glean from this type of approach) ask your youth group a test question just to pick their brains as to what they are really thinking (let them answer it on paper/cards anonymously so as to get an accurate unpressured answer). Use something simple like the old: "œWhen you die and stand before God and are asked, "œWhy should I let you into My heaven", what will be your answer/reason"? You are very likely to be shocked what these young "œmissionaries" being sent out will answer. I did it once and was very unsettled as to what we were doing with the youth, and it was very alarming to me! How are they "missioniers" when they have not the Gospel???

    Also, Pastorway's point is straight to the chase:

    An excellent point!

    The sad thing is - is that many parents, Christian, find themselves unable to afford good Christian school educations, nothing is near them and/or they are immediately incapable of a full tilt home school. To them I would be gracious and encourage them to do what they can to go in that direction. We have to be careful not to impose a standard upon Christians that simply do not have the tools/means immediately available. The church, as man runs it, is at fault here with its years and decades of neglect to the flock in hand.

    Larry
     
  4. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    Okay, add in moving costs, time off from work to go shopping for apartments, time off from work to pack and such.

    You also neglect that the 'trade off' for living in a lower-cost-of-living area in many cases is also an increased crime rate. DC is cheaper than PG County, but the crime rate and lack of safety overrules the cheaper cost of living.

    Most of you live in relatively 'safe' areas. I'd love to see you move to somewhere like Baltimore City or South East DC, get a 'local' job (i.e.- a job which doesn't make you a huge amount of money, but just enough to pay bills, get to work, buy a few groceries and exist).

    :lol:
     
  5. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    Where do you get that statistic from ? Most of my kids on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale DON'T have cable (especially since Comcast is ridiculously priced in this area), a TV is a one-time cost and nowadays, folks pick things up from crack addicts and pawn shops for reduced prices, DVD players are $25 bucks nowadays (or see option #1 for getting a TV). I know of a few families that have actually forgone getting a DVD player. And I'm not talking about 'welfare' folks, either. Welfare is a trap where folks get paid not to work. I'm talking about folks who work, but make barely enough to get by.

    And dialup is NOT FREE in this or any major city with a 'lower income class' that I know of.

    Like I said.... some of you commenting on 'poor people'.... ain't neva been poor.
     
  6. rmwilliamsjr

    rmwilliamsjr Puritan Board Freshman

    i have no interest in turning this into a "i've been poorer than you thread" but when we lived on the streets for more than a decade we homeschooled by necessity. we didn't have a house, nor a phone, nor jobs, nor money, nor electricity, nor running water etc etc.

    when we found a place to park for a year, my kids voted to go to public schools. they wanted to be like other kids and be in school. now 15 years later 1/2 have graduated from university and 2 are still in school. so i'll bet the issue is parents, not homeschooling, not church related schools, not independent Christian schools, not government funded public schools. not poverty, not food stamps, not much else but parents. As far as I know my kids were the first ones in many years to graduate from high school in our neighborhood. There are 5 generations next door with generation times of 15 years, and not a single adult who finished 10th grade. culture is important but the determining factor is parental responsibility.

    ...
     
  7. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I have to agree with Kery on this one. I know a man who has a low paying job here in Jackson, and he can't even afford to live in the cheap districts here. He has to live in the homeless shelter. I can't imagine how he could handle it if he had a family to feed and educate. Things just aren't as simple as we would like them to be. Poor communities have poor churches too. A church may not be able to support the education of their children. These are realities that you have to deal with.

    Plus, if you are going to call it sin for parents to let there kids go to public school, the you must excommunicate them for disobeying. Otherwise you are allowing people in unrepentent sin to remain in good standing in the congregation. Even if you just "encourage" parents to pull them out, you are creating a two tiered church membership, those more holy for pulling their kids out, and those less holy for leaving them in. The issues here aren't as clear cut as we would like.
     
  8. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    :ditto:

    My husbands family lived in poverty with 9 siblings. One has a masters degree, 4 have bachelors degrees, one on the way to a bachelors degree in one more quarter of school. Of the other 3 two have great jobs and one is on welfare, won't marry, has 4 kids out of wedlock and is in and out of jail but the nicest guy in the world. It has almost everything to do with parenting and alot to do with work ethic and just personal responsibility.

    My ditto was late and was to rmwilliamsjr. :D Just for clarification.

    [Edited on 6-17-2005 by Augusta]
     
  9. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    "Where there is a will there is a way." God through parents or the church makes possible the education of his covenant children, regardless of their financial condition. The internet is not necessary for Biblical education. Parental oversight and involvement is. Most of us here have not experienced the utter poverty of the Sudan or the like, and frankly the Christian community could do much more to provide the network that homeschool families benefit from so much. But the onus is on parents to provide an education for the children to the best of their ability whether they well off or not. It would certainly help if homeschool parents weren't required to pay the taxes that uphold government schools, but regardless, as I say, where parents have the will to educate their children Biblically, they will find a way. God has ordained education to be in the hands of parents, and he gives means to supply according to the need. We ought to help our brethren who are in greater need than we, but as hard as it is to fulfill this responsibility, it is a holy calling and it can and must be answered.

    [Edited on 6-17-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
     
  10. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Deleted.

    [Edited on 6-18-2005 by LadyFlynt]
     
  11. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Deleted.

    [Edited on 6-18-2005 by LadyFlynt]
     
  12. Myshkin

    Myshkin Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Patrick and Kerry for your realistic honesty. I agree with everything you say, and was beginning to think I was alone in the real world. I grew up very poor, and in general, my experience is that those who have much, or at least relatively more and are able, use it as a sign of their "faithfulness" to God. I have even heard that reasons why people are poor is because of sin in their lives. ("God will provide! and if he is not providing, maybe you are not a christian, cuz he provides for all our needs"; I can't tell you the amount of trouble this has caused me to this day with assurance issues.) I don't believe this "where there is the will there is a way" stuff. In fact, thats a phrase I heard often in public school but never in church. If you will it strong enough, God will provide. Yeah, tell that to those stuck in poverty who want to be out of it, but the church nearby does nothing about and lets the welfare agencies take over. I guess only those who are weak willed are on welfare and aren't helped by the church. I don't think we want to equate our will with God's providence. Sounds like my Word of Faith experience. I have the desire (a strong one), that my dad comes to Christ, does this mean that God will provide? Isn't it possible to desire something that God does not grant, even a good thing?

    The dogmatism of homeschoolers, in general, scares me. I agree that public schools are not the best option, at this time. But to legislate this I think is not only binding consciences where they shouldn't be, but it will cause many who don't have the means, or education, or awareness, or who are new converts with kids, etc. to be seen as less sanctified, less blessed by the Lord, and maybe even seen as unbelievers. God's truth is black and white, but this world isn't. I agree with the general desire and thrust of the homeschool movement, but to make it an explicit command from God so as to make it denominationally legislated I think is feeble man shouting where our perfect God whispers.

    Every believer's situation does not come from a cookie-cutter. And sometimes we as christians don't have all the answers or resources, despite our thinking to the contrary. I think too many people hide behind their theology to avoid dealing with real life problems that we don't have all the answers to. So they make something implicit or unclear into a dogma so as to relieve themselves of any duties they may have that God has explictly commanded. Is this not what the pharisees did even to Christ when he healed on the sabbath? Didn't they even use scripture for their case?

    I don't think the public schools are our problem (oh that dirty world out there!). I think the problem is we have too many nominal christian parents who think public school is where education starts and ends. Too many christian parents who are chasing the money dream and not spending time with their kids. I fear we are falling into the pharisee trap of condemning those not like us, instead of looking at our own heart's sins. While were so focused on what the world is doing wrong, we're neglecting what christians are failing in. And in this regard choice of schooling is at the bottom of the list for our worries, I think. I realize I am in the shrinking minority on this, I just hope that someday my profession of faith and membership in the church isn't determined by whether I homeschool or not.

    Until homeschoolers start speaking out for those who are less able than they are, are giving all they can to assist those who can't homeschool for providential reasons, then I will continue to look at the homeschool movement as an ironic elitism.

    I hope we don't get to the point where God's unique providence in each christian's life is defined in a black and white mannner to determine who is and is not a true faithful christian. I guess all the new believers in third world countries with their missionary built public schools and such aren't as faithful as us American homeschooling christians, .

    Is homeschooling good? Yes. Are christian schools good? Yes. Are public schools bad? In themselves no, but today yes. Should we legislate denominationally on this issue and risk losing actual believers to the scruples of the "faithful"? No. I don't see this as any different in principle than any other moral issue, say alcohol. Is getting drunk a sin? Yes. Is it it okay for me to avoid it so I am not tempted to this sin? Yes. Is it okay for me to demand this same boundary for other believers? No. I appreciate what homsechoolers do, and personally would prefer it myself. But I am getting tired of some if not many on the homeschool side saying it is the only christian option regardless of circumstances.

    I think the PCA did the right thing.
     
  13. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Allan, I think you have completely misunderstood what I said. I did not refer to the quote "where there is a will there is a way" in order to promote "Word of Faith" theology. I made reference to that quote in response to the idea that poor people have no choice but to resort to government education for their children. I simply do not believe that poor Christians have no alternative but to dump their children in government schools. Public education is evil and godless, and parents who put their children in such schools will reap what they sow. Parents have a God-given responsibility to educate their children. That does not rule out delegating the responsibility but it does rule out delegating it to the heathen public school system. If Christian parents sincerely desire to educate their children, there are ways that can be found to do that Biblically no matter how poor they are. I think the poverty excuse for public education is a cop-out of parental duty. But I have previously said that the Church has a duty to help the poor. Any parent that cannot afford to educate their child has the reasonable expectation of diaconal assistance from the Church to make that possible.

    [Edited on 6-17-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
     
  14. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    :amen:
     
  15. AdamM

    AdamM Puritan Board Freshman

    I think we need to be careful speculating about the motivations of the elders at the general assembly that voted against the resolution. I heard the debate and I doubt there was anyone in the assembly who would not strongly support both home schooling and private Christian schools for children. The question comes down to whom has God given the authority to make these types of decisions?

    The B&O Committee and the assembly I think wisely stated that "the education of covenant children is best left to the wisdom of Christian parents under the pastoral guidance of local church Sessions." It may rub folks wrong, but that is the Presbyterian system of church government. I think when the issue is right, we sort of turn into crypto Episcopalians.

    [Edited on 6-17-2005 by AdamM]
     
  16. Plimoth Thom

    Plimoth Thom Puritan Board Freshman

    I know what you're saying, and I agree. My point was that if the parents are doing their best to raise up christian children, and sending them to public schools, they don't need to be afraid that their children are going to fall away just because they're in a public school. If a child puts more stock in what their teachers say, or trusts their teachers more than their parents, then there's something wrong with the parents.
     
  17. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    Adam was the resolution such that the church was to "encourage" homeschooling or was it a blanket command to homeschool or else? Maybe something in between?
     
  18. Myshkin

    Myshkin Puritan Board Freshman

    Andrew, my friend, I think you jumped the gun. I was not referring to you. It was just a coincidence. I was apparently writing while you had posted.


    But then I read this, so I guess it applies...

    I went to public school my whole life. My family up till junior high was dirt poor. Homeschooling was unheard of at the time to my parents. What are my parents going to reap exactly? I'd sincerely like to know.

    Your quote confirms my point. Apparently the God who determines the times and seasons in which we live was unfaithful to my christian mother because He put her in this situation. And now she will reap what she sowed, despite the fact that God put her there and that my whole family professes to belive in Christ. I think you're missing my point that I am not against homeschooling, I am against the church legislating an absolute on this issue. Not everyone has had the providence that you or others have had.

    My whole point was in reference to the PCA resoulution, not to you or those on this board.
     
  19. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    Wanted to bump Scott's quote.
     
  20. AdamM

    AdamM Puritan Board Freshman

    I think it encouraged people to remove their children from the public schools, leaving home schooling and private schools as options.

    The main issue as far as the assembly is concerned is to whom has God given the authority to make these decisions? I know there is a lot in the background too and I am not naive about it, but in our system of church government, the local Session is invested with the primary spiritual authority to oversee the flock. The general assembly has no such authority except as a court of appeal. The wisdom in that is great, because who other then the local elders has the insight to evaluate each individual situation?
     
  21. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    Just encouraging parents to homeschool just doesn't seem that harsh to me. The church is the guardian of our faith. It's their job to encourage us in the right direction. With the current state of government run schools I believe in my opinion that encouragement to be warranted.
     
  22. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Not hopping into the fray per se but...

    If we were not taxed via property taxes etc. and if the government wasn't so bloated to take as much money from all of us there would be more money to go around for whatever non-government school choice one would have.

    Even use vouchers as a half-way step although I do not favor them in principle. :2cents:
     
  23. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Again, this is not to say that in theory, good education could not come from a government run school (although it is NEAR impossible :p ) but the question rather is to what authority has God given the right to education children. Let's play multiple guess...is it...

    1) The government

    2) The church

    3) The family (i.e. parents)

    If you guessed 1 or 2, that is not the biblical view.

    Just because a woman would make a good preacher, doesn't mean she should become one. God has not given her that role or the authority to do so.
     
  24. BlackCalvinist

    BlackCalvinist Puritan Board Senior

    Colleen, go ahead and delete. I will respond later, I've read all the way through.
     
  25. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Allan,

    Thanks for your clarification, brother. I too went to public school for my whole life. Despite considering myself a "survivor" of public education, I am not basing my objection in principle to public education on my own experience. Nor do I wish to single out your mother for any decisions she made about sending you to public school. I agree with you that everyone's situation is different. Cookie-cutter views of education -- such as what one finds in government schools -- are simplistic and dangerous.

    The fact is, though, God has commanded parents to teach their children in the Lord. Christian education is a duty of every parent. Christian schools, tutors and the like are all consistent with this principle. To send one's child to government school for indoctrination in secular humanism, though, is an abdication of parental responsibility. Pastor Way has made the point that secular humanism is the official religion of government schools. Does that mean that every Christian child sent to government schools will punt the faith? No. Statistics have been given to show that the influence of government schools is catastrophic in general to the faith of Christian children.

    If you survived government education without ill effects, I rejoice in God's mercies to you. The pernicious thing about secular humanist education is that its effects can be subtle. As I have pointed out before, all education is religious. There is no neutrality in education, just as there is no neutrality in anything else that is religious.

    The point has also been made that God has not given the responsibility of education to government but to parents. Compulsory public education laws are violation of the spheres of authority and responsibility that God has ordained.

    I have also made the point that parental duty to provide Christian education is not contingent upon being rich or poor. Lots of poor people -- including, if I may say so, poorer than you or I have ever been -- have successfully educated their children at home. So I just don't buy poverty as an excuse to send one's children to public school.

    I realize that homeschooling was not well known a couple of decades ago. I also realize that many Christians have never even thought about their duty to educate their children in the Lord. Ignorance of their Biblical duty, however, does not negate the duty.

    God is faithful even when parents are poor to provide the means to fulfill the duty he requires of them. He is faithful even when parents are faithless in their duty.

    Christian education and government education are not compatible. That is not to say that one can't learn their ABC's in a government school or even learn about the Bible (in rare cases). The good that comes from government education, however, is despite the principle of government education not because of it.

    The church ought not to tolerate anti-Christian education of its covenant children. It is contrary to the vows that parents take to raise their children in the nuture and admonition of the Lord when they are baptized. The church ought also to make every provision to help the parents fulfill their duty. No covenant child should be forced to receive a heathen education because a parent is unwilling or "unable" to honor their vows.

    Again, poverty is no excuse for disobedience to God's requirement that children be educated according to Christian principles, and not in secular humanist indoctrination camps. The same principle involved in the abortion debate applies here: pro-lifers are often accused of insensitivity to poor single mothers when they claim that children must be carried to term. Well, the church is right to make that claim, but there is an accompanying diaconal duty to help parents care for their children after they are born no matter how poor they are. That principle applies to the education of children as well as merely putting clothes on their backs and food at their table. Education is a duty of parents and it must be in the Lord not in the State.

    I hope these comments make sense and I don't mean to offend you, brother, by speaking plainly. Incidentally, I don't have a personal stake in the PCA resolution one way or the other. I can see arguments against the resolution based on principles of church authority, while supporting the general desire to see church members raise their children in the Lord. That is my desire as well.

    [Edited on 6-18-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
     
  26. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Most of these parents aren't the ones that are in discussion. Christian parents aren't strung out. These children are understandably in the government schools. I truely feel for these kids. And I highly respect you for working in them. If you know anything of North St Louis and East St Louis...you know St Louis chalks right up there for drugs, crime, and high rate of living expense along with DC. My husband's best friend was a Math/Science teacher in the Washington Park area (one of the worst parts of East St Louis). My husband and this friend used to meet his students on the streets at night when they would go do street ministry. My best friend's husband was raised in East St Louis...his parents were strung out...I won't tell you the stories he's told my husband. While doing crack house ministry in North St Louis, kids will play in the yards till 2am under the street lights because of their strung out parents...government schools are an escape to them...teachers like you are a blessing to them.

    So I do understand. My husband works with some of these strung out ppl. Unfortunately this is not the topic of this thread...and like Traci/Augusta stated...I was trying to show that it IS POSSIBLE for churches to have schools for at least their members without the tuition costs....even better would be to have church schools for these poor (not talking just financial) kids who want a good education and could be reached with the gospel through a church school.

    My other point was, any parent who really wanted to homeschool, can find a way to do so. It is possible...even when it "seems" impossible.

    Please forgive my temper earlier...we've done without...we've sacrificed...we still could end up with no place to live after our landlady dies (she's 90 and not doing well) due to not being able to aford the cost of living and rent around here...but here is where the jobs are...my husband has worked eighty hours a week before just to keep a roof over our heads and still not make all the bills.

    Please don't make a snap judgment about somebody just because they appear in a room full of ppl with college degrees (neither my husband nor I have a degree...we're just well read). Also, for all you knew, I could have access to this forum from the library (I actually did use the library computers to communicate with a couple of forums this past autumn as we didn't have a phoneline...we actually went without a phone for several years before).
     
  27. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Check out the RPCGA website! They list among their distinctives:

    1. embrace the doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy
    2. maintain a literal twenty-four hour, six consecutive day creationist view of Genesis;
    3. reject the modern day Erastian teaching of Church Incorporation;
    4. practice male head-of-household voting;
    5. encourage family-integrated church practices;
    6. require an educated eldership;
    7. adhere to a two office view of the church (Southern Presbyterian) 8. while maintaining a three fold function of the eldership (preaching, teaching and governing);
    9. promote and support the training of our children in Christian educational institutions, especially in the home schooling method.
     
  28. Myshkin

    Myshkin Puritan Board Freshman

    Andrew-

    I have to speak plainly also, and likewise mean no offense.... I clarified my post to you, yet no apology, and you proceed to write to me as if I am disputing you. I repeat, I was not talking to you. I was making general comments about the topic of the thread.

    Your post comes across as a lecture, and I am not sure why you are singling me out for an education. Like I said before I was not referring to you in my post. Our use of the same phrase was just a coincidence. You are speaking to a ghost, because I am not sure where I ever disagreed with you. Again, the point of my post was not against homeschooling(I am for it all the way), nor pro-public school (I am against it at this time in history), but that while agreeing with their desire, I was glad that homeschooling was not legislated denominationally. I am only echoing the comments of Patrick and Adam here. You are writing to me as if I support public schooling and am ignorant of the situation, which I never said. All I am supporting is parents who aren't, for whatever reason, in the ideal situation. To think that every situation in this life can be fixed, solved, or explained is to have a simplistic view of life, is a subtley self-righteous way of viewing ourselves and our fellow believers, and mimics the mentality I was fed in the Word of Faith movement. I appreciate your desire to help, but please don't talk down to me. I am not offended nor do I now take it personally, brother. I sent you a u2u.

    God bless,
    Allan
     
  29. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Allan,

    I think our mutual attempts at clarification have gone awry and for that I am sorry. I have great respect for you and I think we are simply misunderstanding each other. I will respond to your u2u.

    God bless, brother.
     
  30. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Praise be to the Lord! SOMEBODY has the guts! :pilgrim:
     
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