Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's That Time of Year....

Late August/Early September...it's that time of year again. You know it from all the sales going on at the stores. In fact, I heard (no hard evidence) that the sales of back-to-school supplies and dorm furnishing supplies are second only to Christmas! Yes, it's the time of year that most of America kiss their young ones goodbye, pack them onto the yellow bus, and then head off to do whatever it is these adults do when their children are not with them.... These moms (and dads) are assuming they are doing the best by their children and that if the little ones will just apply themselves, they will be "successful" in life. The officially godless, multicultural, diversity-embracing, tolerance-teaching government school will see to it for them....

I just finished John MacArthur's new book, The Truth War (available with just a click on the left of my blog). In it he battles the mindset of what is known as the Emergent Church, a mindset that affects virtually all in the Western world today, regardless of church affiliation. That mindset is post-modernism...and that is the worldview that will be both officially and unofficially inculcated into your children in the government school.

So what sort of ideas characterize post-modernism?

MacArthur writes, "Objectivity is an illusion. Nothing is certain, and the thoughtful person will never speak with too much conviction about anything. Strong convictions about any point of truth are judged supremely arrogant and hopelessly naive. Everyone is entitled to his own truth." And later, "In the postmodern perspective, certainty is regarded as inherently arrogant, elitist, intolerant, oppressive and therefore always wrong (emphasis added)."

Your children will be taught over and over again that there is no such thing as absolute truth (except of course, the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth!). And they will be taught that anyone with a truth claim and its accompanying certainty is arrogant, intolerant, and ultimately always wrong.

What is scary is this viewpoint has crept into the church unnoticed and affects even some of the most mature believers. I have been on the receiving end of it. By proclaiming with certainty what I believe to be true about subjects ranging from Reformed Theology to childrearing to education, I have been pronounced "arrogant" by those bearing opposite opinions. Rather than deal with the issues at hand and attempt to debate them with God's Word as the referee, the attack has always been a personal one led by the charge of arrogance and thus a minimizing of my point of view. I have been told that I am not "humble," and that if I were only "humble," my viewpoints would be heard.

MacArthur writes again, "one of the highest values (if not the supreme virtue by which all others are measured) is a particular notion of 'humility'--namely, the standard postmodern species of humility, which starts with the assumption that certainty, assurance, and bold conviction are arrogant and therefore wrong." Therefore to be "humble" in the eyes of most of the church today, one cannot express anything with certainty, assurance, or bold conviction. Your viewpoint might be heard, but you must present it with the mindset that you have no conviction about it, that it couldn't actually be true for everyone! MacArthur points out that the humility being called for here "is actually a form of unbelief, rooted in an impudent refusal to acknowledge that God has been sufficiently clear in His self-revelation to His creatures." (Doctrine of perspicuity anyone? Oops...that would be an absolute truth!)

This leads to nothing more than everyone doing what is right in their own eyes...and all the attendant societal maladies that accompany such folly.

Church! Wake up! If you are calling someone arrogant for expressing conviction, then you are exposing your post-modern worldview. You do not have a Biblical worldview in play.

So back to the school issue.... By entrusting your children to the schools eight hours a day, you are virtually guaranteeing they will internalize the post-modern mindset of "broad-mindedness", "diversity", and "tolerance." There will be indoctrination going on. Would you like to see some of it at its worst? Click here and watch the two videos. They are from a film created over a decade ago and still distributed today to activist teachers. Watch the young, impressionable minds being twisted by the propaganda being spewed by authority figures they trust. Your gut will churn in revulsion at the raping of these precious children's souls. And worse...this was a decade ago. Do you really think it's gotten better? No matter how "good" you think your particular school is, you do your children a huge disservice if you don't monitor every single thing they are taught, to include every single book they read, so that you might counter (in the 20-30 minutes of free time a day you have with them) the anti-Biblical bias that pervades all subjects and virtually all peer conversations.

But better yet... why send them off in the first place? So you can have time with other moms? So you can clean your house better? So you can indulge yourself a bit? Really, none of those desires are bad in small doses. But the desire to rid yourself of your children eight hours a day is fraught with poor priorities. There are moms in our neighborhood that take bottles of champagne to the bus stop on the first day of school so they can celebrate their freedom from little Jenny and little Johnny as soon as they are on the bus! Just how sad is that?!

Consider why you do what you do. Ostensibly you are sending them off so they will one day be a "success," and "education" is the ultimate means to that success. Unfortunately you are again showing your post-modern mindset. I believe it was A.W. Tozer (I've been reading a lot of books lately and lost track of where this came from) who points out that "education" to the post-modern mind is seen as salvation. Every problem in life can be solved by more education. That viewpoint is the unspoken basis of why you do what you do with your children. Education=success=salvation.

Instead, what about consulting the Bible...in particular Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6, Psalm 1, and the entire book of Proverbs? Note God's overarching themes and desires: Among other things, note that the father is charged to raise up a child who is wise (as opposed to "smart"), who fears the Lord, who handles the Word of God well, who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and his neighbor as himself (actual practical outworking of faith), who takes on mature adult responsibilities. In short, what God desires is summed up in the concept of discipleship. Note well that none of this will happen in any group classroom, but particularly not in a government school classroom. For example, when was the last time a child developed "wisdom" from his peers, all of whom have foolishness bound up in their hearts? All that the world says is important in education is absent from God's priorities. Calculus, foreign language, grammar, history, lab science (everything we tend to focus upon and brag about to our neighbors)...none of them are first in line. Are they important? In a sense, potentially...but the bottom line is they are all secondary! A solidly saved child who grows into adulthood as a young person of wisdom and Biblical accuracy will affect his world, will strengthen and expand the Kingdom, will spread the Gospel of our Lord, and will be pleasing in the sight of God, regardless of how the secondary subjects are mastered. But a child who masters the secondary subjects at the expense of salvation, Biblical wisdom, Biblical maturity, and Biblical love brings nothing of value to his world; but rather he brings the worldly materialism that so engulfs most in the United States and ultimately, his efforts will be nothing but a stench in God's nostrils. (Oops...there I go being "arrogant" again!)

A.W. Tozer in "Rut, Rot, or Revival" states, "'Society,' said Emerson, 'is in conspiracy to make every man like every other man.' But what he did not say was that society is in a conspiracy to make every man ungodly in his thinking (emphasis added)." That about sums it up. As you are making your educational choices, you must take your head out of the sand and understand that society at large, and thus the government schools (and most "Christian schools" as well) are in a conspiracy to make your children just like everyone else. And "everyone else" will be ungodly and postmodern in their thinking, to include "wrong ambition, love of money, overappreciation of earthly things, jealousy and envy,..." "broad-minded," "tolerant," and "diversity-loving."

As I have written before...exactly what kind of young adult do you want at the end of your parenting years? What characteristics do you want to see? What is your Biblically-based definition of "success?" Your answers to these and similar questions will drive the decisions and priorities you make today...which will dramatically impact who your children become as adults. Do you really want them to be like "everyone else"????


Dana said...

There is something worse than postmodernism in our schools and in our culture. In fact, I would argue that MacArthur's statement that, "Objectivity is an illusion. Nothing is certain..." will soon be irrelevant.

In fact, something "certain" is being taught and is gaining ground quickly in this "Age of Science." From PBS' Encyclopedia of Faith and Reason:

"Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode of reaching knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the world and reality. Scientism's single-minded adherence to only the empirical, or testable, makes it a strictly scientific worldview, in much the same way that a Protestant fundamentalism that rejects science can be seen as a strictly religious worldview. Scientism sees it necessary to do away with most, if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and religious claims, as the truths they proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth."

Their truth is absolute, and they are quite intolerant of any religious faith.

Anonymous said...

WOW. This article could have been so compelling minus the sweeping assumptions made about mothers' motives for sending their kids to school. Ew.

I just sent my daughter to school for the first time today. I prayed last night (and this morning) in surrender, as I will have to fully put my trust in the Lord to protect her since I will not be there every minute anymore. And I do (trust Him). Not all are equipped for one reason or another to home school. Not all people can do it well. The public school system is fraught with problems...but every avenue one chooses is to some degree or another imperfect. (I'M imperfect!) It was my LAST choice, and yet here I am. I trust my heavenly Father to protect my daughter, to clue me in when/if it is time to yank her out, and I am listening for His voice. So please, Sir, gentle on your accusing tone.

My children will grow to know Jesus because He is Lord of this home, and we trust Him, not because of where they learn academics. (And we get more than 20 or 30 minutes with them...where do you live that your public school system takes up so much of their time?!)

I agree with the gist of your article, but we really have to watch our heart attitude. It's the most important thing.

God bless.

P. S. "Gee" is a word we don't use in our home because it is "a mild expletive...alteration of Jesus" (look it up). In your sarcasm, you just took our Lord's name inappropriately. I am sorry to correct you on here, but I thought since you slammed every mother who does anything other than home school you could take some criticism yourself. I humbly confess I didn't know this myself until about ten years ago. :-)

Charley said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for taking the time to read my humble musings.

Two minor things first.

I allow anonymous posts because it can be easier for the person, especially if they don't have a google/blogger account. But it would be really nice to have a first name by which to address you.

Secondly...about the use of the word, "gee." While I can see where a person can come to the same conclusion you have raised, I'm not there. I still see it as a simple, nonoffensive exclamation. I just can't envision the Beaver saying, "Gee, Wally, you sure told him!" as using the Lord's Name in vain. That said, I did change it in the post. I'd rather that not be a stumbling block to the rest of the message.

Your response has generated an idea for my next post: answers to reasons people give for not homeschooling. Obviously it can't be comprehensive, but I hope to address the most common. You didn't give specifics why you can't, but if you'll check back and read it when I get it posted, I think you may find a surprising answer in your case (yes, that's the blogging equivalent of a "teaser" in a TV show!). The downside is that work and commitments are taking priority right this moment, so it may be several days before I get to it.

In the mean time, may I invite you to go to the archives and start reading some of my writings from the beginning. I think you may find some encouragement there as a young mom (and please...bring dad along to read as well). Have you ever given serious thought to the implications of God referring to our children as "arrows?" I did in one of my early posts....

Dana... You have a very good point. In certain venues, science is trumpeted as the be-all and end-all answer to everything. I think that is a holdover from the "modern" mindset. Culturally we are in a transition, so you will find the scientific rationalism of the modern worldview competing right alongside the postmodern worldview. I have read others who have said the reason the postmodern worldview is rising is because people have realized the ultimate futility of the modern mindset that rejects anything spiritual and eternal. The postmodern answers that problem by allowing and declaring anything spiritual as true, regardless of the competing logic of the differing truth claims.

Christos Kurios!


Joanna said...

Ravi Zacharias has a riveting message on his website called "The Search For Absolutes in a Pluralistic Society" (there are three parts). It deals with secularism in our postmodern society. Check it out. http://www.rzim.org/radio/archives.php?p=LMPT&o=10&i=10