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Friday, October 19, 2012

Unity in the Body of Christ in Regards to Homeschool versus Public School

“In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty.   In all things, charity." 

 Parenting is the most personal path you may ever walk; our hearts are so raw when it comes to our children that defensiveness can be our knee-jerk reaction.   There is so much defensiveness on both sides of homeschooling that it easily leads to bitterness and resentment in the Body of Christ.  Satan is working hard to divide the women of the church through issues like school choice. 

I love Homeschooling.  I believe with all my heart that my family was called to homeschool.  I think I could talk to you all day about why we homeschool and how rewarding it has been for our family.  I can and probably will write why we home-school in other post, but this is not an explanation of why we home school.  I pray for this issue to be an open dialogue with prayerful and wise conversations. I attend an amazing church of people who have become my family, but I am in the minority as a homeschooling family. While this can be hard some days, especially Back to School Season, I want it to always be open to conversation.


To ALL Christian Parents:
The response ,"That is why we ___________ (insert homeschool or send our kids to public school)" is NOT an appropriate or helpful response when a fellow believer is sharing a struggle with their child.
  Seriously, both sides, stop this.  I have been on the receiving end of  "That is why we send our kids to school" more times that I can count; it is hurtful and judgmental. When a fellow believer ,who has a different schooling choice than you, confides a parenting struggle, please prayerfully answer with scripture and encouragement, or keep your mouth shut.

I want to urge Christian homeschool parents:
I have lovely sisters in Christ who public school ,or who teach in public school, who have shared a big concern with me that needs to be shared. Homeschooling parents must not guilt public school Christian parents. Be careful not to imply  that public school parents are lazy or unconcerned with the spiritual or emotional welfare of their children, because this is is furthest thing from the truth.  They want the very best for their specific children, and believe public school is the best way to accomplish this in their family.

I want to urge Christian public school parents (or teachers):
Be careful  not to imply that homeschool parents don't teach their children to boldly share their faith by not yet fully immersing them in a secular environment. Serving and living in our communities looks different for us as a homeschool family, but it still is a priority for most Christian homeschooling parents. Implying that fear is our main motivation for homeschooling is hurtful and usually very untrue. We want the very best for our specific children, and believe homeschool is the way to accomplish this in our family.

Random Sidenote: Public School parents, please note that the correct term  for Public School is not "real school"; it is public or traditional school.  By calling public school "real" school, you imply ours is a fake school. 

As much as I am sure God called my family to homeschooling, I know God called a close believing friend of mine to send her kids into public school.   I respect and support her as she steps out in faith into the scary unknown, and encourages her children to be light in a dark place of public school.  I also believe she respects and supports me as I step in the scary unknown of schooling my children at home.

Homeschooling has changed the dynamics in some of my friendships. There have been times we run into miscommunication, or false assumptions on both side.  We do have different lifestyles, but we remain friends. The friendships I have are important enough to seek dialogue and sharpen each other as sisters in Christ.  We may have different callings in regards to school for our kids, yet we both believe that our children are called to stand out and share their light in a world of darkness.


“In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity."   

Theological Triage is how we stay unified in the body of Christ in regards to homeschooling, and how we spot false gospels (Triage concept by Albert Mohler)

When you elevate 2nd and 3rd tier issues to the level of first tier, you become an fundamentalist (adding to the gospel)

When you lower 1st issues to 3rd tier, you take away from the gospel (progressive Christians)

Satan is working hard to divide the women of the church through issues like school choice. 

1st Tier Issues- Essential for Salvation: These are the most essential doctrines of all essentials. This includes what every Christian should always be willing to die for. In essence, if someone does not believe the doctrines that are “essential for salvation,” they are not saved. These can be also summed up in the Apostles and Nicene Creed.
  • Belief in God (there is no such thing as an atheistic Christian)
  • Belief in Christ’s deity and humanity (1 John 4:2-3; Rom. 10:9)
  • Authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • The Trinity (Matthew 28:19)
  • Belief that you are a sinner in need of God’s mercy (1 John 1:10)
  • Belief that Christ died on the cross and rose bodily from the grave (1 Cor 15:3-4)
  • Belief that faith in Christ is necessary (John 3:16)

2nd Tier Issues- Essential for your congregational unity: Disagreement on 2nd tier issues will probably mean you can have unity with other believers as your "extended family", but may need to worship in a different denomination. And that is OK. There is tension in these issues in the Word, and can wrestle with them and still be unified on the 1st tier beliefs.

Different denominations have very different and strong beliefs about baptism or women preaching in the church, but we can still be called brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Church Structure
  • Gender Roles in the Church
  • Baptism 
  • How Sacraments are served

3rd Tier-Non Essentials: Disagreement doesn’t mean division   Disagreement on 3rd tier issues should NOT lead to denominational division, but sadly it happens too often. I can have tattoos and worship with those who don't. I can homeschool and worship with those who don't. I can vote Democrat or Republican and worship with those who voted differently.

Let me clear, 2nd and 3rd tier are still very important, we need to know what we believe. Just because something is 2nd or 3rd tier does not make it unimportant, but these are the issues that can Satan will use to divide the body of Christ.   We are to seek Unity and be at peace whenever possible. Yes, Jesus says The Truth will be divisive (Luke 12:49-53), but He is referring to the division between believers and unbelievers.  The Word does not contradict itself and there is a clear emphasis on Unity in the Body of Christ.  (Ephesian 4:1-5) I believe it is essential that that we teach our children Jesus is the one and only way to Salvation, but how we do that we have liberty in.

3rd tier issues include:
  • Homeschool versus Private or Public School
  • Politics
  • Tattoos
  • Worship Style
  • Bible Translation
  • Celebrating Holidays
  • Gospel Freedom Issues
  • End Times Beliefs
  • Medical Decisions

 Public school and homeschool parents alike must be diligent to write the Word of God on their child's hearts as often, and as soon as possible, so that they may shine in the darkness.

You as a parent are ultimately responsible for your child's spiritual education, no matter your choice of academic education; we can not outsource it to children or youth pastors.    There are 168 hours in a week.  Children's Church/Sunday School is only ONE of them.  I personally teach Children's Church at my home church, and while it is a very important part of being in a church, I believe that your children's view of God will be shaped more by the other 167 hours of the week than the 45 minutes to hours I spend with them. Your example of spiritual discipline will speak louder to your child's heart than any Sunday School Teacher ever will. 

 My public school friend mentioned above has Scripture all over her house, they do no neglect gathering with other believers each week for church and small group, and  most importantly she lives out her beliefs.  She shows her kids what bible study looks like by doing it herself. She disciples them in the Word and teaches them how it applies to their every day lives. I hope that I can be this to my children, no matter my choice for education. 

 I grew up in public school with  non-Christian parents.  While  many of those public school experiences led to my decision to home-school, the truly committed Christian teens and Youth Leaders coming to my  public school helped me see a difference in them from their secular counterparts.  I wanted what they had.  Of course, not ALL children of Christians were these examples to me, which is why I stress above that we can not take our children's spiritual education for granted.

Even though not all Christian kids stand up for their faith in public schools, the ones who do make an eternal difference in the the unbelievers around them.   Homeschooling parents, please pray for your public schools, the students in them, the administrations, and the teachers.  Your child's future spouse is could most likely sitting in a public school classroom right now. 

While I do not believe that homeschooling is an essential for Christianity, if you are feeling the call to home-school please do not ignore it I was terrified when I started, but obeying the call has reaped unimaginable rewards in our family.

If you feel led to send your child to public school, seek God's face in how that will play out in your family. Seek him in how you disciple your child, so that he/she may be able to stand firm for their beliefs in the public school.

No matter what your leading, live out your faith in front of you kids by supporting and encouraging other sister in Christ. Christian women need other women. Do not let the enemy distract, destroy, and divide us.


Security in my choice to Homeschool

Satan is a Mean Girl, How He Divides Women of the Church

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