What Sovereign Grace Ministries’ “Flagship” Church Teaches Parents About Their Children’s Education – part i

December 30, 2009 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

As you might have noticed, I am a big fan of the transcript.  I think we can learn a great deal from reading and studying the exact words and statements that pastors and teachers make when they preach sermons or give presentations.  It can be highly instructive to not just hear certain ideas, but to be able to chew on them – to reflect upon and analyze the implications of how the speaker chose to connect those ideas together, of how the speaker chose to structure his teaching.

What follows here today is a transcript of approximately the first third of a talk that GS gave at Covenant Life Church on February 21, 2009.  (You can access the audio by clicking here.)  I actually completed this transcription quite awhile ago but have been reluctant to post it – mainly because it’s been my experience that conversations on this blog about homeschooling tend to degenerate quickly into arguments. 

So, before we begin, I’d like to make it VERY clear that I am NOT interested in sparking a debate about homeschooling versus public schooling versus private Christian schooling.  I realize that this IS the subject matter of Mr. Somerville’s teaching.  However, I believe this transcript is important NOT so much because of WHAT Mr. Somerville teaches, but rather because of HOW he teaches it.  You may find yourself agreeing with the vast majority of what Mr. Somerville says.  I myself actually agree with many of his thoughts. 

But what is significant about this particular teaching is NOT whether Mr. Somerville makes true or false statements about his subject matter.  Instead, what I’d like us to pay special attention to is the way that he seeks to sound very open-minded and yet nonetheless clearly conveys his own strong personal preferences…which his audience, unless they are very discerning, will almost inevitably find themselves absorbing and following.

So…

If you wish to discuss this transcript, PLEASE keep in mind that I am primarily interested in analyzing the manner in which Mr. Somerville (and by extention, the majority of SGM’s leaders/pastors) seeks to shape his audience’s thinking while at the same time remain seemingly “neutral.” 

I am NOT interested in arguing about the merits of the various statements that Mr. Somerville makes about the different educational choices.

Thanks!

That said, here is the first part of the transcript…

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[GS speaking:]

For the last few months, my wife and I have been talking…and thinking…and talking some more…about what our fourth child should do for school next year.  The process has…made me wonder why in the world am I teaching this seminar today, because it has been very…confusing for us.  But if making educational decisions was easy, we wouldn’t be here, would we.  It’s a big…and complicated…decision.  I…respect you so much for being here today, I, I want to thank you on behalf of the pastors…for the humility you show by coming and seeking counsel…seeking guidance.  I respect that, we respect that.  And on behalf of your children…who probably don’t realize at this point in their lives how much you’re sacrificing to lead them and care for them.  I want to thank you on their behalf.  Someday I trust they will thank you themselves, but for now, on their behalf, thank you for loving them…and for making the investment to try to figure out what’s best…for their lives. 

On your way in you should have gotten a couple of handouts and one of those large index cards.  Ah, the outline for today, ah…list of pros and cons that we’re gonna spend quite a chunk of time on later in the morning.  Then the index card is in case you have any questions…after the session, we’ll take a ten minute break or so and then have a panel where Dave Brewer, Jamie Leach, and I – three of the pastors who are involved in education here at the church – will do our best to answer your questions.  We won’t taking questions during the seminar, but if you would, as questions come to mind, write those down, we will collect those during the break and then answer those to the best of our ability…um…in the second half.  All right? 

What’s the purpose of our time together this morning?  Well, we’re gonna take some time right at the outset to talk about the bigger issue of how do we know God’s will for our lives?  How do we decide…what He wants us to do?  From there we’re gonna go into some general principles for wise decision making about education.  Then we’re gonna take the bulk of our time to look at the pros and cons…of five different educational models.  Public school, secular private school, Christian private school, homeschool, and what I call hybrid school, some, ah, combination of homeschool and traditional schooling.  We’ll look at the pros and cons and provide you with questions to ask about each of those models.  I’m gonna wrap up by telling you about the two models that Covenant Life Church provides as a service to its members…and you’re gonna have a chance to ask questions of Jamie Leach, our head of school, and Rita Hoover, who’s our administrator for the homeschool program.  Both of them will be available during the break…and after the session to answer any questions you might have…give you information…ah, we wanna make sure they are here to answer your questions.  The last thing we’re gonna talk about before we finish is, how do we educate…our children…in a Gospel-centered community?  How can we do this in a way that honors……the Gospel.  

All right?  Before we start, let’s ask for God’s help, help for me as I teach and help for each of you as you seek…to make a decision that honors God…and best prepares your child.  All right?  Let’s pray. 

Father, we thank you for the gift of our children.  These are…priceless treasures that you’ve put into our hands for this season…and one day we will stand before you and give an account of how we stewarded these gifts.  Lord, our hearts are full of love for them.  We would lay down our lives for them gladly…just to see them enjoy eternal life with you.  Father, today we…face…this…important and challenging question – what…educational context…would be best, would be wisest for them?  We recognize our need for your help.  Lord, we do not put our trust in our own understanding, but we humble ourselves today and say, “Guide us, speak to us, show us, show us what would please you and serve them.”  I pray for your help today as I seek to serve these…saints…and the children they love so much.  In Jesus’ name, amen.  Amen. 

Well, if I could send you out of here knowing how to know God’s will, it would be well worth the time you took to invest in this seminar.  Ah, I can’t guarantee that.  I wish I could.  But I want to share with you some principles…for understanding this…that I think…will be a real help to you not only in this decision but in other aspects in your life…as well.  How…can we know…God’s will?  Well first we start with a promise.  God cares for you and your children as a shepherd cares for his sheep.  He promises to lead you to green pastures and to still waters.  This…is the God we go to for guidance.  Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.  I will counsel you with my eye…upon you.”  I just wanna remind you today, this is God’s…perspective of you today.  Counseling you, instructing you with His eye upon you and your children…for good.  For blessing.  God’s provided supernaturally powerful resources for our guidance.  He’s given us His Word, He’s given us His indwelling Holy Spirit.  The combination of those two helps us immeasurably with guidance. 

A book that I’m gonna be talking about a lot during this first session is called Step By Step by James Petty.  Petty writes, “Guidance comes when you learn to apply the Word of God to your life in the wisdom provided by the Holy Spirit.”  That’s how guidance comes.  Rightly applying the word with the help of the Holy Spirit to the specific issues of life.  OK?  So that’s the promise.  There is guidance…from a good God…waiting for us.  

Now, Petty in his book talks about two models…by which Christians seek to know God’s will for their lives.  The traditional model might be described as trying to hit the bull’s eye of God’s best.  Trying to hit the bull’s eye, trying to figure out, what is that thing that would most please God…in any given situation.  Now here are the assumptions…underlying this model.  The first is that God has designed an ideal…detailed life plan which He wants me to discover and live by.  K?  Some Christians think of this as a heavenly road map.  Maybe it’d be a GPS system by today’s standards.  But a heavenly map that guides me in decisions like what job should I take?  Whom should I marry?  Or, where should I send my child to school?  In this model, my decisions are like arrows…that I shoot at a target.  Now the goal is to hit that small red bull’s eye, the – the – the very middle of God’s will for me, the very best.  In this model the substance is that if I miss the target completely…in other words, if my decisions fall outside the boundary of God’s commands, so if I commit adultery in my marriage, I’m way off the mark, I’ve gone off the target, well then I’m in sin.  If my decision’s completely missed the mark, I’m in sin. 

But what if my arrows hit inside the target…but…not the very middle, not the bull’s eye?  Well, according to this view, which is very common among Christians, as I read the book, I thought, that exactly describes the way I understood decision-making growing up, if I miss that target, I’m not in sin, but I have missed God’s best for my life, right?  If I get it in the target but I miss the bull’s eye, well then, I – I’m not sinning, but it’s not adequate, either.  It’s not as good as it could be.  I’ve missed God’s best.  And I think as Christians there are a lot of us that approach decision-making that way.  Now, Petty argues for a different model.  Now, I want to take a minute to present this for you and see if this makes sense, because I think this is more consistent with the teaching of Scripture. 

He looks at three circles of biblical guidance, and you’ll see this on your outline.  The issues of our lives can be divided into these three categories.  The first, that inner circle, would be things that God clearly prohibits.  And you’ll notice that that’s the smallest circle.  There aren’t a whole lot of these things, but there are things that God…clearly…outlaws for us as Christians.  We can know…that it is wrong…to have an affair, to commit adultery.  We just know that’s wrong.  We don’t have to wonder, could this be the will of God in this situation?  That’s forbidden.  We must refrain from all these actions all the time.  Cheating on my tax return, I’ve always got to avoid that, that’s always gonna be wrong.  Now that’s relatively small circle, it’d be nice if more of our choices were in that, because those are the easy ones.  The larger second circle, he refers to as the application of God’s commands.  

Let me see if I can explain this.  God’s told us a lot of different things in His Word.  He’s told us how to live.  For example, He tells me to love my wife and live with her in an understanding way.  He also tells me to love my children, to serve them, not to exasperate them, but to train them up in the way they should go.  What happens when I come home at the end of a day, and my wife and I have a date night scheduled, but our child as a fever?  Suddenly I find that there is a conflict between two of God’s commands.  It is good for me to love my wife by taking her on a date, it’s good for me to love my child by staying home and caring for him or her as the child’s sick.  What do I do in that situation when there are competing goods? 

[Kris says:  Is he serious?  Is “date night” really such an inviolable, non-negotiable part of God’s commands?  Would anybody within SGM actually feel ANY sort of conflict or question whatsoever with postponing date night to stay home with a sick child?  If not, this is an odd example to have chosen, and if so – even more bizarre!]

This happens a lot in the Christian life.  I believe that our educational decisions fall largely in this category, where there are competing goods.  We’re trying to figure out which one makes most sense in any given situation.  Another common example would be marriage.  The traditional bull’s eye would say that there’s one right person out there, and your job is to find her.  And some people waste a lot of time later in life saying, “I’m not sure I married the right person.”  That’s sad.  That has real implications. 

The more biblical view would stress that instead of seeking a sign about whether or not this is the right one or not, we should…carefully, wisely, patiently apply what we know of God’s commands and character to this decision.  OK, well what does God tell us?  He says, it’s important that the person be a believer.  It’s important that the person model Christlike character.  Ah, if you’re a woman considering a husband, it’s important to know that he’s gonna love you as Christ loves the church.  Uh, Scripture is full of commands to seek counsel from other people before a decision of this magnitude.  That’s always wise.  D’ya see how those biblical principles come into play with a decision like that?  I think it’s unhealthy for us as Christians to pray for that sign, “Is this the one?”  Though I think I did that, probably several times…I’m glad God answered me despite the lack of wisdom.  But – applying wisdom, applying what we know of God and His Word to those specific decisions, is a more biblical way to do it.  Petty writes, “God equips us to be a people with a growing ability to make the connections between the everyday issues and the living God.”  Ultimately that’s my hope for you as you take this seminar today, that God would help you make connections between this everyday decision and what you know about God, His character, and His commands for you.

Now the third area is called Christian liberty.  We won’t talk about this much, but, in this category are all those decisions that aren’t in the other two categories.  Everything in this sphere would in God’s eyes qualify as good, just, or right.  So, some examples.  I’m signing up for internet service, am I gonna choose Earthlink or Comcast?  Now, I’ve gotta look at finances and things like that, but other than those issues, if the prices are just the same, probably in God’s eyes those are gonna be equally valid.  OK?  Choosing what socks I’m gonna wear.  My wife might disagree, she might question the choice of a certain pair of socks, but for me, white or dark, I don’t think that’s gonna matter that much to God.  OK?  Uh, do I prefer salt water fishing or freshwater fishing, am I gonna drive a Chevy or a Ford?  These in God’s eyes are equally valid, assuming we’ve looked at those other things with finances, etcetera.  OK?  That’s the kind of decision that would fall into this category of Christian liberty.

The important thing to know about this whole model is that it frees us from a fear of missing God’s very best.  It – it frees us to think more biblically about those issues and be, um, free from that paralyzing fear.  Petty says, “Christians are free forever from a fear-driven need to make sure that every choice they make is according to God’s will.  OK, please understand, it’s VERY important for us to seek counsel, very important for us to obey God’s commands in our decisions, but – to know that God has given us His Word and His Spirit, and then He’s given us minds that have been created in the image of God to make those decisions in a way that honors him.  K?  He’s authorized us to do that.  And we can do that confidently as we apply His Word to these decisions.

Here’s one other thing that gives us confidence.  God has put the guardrail of His providence along the entire course of our lives.  The Bible teaches, according to Petty, that God number one does have one specific plan for your life.  K, the Bible does teach that in the sovereignty of God, there is a plan.  But he also teaches, number two, the events and choices of your life irresistibly and sovereignly work that plan in every detail.  In other words, God has a plan, and in His providence, in His sovereignty, He insures that your life conforms to that plan, whether you know what you’re doing or not.  That’s encouraging.  It’s encouraging.  Another quote that I listed on your outline.  Consider this.  “We’re all hurtling down the mountain of life with turns and switchbacks constantly confronting us.  Yet we can have confidence that God has established the boundaries of our lives.  He holds us carefully in His hand despite the dangers that we face and the foolish decisions we make.  Only in heaven will we know the number of times we’ve bumped into the guardrail of God’s plan and were protected by God’s gracious purpose.”

Now that should encourage you.  Because what it means ultimately is that though it’s right for you to think hard about this, pray about this, get counsel about this, when you’ve made your decision, you can have confidence that God, in His mercy and providence, has already caused you to conform to His will for your life.  OK?  Now He may wind up taking you in a different direction three months later, or a year later, and you may find that the guardrail curved at that stretch of your life in a way that you didn’t expect.  But our confidence is that God really is in wonderful gracious control of our lives.  We can trust that.

I do want to recommend this book to you.  Some of these thoughts may be new, they may challenge the way you thought about decision-making, this book is in the bookstore, it’s just a great biblical overview of how to think about seeking God’s guidance in the issues of life.  I’ve found it very very helpful.

OK?

Well, let’s turn the corner from general principles about that to specific principles for making educational decisions.  I got a few statements here about wise parents.  And, um, as I read these, I’m not sure I qualify for this, but I’m trying, and I know you are, too.

First is that wise parents own the responsibility for education.  They own it.  They know that this is something God has given them responsibility for with their children.  God says to us in Deuteronomy 6, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  Ye shall teach them diligently to your children.  You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk in the way, when you lie down and when you rise.”  He tells us in Proverbs 22, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  This is our job.  We may delegate this to someone else, but ultimately, we’re responsible for the direction and the outcome.

[Kris says:  I’m having a difficult time reconciling the assertions in this paragraph with all the quotes about the “guardrail of God’s sovereignty” talk in the previous section.  If God is sovereign and we’ve made our sincere, best effort to do the right thing according to His Word, then we’re NOT actually responsible for the outcome.]

Second, wise parents seek counsel.  Proverbs 15 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”  I, I commend you for your wisdom in being here today.  We need counsel in these decisions.  I wanna encourage you to talk with your pastors about this, if you find that you’re really wrestling with it, torn between two good options, I did this with my care group, ah, in the last few weeks, just saying, “You know, I’m making this decision, I don’t know what’s best, I’m kind of in the middle, do you have any advice or me?”  These are wise men, and they’ve been through this decision themselves.  I’d urge you to talk to your friends.  I’d encourage you to make it a practice to talk to somebody who’s doing it differently than you are and see what you can learn from them.  Be provoked and challenged by their reasons, by their motives.  That’s a great way to approach decision-making.  So let other people challenge your thinking and see what God tells you.  Do that.  Seek counsel, seek a MULTITUDE of counsel from a variety of sources.

[Kris says:  This sounds great.  But among those in Mr. Somerville’s audience of Covenant Life Church attendees and members, what is the prevailing counsel going to be, particularly if the member does bring his questions to a pastor as well?  The way that SGM trains its people to view pastors as their authorities means that a pastor’s word is going to carry more weight than the word of another member, ESPECIALLY someone outside the SGM fold.  Another question that comes to mind is, would an SGMer even consider seeking counsel FROM an outsider, a Christian person not within SGM?  I don’t really think they typically would.

So all this praise for seeking counsel and all these admonitions to seek counsel are sort of meaningless, because the end result is more about making the confused person likely to do what the other SGMers are doing.  Or what his pastor is doing, which is almost always going to be either Covenant Life School or homeschooling.

It SOUNDS so open-minded and reasonable, for a pastor to tell the people to seek counsel from people who are “doing it differently than you’re doing it.”  But…is this at all likely to happen, given that most of the available advice-giving pool within SGM is going to be doing the same thing anyway?  Is it even possible in most SGM churches to seek counsel from someone approaching things from a different perspective?

If it’s NOT possible, then why is a pastor standing up and telling people to do something that won’t, in all likelihood, be able to happen?

Seems to me this is more about SOUNDING open-minded.]

Third, wise parents ensure that education is biblically based.  Biblically based.  Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of the Lord is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  [Kris says:  I would have been interested here to receive a more in-depth explanation about how this verse applies to the educational decision…especially since we just finished the convoluted treatise about how God’s will isn’t necessarily one specific thing (a “bull’s eye”).]  First Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink – or educate – whatever you do, do ALL to the glory of God.”  No matter what educational model we choose for our children, we are responsible before God as parents to ensure that they are learning to think biblically.  To view all of knowledge through the lens of God’s truth. 

Now, your family may decide that public school is the best option for your child at a given time.  If that’s the case – and I think that is a legitimate choice for many families in many different circumstances – if that is the decision you feel God is leading you to make, you are gonna need to think very hard about this issue.  How will you compensate for the lack of biblical instruction your child’s receiving in the public school?  Without your active discipleship, your child’s mind is naturally going to be conformed to the world, because that is what he or she will encounter in a public school classroom.  Um, teachers are not permitted to teach biblical truth in the classroom, though there are some wonderful, Godly teachers in the public schools who are influencing kids in different ways, but they’re not permitted to talk about it in the classroom in a biblically consistent way.  How can you compensate?  By asking good questions, by monitoring your child’s learning, by supplementing that education with other resources.  K?  How can you do that.  Not just – evolution and creation, though that’s one of the obvious ones, but – in all things, in all things.  In history, is God viewed by your child as the author of history?  Does your child ever think of God as being sovereignly involved in those events?  Just so many wonderful opportunities to insert that way of thinking into your child’s education.

[Kris says:  I think most parents listening to this presentation would find the level of monitoring that Mr. Somerville is describing here to be almost beyond the scope of their capabilities.  I mean, what he is describing is essentially homeschooling your child AFTER he comes home from a full day of school.  In other words, you’d have to go through your child’s whole history lesson with him to make sure that your child has the right perspective on God’s sovereignty in history.

On the flip side, for those parents already leaning away from public schooling, setting up such a daunting task is going to make them even less motivated to go in the public school direction.

So Mr. Somerville says he believes that public school is a “legitimate choice,” and yet it’s going to be close to impossible for parents to do it right, as SGM would define doing it right.  It will be a rare parent who is able to monitor his child’s curriculum closely enough and supplement it thoroughly enough to ensure that everything is taught with the proper biblical worldview.]

The other end of the spectrum, your child may be enrolled in a Christian school, and you may think, great, this one’s solved, I’ve put him in a Christian school.   Well, praise God for Christian teachers who are working very hard to make sure that math, and science, and Spanish, and English, and history are all coming from a biblical perspective.  Praise God for that.  It’s a wonderful help.  But, YOU still have a responsibility to supplement that, to reinforce that, to monitor that, to model that in your own home – that’s still your own responsibility.  So please don’t say, “Good, I don’t have to worry about that one, since I enrolled them in a Christian school.” 

[Kris says:  Um, would there really be many parents in angst-filled SGM who would think that?  I taught in a non-SGM Christian school, among Christian parents of nearly all persuasions, and I hardly ever encountered a parent who had that sort of laissez faire attitude.  Just add to what’s happening there and make sure that your child’s mind is being formed to think in a biblically consistent way.  Honestly, this feels more like window-dressing so that his urgent reminders to public school parents about not falling down on their discipling job don’t seem unbalanced.  Like I said, I taught among parents from all sorts of Christian traditions, at a MUCH less homogenous school than Covenant Life School, and it was rare to encounter a parent who thought that plunking their kid in a Christian school was all they needed to do for his spiritual development.]

Wise parents pursue parallel goals in education.  Now, think of this one with me for a minute.  I – I came to this conclusion a few years ago, I was working on an information session to help parents think about college choices, and I realized, you know, these same principles apply.  When we’re thinking about education, we’re trying to accomplish two goals for our children.  One is – and I would say this is fundamental and essential – we’re trying to prepare our children for a life of Godliness.  OK?  They are eternal souls, and this is what’s gonna matter in the end, whether they know Jesus Christ as Savior.  So, we do have to think about making sure that they have a personal relationship with Christ, teaching them in that, leading them in that, discipling them in that.  [Kris says:  But – hmm – SGM claims to be Reformed.  SGM claims to believe in election.  Yet at the same time, it is very clear – judging from SGM’s strict stance against baptizing children, even children who are persistently professing their faith in Christ and requesting baptism – that SGM does not believe that adults can have any real confidence in their kids’ salvation, not until these kids are essentially grown up and have “proven” their faith by exhibiting “fruit.”  (You can access what SGM teaches about kids and baptism by going to this page.  There appears to be a section specifically for parents, too, but when I attempted to access that pdf, the document seems to have been removed, so the link may not work.)

So in the SGM world, how on God’s green earth can anyone ever “make sure” that his child has “a personal relationship with Christ”?  Theologically speaking, if SGM is Reformed, and believes in God’s sovereign election while at the same time trains parents to doubt and question their children’s salvation, there is NO WAY this can be done.  Yes, a Christian parent can teach his child.  He can lead his child by example.  But – particularly if one believes in the concept of election without also believing in covenant theology – there can really be no guarantee that one’s child will respond to Christ and have “a personal relationship” with Him.]    It’s very important that we help them grow in the grace and knowledge of God.  It’s vital that we model for them the Christian’s need for the local church, the Christian’s call to be involved in the local church.  It’s vital that we show them as they’re growing up what that looks like, so that when they are young adults, they are ready to take their place in the church and see the importance of that.  All those are vital.  Preparing our children for a life of Godliness.  [Kris says:  Note here how Mr. Somerville slips in the part about modeling for your children the “Christian’s call to be involved in the local church.”  Later in this talk, he will suggest that children in public schools are much less able to be involved in the local church.  So, if you take this portion of his talk to heart, that an important part of educating your children is “preparing them for a life of Godliness,” and if you associate (as Mr. Somerville clearly does) a “life of Godliness” with heavy involvement in the local church, and THEN if you also absorb the part about how participation in church activities is more difficult for the public-schooled child, which way are you more likely to go in your decision-making?  The implication is clear:  if you’re serious about preparing your children for a “life of Godliness,” you WON’T put them in public schools!]

At the same time, we’re responsible to prepare our children for a life of fruitfulness.  Of fruitfulness.  I would argue that if parents only focused on Godliness and failed to focus on fruitfulness, they would miss out on one of the essential responsibilities they have in parenting.  Now, I’d argue for the flipside as well, that if parents focus just on fruitfulness and minimize the importance of Godliness, they’d miss out on something crucial.  We’re called to do both.  We’re called to prepare our children for Godliness AND fruitfulness. 

So, in the area of fruitfulness, we – we’re commanded to teach them how to serve, how to become servants.  Jesus said, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servants.”  [Kris says:  I was expecting this portion to be about helping one’s child to take his place in the world as a productive self-supporting member of society.  Yet somehow he injects the idea of “servanthood” here.  It could just be a momentary derailment in his thinking, as he goes through his presentation.  But it’s odd.]  How are we training them in that?  How are we preparing them for a life of service?  God has given them specific gifts.  If you remember the parable of the talents, where God gave one talent to one and five talents to another – our children have received talents from God.  We’re responsible for training them how to be good stewards of those talents.  I Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s very grace.”  [Kris says:  This verse has nothing to do with the topic at hand.  This passage is speaking about gifts that God has given to believers, NOT every child.]  The talents and gifts God has given my child may be very different than what He’s given your child.  But one day they’re gonna give an account for those, and I think we’re gonna give an account for how we prepared them to use them.  We gotta think hard about this.  The implications are that my child’s education may look different from your child’s education because she has different gifts to steward than your child has.  OK, that’s an important thing to consider.  We’re responsible to help them steward those, and God has given those out in different measures, in different ways, to the body of Christ. 

Third thing to consider here is preparing our children to be salt and light in the world.  Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Just a thought here.  It’s a wonderful thing to guard your child, to protect your child from ungodly influences, to ensure that he or she puts down deep roots in the faith.  It’s also important for that child to make a difference in the world.  And it’s possible that parents would be so focused on protecting a child and strengthening a child’s personal faith that they would fail to prepare to engage the world, to make a difference, to interact effectively with those outside.  OK?  And again, it works both ways.  Someone could be so committed to the outside that they failed to prepare the child internally to strengthen those roots.  But – both are important.  OK?  

[Kris says:  Note that the very important idea of preparing our children to be salt and light in the world IS given a mention here.  But sadly, this idea will not be developed further.  Moreover, while CLC offers both a private Christian school as well as a homeschool support group, CLC does NOT offer any resources for parents who have their kids in public schools.  Why not?  If public school truly is a “legitimate choice” for some families, and if it is important to prepare kids to be salt and light, why doesn’t SGM work on providing parents and public school students with some resources for being salt and light in their schools?

Moreover, you’ll note that this concept NEVER comes up again – not even when Mr. Somerville supposedly addresses some drawbacks of homeschooling.]

So, parallel goals in parenting.  A life of Godliness, and a life of fruitfulness, and our educational choices are going to play into that significantly.

Lastly, wise parents realize that one size does not fit all.  This has become more and more clear to me over time, and I think this is a vital thing for us to understand.  There is no perfect or always superior form of education.  I – I want to say it strongly, ah, if I’m wrong, I trust God will help me see that in the future, but I am convinced, there is, there’s not one single model of education that is always best for every child in every situation.  Now I don’t always hear that from parents.  I – I talk to some parents who seem to believe that there IS one model of education that is always best, for every child and every family, and if I’m not doing that myself, I can feel judged.  We’ll talk more about that at the end.  I believe that that’s erroneous.  I don’t believe that Scripture teaches us that.  I think that there are too many factors to allow for that one perfect solution for every child.

[Kris says:  I am REALLY GLAD that Mr. Somerville does say – with his words, anyway – that there is no one right educational choice that is right all the time for every child.  That’s an awesome step away from the how SGM has pressured parents to homeschool in previous years.

However…when we proceed with the rest of the talk, which I will post soon, we will be able to look at just how a person might end up feeling about public education (as well as “secular private schools”) after he or she had sat through this presentation.]