Sunday 4th of July 2021
Hindering our Children Pt. 1
Turn with me to Matthew chapter 18. This morning in our teaching on masculinity, femininity, marriage, and family, we come to family, or more specifically, parenting- receiving and bringing up little ones in the fear and admonition of the Lord so that the Gospel, and obedience to it, might be passed down from generation to generation. That's what we're after- that's what we're called to. Remember Malachi 2:15?
 Did he (God) not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.* When God put you and your spouse together in covenant, He was seeking something as the product of that union- godly offspring.
Two texts to begin our consideration of parenting:
 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them  and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,  but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.  "Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!
 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people,  but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."  And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Our Lord loves children. There is much about their disposition that is to be emulated by adults. Trust, humility, asking questions instead of assuming that you have the answers, a sweet unquestioning and unshakable faith in their father. We grow out of these things not because we become more mature, but because we become more prideful. We are not intended to become less trusting, less humble, less desirous of receiving answers from a reliable source, or have less faith and more verification as we age. We're just supposed to be a more thoughtful and mature version of those things which we see in our children.
In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus says that whoever causes a child to sin is storing up great wrath for himself. He clarifies His meaning in verse 7, saying, "it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!" Our Lord knows that children will stumble and sin by virtue of being in a world that seeks to entice them to follow their basest desires. He isn't holding one individual responsible for the existence of temptation in the world or for the stumbling of children into that temptation, but He is offering a special "woe," or warning, to those through whom the door to temptation is opened to children. He's saying, "doors to temptation are going to be opened, but they had better not be opened by you."
In Matthew 19 He says not to hinder the children from coming to Him. Don't erect barriers that would prevent children access to and understanding of Christ. Now I realize that these are general woes or warnings, but what group of people has the most frequent occasion to lead children into temptation, or to hinder them from coming to Christ? Naturally, it is those who have been given charge over them, parents. So, this morning, and at least one other week, we'll consider common ways that modern Christian parents tempt and hinder our children, to their detriment, and to our own.
Today, I'm going to focus on the most obvious and common way that modern Christian parents set up our children for failure, both tempting and hindering them, and that is that we do not give them a Christian education. That is, we do not obey Proverbs 22:6. You know it. "Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Now, let me pause here for a moment and make something clear. My aim here is not primarily to indict, but to refute some false doctrines. I do not believe that the majority of Christian parents who currently send their children to either public schools or pseudo-Christian schools are derelict, negligent, or intentionally tempting and hindering their children. I just think that they believe lies that need to be exposed as such.
Titus chapter 1 tells us to refute false doctrine, not to yell at Christians who don't yet know that the doctrines they are living out are false. So, there are some things that I want to convince you of this morning from God's Word and general observation, that perhaps you haven't considered. 1) There is no such thing as a religiously neutral education, and even if there were Christians shouldn't be interested in it. 2) That is why God's Word calls us to provide our children with a Christian education (Col 2- hollow and deceptive philosophies/ 2 Cor. 10- destroy those thoughts, don't put them down on the test to get a good grade). 3) The consequences of unfaithfulness to God's Word on this point are already evident to everyone in the room, we've just not all followed that evidence where it leads.
So to start the process of refuting false doctrine, we'll take the primary false belief of many Christian parents as it relates to educating their children. It goes something like this: "I'm sending my children to receive a morally and religiously neutral education from the state. I let them teach math, and we'll handle Bible and religious studies at home." This sounds reasonable to the lions share of Christian parents, but there are enormous problems here:
1-Non Christians aren't morally or religiously neutral.
 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.
2 Corinthians 6:14
 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?*
 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.  They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.  They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
In short, non-Christians are ignorant enemies of God with darkened hearts who we are told not to be in partnership with, and somehow we have taken from that an understanding that it is acceptable to send our children to them to be educated. I don't believe that it is acceptable, but even if it were, why would you want your children educated by ignorant enemies of God with darkened hearts?
So, non-Christians are, according to Scripture, not neutral and are therefore not capable of educating our children neutrally. But in truth, we didn't need those Bible verses in order to identify the lack of neutrality did we? Is the public school system religiously neutral, or is it in fact antagonist toward and opposed to the Christian faith?
Is the public school system neutral on the doctrine of creation or have they taken a stance on the doctrine of creation? It isn't neutrality to teach that there is no Creator and that the world leapt into existence by virtue of a Big Bang- that is an unscientific, non-verifiable faith proposition being asserted in place of the Christian doctrine of creation.
Is the public school system neutral on the doctrine of man and an understanding of human sexuality or have they taken a stance on that? It isn't neutral to teach that man is not fallen and sinful, therefore whatever his sexual preferences are must be respected and acknowledged as human rights.
Is the public school system neutral on the transgender debate or have they taken a stance? To quote Greg Bahnsen who is very helpful on this issue, "the non believer isn't neutral, and you shouldn't be either."
The lack of neutrality is immediately exposed by the fact that a public school teacher is allowed to say, "love is love," but is not allowed to say, "marriage is between a man and woman." That's not neutrality. It is a secular religion with stringently enforced dogmas; and I'm sure you know that those in the public school system who press against those dogmas will soon be excommunicated from the secular church that is the public school.
The lack of neutrality is also seen in the fruit that public education has borne. With each year of its reign what belief system is growing and what belief system is shrinking? Secularism continues to grow in influence while Christianity steadily declines. Why? Because one is taught at school to the exclusion of...no, in opposition to the other. And for those who don't like me referring to secularism as a belief system, let me prove it to you briefly:
Secularists like to cast themselves in the role of the rationalist. They don't belief themselves to have a belief system, they believe themselves to have facts. "I follow the science..." "I operate based on evidence and reason, not faith..." Okay, got it, that is awfully enlightened of you. Do you believe that it was wrong when Muslims in Mosul were throwing homosexuals off of buildings? Of course they believe that it was wrong, the problem is that can't account for rightness and wrongness because science doesn't tell you that. Empiricism doesn't get you there. Science may tell you what is, it doesn't tell you what ought to be.
When you start talking about rights and justice, and equity, you aren't talking about things that you can show me under a microscope. You're talking about metaphysical presuppositions that you cannot substantiate but strongly believe anyway. In other words, faith. Listen, there is nothing other than religion. All we've got are competing faith claims and the fastest way to expose that is by asking the questions, "why?" And, "who says?"
"Equal rights for trans people is a very important thing!" Why? Who says? "Well, I do and a lot of other people with blue hair and strange facial piercings!" Well, at one time in history much more normal, articulate, and socially well adjusted people agreed that enslaving people based on their skin color was okay...do we determine these things by general consensus then? What's your standard? To what source of authority are you appealing to ground your assertions? I can tell you this, it isn't one that you can show me under a microscope, demonstrate through the scientific method, or reason to in any sort of transcendental way. Why is that? Because it is a religious proposition, you have faith in it. And little is more obvious than that the people with the blue hair and the facial piercings as well as the public school that produced that group of people, have no problem whatever imposing their religious beliefs on us. They are not neutral, they are proselytizing, and increasingly, attempting to use the force of the government to pressure us into converting to their religion, or at a minimum, privatizing our own.
Basic Christian doctrine is not simply not taught in public schools, it is anathematized and argued against. Whether it is our understanding of creation or our understanding of marriage or our understanding of sexuality, all of these basic tenants of our faith are not simply put to the side in favor of purely academic pursuits, they are argued against as a matter of academic pursuit.
So it is simply false that public education is neutral, but even it was, Christians would be duty bound to reject it because a neutral education would fall woefully short of our theological commitments. We aren't commanded to educate our children neutrally, we're commanded to train them in the fear and admonition of the Lord- whole life, top to bottom, full immersion. Ephesians 6:4 says,  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. we're called to bring our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The word for instruction there is "Paideia." It means "the whole training and education of a child." I'm arguing that the Scriptures command that we give our children a Christian education, not a neutral one. So again, even if public school were neutral, and it isn't, Christians would still be obligated by God's Word make a different choice.
Let's talk briefly about the damage that is done to our children when we withhold a Christian education from them. And in order to be as fair as possible, I'm going to leave to the side the very real possibility and growing statistical reality that they go to public school and as a result of the influences there, determine that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Again, I'll leave that to side, not because it isn't a good point, just because it's too easy.
When we seek to have a Christian household, but do not offer our children a Christian education, we are teaching them to be inconsistent. During family devotions they'll here Romans 11:36,  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. They'll hear Colossians 1:17-18,  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Everything is from God and through God and to God! Christ holds all things together and He is absolutely preeminent in the world that He made! Then we'll send them to a public school for their formal education during which they'll hear not even a mention of the God whom we told them everything is about. How confusing. How conflicting. How contradictory. Our kids have no clue what Christ has to do with art or literature or history or math or any other cultural product because we've taught them that he has nothing to do with them by giving them an education that makes no reference to him. Even if it was neutral, it would still be Christless, and I'm submitting to you that a Christless education is not acceptable for Christian children.
So it damages our children in that it sends them conflicting messages regarding Christ's preeminence, but it is also damaging in that, since it is Christless, it is literally an exercise in non-sense. The fact that public education is an exercise in non-sense should be evident enough by virtue of the fact that on it's watch we have become the lest educated generation of Americans in our nations history, and yes, that is a verifiable fact, but what I'm interested in, is showing you why. It is because Christlessness is senselessness. Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge... Colossians 2:3, in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
No fear of God? No knowledge. No Christ? No wisdom and knowledge. The fact of these passages is demonstrable in our day with our departure from the fear of God and our rejection of Christ is it not? We've got no wisdom and knowledge, as evidenced by the fact that we want rights and equity and human value to emerge from a godless, purposeless world wherein we show honor to the soulless descendants of apes. Why? Who says? Non-sense.
When we send our children to public school we're teaching them that the beginning of knowledge is not the fear of the Lord because we've told them that their entire formal education can be overseen and directed by non-Christians with no reference to God or His word. We are training them to believe that God is unnecessary by removing Him from the very thing that we tell them is preparing for them for life.
When we send our children to public school we're sending them to be evangelized by a false religion. We've already demonstrated that secularism is it's own religion and that it is not neutral. So here's the question, would you send your children to be educated in the context of any other false religion? You sending them a Muslim day school, or maybe VKS over the summer? That's vacation Koran school in case that went over your head. Remember, the public school system which is committed to secularism has a doctrine of creation: Big Bang and Darwinian evolution. It has a doctrine of man: not fallen or sinful; trust your feelings. It has a theory of knowledge: everything we need to know can be surmised through the use of the scientific method and the application of reason. It has a standard of ethics: tolerance. Equity, diversity, and inclusion.
These are the basic components of every religion, it has a metaphysic, it has an epistemology, and it has an ethic, none of which can be substantiated empirically, because it is simply taken on faith. This is a rival religion, and when we send our children there we are bathing them in it's propositions, it's culture, and it's laws. And what did the Lord Jesus say? No one can serve two masters, you'll hate one and love the other. And it is clear from the data which master public school graduates generally end up hating.
When we send our children to public schools, we are boiling a kid in its mothers milk. Exodus 23:19 says not to boil a young goat in its mother's milk. What's the principle there? Don't use what was meant to sustain or nurture life as a means of harming or destroying it. Education is supposed to sustain and nurture our children's faith in Christ, not hinder, constantly challenge, or undermine it. Here's how I know that for many Christian kids, public school is the spiritual equivalent of boiling a kid in its mothers milk. Because we have a growing number of books, conferences, and summer camps now about how to help our children survive public high schools and colleges with their faith intact. Why would we send them to a place that we're just hoping they'll make it out of alive? Why would we intentionally send them to a place where 70% of the professing Christians apostatize?
Church, this is why God commands us to give our children a Christian education, lest they be carried away by hollow and deceptive philosophies the door to which was opened by us when we decided where they would go to school. Colossians 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. If it isn't according to Christ what is it but hollow and deceptive? But does your 13 year old know that? Can they identify what they're hearing and filter it through a Christian worldview? Not if they haven't received a Christian education.
How do you think that the social justice movement has been so easily wed to the Christian Church? And if you're following what's happening in the Southern Baptist Convention then you that it has been wed to the Christian Church...how'd that happen? Because when you go to church on the weekends and read the Bible for 10 minutes in the evening, you don't get a fully orbed world and life view that is anchored in Christ. So if He meant anything to you, such that you don't apostatize, you're happy to wave His Word over socialism because you're so biblically illiterate and uneducated that you don't realize that "Thou shalt not steal," also applies to the government. Hollow and deceptive philosophies have taken our kids by storm, and now, with the conspicuous emergence of CRT, intersectionality, transgenderism, pulling down and otherwise defacing historical landmarks in the name of justice, and the like, we can finally see that something is wrong, but it is time to admit that we didn't end up here by accident. This is no coincidence. There is really no room for the question, "how did we get here?"
We banished our children to this place. We sent them to Christless schools ensuring that the treasures of wisdom and knowledge would be withheld from them and then we act surprised at how unwise and inane they became. We boiled their brains in their education, destroying them with what was meant to make them strong.
I do not believe that I have overstated my case. I believe that our present reality buttresses and confirms it. I pray that my tone has been such that you are contemplative rather than combative. I pray that you are contrite rather than cantankerous. I pray that if you are currently sending your child to a public school that you will prayerfully consider God's word regarding your charge to bring your children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord and ask yourself, is church on the weekends and family devotions for 10 minutes a night what God meant by that? Go home today, sit with your spouse and say to the Lord, "search my heart and reveal if there be any grievous way in me."
If you're currently providing your children a non-public education, search your heart to make sure that it is for the right reasons. Not because COVID complicated things or because there was bullying or because the social scene wasn't benefiting your child...no. We aren't called to give them a non public education- it must be Christian. We give our children a Christian education because we are Christ's people and He calls us to. If you're currently providing your children a Christian education, but many of your Christian friends and family are not... lovingly, graciously, initiate that conversation. Help them to see. Refute the false doctrines that have led them to make such a decision for their household, and pray that the Spirit convinces and convicts them that they may bear fruit in keeping with repentance.