Biblical education is the principle strategy for Christian Dominion. Through the knowledge of God in an understanding of His world, Christians can reclaim the culture. Without a solid Christian foundation, however, which consists of a Biblically grounded world and life view, victory and dominion, even liberty and life itself, cannot be properly established. All life is to be viewed, and understood, through Biblical understanding.
The Knowledge of God
The knowledge of God is not simply a general idea of who God is, or of what His Laws and ordinances command, but rather a specific, well refined, applicable understanding of His purpose in His world. To know God is to be intimately familiar with His Law, which is the perfect revelation of His mind and will. To know God is to also know His purpose and plan for the world, and for the Christian community in general. This intimacy, if it is authentic, always translates into practical obedience which is then applied to every area of life's disciplines. The knowledge of God is the first precept in the acquisition of true, and applicable, wisdom.
Since there can be no sincere love toward God but that which is rightly founded upon a clear and extensive view of the Divine existence and perfection of His works, it is crucial that the Covenant Home be established upon the knowledge of God. It is through the Covenant home that accurate Christian education takes place. Before any academics are taught, the knowledge of God must be taught first. To teach upon any subject, apart from the knowledge of God, is to teach in vain. There is no true knowledge apart from God.
The Knowledge of God is Reformational
While the knowledge of God is doctrinal and instructional, it is also Reformational in nature. That is to say, the obedient disciple is being reformed by God's Law continually. There is always something new to learn and understand. Instruction and understanding is an ongoing journey. There is always some greater Godly virtue that the individual can strive for as he adds to his faith virtue, and to his virtue knowledge.
The first and greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul." This is the summation of all of the Lord's commands. It is the leading commandment of the Ten Commandments and the under-girding of all other specific Laws which are distilled in the Decalogue. The moral Laws of Scripture are to be applied to all life out of a sincere love toward God. True knowledge cannot exist without a sincere love toward God. Love toward God is the foundation of all knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
A common misunderstanding is that knowledge can exist in a vacuum, apart from God, and apart from an obedient love toward Him. This misunderstanding is just as pervasive in the churches as it is in secular circles. This "vacuum" concept of knowledge is dreadfully false. Motive is everything. For knowledge to be transformed into profitable understanding, and distilled into fruitful application, an obedient love toward God must first be established.
Epistemology is the study of knowledge. All education has as its foundation in some form of knowledge base. All philosophy has an epistemological root. Yet, not all epistemology is true. Not all knowledge is correct. And certainly not all knowledge is beneficial. Neither is all knowledge Theistic in nature. In fact, all knowledge which is outside of the Biblical Epistemological Sphere is humanistic, and therefore, by definition, it is anti-Christian and dangerous. Raw knowledge is insufficient for profitability. It must be based in the knowledge of God. True education must have, as its foundation, a Biblical Epistemology in order for it to be true and beneficial.
Biblical Education is Covenantal
In the mid to latter portion of the 20th century the home education movement was almost non-existent. Except for a few faithful pioneers, most children attended government schools. Although the change from Covenant home education to public education began in the early 1800's, it did not mature into Leviathan until later in the 20th century.
The United States government, forgetting their earlier colonial Christian history, and entirely ignoring their federal Constitution, persecuted and prosecuted home schooling families. Children were physically removed from the stewardship of their parents and forced into Government education institutions. Parents were fined and jailed, after being terrorized by the American Gestapo Truant Patrol. All these actions took place under the guise of "child protection laws."
The philosophy behind the removal of children from their homes was not to better their education, nor was it an attempt to protect them from some perceived plague of ignorance. It was not about protecting the children, but rather it was about protecting the state's control over the upcoming generation. Government education is about control. It is all about lordship - who rules.
The government schools had bought into the Messianic complex, thinking themselves to be the divine deliverer. Education would become the new salvation. Secular-humanism would become the state religion. Suddenly, parents were no longer fit to raise their children. Without warning, the state would strike the final blow and dictate education policy. They would ordain themselves as the caretakers of the children. We are now experiencing the new order of education, and it is destroying our culture.
Today, in the beginning of the 21st century, home school education is pandemic. After years of struggle, political, and legal debate, home education is a popular alternative to state run education. In every state there are laws specifically designed to address the home school issue. Most state legislation permits home schooling, yet seeks to maintain oversight and regulatory influence. Some state laws are more favorable to the movement, offering a greater liberty, while others are dreadfully restrictive and oppressive.
One thing is common in all state laws - i.e. the drive to regulate the curriculum of the child. What the state has come to understand, and what the home schooling parent needs to understand, is that curriculum directly influences academic epistemology. If the curriculum is state dictated, and therefore subject to testing by the state educational oversight committee, the student is forced to learn state programs which are epistemologically secular and humanistic. There is no room for a Biblical epistemological foundation if the curriculum is secular-humanistic. The power to test is the power to control. The only solution is to be entirely free from any and all state intervention. The Covenant of the family before God, in the area of education, categorically forbids any other institution, especially the government, from teaching the children. To violate this Covenant Commandment is to rebel against God.
Home Education Success
Home schooling often attributes its success to a number of factors. The poor academic standards of the government schools, coupled with the danger of death through crazed student terrorists are only two. For the most part, home schooling families teach for "religious reasons". But what does this mean? Or perhaps a better question is "what should this mean?" What exactly is the religious reason for home schooling?
The only Biblical reason for teaching a Christo-centric view of the world is Covenantal. It is not about how dangerous the schools are or how poor the academic standards are. It is about the Covenant each and every true Christian has with God. It is about an eternal promise, sworn with an oath, and sealed through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ that holds the true basis for home education. The Christian teaches a Biblical epistemology because he is bound by God's eternal decree of Covenant. God holds His people accountable, so as to be responsible in the keeping of His Covenant, especially when it comes to the future generation.
The Christian community needs to contemplate this idea of the Covenant more closely as the only "real" reason for the home schooling endeavor. All other reasons pale in the face of the Covenant obligation to teach the children of the Lord a Biblically based, Christ-centered program of education. The only religious reason for home schooling which will stand the Biblical test of legitimacy, is the Covenant reason.
The Covenant Question of Education
The answer to the home school question should simply be "Covenant". The answer to the question, "Why do we teach Biblical Epistemology at home?" needs to be answered in Covenantal terms. The Christian household is in a Covenantal relationship with its Lawgiver, God and King. The fact of the matter is that this answer should be the only acceptable answer for any Biblical home-schooler.
Education is not a matter of Covenant or no Covenant. It is a matter of who's covenant. Either the home-schooler educates according to God's Covenant or the home-schooler educates according to man's covenant. It is a question of Theism or Humanism. It cannot be both.
What does it mean to be in Covenant?
The Covenant binds the Christian, and the Christian household, to an unbreakable oath. This oath, initiated by God, is made between the Lawgiver and His people. The Covenant details Who's in authority, what the nature of the hierarchy is, what are the standards and laws to be followed, what are the consequences for keeping or breaking those laws, and what will be the long term outlook for either obedience or disobedience. In other words, are there long term blessings for Covenant fidelity?
The Covenant is made between God and His people. He is the Supreme authority. He makes the rules. He transcends all other laws and authorities. By His Grace the Covenant is established, and by the obedience to His Law, the Covenant is maintained. The recipients of the Covenant are people of grace and people of law. By the grace of God they hold fast to the Law of God. These are Covenant keepers. Those that forsake the Law are condemned as lawless. These are Covenant breakers. Home education is a Covenantal affair. It is that simple.
Covenant Education is to be Executed by the Parents - Particularly the Fathers
Deuteronomy 6 details the manner in which Covenant education is to be accomplished. In simple terms the Lord commands that it is to be done at home.
It is to be done as a family. Both father and mother are to be actively involved in the process of education.
God carefully chooses the words commandment, statute, and judgment to exemplify His desire for the Covenant home. The word commandment, is the Hebrew word mitzvah, which is translated precisely as, to give a command or series of commands. The Hebrew word for statute is choq, which is taken from the Hebrew root for Lawgiver. Choq means to be bound by a code, or a law. The word judgment is a judicial term. It is the act of deciding a situation as to its good or evil. This word conveys the idea of discretion.
Each of these terms are carefully used to instruct the Covenant home in the proper education of the children. These commandments are to regulate, without deviation, the manner and method behind Covenant education.
What is important to understand is that whenever God gives a commandment, statute or judgment, while it is universally binding for all people, He is particularly instructing "fathers". The commandment for the Biblical education of the children falls to the father initially. Mothers are helpers in the process, but the fathers are to be the principle - headship instructors of the home.
Fathers are the Covenantal Headship leaders. They are the "federal heads" of the home. This gender based, providential role, of a husband and father, places full responsibility upon them for the proper instruction of the household. Deuteronomy 6 is a direct commandment to the fathers firstly.
Solomon's instructional proverbs are the example. His instructions are patriarchal in nature, from a father to a son. Since it given to the sons to inherit the leadership role of the home, Solomon first instructs his sons, then the whole of the household. The instruction, therefore, is specific as well as general.
While the instructions come initially from the father, with the commandment of obedience for the son, Solomon is careful to include the importance of obeying the mother's counsel. To obey the "law of thy mother" is as important as giving heed to the instruction of the father. The two are essentially one. Rather than downplaying the law of the mother, he exalts it, and commends it as something to be highly regarded. Although the two parents work together, yet it is the father, as the family head, that holds the greater responsibility to uphold the Covenant. If the family is to be blessed of God, it will hinge upon whether or not the father is a faithful Covenant keeper, or a rebellious Covenant breaker.
Covenant Education, Biblical Epistemology and Dominion
When the Divine principles of Covenant education are faithfully practiced, God brings strength and blessing to the family. Covenant fidelity presupposes an educational approach with Christ as the center of all learning. A strict Biblical epistemology is essential. Many home schooling families merely add Christ to academics and call it Christian education. This secularizing of academics is exactly what the government humanistic schools do. The only change is that now it is done at home. Christ must have pre-eminence in order for home schooling to be Biblically faithful.
The faithful execution of Covenant home education is blessed with God's promise of dominion. The family that adheres to a Biblically based world view is promised many days upon the earth. This language infers that the family will be an influential leadership force in the culture with positive results. Furthermore, God promises that the Covenant family will increase mightily, inferring that they will succeed in their mandate to take dominion over their environment.
On the other hand, the opposite is true also. That family which denies the Covenant, and does not execute the commission of a faithful Biblically based program of education, will not be blessed, but will suffer ruin and an eventual cutting off from God's blessing. The rebellious family, by virtue of their rebellion against the Covenant, is in fact showing that they were never part of the Covenant Community to begin with. ("Depart from me ye who work iniquity i.e. lawlessness) I never knew you." Matt 7) To be outside of the Covenant is to be cursed of God. To educate children apart from Biblical Epistemology is to sacrifice them to the gods of the heathen.
The Deciding Factor
The strength of the culture depends upon the Christian community. There is a direct coloration between Covenantal fidelity and cultural blessing. If the Christian community is ever going to regain the culture for the Glory of God, leaving a nation of righteousness for their posterity, then they need to align themselves with the Scriptures. This alignment must be a specific alignment, not merely a whimsical, superficial ascent to the Law of God and the Supremacy of His authority. The Holy Canon must be the regulative, and only regulative, element for faith and practice. Without this mindset, the next generation will be as the last - complacent and ignorant, making them prey for a generation of humanistic vipers.
Vindicae Contra Tyrannos
Soli Deo Gloria
Originally published in 2003
is the founder and dean of the New Geneva Leadership Academy, pastor of the Reformed Bible Church in VA, and lecturer and CEO of the Institute for Theonomic Reformation. He has been involved in Christian education for more than 30 years operating a home school academy in addition to writing many monographs, articles and curricula in the area of Christian education. Dr. Raymond lives with his wife Jane and has three grown children and two grandchildren. Rev. Dr. Raymond's current projects include: teaching 40 new students from Rwanda, expanding his student reach to Australia and working as a court advocate in the local juvenile Justice system.