Adoration of the Saints

Last night I attended a live taping of WHI, and was this close to presiding OHS Horton, OHS Clark (subbing for OHS Riddlebarger), and hosting pastor OHS Hyde. I loved every minute, and even my Reconstructionist buddies (frequenters of the Outhouse will know that I roll with Kazooless and Ron Smith) were able to look past their distaste for 2K enough to agree that Selling Jesus: Consumerism and Market Values in the Church is not a good thing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to press the flesh with any of the luminaries (and the post-event Irish pub hangout was a wash, as the pub was already at capacity before 100 Calvinists attempted to swarm in). I do have a new post brewing, inspired partly by the event, but for now I just wanted gloat to the non-West-Coast-based Outhouse Sitters in a timely fashion.

[UPDATE] If anybody that was there can help me track down the Nathan Hatch quote(s) that Clark read at the very beginning, I’d appreciate it.

[UPDATE2] Nathan Hatch, Democritization of Religion in America, pp 3-4, in case you want to read ahead.

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68 Responses to Adoration of the Saints

  1. RubeRad says:

    Is it just me, or does Ken Jones have the exact same voice as Stuart Scott?

  2. Ron Smith says:

    It was a great show. I wish I would have had the opportunity to “press the flesh” (I think) with those brothers too. Some other time, hopefully.

  3. I was originally planning to attend the taping; unfortunately, crazy work hours on Thursday (I was fixing server problems until almost 12AM) meant that I needed rest more than anything last night.

    I hope it went well, and I look forward to listening via the podcast!

  4. Echo_ohcE says:

    And THEN, in third period, in English class, he SMILED at me!

  5. kazooless says:

    Yup, I was there. And while I agree that it is a problem that needs addressing, I was unimpressed with their ‘solution.’ So much so, that I spent the day writing a post about it myself.

    I couldn’t believe what Dr. Clark said about the Gospel and the KoG. Doom and Gloom? Ugh!

    The Church needs to REPENT

    kazoo

  6. Zrim says:

    Ron and (especially) Kazoo,

    The reason, I think, you seem to have at once a hard time with the anti-theonomic/transformative (i.e. W2K) stuff and what is said in their usual criticisms of religious consumerism, etc. is that you may miss what unites: the doctrines of relevance.

    There are various and sundry ways to meet the felt needs of sinners. Some want to be entertained, etc. Some want Christianity to be relevant to statecraft, etc. The doctrines of relevance run the gamut from insipid low-culture to high-brow, intellectual-esque concerns. But here is the dirty little secret: true religion is absolutely irrelevant to anything the sarx comes up with as relevant, no matter how inane or seemingly worthwhile. The gospel has nothing to say to consumers who want to know how to feel good or how to effect justice or build society.

    If you think the problem of consumerism has something to do with how obnoxious and irreverent American and western forms of it can be, you have likely missed the point. The answer to sinner-centered frivolity is not sinner-centered staid and stoic statecraft. I am not at all sure how your affirmation of the rampant consumerism co-exists with your theonomy.

    It reminds me of how a CRC minister recently maintained to me that he could at once uphold the doctrines of “Transformationalism” and lambaste the likes of James Dobson and Tony Campolo for their respective, Evangelical social gospels. But all the latter is doing is putting into practice the principle of the former, namely transformationalism: “The gospel has obvious implications for and direct relevancy to temporal concerns.” But in the same way I don’t understand what is wrong with expression like the religious right/left if transformationalism is true, I don’t understand how one can at once have a problem with religious consumerism and maintain the doctrines of relevance resident within theonomy.

    Kazoo,

    I scanned the insane post you cavalierly stuck in this thread about whatever-it-is that is going on in California over homeschooling. As a Christian secularist who is as unapologetic and blunt about his intolerant Reformed confessionalism as he is about his advocacy for public education, I have only one response at the moment: public schools should be thoroughly secularized and Christian kids ought to be in them. (My doctrine of Christian liberty forces me to extend my apologies to those who sanely opt for other legitimate, educational venues like homeschooling or CSI and even Catholic schools…sometimes insanity makes me positively insane.)

  7. Ron Smith says:

    you may miss what unites: the doctrines of relevance.

    This is why Machen’s children fight amongst themselves more than anyone else in the Church. They believe we are united by doctrines. I reject this.

    We are united by a Person, not a proposition, contra Lincoln. He should have said, “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent an extension of the Kingdom of God, conceived in faith and dedicated to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.” That would have been more accurate.

  8. kazooless says:

    Zrim,

    you say:

    I am not at all sure how your affirmation of the rampant consumerism co-exists with your theonomy.

    I’m not sure how you got from me (or Ron) an “affirmation of the rampant consumerism.”

    I reject it. I agree with the WHI rejection of it. I just don’t have the same answers as they.

    As to my linking, Rube posted on the taping. I was there sitting next to him and it was this radio taping which got me so charged up about the state or our government, and motivated me to write my post. So, I think the link is relevant to this post, and not ‘cavalier.’

    As for supporting public education, believing that it should be ‘secular’ (whatever that means), and that all Christian children should be forced to go to this public education, I have no clue how you can support that position scripturally. You certainly disagree with Machen, who founded Westminster Seminary. Sounds like you’ve abandoned Van Til’s legacy as well: “There can be no neutrality.”

    So, I reject the idea that any Christian has been given liberty by God to give there children over to Satan’s schools (no neutrality, secular = anti-Christian). Sending a child to today’s public schools is sending him to be indoctrinated with the philosophies of God’s enemies.

    kazoo

  9. Echo_ohcE says:

    Wow, kazoo. Well, I went to public school, and now I’m going to seminary to be a pastor. I guess the indoctrination wasn’t so successful.

    I’m not against Christian private education, but not everyone can afford it. And oh, by the way, private education is almost never entirely orthodox, so you’re still having to undo what the school has done to your kid.

    So the solution to most peoples’ minds is homeschooling. And that’s a good option for a lot of people. But some mothers aren’t that good at it.

    I know a girl, a fully grown adult, who was homeschooled, who basically has an 8th grade education. I know another girl who was homeschooled, also an adult, who nearly flunked out of college algebra, because her mother just didn’t understand math.

    Perhaps these are isolated and rare cases. I don’t know. But the least we can say is that for these two women, homeschooling wasn’t the best option.

    Everything isn’t a matter of law. Some things require wisdom. Every situation is different. It’s not always morally wrong for kids to go to public school, nor is it always morally good for them to be homeschooled. Homeschooling is probably a very good option, at least until high school in most cases, but not all cases.

    Public schools are not Satan’s schools, they’re the state’s schools. Sure, there’s a lot of crap going on in public schools. But there’s a lot of crap in private schools, and a lot of crap goes on in homeschools. There’s no magic formula into which you can plug your children, and out pops solid reformed adults.

    The Christian life is not a vending machine.

  10. Ron Smith says:

    I know a girl, a fully grown adult, who was homeschooled, who basically has an 8th grade education. I know another girl who was homeschooled, also an adult, who nearly flunked out of college algebra, because her mother just didn’t understand math.

    The issue in these cases is not the intellect or education of the parent, but the general discipline of the household. Statistics have shown that there is no significant difference between the success of children homeschooled by mothers with PhDs and mothers with less than a high school education. (cf. Home School Achievement, HSLDA)

    But there is a HUGE difference between the success of homeschooled children and the success of the “governmentally challenged”. What makes the difference is the one on one attention a homeschooled child receives over and against shoving a kid in a room with 20-30 other students. Oh and in the case of the homeschooler, the teacher actually loves the student (and not in the way government teachers seem to be “loving” students these days) and most likely won’t be trying to convert them to paganism.

  11. Zrim says:

    “I am not at all sure how your affirmation of the rampant consumerism co-exists with your theonomy.”

    Sorry, I guess my context didn’t help make clear a typo (are you sure you employ Reformed hermeutics, Kazoo?).

    I meant: “I am not at all sure how your affirmation of the critique of rampant consumerism co-exists with your theonomy.”

    My rant was to make a point. I guess we all make mistakes, though. My point wasn’t that Xian kids should be forced into PE, Kazoo. That’s insane. And, yes, I think I would disagree with Machen. So what? Even Darryl Hart will admit that “there is plenty of transformationalism in Machen.” We Christian secularists are not quite as wooden as the theonomists, I think. And to mistake W2Kers for being champions of neutrality is a common mistake amongst your ranks. Seems something got into the water system, but I don’t know what yet. But it seems you are hung up on not being able to distinguish between liberty and neutrality. That’s must really hurt sometimes. Ouch.

  12. Zrim says:

    Echo,

    Wow. I must give credit where it is due: good word, good word.

  13. Zrim says:

    Ron,

    You seem to make the usual mistake of assuming that education is primarily an affective endeavor instead of an intellectual one. But only parents are ordained to “make and nurture human beings.” Granted, the categories often intersect and it can become fuzzy. But that is precisely why we need to paint the bright lines. I realize it gets really complicated since we are talking about our children, but the mistake seems to be thinking that any institution other than the home can actually make human beings, for good or for ill. Even if the state is “trying to convert them to paganism” (wow, you and Kazoo should go Dutch on that ledge you’re both on, it’s way cheaper I hear) they will fail if such is counter to the home a student comes from, generally speaking.

    The family is ordained of God to make human beings, no other institution.

  14. RubeRad says:

    ’secular’ (whatever that means)

    Try this

  15. RubeRad says:

    Back to the “topic” (although this was a rather Seinfeldian post “about nothing”): If anybody that was there can help me track down the Nathan Hatch quote(s) that Clark read at the very beginning, I’d appreciate it.

  16. Ron Smith says:

    Steve said,

    You seem to make the usual mistake of assuming that education is primarily an affective endeavor instead of an intellectual one.

    It is both. Can’t one love or hate what he learns? Can’t a child be taught to do one or the other? If so, then intellectual activities can also be affective activities. And they should be. As one learns about God’s creation, (I think you call this the accumulation of secular knowledge), if he is not filled with awe and wonder and thankfulness toward his Creator, something is wrong with his heart.

    I think the myth of secular neutrality is at the base of your assumptions. But I don’t have to actively teach my children to be lazy to teach them to be lazy. All I have to do is not teach them to work hard, taking a neutral stance with regard to the issue. Likewise, education doesn’t have to actively teach children to be indifferent to God to teach children to be indifferent to God.

    only parents are ordained to “make and nurture human beings.”

    The great commission gives the Church the authority to “teach”, so education in part belongs to the Church. I know you want to separate that sort of teaching from other sorts of teaching, but that dichotomy is scripturally unwarranted. There are only two seeds, one of the woman and one of the serpent. Which one is teaching your children?

    the mistake seems to be thinking that any institution other than the home can actually make human beings, for good or for ill. Even if the state is “trying to convert them to paganism” … they will fail if such is counter to the home a student comes from, generally speaking.

    Not only is this false, it is damning. 30 minutes around the dinner table every night and maybe a few hours in Church a week has not been successful in defeating 40+ hours a week of humanistic indoctrination. And most Christian families probably don’t do dinner around the table anymore. According to the statistical research of Bruce Shortt, author of The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, “The overwhelming majority of children from evangelical families leave the church within two years after they graduate from high school.” (cf. WND article, On the ‘sin’ of sending kids to public school)

    God promises us this typically won’t happen if we train up our children faithfully. Notice I inserted the word “typically” there to allow for extraordinary exceptions (God fathered Adam perfectly, after all), but today, the faithful children of believers are the exception.

  17. Bruce S. says:

    See the Hatch book I referenced a while back in my last offering on this blog. Clark was more than likely quoting from Hatch’s Democratization of Religion in America book.

  18. Zrim says:

    “It is both. Can’t one love or hate what he learns? Can’t a child be taught to do one or the other? If so, then intellectual activities can also be affective activities.”

    That is part of my point when I say that the categories can intersect and the lines can be fuzzy.

    “…if he is not filled with awe and wonder and thankfulness toward his Creator, something is wrong with his heart.”

    Believing in God is not salvific, rather believing in him on his terms is. In other words, getting kids to acknowledge God as Creator is not the same as confessing him as Savior (which necessarily includes God’s Creator-ship as well).

    “I think the myth of secular neutrality is at the base of your assumptions.’

    I know, but maybe RSC would be helpful here.

    “The great commission gives the Church the authority to “teach”, so education in part belongs to the Church. I know you want to separate that sort of teaching from other sorts of teaching, but that dichotomy is scripturally unwarranted.”

    I guess nobody told Daniel then. Your theocratic assumptions disallow you, it seems, to understand our Abrahamic-exilic status. We are exiles until God alone consummates all things. Israel’s theocratic state was a type and shadow of the final consummation. Don’t look now, but we aren’t there yet, no matter how much Calvinism’s version of Methodists (i.e. theocrats) try to do only what God alone can do.

    As for family face time, mine doesn’t fit into your neat package in order to make the case for how “worldly” Christians are. I am not much given to scare tactics that tell me the sky is falling because I don’t corden off my family from the world. I read that we are to “in the world” while also not “being of it.” It is God’s world. Seems to me you actually have quite a low view of creation and God’s sovereignty over every square inch of it that no amount of “Christian education” about it can fix. You may instill an awe and wonder about the Creator, but more importantly, your views teach that he really isn’t so sovereign because it’s really the evil one who runs the show on earth.

  19. Chris says:

    Just a few thoughts here from a now”illegal” homeschooler. (Actually it is the 3 judges that are lawless.)

    Does the state overstep it’s authority/ jurisdiction when it demands via”compulsory education” to educate our covenant children?

    I was under the impression that we are to, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. Am I mistaken here?

    If the government schools stuck strictly to academics, then possibly I would allow them to educate my children. As it stands, in California, we have a wonderful new law that went into effect this January called SB777, which basically states that there is no such thing as gender, at least if you are in the public school system. This alone should indicate the intent of “free public eduction” You really do get what you pay for.

    When I was in Cuba last year, we specifically discussed with the believers there how they dealt with their children being sent (as they had no choice) to the communist schools which clearly teach an antichrist doctrine. Their answer was that they had to spend time everyday discussing and undoing what was put into their children’s heads and trusting that God’s grace is greater than the communist manifesto.

    So my question is given a choice, why would we send our children to a fallen institution, such as our school system is, to be educated/indoctrinated?

  20. Zrim says:

    “Does the state overstep it’s authority/ jurisdiction when it demands via”compulsory education” to educate our covenant children?”

    (I’m really not up on this California thing.) I think the case could be made that it most certainly does, yes. But is CA saying you have to go to public school? My hunch is that this is more about the state of homeschooling in CA. I mean, are Catholics being told they can’t go to Catholic schools, etc. and must attend public schools? I highly doubt this thing is about making everyone go to public schools.

    “I was under the impression that we are to, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. Am I mistaken here?’

    Of course not; that’s what it says in the Bible. But I am not clear on what your point is exactly. The devil, as they say, is in the details.

    “So my question is given a choice, why would we send our children to a fallen institution, such as our school system is, to be educated/indoctrinated?”

    The church is a fallen institution. My place of work is fallen. My family is fallen. Everywhere I go is fallen. Should I retreat from those? Indeed, can I? And, why is the requirement upped when it comes to where our children go to be educated? Granted, I get that we see wrapped up in our children all our beliefs, values, hopes, aspirations, etc., etc. (we don’t take our children’s school placement at all lightly). But I don’t understand why they should get the sort of premium treatment we don’t as adults. I mean, education is a child’s vocation. Why don’t I as an adult get to claim I am looking for the most “unfallen choice” in jobs, etc.?

    Seems to me your question assumes a lot, including this notion that education is almost sacred. Where’d you get that idea? Education isn’t sacred anymore than work is. It’s common–and “very good”–endeavor. You use the term “educated” analogously with “indoctrination.” But my daughter’s teacher educates her; I indoctrinate her. See the difference? Once her teacher starts indoctrinating her I will worry (like reciting some creed of the pluralistic deistic phrase, AKA, “Under God”). That’s a big reason we resist parochial education. From what I can tell, my Reformed beliefs would be more in jeopardy in the local CSI schools than the common views I see promoted in public education. I don’t want anyone but me indoctrinating my covenant children. Our public schools understand that better than most parochial ones.

    I think our differences may lie in just what education is. I think your assumptions way over-realize just what education is.

  21. Chris says:

    Perhaps things are different where you live.

    The following is the conclusion from the PCA’s postition paper on Education & Parental Responsibility- sect IV found in it’s entirety here:

    Scripture clearly requires that Christian parents train their children to know and follow God. The parent is personally responsible for this, although he may ask others to help him, as the church. However, a parent should not ask an individual to teach his children where the parent does not have authority over the content of what is taught. A parent may control what a child is taught by supplementing classroom or textbook materials or by removing his child from the classroom when the materials are so hostile or damaging that the parent does not believe that he can supplement and effectively neutralize their anti-Christian bias. Where a parent allows an individual to teach ungodly or unbiblical ideas to his child, he violates Scripture. Thus, a parent must determine how he can best follow God in educating his children. The choices before him are home schools, church schools, private independent schools or state schools. Parents must choose the educational system that will best enable them to fulfill their duty before God. Churches and presbyteries should consider supporting Christian and home schools (where parents cannot afford these alternatives) and efforts to end the hostility toward the Christian faith and the censorship of Christianity’s existence, contributions and history from public school textbooks

  22. Zrim says:

    “Perhaps things are different where you live.”

    I hear that a lot. True, my situation may be different from others. But, even though I have a threshold, I would hope I would maintain my principles even in more hostile environs and not “give in” simply because things got hard.

    “Where a parent allows an individual to teach ungodly or unbiblical
    ideas to his child, he violates Scripture (Proverbs 1:8-33, Isaiah 8:16-20).’

    I am never sure why this is almost exclusively applied to public schools. What about Baptist schools or Catholic schools? And what about Daniel or Joseph? Are we to see them as in violation of Scripture because they were educated by pagans?

    “Churches and presbyteries should consider supporting
    Christian and home schools (where parents cannot afford these alternatives) and efforts
    to end the hostility toward the Christian faith and the censorship of Christianity’s
    existence, contributions and history from public school textbook”

    I’m sorry, but this just seems to promote the rather weak-kneed streak in so many Christians these days. They seem to want the Christian life tailored to maiximize personal comfort, etc. End hostility to the Christian faith?? Since when did we come to expect it is a good thing to be at peace with the world? When did we get it in our collective heads that we are to fight fire with fire, or, with the weapons of the flesh? This sounds so much more American than Christian.

  23. Chris says:

    and the case in here in CA is about teachers having to be credentialed (ordained by the state) to be qualified to teach. Currently the law states only that teachers in private school be “capable of teaching” Technically we are a “private school” not a “home school” The law is vague and does not need to be fixed.

  24. Chris says:

    “When did we get it in our collective heads that we are to fight fire with fire, or, with the weapons of the flesh? This sounds so much more American than Christian.”

    I am in total agreement with you here. And this is why my action toward this latest affront towards restricting our freedom has been to pray and ask that our Lord’s will be done. Even if that means the loss of our man given “right” to educate our own children. Realizing that God alone is the only true and just judge. My action has not been to seek to manipulate the system to our advantage by rising up to the occasion and meet it head on, trying to influence those in authority.

  25. RubeRad says:

    2nd update: Bruce is correct, the book was Hatch’s Democritization of Religion in America, and RSC emailed me the page numbers. Expect a post from me within the month!

  26. RubeRad says:

    The great commission gives the Church the authority to “teach”, so education in part belongs to the Church. I know you want to separate that sort of teaching from other sorts of teaching, but that dichotomy is scripturally unwarranted.

    You also want to separate religious teaching from secular teaching — otherwise, why shouldn’t I add math, science, health, western civ, etc. to “my” Sunday School class? More fundamentally, why do you say “in part belongs to the church”? What part? Where is that delineated?

  27. Zrim says:

    Chris,

    I think you mis-read my point. In point of fact, I think the state (if it is doing this) overstepping its bounds requires you do more than pray, etc. This would all be a matter of the category of law (versus gospel). I don’t usually pray when someone steals my wallet. I don’t want gospel to keep thieves from stealing, I want law to do that.

    My point was this jazz about actually “ending hostility toward the Christian faith.” Jesus never did that, nor Paul.

  28. Zrim says:

    Rube,

    Good point. I think this comes back to, basically, conflating categories. “Educate” is not “indoctrinate.”

  29. Whiskeyjack says:

    Rube,

    The taping was good, it just seemed like the question were rather grandstand’ish rather than question looking for answers. But that’s just my opinion. Wish I knew what you guys look like as I would have given a polite how do you do.

    Ron,

    Must we dichotomize everything into categories of proper use(Christian,sacred) and improper use(humanism,secular). It also seems that when we confuse empirical knowledge with interpretive paradigms we come to think that empirical knowledge is affective rather than the building blocks which reason puts together to form the building. Some things, like the mechanics of the internal combustion engine, are simply ordinary

    It is not 30 minutes around the dinner table that is the point, it is in truth the Gospel as the power of God. That is what is effective to produce the affectations of true faith when combined with 30 minutes around the dinner table. Catechism is knowledge as inculcation whereas education is the transmission of what is, in the common realm, as comprehensible by all apart from epiphanic illumination.

    Parochial schools are not the answer anymore than homeschooling is to the ever increasing and encroaching wave of secular humanism-things are just getting better everyday, in every way-either, they simply foster the notion that our kids are safer than they really are. I am just not sold on the idea that the public school system is the bogey man, regardless of the agenda’s of individual educators, and ultimately responsible for the presuppositional matrix our children decide to use in life.

  30. Whiskeyjack says:

    “epiphanic”, I think I made it up, oh well.

  31. Echo_ohcE says:

    Ron,

    In your response to my post you mentioned statistics. You’re trying to argue for generally wise principles, but then you’re elevating them to the level of law.

    I’m sure it’s true that on average, homeschoolers do better than those educated in public school. Much of my public education was a joke. I wish it had been far different.

    But the fact is, homeschooling is not the best option for every family.

    You pointed to poor discipline. Well, it may be true that poor discipline is the problem in some homes where homeschooling doesn’t work too well.

    Nonetheless, there’s a home where homeschooling isn’t the best option. Sure, they should ramp up the discipline. Ok, but what if they don’t? Is homeschooling still the best option for that family?

    In the cases of the two women I know, I absolutely think their parents are to blame. But who were the losers? The two women I know, who would have been better off in public school.

    And what about a family who has a child that is born retarded or with some other mental handicap of some kind, like dyslexia? Public schools are better equipped to handle these cases than a mother with her curriculum she ordered on the internet.

    All I’m saying is that homeschooling is probably the best option in general, but it’s not ALWAYS the best option.

    Therefore, we don’t accuse people of sin who send their kids to public school. They’re just trying to do what they think is the best thing for their family.

    Not all public school teachers are pagans. Many of them are, sure, but not all of them.

    But so many of them are. Big deal. A pagan can teach me math. The pagan and I both add the same way. Oh sure, I add to the glory of God and they don’t, but we’re still adding.

    Look, when you get a new job out there in the world, doesn’t someone have to train you about the position? Doesn’t someone have to show you where the break room is and how to fill out your timecard?

    You don’t – *gasp* – let a NON-Christian show you how to fill out your timecard…do you? Say you don’t. Please say you don’t.

    E

  32. Echo_ohcE says:

    Zrim,

    Thank you very much!

    E

  33. RubeRad says:

    Wish I knew what you guys look like

    Ron was the first questioner (“doctrine of vocation”), Kazooless was the second questioner (“yes there’s a problem, but what’s the positive solution?”), and during Q&A, of the two guys standing against the left wall, I was the one with the goatee. Hope that helps!

  34. RubeRad says:

    “The overwhelming majority of children from evangelical families leave the church within two years after they graduate from high school.”

    You make it sound like high school was the problem! Given the sad state of the evangelical church, I find it unsurprising that the overwhelming majority of children leave. If the American evangelical church were the “only, true” church, I’d probably leave too!

    As I explain here, statistics like this need to be understood carefully. The type of family that chooses to keep their children out of public school so they can have more control over their education, is highly correlated with the kind of family that behaves in other ways that are likely to preserve their kids in the faith. This makes it very difficult to statistically disentangle homeschooling from other characteristics of the family, and it’s highly probable that children from those families will persevere no matter what kind of schooling they have.

    For instance, I’m still around, even though I went to an excellent public school (not to mention private, liberal arts college and postgraduate state school), and an excellent example of an American, non-denominational, evangelical church. So daddy dearest must have done something right! (Or maybe it was just my Heavenly Father)

  35. RubeRad says:

    The pagan and I both add the same way. Oh sure, I add to the glory of God and they don’t, but we’re still adding.

    Actually, regardless his personal, sinful motivation to steal God’s glory for himself, when the pagan adds correctly he unwittingly glorifies the God of Truth.

  36. RubeRad says:

    You don’t – *gasp* – let a NON-Christian show you how to fill out your timecard…do you? Say you don’t. Please say you don’t.

    I learn all my math from the Bible. Pi = 3, and no godless pagan can convince me otherwise!

  37. Zrim says:

    Jack said,

    “Parochial schools are not the answer anymore than homeschooling is to the ever increasing and encroaching wave of secular humanism-things are just getting better everyday, in every way-either, they simply foster the notion that our kids are safer than they really are.”

    Good point. I think we should be honest enough to admit that you can never get away from that which is counter to God since that resides in every human heart, regenerate or not.

  38. Ron Smith says:

    I noticed the link to the homeschooling article was broken. Here it is again:
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42704

  39. Echo_ohcE says:

    “The overwhelming majority of children from evangelical families leave the church within two years after they graduate from high school.”

    Because no one catechizes their kids anymore. This is true of Reformed churches as much as Evangelicals broadly understood.

    If you want YOUR kids to stay in the church, then catechize them. And you don’t have to homeschool them to teach them the catechism.

    E

  40. Zrim says:

    Echo,

    Speaking as one who catechizes and indoctrinates his children instead of farming them out to other agents to soak up “Christian culture” in almost osmosis fashion in lieu of parental instruction, I do think we do well to stay away from simplistic formulas. Children leave the church for a myriad of reasons that aren’t always immediately distilled. Like anything else, they do lots of things we adults find hard to understand.

    I am not so sure that offering up one simplistic, and pragmatic, suggestion to counter another one gets very far.

  41. Whiskeyjack says:

    Rube,
    It does. I had my suspicions that that was who it was when I thought about it later and now I know.

  42. kazooless says:

    Whiskey,

    Had I know you were there, I would have looked for you. I mean, how often does one get to meet someone that looks JUST LIKE Val Kilmer?!

    🙂

    kazoo

  43. Zrim says:

    Kazoo,

    If we go by blog-handles or avatars then shouldn’t you be about 2 foot nothing, green and floating over Fred Flintstone’s right shoulder?

    Actually, Whiskey really looks like that guy who sells that amazing stuff on those Informercials to me. And, actually, so do you.

  44. Ron Smith says:

    Children leave the church for a myriad of reasons that aren’t always immediately distilled.

    Can we agree that they typical reason is that the parents have neglected their duties to train up their children in the Lord?

    If believing children has nothing to do with the diligence of the father to command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord, then Paul was wrong to demand it of elders.

    Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children-

    18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

  45. RubeRad says:

    Can we agree that they typical reason is that the parents have neglected their duties to train up their children in the Lord?

    Yes, but (expectedly) we do not agree on the scope of “in the Lord.” (I.e. whether there exists secular education which is outside of it, and which can be well-handled by unbelievers.)

  46. kazooless says:

    STOP THE PRESSES! MARK THIS DAY IN THE CALENDAR! WE MAY NEVER SEE THIS AGAIN!!!

    Rube just agreed with Ron on something.

    😉

    kazoo

  47. Ron Smith says:

    I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

    That said, I pray that God will grant us the grace for obedience to the faith. May we and our generations after us walk humbly before Him all our days.

  48. Echo_ohcE says:

    Zrim,

    I very much appreciate what you said about passing your children off to learn by osmosis. Very well put.

    I am of the opinion that most kids who grow up reformed grow up knowing that they’re reformed, but don’t really understand what that means, and if they do understand it, they don’t really appreciate it.

    What I have seen many times is kids going to college and being seduced by worship bands and things like that, and they don’t understand that there really are any significant differences between the typical Evangelical Free church and the reformed church in which they grew up. They have not been taught the Reformed doctrines, and if they have, they have not been taught to appreciate their distinctiveness. They have not been taught that they must never compromise these things, because to compromise them is to compromise their most cherished beliefs based on the Word of God.

    No, they go to the E-Free church and say, “Well, this isn’t all that different from the church where I grew up, and I like this better. The people are more warm.”

    And they come back from college on their summer break and they don’t like their old church anymore. They want to raise their hands in worship, they want a funnier sermon, they want to see a worship band up front, and they want to see lots of programs for the youth to get together to do. Instead, they see a church full of old people, old stuffy Calvinists, insisting on a dead orthodoxy.

    Yep, catechizing them from an early age will go a long way to achieving the desired goal. The desired goal is that a kid will know what the Reformed faith is, and he will refuse to compromise it, because he cherishes it, knowing that “it is no empty word for you, but your very life.”

    You know what I think happened? I think somewhere along the line we became Americans, and the idea of teaching our kids what to think became detestable to us. The highest virtue a parent can uphold is that you teach your children to think for themselves in our day and age.

    But to that I say with a smile, don’t be ashamed to brainwash your children. Teach them what to think, teach them what to believe, and teach them to submit to the Word of God, letting the Word shape our thinking. The best thing you can do for your children, in my humble opinion, is to teach them not to lean on their own understanding, but on the Word of God alone.

    Then, as the Scriptures say, when they are old, they will not depart from it. Then, when they are old, they will not be blown about by every fine sounding argument. Why? Because they will know that it is not what they have been taught to believe by God himself speaking in his Word.

    Not only do I say not to be ashamed to brainwash your children to believe what the Bible says, but do so knowingly and deliberately. Teach them the catechism, saturate their little minds with it. Drill the gospel into their little heads with constant repetition, so that anything else won’t even make sense. Teach them to be distinctively reformed in their thinking, according to the Word of God, and begin from day 1.

    We all will shape how our children think, whether we like it or not. We might as well deliberately shape them in conformity to Scripture while we’ve got the chance.

    Don’t teach them to think for themselves, don’t teach them to question everything – teach them to submit to Scripture, to tow the line, to join with the saints of all ages and confess the same thing that has always been confessed, and teach them to accept no substitutes.

    Will they still rebel? Perhaps. But if they rebel, at least you can say that they rebelled knowing exactly what they were doing.

    E

  49. Echo_ohcE says:

    Oh, and by the way, bad parenting isn’t the only thing to blame when kids depart from the Reformed church.

    Nope, I’d also lay blame at the feet of those ministers who preach wishy washy moralism and nonsense from the pulpit. Is it any wonder that if the preaching isn’t all that different, the kids won’t notice that there are any differences that don’t amount to a matter of taste in music?

    Taste in music is a terrific draw of our children away from our churches.

    But if Reformed ministers are faithfully preaching the gospel in the pulpit week in and week out, and preaching it properly, then the kids will go to another church and recognize that there is something different. They’ll recognize that they are not hearing words of comfort and hope in Christ, but spirit crushing demands of the law.

    E

  50. Zrim says:

    Ron asked, “Can we agree that they typical reason is that the parents have neglected their duties to train up their children in the Lord?”

    I suppose. But I don’t fool myself into thinking that my “nazi-like” indoctrination of my children, etc. guarantees anything, Ron. Too often I think we can conflate “believing in the promises of God” with some sort of guarantee. But those two things are simply not the same. The former is always mixed with doubt while the latter has more in common with the super-saints with whom Paul contended.

    I make more room for believers faithfully plodding along and experiencing a relatively mixed bag of success and failure. I will leave super saintliness to the experts who called on Jesus to shoo the children, cast himself down for the angels to scoop up, stay away from Jerusalem and to come down off the Cross, thank you very much.

  51. RubeRad says:

    I think somewhere along the line we became Americans, and the idea of teaching our kids what to think became detestable to us. The highest virtue a parent can uphold is that you teach your children to think for themselves in our day and age.

    I think that’s very astute (and probably another truth that Ron and I would agree on!)

    Teaching your kids what to think cannot be successful if you don’t teach your kids how to think (otherwise they will take the what and not knowing how to think it, it will fall on the floor). This might be the root of the American overreaction. But conversely, it is not possible to teach anybody anything without allowing them to practice. You can’t teach a kid how to think without giving them something concrete to think about, any more than you can teach a kid to ride a bike, without giving him a bike!

  52. Zrim says:

    I don’t think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater here. As much as I “indoctrinate my children,” I also do expect them to “think for themselves.” I am not so sure that these are necessarily mutually exclusive. Often times I get the feeling we over-compensate in these matters, which is actually just as American as the democritization of religious truth.

    After all, where a baptism is a form of indoctrination (along with catechism) a profession of faith should be done mindfully and discerningly, which is to say, the covenant child should be “thinking enough for himself” to affirm the promises made to him and indoctrinated by his parents. At least, that’s what I hope for my children.

  53. RubeRad says:

    As much as I “indoctrinate my children,” I also do expect them to “think for themselves.” I am not so sure that these are necessarily mutually exclusive.

    Are you not so sure about me or about Echo? Because that’s exactly my point. You can’t teach someone to think for themselves if you never give them any thoughts to practice on. So the “American” whose goal is to teach their children to think for themselves, without indoctrinating them, end up with kids who are very bad at thinking for themselves, because the only practice they’ve had is thinking about the thought “there’s no particular thing I must think”. Enter relativism on the national scale.

  54. Zrim says:

    Rube,

    I don’t know who I am talking to anymore(!).

    I think you may have built something of a strawman here, Rube, to perhaps surface with “everyone who doesn’t indoctrinate like us will have kids who can’t think for themselves.”

    I would expand on the word indoctrination and say that everybody indoctrinates, even those who say they don’t. It’s not only those who indoctrinate the way we may mean it here narrowly speaking (i.e. catechism), but even those who don’t.

  55. RubeRad says:

    My point applies more broadly than to catechizers. I’m just addressing the concept “I can teach my child to think for himself, and yet keep him a blank slate, so when he’s done learning to think for himself, he can decide what is best for him to think.” Trying to knock that concept down as self-defeating.

  56. Bruce S. says:

    Warning: Personal note to RubeRad follows:

    You can’t teach a kid how to think without giving them something concrete to think about, any more than you can teach a kid to ride a bike, without giving him a bike!

    You may not remember this but we gave Dacia piano lessons (and paid for them) and we didn’t own a piano.

  57. RubeRad says:

    Didn’t we have the same elec. Kurzweil #1 is now using to learn the piano?

  58. Anonymous says:

    The Kurzweil came on the scene about ’92 or ’93 – about 10 years later.

  59. Whiskeyjack says:

    Just thought I’d jump in a little

    When a child is taught something, content and form are conveyed as meaning one thing rather than another. Thus, when we, say, catechize our children, we are not teaching them simply principles of how to think, but how to think about God and creation within the fence of Biblical revelation. And this does provide a framework or presuppositional paradigm for the child and adult to interpret facts and truth claims for themselves, thus thinking for themselves, yet within the context that they were inculcated with. The atheist, the Muslim, the Buddhist, they all do the same. They are all thinking for themselves within a given interpretive matrix. It does not mean that they are correct, but in general they are being true to the facts as they were taught to interpret them.

  60. Echo_ohcE says:

    The best thing you can do to help children think for themselves is to thoroughly brain wash them according to the Word of God.

    Why? Why not teach them how to think for themselves and then arrive at their own conclusions, and then and only then bounce those conclusions off Scripture?

    Well, the bottom line is that if you want your kids to think clearly, help them to think God’s thoughts after him, so to speak. Train them in revelation, and the world will make sense to them.

    Any and all errors theologically are necessarily irrational. That doesn’t make me a rationalist. I advocate the ministerial use of reason in submission to Scripture. But this is how reason is intended to be used.

    There is only one alternative, using Reason magisterially in judgment of the Scriptures. We cannot ever teach our children to be wise enough to preside in judgment over the Scriptures. The Scriptures are God’s wisdom for us, what he has given to us. They are only rejected at the expense of reason, which necessarily follows from placing reason above the Scriptures.

    I doubt what I have said is at all coherent, and I’m sure I’ll have to refine it based on objections, but there you go.

    E

  61. Whiskeyjack says:

    Any and all errors theologically are necessarily irrational.

    Can’t errors also be the result of limited understanding? I mean, we all believe, generally speaking, that our view is the correct one, yet some will be right and some will be wrong. But I don’t think that that makes people or their views necessarily irrational or rational. Some will regurgitate what they hear and be right or wrong upon the thought of another whereas others will think for themselves and yet possibly come to erroneous conclusions. Both Meredith Kline and Greg Bahnsen were fairly certain that they were right and the other was wrong yet I doubt either was irrational. And although I definitely think one was right and the other was wrong myself based upon my own study, is my view necessarily irrational if I am wrong?

    That I guess is my long winded desire for clarity on your use of irrationality.

  62. kazooless says:

    Echo said:

    I doubt what I have said is at all coherent

    Finally, Echo and I agree on something! 🙂

    LOL

    kazoo

  63. Echo_ohcE says:

    Whiskey,

    What I meant is that in order to hold to an error, when faced with the Scriptures, which obviously contradict said error, the defense is necessarily an irrational one.

    In other words, when one holds to an error, and is confronted by Scripture, only two possible results can obtain. 1) the person changes their view or 2) the person responds irrationally, insisting on holding onto their erroneous view.

    These are the only two possibilities.

    Let’s take Arminianism for example. What rational response can an Arminian give to Eph 1 or Rom 9 other than, gee, I guess I was wrong? Any attempt to defend their view in light of these passages and many others like them necessarily becomes irrational. Common sense must be thrown out the window.

    When faced with Scripture, we can either conform or become irrational, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.

    And let me just reiterate that the alternative to being irrational is NOT rationalism. No, it’s being guided by Scripture, submitting to it, using reason ministerially, not magisterially. Reason helps us, it does not rule us.

    When Reason (with a capital R) becomes the final arbiter of truth, then you necessarily become a Deist. You become Kantian or Hegelian or something of the sort. When human Reason is allowed to preside over Scripture, dictating a priori what it can and cannot say, what it can and cannot mean when it says what it says, then Reason has become magisterial, and you ironically become irrational.

    In other words, Rationalism is just another form of irrationalism. So is Empiricism. The only way to be rational, truly rational, is to submit to Scripture, and make use of your reason as God intended, namely ministerially. Not in judgment of the Scriptures, but in submission to them.

    Follow Anselm, who believed that he might understand. There is the path to clear, rational thinking.

    And this was my whole point. Believe first, understand later. Ergo, brainwash your kids with Scripture, teach them the catechism, and they will learn to understand. And when once they have understood it, they won’t need to question it, because it will be clear to them, clearly truth itself.

    Classical education follows this model, using a pattern of data memorization, then logic and finally rhetoric. It begins with brute memorization, followed by understanding, followed by the development of persuasion. This is how we learn. We memorize, then we understand, having had our heads filled with facts. Once we mature in understanding, then we learn to argue for what we understand, persuading others.

    E is for enough.

  64. Whiskeyjack says:

    Well Enough,

    I had no problem with your pattern of education, rather your imposition of irrational upon error. Romans 7 is a good example. It seems that the clear teaching of scripture is not so clear.

  65. Whiskeyjack says:

    *is not always so clear

  66. Echo_ohcE says:

    In some cases, the Scriptures are a little confusing because it’s so foreign, because written to a very different culture. Granted.

    But the Scriptures otherwise only become unclear because of our irrational thinking, and clutching to errors of various kinds.

    I think Rom 7 is pretty clear. The problem comes in when we want Scripture to answer OUR questions, rather than letting Scripture dictate what the questions are.

    So is Paul describing the experience of the regenerate or the unregenerate in Rom 7? This is the wrong question. Paul is describing the experience of being under the law in a way that transcends regeneration. This is because in the Mosaic economy, regenerate people are under the law, because the Mosaic covenant is a covenant of works. They got kicked out of the land for disobedience. Not eternally condemned, mind you, but kicked out of the land. However, they were still under grace for eternal salvation, just as we are – at least those of the invisible church were.

    So is Paul talking about the experience of the regenerate members of the covenant of grace under the Abrahamic covenant who were nonetheless under the law under Moses? Or is he talking about the Gentile under natural law, the covenant of works? The answer is both have a similar experience. Indeed, even the regenerate who are trying to earn their salvation by works because they don’t fully understand the gospel share in this experience.

    The point is not to describe either a regenerate or unregenerate state exclusively, but to describe the experience of being under the law.

    And so how does Paul respond? By some of the greatest and clearest exposition of the gospel in Rom 8, and all becomes clear as the tyranny of the law is cast aside at last, once and for all.

    I think in that light it becomes very clear, and I apologize if my explanation is less than satisfying. But it seems pretty clear to me.

    Few things make Scripture as unclear as fruitless debate about irrelevant issues. These only muddy the waters.

    For example, they say that the unregenerate can’t possibly be trying in any way to be obedient to God. After all, we believe in Total Depravity.

    Well, sure they can try to be obedient to God. But the problem is, they’ve suppressed the truth in unrighteousness. They (we) all have. So their service is to idols of various sorts, not God. But in serving the idols, they’re trying to serve God. They’re just very confused. That’s not to say that their worship is in any way accepted, but every civilization on earth has had some form of religion or other. But there is only one God, and all know of him, but they worship and serve the creature instead of the Creator, as Paul says in Rom 1.

    But you see people trying to do what they think is good all the time, every day. People have their own notions of piety, and they try to adhere to it. They eat their health food, write letters to Congressmen to make smoking illegal, they don’t drink and drive, they exercise, etc. People do lots of things because they think they’re doing the right thing.

    But as Paul points out, also in Rom 1, they still disobey their parents, commit murder, lie, cheat, steal, gossip, hate God in their hearts, commit adultery, and a host of other horrible things. Why? Because they’ve inherited a sinful nature from Adam, just like us. They try to overcome it but can’t. Even their efforts to overcome it are borne of it and saturated in the filth of sin.

    But just as the Israelites called the golden calf Yahweh, so too the people of the world are searching for God in their idols, rather than in the Word by faith. They seek to walk by sight, rather than faith.

    But I have already said more than I should.

    E

  67. Pingback: Compromising Positions « The Confessional Outhouse

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