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The Importance of Fathers

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Yesterday was Father’s Day in the United States.  I was privileged to preach a Father’s Day message at my church here in the Atlanta, GA area.  As I prepared the message, I realized the important role that God expects fathers to play in raising their children.  There is no doubt about it, when God designed the family, he determined that men were to be the home’s leaders and that they were to perform a very important function.

Most of us have read these words from Deuteronomy.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.   You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NKJV)

God has a plan for the home that we must understand and strive diligently to follow.  Pastor Brian Haynes in his book, The Legacy Path, makes this point.

Passing on a legacy of biblical faith to the next generation has always been a part of God’s plan.

Passing on a legacy of biblical faith requires fathers to lead the way.  When God chose to make Israel His people, He emphasized that fathers would be the nation’s foundation.

As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.  No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.  Genesis 17:4-5 (NKJV)

God chose Abraham to be the father of a great nation.  Again, I quote Haynes who wrote,

In His sovereignty God constructs the foundation of biblical faith in the heart of a righteous man. Abraham becomes a father who is a conduit for God’s spiritual formation plan for generations…In a sense – no father, no legacy of faith.

One finds God emphasizing the important role that fathers are to play throughout the Bible.  Consider these examples.

He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not [c]set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.  Psalm 78:5-8 (NKJV)

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4  (NKJV)

The prophet Jeremiah records how God was sending judgement because an entire generation of His people had turned to worshiping Baal.  In this passage, God stresses how fathers led to this devastating condition.

Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them  Jeremiah 9:13-14 (NKJV)

One of the key principles behind kingdom education is the truth that the education of children and youth is the primary responsibility of parents.  Even though this applies to both fathers and mothers, these passages, and others, make it clear that fathers are supposed to be the leaders in educating their children biblically.  Irwin Lutzer in his book, The Church in Babylon, explains that fathers were key if Israel was to survive captivity.

…fathers were charged with teaching children the Word of God. And God knew that with strong fathers, grounded in the Word of God, these families could survive paganism…parents (particularly the father) are held accountable by God for the education of their children.

Today, God’s design for the family is under heavy attack.  One of the enemy’s strategic initiatives is to remove fathers as the leaders in their homes.  This effort is not new.  At first, people who held to the conviction that husbands/fathers were to be the leaders in their homes were accused of being chauvinistic. This term meant that they had a superiority attitude toward women.

Now, if one holds to this biblical design for the home, he is called a misogynist. This term is even stronger and describes a person as one who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women.  Much of this hostility has been caused by fathers who have misunderstood and abused their leadership roles in their homes.

We must go back to the beginning to understand God’s design for the family and how a father is to lead it.  We need to look at Genesis 2 to fully understand God’s design for the family.

  • In Genesis 2:7, we find that God created man (Adam) in His image .
  • Verses 8-17 explains how God placed Adam in a garden and God gave him specific instructions about the trees in the garden.

Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.  Genesis 2:16-17 (NKJV)

  • Then God says that it is not good for man to be alone.  So, He took one of Adam’s ribs and created woman.
  • In verses 23 &24, God ordains the marriage relationship to be between a man and a woman.

This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be[k] joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  Genesis 2;23-24 (NKJV)

Every thing is very good until we come to Genesis 3.  Here we find the account of the Fall.  Consider these highlights to what happened that dreadful day in the garden.  It is here we can understand how God sees fathers in His plan.

  • 3:1 The serpent said to the woman
  • 3:4 The serpent said to the woman
  • 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good…she took from its fruit and ate
  • 3:6 She gave to her husband

Then God comes walking through the garden.  I find what happened at this point to be very unexpected.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”  So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”  Genesis 3:9-11 (NKJV)

The woman was the one who was tempted and deceived by the serpent.  Yet, God did not ask these questions of her but of Adam.  Husbands/fathers need to understand how God looks at their roles as leaders in the home.

God has given men the position of leadership in the home.  It is not a position of superiority, privilege, rank or importance.  It is a position of responsibility and accountability.

Go back and re-read Psalm 78:5-8 and Ephesians 6:4 remembering that a father’s position in the home is one of responsibility and accountability.  This will lead to humility and a realization that fathers need God’s strength and wisdom to fulfill their God-given assignment.

There is a need for fathers to be the leaders in their homes.  In closing, consider Haynes’ words.

Our kids need to SEE what it looks like to follow Christ more than they need to HEAR what it is like…How does your life describe Christianity to your children?

The Danger Of A Bad Foundation

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All education is built on one of two foundational beliefs that will shape all that takes place throughout the educational process.  Either man will build an educational system on the fear of the Lord or on no fear of the Lord.  Because of man’s sinful nature, our natural bent is to ignore the fear of the Lord in all areas of life.

The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.  Psalm 36:1 (KJV)

There is no fear of God before their eyes.  Romans 3:18 (KJV)

In contrast to this, Scriptures tell us that the key to true education is based on the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Proverbs 1:7 (KJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10 (KJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth for ever.  Proverbs 111:10

Unfortunately, far too many Christians apply this principle only to their religious compartment of their lives.  The fear of the Lord is something that is supposed to guide what we learn at church and, maybe, at home.  However, what one learns at school is not based on fearing God.  In fact, God is most likely ignored when it comes to the study of the majority of academic subjects.  This is even true in far too many Christian schools.

The result of not fearing God in all of our educational efforts is devastating.  Here is just a small sample of what happens when the fear of the Lord is not the foundation of the education we give our children and youth.

  • A US Supreme Court justice states that a woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy is not a “mother”
  • A trans biological male wins the NCAA’s women’s track championship
  • One state governor publicly invites women to come to that state and have their abortions there
  • A person states that there is no difference in value between a human and a dolphin
  • A 17 year old girl is euthanized legally because life is not worth the suffering
  • A TV host tells the LGBTQ to embrace their sexuality because God did not make mistakes
  • Mass killings of innocent people is becoming commonplace around the world
  • One study reports that 27% of children in one state ages 12-17 are “gender non-conforming”

What is somewhat surprising about these conditions is that Christians seemed shocked at what is happening in today’s secular society.  The truth of the matter is that this is merely the result of educating our children and youth in a secular, man-centered system.

In 1984, Francis Shaeffer warned that this would happen if Christians did not take a stand for biblical worldview education.

And now when our culture is all but lost, can we expect anything but future disaster in the form of a complete moral breakdown and the rise of a new humanistic authoritarianism if we do not take a stand?

The Russian journalist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky made the famous statement, “If there is no God, then everything is permissible.”  This has to be the end result of ignoring or denying God when educating our children and youth.  If there is no God, then,

  • man is the result of time and chance
  • there can be no absolute right and wrong
  • man, therefore, is autonomous
  • man, alone, determines morality

As one writer put it,  the problem with this line of thinking is that there is a God and he has established boundaries and hierarchies, and this goes for both the culture, home, and his church. To tamper with God’s design is to go to war with God himself.  In fact, without God, nothing can be evil because if there were, it would mean that there has to be something that is universally good.

I am thankful for all the good work and resources that are available to parents, church leaders and Christian educators that are designed to make their efforts more effective.  It is important that we learn from research and try to use the best methods of teaching as we try to impact our children’s hearts and minds.  However, there must be a greater emphasis and ongoing effort on developing a strong biblical worldview and a biblical philosophy of education.

It is my heart’s desire to do all I can to help parents, church leaders and school leaders keep the fear of the Lord front and center in their educational efforts to prepare the next generation for the future.  Every resource that has been developed and uploaded to KEM’s subscription website is designed to do this very thing.  Thank you for your support and prayers as we engage in the battle for the hearts and minds of our children.

What Grade Would You Receive?

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It is the end of another school year here in the United States.  At this time of year, the majority of students will be required to take a final exam in each subject that they have studied throughout the year.  It is often a time of stress for both student and teacher alike.  How students score on their final assessments will determine what grade and/or courses they will be able to take in the future.

Final exams are not limited to students who are still in school.  As adults, we all face similar things in our work.  I can remember how I received an annual performance review for different positions that I have held over the years.  These performance reviews determined whether or not I would remain in my current position and/or my compensation for the future.

There is a verse that has weighed heavily on my heart for a couple of decades related to the concept of taking a final exam or undergoing an annual performance review.  Paul provides his readers with some amazing insight into his motivation in ministry when he wrote the following to the Colossian Christians.

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:28 (NKJV)

Paul’s preaching and teaching had one goal in place.  Everything he did was aimed at seeing every person he influenced becoming more mature in Jesus Christ.  In fact, this must be the goal for every Christian in his/her work here on earth.  This is what parenting is all about.  It is what teaching and preaching should target at all times.  It is what every business leader should strive to do.  This is what continually motivates me as I serve the Lord through the work of Kingdom Education Ministries.  Every thing a Christian does should be done in such a way that it will cause others to become more mature in Christ.

Let me apply this principle to those who are involved in Christian school education.  The following diagram illustrates the biblical structure for the various staff responsibilities in a school.

This diagram illustrates the servant leadership that is required of all those involved in the operation of a Christian school.  However, it also shows how Colossians 1:28 applies to various people in the school.  All of the board and staff members have some influence on the students’ spiritual maturity.  However, the school board and administration do not directly influence the spiritual formation of the students.

The school board is directly responsible for the spiritual development of the head of school.  The head of school is responsible for the spiritual development of the administrative team.  In turn, the administrative team members are directly responsible for the spiritual growth of the faculty.  Finally, the faculty are directly involved in the spiritual maturity of the students.  With this in mind, here are the final exam questions for the people serving in each of the these areas of a Christian school.

  1. Board members: How has the head of school matured in Christ this past year under your leadership?
  2. Head of school:  How have the members of the administrative team matured in Christ this past year under your leadership?
  3. Administrative team members:  How has each faculty member matured in Christ this past year under your leadership?
  4. Faculty members:  How have the students in your class or on your team matured in Christ this past year because they were under your teaching and leading?

Similar questions can be asked of parents and church leaders.

  1. Parents: How have your children become more mature in Christ because of your teaching, admonishing and warning at home?
  2. Church leaders:  How have the staff members of the church matured in Christ who have been under your leadership this year?
  3. Church leaders and teachers:  How have your members shown spiritual growth due to your influence on their lives this past year?

I believe the most important evaluation and assessment that needs to take place in homes, churches and schools is not of the children and youth.  The most important evaluation that must be made is how have we, parents, church leaders and teachers, done in helping those we teach and lead be more mature in Christ.  If you had to present your children or students to the Lord right now, what grade would God give you in preparing them to stand before Him?

The Danger Behind This Kind Of Thinking

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How To Respond?

Last week I received an email from a reader that asked me for some advice.  The person’s concern was about parents’ reasoning when it comes to enrolling their children in a secular school.  Over the past 50+ years I have probably heard all the reasons why Christian parents send their children to secular schools.  Most of these reasons are logical from a human perspective.  However, human reasoning cannot be the basis for how parents educate their children and youth.

The specific parent reasoning that was sent to me last week went like this.

I want them to experience and get exposed to the public school while they are still at home under my care.  That way I can talk to them and help them through all of the issues they will face in a public school.  Once they go off to college, I won’t be there to help them with this.

Similar reasons for enrolling children in secular schools include:

  • I don’t want to shelter my children from the real world.
  • I am only doing this for academic reasons.
  • I believe that my children need to be salt and light like Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.

Many times when we are faced with this type of reasoning, we struggle to know how best to respond.  It is clear from Scripture that parents have the God-given responsibility to educate their children.  This also carries with it the fact that God will hold parents, especially Christian parents, accountable for how they fulfill this responsibility.  I am convinced that God expects Christians to make schooling decisions based on biblical principles.

I am going to attempt to share some of my thoughts on how we can respond biblically to parents who sincerely believe it is best for their children to attend a secular school.  I will try to avoid giving my opinion on the subject as human opinion is what has gotten us into the condition we are in today.

The Danger of Dualistic Thinking

I believe that the biggest challenge facing Christians today when making major decisions is that we are plagued by a dualistic worldview.  By this, I mean that Christians have divided life up into two compartments — the secular and the sacred.  When this happens, life becomes fragmented with no biblical basis behind our decision making.  The result is inconsistency.

Parents must be consistent in their theology.  The parent who wants his/her child to “experience” or be “exposed” to secular education while they still live at home must be challenged to be consistent with this type of reasoning.  Would they send their children to a church that doesn’t believe the Bible to be God’s Word?  Would they want their child to “experience” an Eastern religion or “be exposed” to Muslim teaching at the local mosque?  After all, parents can “talk to them” and “walk through all of the issues” related to these false religions that they would encounter.

The Myth of Neutrality

I have addressed this issue in a number of posts over the years.  Many parents believe that most of the “academics” that a child will learn in secular schools is spiritually neutral.  They also are aware that there are some false ideas that they will be confronted with such as evolution.  However, they believe that they can help their children navigate these big issues at home and, therefore, can survive being in a secular school.

The truth is that there is no such thing as neutrality when it comes to any aspect of education.  All education is presented in the context of the worldview of the teacher and the textbook authors.  That is why Jesus made it clear in Luke 6:40 that when a person is fully trained (educated), they will be like their teachers.  The student will develop a worldview that will drive all of their attitudes and actions that will be in line with that of his/her teachers.

False Teachers

The Scriptures are clear on this point.  Christians are to avoid false teachers.  As I share these verses, keep in mind that we cannot apply them only to what is taught at church as this would require dualistic thinking.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  2 Peter 2:1 (NKJV)

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.  They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.  Jeremiah 23:16 (NKJV)

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.  Acts 20:28-30 (NKJV)

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  Matthew 24:24 (NKJV)

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  Matthew 7:15 (NKJV)

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;  2 John 2:9-10 (NKJV)

No Biblical Worldview

Studies show that the majority of Christians today do not possess a biblical worldview.  I recently was speaking at a conference and heard George Barna share some of his findings.  Less than 10% of adults have a biblical worldview.  When this is broken down by generations, it was found that only 4% of Millennials possess a biblical worldview.  The Millennials are the primary parenting generation today.

Parents can only give what they possess!  If parents do not possess a comprehensive and extensive biblical worldview, they will not be able to biblically “help their children through all the issues that they will face in secular education.”

Wrong Purpose of Protection

Scripture is clear about the fact that children are to be protected from harm.  This protection is not only from physical harm but also from mental and spiritual harm.  The problem that homes, churches and schools have caused when it comes to protecting our children is that they have not understood the biblical purpose for protection.  Kevin Swanson said it best in his book, Upgrade.

The goal of protection cannot be sheltering.  The goal of protection must be preparation.

Parents are to protect their children and youth from false worldview or ideas.  However, as they protect their children they are to prepare them for spiritual warfare.  This must be one of the main goals of the education Christians give their children and youth.  They must be fit for battle and this will take a united effort from the home, church and school.  If they are not fit for spiritual battle, children and youth cannot be sent to the battle front in a secular school.  Consider God’s instructions to the Israelites concerning the importance of preparing children for battle.

Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above—all who are able to go to war in Israel.  Numbers 1:2-3 (NKJV)

Conclusions

Parents have the God-given responsibility for how they educate their children.  God expects them to provide their children with a biblically-based, Christ-centered education that is presented from a biblical worldview.  This is because children and youth will develop a worldview that is patterned after the worldview of their teachers.

In order to prepare our children for battle it is going to take a united effort between the home, church and school.  I have talked with countless numbers of parents and pastors who have shared the sad story of how a child, after receiving a secular education, announces that he/she no longer believes in Christianity.  This is because we have not addressed the issue of education biblically and the results have been devastating.  In closing, consider what God told His people through the prophet Jeremiah when they chose education based on the world’s ideas rather than God’s.

For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water…And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River?  Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you.  Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you.  Jeremiah 2:13, 18-19 (NKJV)

I believe that God is asking parents, church leaders and educators a very important question when it comes to where and how our children and youth are being educated.  The question must be answered first by parents and then by church leaders and teachers.

Where is the flock [children] that was given to you?  Jeremiah 13:20 (NKJV)

Today’s Culture Was Inevitable

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The average Christian is shocked by where today’s culture is.  I hear people talk about what has happened in the last 10-20 years as if they are surprised as to how crazy everything has become.  Think about some of the happenings we have witnessed lately that seem mind-boggling to say the least.

  • Public officials openly state that a baby in a mother’s womb is not a human being.
  • Parents are giving there newborn child a “gender neutral” name so that the child can choose its gender when it gets older.
  • Government officials have declared that we only have 12 more years of life on the planet.
  • Children are being given gender-altering drugs without parent consent.
  • Males transgendering to females are now dominating many women sports.
  • Schools have announced that they are changing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day recognition to “Acknowledgement Day”  so that “we as a community recognize that our families are not made up of any particular combination of people and that we are no longer subscribe to a binary world.”
  • Legislatures have passed bills that allow for an abortion right up to the time of birth and, at the same time, they have voted down bills that will require medical attention be given to a baby that survives an abortion.

You can add to these realities such things as:

  • Suicide rates are skyrocketing, especially among young people.
  • Mass shootings continue to dominate the headlines and show little, if any, value to human life.

I could go on and on with examples absurd things that are now fully acceptable in today’s postmodern, secular society.  However, should we be shocked or horrified by what is seen as “normal” in today’s world?  It is my conviction that, even though we should be broken-hearted by where we are as a society, we shouldn’t be shocked.  In fact, today’s culture had to become what it is today because of the philosophy of education that has dominated schools at all levels for over 100+ years.

Secular philosophy has to lead to a culture that has no direction or sense of truth, beauty or goodness.  In 1927, President Bell of St. Stephens College described the youth of his day in what must have been shocking to Christians who were listening to him.

We are sending forth graduates with diffused minds, scarcely fit to take command of their own lives or to cooperate in the development of a social state; drifters into conformity and essential human futility; easy victims of specious crowd psychologies; followers of what seem easy ways out… 

As I read this many years ago, I thought he was accurately describing the youth of today.  There is no question that today’s young people are “drifters into conformity” and they have become victims of “crowd psychologies.”  Bell went on to state,

They esteem themselves only creatures of their environment and so they tend to become just that.

When children and youth sit under hours upon hours of teaching based on evolutionary thought, it is inevitable that they see themselves as something that exists as the result of time and chance.  Bell then explained what is the result of this type of thinking.

They have little of no perception of standards — truth, beauty or goodness; they have no goals of purposeful perfection with which to estimate values or by which to gauge achievement.  All things are to them relative — relative not to absolutes but to expediency.  

Truth means to them little more than a body of observable facts; beauty, conformity to fashion, goodness, doing those things that will make one comfortable or popular. (emphasis mine)

He concluded his description of the youth of his day by placing the blame on the adults not on the condition of the youth.

Out of our most able youth, capable of high adventure, we are manufacturing mental and ethical jellyfish.

The title of today’s post is “Today’s Culture Was Inevitable.”  In reality, it was totally predictable.  We shouldn’t be surprised at any of the “craziness” we are witnessing all around the world today.  I am convinced it is because secular education has produced a completely secular society.

The term secular has been a topic in many of my posts over the past several years. As a reminder, the term, secular, means non-religious.  Secularists claim that they are not against religion or the concept of God.  They simply say it has no bearing on public life.  So, secular education teaches everything from a man-centered worldview.  God is totally irrelevant; which is another way of saying He doesn’t exist.

When education takes place on the premise that God doesn’t exist, somethings are inevitable.  Here are just a few of what is the predictable results of secular thinking and teaching.  If God is ignored or denied:

  • there can be no universal absolute truth.
  • man must be a product of nature and cannot have any value higher than any other element of nature.
  • life can have no overarching purpose and, therefore, cannot produce real significance.
  • there can be no absolute moral values.
  • there is no such thing as evil because that would mean that there is a universal good.

Jim Denison recently noted,

In the 1960s, we shifted form “us” to “me.”  Truth is what I say it is; morality is what works for me without harming others.

As President Bell clearly stated, we are manufacturing young people who have become secular beings who decide for themselves what is right and wrong or true and false.  We are seeing what Paul warned about in a letter to young Timothy take place before our very eyes.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, basters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unforgiving, slanders, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)

How can this take place in society?  In the last days, does Satan invent some type of special dust that he sprinkles on people to act this way?  No, this is the inevitable result that has to take place when children and youth are educated in a way that ignores and/or denies the existence of God.  I have said it before and it begs repeating again.

Secular education can and does occur in any form of education.  It is the dominant philosophy in state/government (including charter) and most private schools.  However, I have also seen it in some Christian and home schools and even in some churches and Christian homes.

If we have any chance of seeing these trends reversed, Christians must repent and beg God’s forgiveness for giving our children a secular education that is based on human wisdom.  The home, church and school must provide children and youth with an education driven by a biblical philosophy of education (I refer to it as Kingdom Education).

I am excited to announce that I just finished filming 10 more video lessons on key aspects of kingdom education that will soon be uploaded to the Kingdom Education Ministries membership website.  When edited and uploaded, it will bring the total number of video sessions to 42.  These videos along with the articles, booklets and other resources available to KEM Prime Members are designed to help parents, church leaders and Christian educators strengthen their biblical worldview and philosophy of education.  If you or your school wants more information on how to become a KEM Prime Member, click here or email me at glen@kingdomeducation.org.  A special thanks goes to Pastor James McMenis and the staff of Word of God Ministries for their partnership with KEM in producing these resources.

Secular Education Will Always Produce Artificial Intelligence

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In 1897, Robert Dabney published a series of works titled, Discussions.  Volume IV of this series was simply called, Secular.  His focus in this volume was on the consequences that would result if the state or the government became the educators of the children and youth of the country.  He warned,

If the State in America becomes the educator, education must be secularized totally.

It is important to remember that the term “secular” means non-religious or non-theistic.  When applying this definition to what Dabney said would happen, it would read as follows.

If the State in America becomes the educator, education must be non-religious or non-theistic totally.

In other words, God would be completely removed from the educational process.  There is no doubt about the fact that secular education is the dominant education in America today.  Public education is definitely secular and most private schools operate from a secular philosophy of education.  Unfortunately, a growing number of “Christian” schools and homeschools have also become secular.  God may be mentioned in chapels and Bible classes but most of the academic instruction is taught in a non-religous way.

The greatest danger that manifests itself when education becomes secular is that a shift of authority takes place.  Authority shifts from God to man.  Man becomes the center of everything including the determination of truth.  This will always result in children growing up and going out into life with an artificial intelligence.  They may think that they are wise but they don’t have any knowledge of the truth!

…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  2 Timothy 3:7 (NKJV)

There are three words that play intricate roles in the educational process.  These three words are closely related to each other.  However, they are also different in many ways from each other.  These three words are knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

Recently, I came across an interesting table that was developed by the Institute for Faith, Work &  Economics.  The table explained the differences between knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  The chart below has been modified slightly but I believe it will help us understand why secular education will always produce artificial intelligence.As I studied this chart, I saw a progression that will always take place in education.  Students will be presented with basic knowledge.  As the student matures, he/she should gain understanding of the knowledge he/she has received.  Eventually the student will act on his/her knowledge and understanding.

If a school only focuses on “academic excellence”, it may produce good scholars but students will go out into life with very little understanding and, therefore, they will lack wisdom.  This is definitely a danger that must be avoided but it is not the greatest danger facing the next generation.

What we too often fail to realize is that there is an educational philosophy that is behind the entire process of education.  It will either be a secular philosophy of education or a biblical philosophy.  A secular philosophy of education by its very nature will be man-centered.  In contrast, a biblical philosophy of education will be God-centered.  When you apply this to chart above one can see why the world is in the terrible condition that it is in today.

Both a secular and biblical education will, most likely, teach knowledge in a very similar way.  However, when students move from knowledge to understanding, one can see a distinct difference in the two types of education.

In secular education, man is the authority that brings meaning to the facts.  Since secular education must be non-religious, there can be no spiritual meaning presented or even implied to any knowledge.  Therefore, students will develop man-centered principles for the information they receive which will lead them to reason all of life through a secular worldview.  As adults, they will teach these principles to the next generation.

As they apply their knowledge and understanding to all aspects of life, their actions will be based on a humanistic understanding of knowledge.  The resulting wisdom will be the wisdom of the world as described in James 3:14-17.  They will be disciples. However, they will not be disciples of Jesus Christ but of the culture!

We can clearly see this progression taking place in society today.  We are producing scholars that know a lot of facts.  These scholars understand the knowledge that they have obtained by means of a secular education and promote or teach those principles to others.  As they apply everything they have learned through a secular education, they develop a man-centered worldview become disciples of the culture.  All of their actions and attitudes are determined by a secular worldview and are in line with the culture.  They have merely obtained an artificial intelligence!

It is imperative that Christians provide their children and youth with an education that is grounded on a biblical philosophy of education.  This must take place in the home, church and school.  Our children must be taught knowledge with the fear of the Lord as its foundation.  This will lead them to grasping true understanding of the facts they learn.

The understanding that they develop through their education must be shaped by biblical principles that will give true meaning to the knowledge they receive.  This, in turn, will cause them to develop a biblical understanding of knowledge that will shape their reasoning in every area of life. With understanding, they will teach these biblical principles to the next generation.

Finally, Christians must make sure that their children and youth not only know and understand facts but also are able to how to apply what they have learned — all from a biblical worldview framework.  This will lead them to acquire true wisdom from above.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  James 3:17 (NKJV)

When this happens, the next generation will not go out into life as disciples of the culture but as disciples of Jesus Christ.  When this is the result of our children’s education, they will do what our generation hasn’t done.  They will turn the world upside down for the glory of God!

 

 

The Danger of Artificial Intelligence

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There is a lot of attention given to the topic of artificial intelligence today.  Artificial intelligence (AI) uses machine learning to mimic human intelligence.  Some definitions of AI are:

The ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.

A machine completing the tasks which involve a certain degree of intelligence which was previously deemed only to be done by humans.

The capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.

AI, when boiled down to its basic meaning, deals with how close or how well can a computer imitate a human being.  There has been examples of artificial intelligence around for a long time.  Rosie, the robot maid, was always cleaning up after George in the old cartoon The Jetsons.  In the movies, AI has gone from the benign character of Rosie to fierce robots rising up and trying to control the world.

Today, there are some fears that are attached to what the future holds when it comes to artificial intelligence.  There are two major fears that a lot of people hold about the future of AI.

  1. Machines (robots) are going to kill us.
  2. Machines (robots) are going to replace us.

Behind these fears is the concept that man could “program” intelligence and, thus, man is no longer special or needed.  Even non-Christians fight to protect themselves by holding on to the idea that human beings are special and/or different from anything else.

The definitions of the terms “artificial” and “intelligence” are as follows.

Artificial

Something made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally; behavior that is insincere; something humanly contrived; imitation; sham; pretend; hollow.  Artificial conveys the idea that something is inferior to the real thing.

Intelligence

The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills; skilled use of reason; mental acuteness; the act of understanding; the ability to benefit from past experience, act purposefully, solve problems, and adapt to new situations.

These definitions make it clear that AI will always be inferior to human life.  Any intelligence that is “man-made” will always be deficient in some way or another.  This is because true intelligence involves reason, understanding and wisdom.  These characteristics of human beings can never be programed into a computer.  AI can not include emotion, creativity, intuition and consciousness.

How does artificial intelligence apply to the education we give our children and youth?  Artificial intelligence is dangerous and must be avoided at all costs when it comes to the education we give our children.  I am not saying that our children and youth shouldn’t be taught about the power of technology — especially robotics.  I am talking about the real artificial intelligence that is so common in society today.

Artificial intelligence in education can be summed up in two simple words — secular education!  You may be asking yourself the question how can I say that secular education is and/or produces artificial intelligence?

To me it is quite simple.  Secular education denies or, at least, ignores the existence of God.  Therefore, secular education is not built on the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of knowledge.  Secular education is humanly contrived and, therefore, can only be an imitation of true education.  Secular education will always be inferior to the real thing.

Any intelligence that results from secular education will be found lacking in one way or another.  This is because it will not develop children who have the ability to act with true purpose and the skill to use reason in gaining understanding and wisdom.  They will be like the people Paul wrote to Timothy about.  Those who have gained only artificial intelligence will be:

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  2 Timothy 3:7 (KJV)

Unfortunately, most Christians today believe that there is a body of knowledge that is spiritually neutral.  This belief has been developed by means of a secular education system that teaches that knowledge is merely a set of objective, neutral facts.  This has to be the case since secular education denies or ignores the existence of God.  Therefore, education must be spiritually neutral.

When our children are given a secular education, they never come to the knowledge of the truth.  They will never obtain the real meaning behind the facts that they are learning.  God becomes totally irrelevant to math, science, history, language arts, etc.  John Piper says it best.

Modern people suppose that if they have the facts about a given thing, person, or event, they have the truth.  They forget that facts are not meaningless or value free, and that if we do not associate the meaning with the fact, we do not have the truth.

We must understand a very important truth about secular education.  Secular education may be factually accurate but it is never spiritually neutral!!  If children merely get the facts about any subject and/or life itself, they are not coming to the knowledge of the truth.  Without coming to the knowledge of truth, children go out into life thinking that they have received a good education when, in fact, they have developed a dangerous form of artificial intelligence!  We must give our children a biblical worldview education at home, church and school.

What are your thoughts about artificial intelligence in today’s world?

It Isn’t Too Late!

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Last week I had the privilege of speaking at a Worldview Conference sponsored by Precept Marketing and BJ Press.  It was held at the beautiful Bible Museum in Washington, D.C. and included other speakers such as Jeff Keaton and Dr. Josh Mulvihil of Renewantion, Dr. Bryan Smith, Ben Schetler, and Dr. George Barna.  I came away from the conference deeply burdened about the condition of today’s church and society here in the United States.

If you have been following my blogs over the past several weeks, you know that my concern for our children’s future isn’t new.  I first wrote about this in the blog, For the Sake of Our Children.  I encourage you to take the time and click on the title and read it again.  Following that post I realized that Christians must repent of our sinful actions of giving our children a secular worldview education.  Two verses have been on my heart and mind ever since.

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord“turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  Joel 2:12 (NKJV)

So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Joel 2:13 (NKJV)

In each of my blogs since then I have been challenging readers to examine their lives and apply Joel 2:12-13 to their lives and ministries.  I suggested that today, April 23, 2019 be the day that we individually and collectively turn to the Lord with our whole heart.  Last week’s conference burned this conviction deeper into my heart.  Each presentation built on the others as if all of the speakers had met and collectively planned what would be said.  I left DC with several key realities weighing heavy on my heart.

Christianity is facing a crisis of belief!

The majority of Christian adults are biblically illiterate compared to previous generations.  Less than 10% possess a biblical worldview.  Today’s church is a better reflection of today’s culture than it is of biblical Christianity.

Younger generations have developed a secular worldview that is driving their actions and attitudes!

It is believed that only 4% of Millennials have a biblical worldview and 51% of them desire to live in a socialistic or communistic society.  The younger generations are more likely to support various lifestyle positions that go contrary to the Bible.

 

The worldview of every generation is a result of the education that they received!

The main business of all education is the communication of ideas.  All educational efforts take place in the context of the teachers’ and textbook authors’ worldview.

There is no such thing as neutrality!

It is a myth to believe that there is a body of neutral facts that can be taught without spiritual implications.  This is true at home, church and school.

Education can have only one of two missions!

The education that a child receives at home, church and school will have the mission to instill a biblical worldview or a secular worldview in the hearts and minds of the next generation.

The home, church and school must be united in giving children and youth a biblical worldview education!

A divided kingdom cannot stand.  This is true when it comes to the education that the next generation receives.  There must be unity in beliefs and values if the current trends are going to be reversed.  It is now believed that a person’s basic worldview beliefs are pretty much set by the age of 13 or 14.

Today’s society is definitely secular which means that religion, specifically Christianity, has no place in the public square.  It has taken decades of secular education to get us to the condition that can be clearly seen in today’s culture.  We have heard the statistics for years of how the majority of our young people are leaving the church in their teenage years — many of them will never return.

Even though the future looks bleak, we must remember that with God all things are possible.  It isn’t too late for God to work.  However, it is going to require certain things of parents, church leaders and educators.  We don’t need better facilities, programs or teaching methodologies.  It isn’t going to be accomplished by improving technology or chasing after the latest fad.  It will only happen if parents, church leaders and educators rend their hearts and turn to the Lord their God with fasting, weeping and mourning!  We must get back to following God’s instructions on how to educate future generations!

What Controls Your Life and Ministry?

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As I was examining my life in preparation for turning to God with all my heart, I came across a quote that stopped me in my tracks.  Pastor and author Tim Keller wrote these words.

Whatever you live for actually owns you. You do not really control yourself. Whatever you live for and love the most controls you.

As I reflected on these three short sentences, I realized that every person is controlled by something or someone.  No one is in control of his/her life.  In a world that is consumed with setting goals and making plans, it is easy to think that one has everything under control and can accomplish anything through good planing, hard work and perseverance.  That person says in his/her mind, I am in control!

Keller brings us back to reality by stating that everyone is controlled by whatever or whoever he/she loves most.  That is because what I love most I end up living for.  As I was thinking about this, I came across an article about a basketball coach that I greatly admire.  This coach just led his team to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship.  If you follow college basketball, you know that this coach is Tony Bennet, head coach of the University of Virginia men’s basketball team.

Throughout the tournament Bennett’s team was under scrutiny because last year ended in such a terrible way.  Last year, the UVa team was a number one seed and lost its first game in the tournament to a number 16 seed.  In fact, it was the first time that a number 16 seed beat a number 1 seed.  They didn’t simply lose the game but they lost the game by a 20 point margin.  How would they respond this year as, once again, the team had a number 1 seed?  Because of this scenario, Coach Bennett was repeatedly asked how the team was going to perform?  What pressure did he and the team face?  How did he and the team cope with such pressure?

In one article, Bennett made a powerful statement that took the pressure off him and his team and guided them on an unbelievable path to the national championship.

If my life is just about winning championships—if it’s just about being the best—then I’m running the wrong race. That’s empty. But if it’s about trying to be excellent and do things the right way, to honor the university that’s hired you, the athletic director you work for and the young men you’re coaching—always in the process trying to bring glory to God—then that’s the right thing.

Bennett was saying that winning basketball games is not what controls his life.  He understood that coaching basketball was simply God’s gift and that he needs to do it as a good steward that will bring glory to his Lord.  Bennett’s own words proves this point.

I have great things in my life—my love for my wife, my love for my family, my love for coaching, my love for basketball. Those are wonderful things, but when you line them up in comparison to Christ and the relationship you have with Him, with what He’s done for you and with what He’s given you, they don’t compare. That’s the greatest truth I know.

After reading this, I asked myself what do I love and live for the most?  Is it being a husband, father or grandfather?  Is it directing Kingdom Education Ministries?  All of these things are very good things but do I love and live for them more than I love and live for God?

 

Over my years in education I have seen administrators that seemed to live for the schools they led.  I have seen teachers who lived for the subjects they teach and coaches and sponsors who lived for the sport or activity they led.  It is easy to have these things control us.  I have learned that I can identify what I am loving the most and living for by seeing what I promote the most.  The Psalmist explains that what we praise or promote is what we love the most.

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. Psalm 9:1 (NKJV)

As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior next Sunday, take time this week to ask yourself some questions.

  1. What do I talk about (promote/praise) the most?
  2. What works do I tell others about whenever I have the chance?
  3. What am I living for — my family, my ministry, etc.?
  4. What really controls my life and my ministry?

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.  Philippians 3:7-8 (NKJV)

A Lesson From Moses

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The Old Testament provides us with powerful truths that we must understand and grasp.  Today, there are some who believe that the Old Testament is outdated and Christianity can simply focus on the New Testament.  However, Paul explains that we can learn a lot and avoid making serious mistakes by carefully studying the accounts found in the Old Testament.

 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. 1 Corinthians 10:6-7 (NKJV)

The account of the people of Israel desiring to have a “god” of their own is familiar to most Christians.  When Moses was up on the mountain getting the law from God, the people got anxious when he didn’t return right away.  Instead of waiting on the Lord, they decided to take matters in their own hands.  The people pressured Aaron into making something that they could worship.  Aaron took gold from the people and made a golden calf that they could worship.

I find it amazing how Aaron tried to avoid taking any responsibility in making this false idol.  When Moses questioned him about what he had done, Aaron came up with one of the most unbelievable tales.  He tried to say that this idol just appeared out of thin air.

So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ and I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”  Exodus 32:22-24 (NKJV)

Aaron simply took the gold that the people gave him and threw it into the fire and miraculously out popped a golden calf.  Most of us are familiar with all of this but it is what took place after this that I want to focus on in this week’s post.  God was angry with the people and He told Moses what he needed to do.

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people. Exodus 33:3 (NKJV)

God told Moses to go ahead and enter the Promised Land.  However, I am not going to go with you because if I do, I might destroy the people because of their idolatry.  It is at this point that Moses shows amazing wisdom.  Listen to what Moses said to the Lord.

Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.  Exodus 33:15 (NKJV)

Moses was actually saying to God that he would rather stay in the wilderness with God than be in the land of milk and honey without God.  Wow!  I wonder how many of us would have taken the stand that Moses took.  How many of us would have looked at the options and maybe made a list of pros and cons and decided let’s get out of this forsaken place and head to the Promised Land?

I believe that just about everyone reading this blog has a vision for the future.  Most of us have some goals we want to accomplish in the immediate and distant future.  We want to be successful in both our lives and our ministries.

  • Parents want their children to be successful and enjoy life.
  • Teachers want their lessons to be effective and bring about transformation in the lives of their students.
  • Administrators want to see their schools grow and accomplish more than what they are right now.
  • Coaches want to experience success and may even win a state championship.
  • Pastors want to see their churches grow and impact the community for Christ.
I could go on and list many more things you and I want to accomplish.  Maybe it would be good if you would make a list of your dreams for your life, your family, your ministry and your church.  Once you did this, what would you do if God were to say to you, “Go after your dreams and accomplish all your goals?  However, I won’t go with you so that I won’t consume you because of your idolatries.

Would you and I rather stay right where we are, even if it is in the wilderness, if it meant that God’s presence would not be with us?  Would you say to God,

  • don’t have one more student enroll in your school
  • don’t allow us to win one more game
  • don’t give us one more donor and/or gift to help fund the ministry
  • don’t let us grow in our ministry efforts to reach our community for Christ
  • don’t bless our family in any way

if you do not go with us?  This is difficult to try and comprehend but that is exactly what Moses said to God.  Moses knew that God’s presence was the most meaningful thing that one can experience in life.  Any other advances, victories and blessings that might come our way here on earth are completely meaningless if God is with us.  As we prepare to turn to God with our whole heart on April 23rd, let’s have the conviction shown by Moses.  God, don’t move us one step forward if You don’t go with us!