real encouragement for real homeschool moms

A couple threads back there were several comments discussing how we can know for sure when the Lord is showing us truth and how we can distinguish truth from error. If there is anything good that has come out of the light shone on the teachings of Mike and Debi Pearl and others within the patriocentric camps during the past few weeks it is that God’s Spirit is moving in the hearts of those who genuinely want to know His truth. I see and hear it everywhere. If you are asking questions and feel challenged that these teachings are not of the Lord, that is the first sign that you are a truth seeker, that you are already hearing from the Lord!

Today I am sharing a few of the things that I have learned I must consider when presented with any teachings and I would encourage you to ask yourself the same things as you try to sort through the agendas of various men and women who are presently having great influence within the evangelical Christian community. Note: These are especially important to consider in the homeschooling world and particularly are essential as the season of homeschooling conferences and workshops is beginning.

Does this teaching bring me closer to the Lord or not?

Does it bring me closer to my husband and my children, promoting a healthy, organic relationship with God and man? Does this teaching promote the one anothers in relationships? Or does this teaching place people into adversarial relationships? Does this teacher believe that all of us are part of a royal priesthood or that the Bible promotes a hierarchy within the Body of Christ? 1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We are a royal priesthood so that we can all proclaim God’s glory, not the glory of man.

Does this teaching put the emphasis on God’s sovereignty or man’s ability? Is grace central to this teaching? Does your salvation depend on your works or on the finished work of Christ on the cross?

There is a difference between false teachings and a true difference of opinion on doctrinal issues. The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things. How important is this issue? For example, the resurrection and the virgin birth are central beliefs of Biblical orthodoxy and must be believed. Mode of baptism or preferences of education for our children are not. Your warning system should go off when someone is presenting preferences as a “Biblical worldview” or as “essentials of the faith.”

How is Scripture interpreted by the teachers within this group? Is the Bible faithfully exegeted or do the teachers select Bible verses to support their own man-made ideas? Is the passage of Scripture prescriptive (a command for us) or is it narrative, telling something that happened? Context, context, context is everything!!!

Does the passage apply to all people in all times and in all places? If they are commands for us, they would have to apply to the women who live in the deepest, darkest parts of the Amazon rainforest, the children who are victims of the slave trade in India, the men who work on Wall Street, and all believers past and present. For one thing, this certainly puts a new perspective on what is ladylike Christian behavior doesn’t it?

Is everything taught from a paradigm perspective? Are you being taught that man-made rules are “non-optional principles for life” or “part of the grand sweep of revelation?” Does the teacher make promises and guarantees that doing things his way will produce things that only God can do? If so, you are being lured into idolatry. Remember Jonah 2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”

How motivated by money are those who are promoting the paradigm? Do they see their efforts as a ministry or do they see it as a business? Do they charge you for every bit of advice they offer, no matter how simple it is? Do they have a “donate button” on their “ministry” website but are not tax exempt? I challenge you to try it out. You may be surprised. Paradigm peddling is big business. Any group who claims to be a ministry with a .org web address ought to be tax exempt. If they aren’t, they are a business rather than a ministry and are not being forthright to the public. Also check out what money is used for in non-profit organizations, how much their officers make, etc. You will be amazed at some of the salaries! Remember the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “When a successful figure becomes especially prominent and conspicuous, the majority give way to the idolization of success. They become blind to right and wrong, truth and untruth, fair play and foul play.”

Do the teachings you are hearing inspire you to a greater faith in Christ and do they place within your heart a greater desire to love and serve Him? Or do they bring defeat, despair, and a sense of failure? Do you feel like you can never measure up or do you have the assurance of God’s grace in your life and the life of your family? One of the things I have consistently experienced since we have sat under the expository teaching of a Godly pastor has been the desire to be obedient to the Lord. It hasn’t come from any fear of punishment perspective but rather from a true desire to love God and to serve Him. There is no human effort, it is super natural. I believe this is what James calls “the perfect law of liberty.” (James 1:25)

Does it pass the test for being God’s wisdom or worldly wisdom? James 3:13-17 defines the difference for us: “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easily entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

In my most recent podcast, I go through each of those qualities of “godly wisdom” and look at the meaning of the words. Interestingly, the word “hypocrisy” literally means “role-playing.” How often do you hear teachers today talk about “the role of the godly woman””the role of the wife” “the role of the homeschooling father” etc.? I would encourage you to study this passage further and compare what Scripture teaches with what you are hearing or reading outside of the Word of God.

When introduced to a teaching, ask these important Four Questions that will help you to think critically, as suggested by Dr. Jeff Myers from Summit Ministries:

1. What do you mean by that? You want to get the teacher to define his terms and explain what he is saying. Many times you find out all you need to know about him or his ministry with this first question. My past experience has shown me that refusing to explain what he means is the first tip off that you are not dealing with someone who promotes Godly wisdom.

2. Where do you get your information? Be prepared for Bible gymnastics!

3. How do you know that’s true? This is probably the most powerful question of them all. It puts the burden of proof on the other person. It’s amazing how many of those “non-optional principles” vanish when Scripture cannot be produced.

4. What if you’re wrong? Many of the bad teachings over the past 20 years within homeschooling circles are coming home to roost. The case of Lydia Schatz is just one example.

How important is it to be a discerning Christian? 2 John warns us that false teachers will not hold to the teachings of Jesus and that we are to have nothing whatsoever to do with them. Does what you are being taught match up with the Gospel message? Does Jesus confirm these teachings? Abiding with a deceiver is dangerous and those who do often succumb to cultic teachings and behaviors.

What is the antidote for you if you have been influenced by any of these teachings and need a fresh perspective?

Read through the Gospels and the book of Acts, then the Epistles. What is Jesus saying? What is Paul saying? The other writers? Read as though you have never heard any of it before! You will be amazed at what the Holy Spirit will teach you! Keep a journal and notice what Jesus says and to whom he says it. Ask the questions the great evangelist Charles H. Spurgeon would ask: What would Jesus do? How would Jesus do it?

Get into a good inductive Bible study, even on your own. Precepts is a great place to begin. I would highly recommend Kay Arthur’s Lord Teach Me To Study the Bible in 28 Days. One of my sons and I went through this together and it was a terrific introduction to the right questions to ask and how to cross reference, etc. as you read and study.

Find a good, normal, Bible teaching church where the pastor frequently reminds you to be Bereans, to study the Word on your own, to be in a Precepts or other inductive Bible study, to challenge him if you think he is wrong. One of the marks of a good church is where the pastor preaches through the Word verse by verse (called expository preaching) AND where exegetical, inductive Bible study is encouraged for all, men and women alike. A good church will never consider theology as just for the men, but for all the women as well and you will know that is true when you see what the women are studying. If they repeatedly study “women’s books” or “women’s topics” rather than studies of books of the Bible, that should be a warning that an agenda is afloat.

Psalm 78 describes the rebellion of the children of Israel, how the Lord brought them out of Egypt and preserved them. It tells how He poured out tremendous blessing on them and gave them children to raise in the faith and yet verse 33 says: “In spite of this, they still sinned, and did not believe in His wondrous works. Therefore their days He consumed in futility and their years in fear.”

I believe we see this same situation today in so many homes where God has given us so many wonderful reasons to praise Him and has poured out His mercy and grace to us and to our children, and yet, we are not satisfied with Jesus. Instead, we want Jesus plus who knows what that some guru has to offer: a 200 year vision, a 7-step program of man’s principles, or some woman’s plan for a “heavenly marriage.” We scorn God’s grace and spend our days in futility and fear for the future. Our cry should be for more of Jesus and less of anything and everything else.

More About Jesus
by Eliza E. Hewitt

More about Jesus I would know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.

Refrain:

More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.

More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me.

More about Jesus, in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine.

More about Jesus on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom’s sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of Peace.

3 Responses to Are They True or False Teachers?

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"In today's homeschooling world, you can find all sorts of formulas and prescriptions. If you just follow the correct method, your children will grow up to live godly lives, and they will always make family (including you) their priority. In this book, Karen Campbell gives you the real story. Homeschooling and parenting are not about formulas and prescriptions. They are about relationships. Weaving together Scripture, her own successes and failures, and her observations of the homeschooling world, Karen provides a wealth of wisdom for the homeschooling parent. If you want a formula, this book is not for you. If you want honest wisdom that will aid you in your homeschooling journey, this book is exactly what you are looking for!" – Dr. Jay Wile, PhD, speaker and author of the popular "Exploring Creation with" series of textbooks.
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truth from the Word
"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73: 25-26
Phillip E. Johnson says:
“When pressed in interviews to name my heroes, I have spontaneously responded that they are homeschooling mothers! To me, the heroic mothers who nurture the next generation of faithful Christians are among the leaders of the church.” ~ Phillip E. Johnson
John Stonestreet says:
“C.S. Lewis said that for every new book we read, we ought to read three old ones. But I think for every latest, greatest new homeschooling book you read, go find three old homeschooling moms and ask them what happened and what worked.” ~ John Stonestreet
Oswald Chambers says:
"If we simply preach the effects of redemption in the human life instead of the revealed, divine truth regarding Jesus Himself, the result is not new birth in those who listen. The result is a refined religious lifestyle, and the Spirit of God cannot witness to it because such preaching is in a realm other than His." ~ Oswald Chambers
Carolyn Custis James says:
“The power of our theology comes alive when we take the truth personally. Holding God at arm’s length—no matter how much theology we think we know—will never make us great theologians. We have to learn to write our own names into the plot. God will always be the subject of our theological sentences but our sentences are incomplete until we make ourselves the direct objects of his attributes…..Simply knowing a lot of theological ideas, no matter how orthodox and sound they are, will never turn us into great theologians. Theology isn’t really theology for us until we live it. Not until we learn to make explicit connections between what we know about God and the race we are running will we taste the transforming power of our theology. Fixing our eyes on Jesus means reminding ourselves of all that He is to us now. He brings meaning to our routines and energizes us to tackle the difficult tasks at hand. Fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us hope to offer disheartened husbands and hurting friends, and the wisdom we need to raise children who will fix their eyes on Him, too.” ~ from Carolyn Custis James in When Life and Beliefs Collide
William Carey says:
"Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter."
Tim Keller says:
"God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you’ve deliberately oppressed or even murdered people, or how much you’ve abused yourself… There is no evil that the Father’s love cannot pardon and cover, there is no sin that is a match for his grace." ~ Tim Keller
Tim Keller also says:
“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” ! Tim Keller in The Reason for God.
Anne Ortlund says:
“So what do we do to encourage them to grow inwardly, to become resourceful and creative, to think, to meditate, to lay the foundation for growing up well? Don’t push, but affirm them! Give them the sense that all is well, that their rate of progress is acceptable to you, that you like them just the way they are…..Guide them but be delighted in them. Let them know that life is to be reached for and drunk of deeply…..Enthusiastic, that’s how you want them to grow up! The word comes from “en Theo,” or “in God.” Support them with words of faith, hope, and love, and in that framework “in God,” they’ll be ready to tackle everything. Fears and cautions are built in at an early age but so is courage! Tomorrow’s world will be different if your child has been released to experiment, to risk, to lead others, to pursue righteousness, to be an affecter for good in society, to go courageously after God.” ~ Anne Ortlund in Children Are Wet Cement
J.C Ryle says:
"Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart." ~ J. C. Ryle in The Upper Room
Kathy Thile says:
"I say this gently, as the parent of grown kids, knowing *insert parenting guru* is also the parent of grown kids: we have wonderful children — he does, I’m sure — and so do I. But without even knowing his children I can know this about them: they are not perfect. They hurt. They make mistakes. They struggle. They are prideful and overly simplistic at times; and crippled by shame and hesitancy at others. Yes — they are beautiful examples of human beings, his children (I assume), and mine (I know.) But they are not perfect. If they were, they would not be human. If it were possible to raise children to perfection, then God would have sent a parenting method, not Jesus. Our marching orders are not to raise our children by a method to be like *insert parenting guru* children. Our marching orders are to be Christians to and with our children." ~ Kathy Thile
Clay Clarkson says:
“Many Christian parents, myself included, tend to speak to children as though they were Pharisees. We can speak harshly and with judgment, implying by our manner that their hearts are hard and resistant. But this attitude is not justified by Scripture. There is no record of Jesus ever speaking to a a child in a harsh tone. When the Gospels record Him speaking to a child, it is always with gentleness. Our children are not our adversaries. Though our children’s hearts are corrupted by sin, they are not hardened sinners who have made conscious choices to reject the Savior. Our children are simply immature and childish. That’s why children need love and compassion, not harshness and guilt.” ~ Clay Clarkson in Heartfelt Discipline
Tim Kimmel says:
“Grace can’t be some abstract concept that you talk about in your home. It has to be a real-time action that ultimately imprints itself in your children’s hearts. To talk about grace, sing about grace, and have our children memorize verses about grace – but not give them specific gifts of grace – is to undermine God’s words of grace in their hearts. Grace means that God not only loves them but that He loves them uniquely and specially. The primary way to give our children grace is to offer it in place of our selfish preferences.” ~ Tim Kimmel in Grace-Based Parenting
Chuck Swindoll says:
"You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here's how - guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do's and don'ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately...yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it - emotional and spiritual damage will occur. "
Anna Quindlen says:
“The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less." ~ Anna Quindlen
Winston Churchill says:
“My education was interrupted only by my schooling." ~ Winston Churchill
John Taylor Gatto says:
"The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn’t real." ~ John Taylor Gatto
Fred Rogers say:
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” ~ Fred Rogers
thatmom says
"The truth is that the way a marriage becomes truly heavenly is for each husband and each wife to pursue, really pursue, a relationship with Jesus Christ, to commit to obey the Word of God, to set aside each of their own agendas and paradigms, and then as they walk in the Holy Spirit, as they are sanctified, a little at a time each day, they will grow closer to one another. Godly wisdom will manifest itself in purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, a willingness to submit to one another, the fruits of the spirit, and no role-playing (the true meaning of hypocrisy). (James 3:17)" ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
"We need to approach our children not as character projects, but rather, we must see them with hearts of sympathy, with compassion and understanding, and with ears that listen. You see, homeschooling is not about lesson plans and research papers and standardized tests. Homeschooling is about building a relationship with our children, friendships that will last our entire lives on earth and clear into eternity. Homeschooling is merely the tool whereby we build those relationships." ~ thatmom
thatmom knows:
As a homeschooling mom, I have realized that everything, ultimately, is outside of my own control. I have learned that the unique circumstances that happen in my family have occurred because God’s plan is so much bigger than my own. It is knowing this truth about God and in experiencing that truth with those in my home that has enabled us to face past challenges and that will prepare us for all those difficulties that still lie before us.
thatmom says:
"Real books from the library, a tub of art supplies, being read stories rich in vocabulary, a variety of good music, the daily discussion of God’s Word and how it relates to the world around him, and the attention of a loving parent who includes him in all the activities of real life are the secrets to a great learning experience for children." ~ thatmom
thatmom realizes:
If I think about nearly 40 years of marriage, times the number of loads of laundry I have done for 2 parents, 6 children and 1 grandma, I am amazed to know that I have washed, dried, folded, (sometimes ironed) and put away roughly 27,526 loads of laundry. That is over 215,000 socks! Or, in that same amount of time, provided 38,324 meals for a family and sometimes guests. Or that I have overseen nearly 21,500 hours of education of one sort or another during that time. Just thinking of these numbers takes my breath away. ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
"Being a mom is sort of like being all the people who crowd into a basketball arena all at once. Sometimes we are the players, the ones who are responsible for everything that is going on and our presence is front and center. Sometimes we are the coaches, giving comfort and encouragement, instructing with a clipboard in hand. Other times we are the referees, no striped shirts required but whistles are a must to break up the disputes when the game isn’t played as per the rules. Still other times we are the fans, cheering wildly from the stands, shouting from a distance but not from the floor. And then there are the days when we are the cheerleaders, the ones who scream 'Yeah, you can do it.' " ~ thatmom
thatmom says:
“The beauty of homeschooling is building relationships within our families and inspiring our children to become lifelong learners, gently leading them into the truth of Scripture and trusting that the work we have begun will be brought to completion by a sovereign God who has a plan for building His heavenly kingdom.” ~ thatmom
thatmom also says:
“After parenting for 36 years, I have come to realize that all paradigms are basically a list of do’s and don’ts that someone has created. Instead of embracing a list, I have discovered that it is best for me to run all ideas, philosophies, and paradigms through my “one-anothering hopper.” I ask myself if the suggestions or ideas I am hearing will serve to build my relationships or will serve to tear them down; will they reflect the one-anothering commands of Scripture? I ask if they are a picture of Christ and His relationship with me as His needy daughter. If not, I am not interested, no matter how much appeal they might have for any number of reasons.” ~ thatmom
thatmom says this, too:
“The word wisdom is used in Exodus to describe the knowledge that the Lord gave to the skilled artisans so they could make Aaron’s garments for worship. We are told that these workers “were given wisdom and understanding in knowledge and all manner of workmanship.” I have never had to sew any garments for a priest to wear for worship. I have not had to sew any draperies or build any walls or prepare any inner sanctuary as per the Lord’s instructions. But I have been called to give all I can toward the goal of building up children in the faith, preparing children for life outside my home, children whose bodies, we are told, are called the very temple of the Holy Spirit, children whose job it is to worship in spirit and in truth." ~ thatmom
what does thatmom believe?
" What is thy only comfort in life and death? "That I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him." ~ Heidelberg Catechism
What does it mean to be a Christian?

1.We must acknowledge that we are all sinners. “For we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment: and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6) and “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

2.We are all accountable for our own sins before God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

3.There is only one way to be forgiven of these sins and that is through the blood of Jesus Christ. “Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

4.If we confess our sin to the Lord and repent of it (not allow it to rule in our lives) we can be forgiven and be in right standing with God. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousenss.” (1 John 1:9)

5.Genuine salvation will result in living lives of good works but none of those works contribute in any way to our standing before God which is based solely and completely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:12) and “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5) and “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

6.We all, men and women, boys and girls, have direct access to the throne of grace because everyone who is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ is called a “priest and king” in God’s economy. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)

I believe that many of the false teachings within the patriocentric movement are in direct contrast to these Scriptures and I would encourage each of us to first examine what we believe about Jesus and His work on the cross, its implications and its marvelous power.

Secondly, I would challenge anyone reading here to examine your own heart and ask yourself whether you have been trusting in good works….baptism, homeschooling, church attendance, modest dress, the list goes on and on, or if you have placed ALL your faith and hope in Jesus’ blood and righteousness alone.

And finally, I would challenge you to examine the teachings within your own church system, whether it is Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, etc. Ask yourself what your church teaches about ecclesiastical authority and family authority. Does it line up with the Word of God? It is a top down system that requires certain works in exchange for a relationship with Jesus Christ or do you have the assurance that you are saved for eternity by His death on the cross in your stead? Does it teach that the fruits of the spirit and obedience to all the one anothers is what our lives will demonstrate or is there a list of man made rules?

If you desire to talk with me about this, please send me a note to shesthatmom@gmail.com. My desire is that no one who visits this website will leave without knowing the glorious truth that we can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and can enjoy a life filled with His goodness and grace!

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Adoration of the Home was painted by regional artist, Grant Wood. The original hangs in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Ben Campbell and Lon Eldridge deserve extra cookies for writing, performing, recording, and mixing Mom’s Prairie Song for the podcast intro and outro. Great job, guys. Garrison Keillor would be proud.

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