Personal note s from the last Session of theMeaty Forum. On the panel were:
1. Geoff Thomas, Pastor of Alfred Place Baptist Church, Aberystywyth, Wales.
2. Keith Underhill, pastor Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi.
3. Eric Abwao, pastor Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi.
1. To whom do the children belong?
A. They don't belong to the govt, or family or church or to themselves* ... they belong to God for they are made by God in His own image.
They belong to God by creation. We move, and live and have our being from God.
Children belong to God by the right of redemption. God alone has provided the only way of salvation in His Son, for folly is bound up in the heart of a child and are as depraved as others and are in dire need of salvation.
The parents have a duty to answer to God for their children that He gave. To bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Therefore, teach them the knowledge of God from the Scriptures. Timothy was taught the Word of God from childhood and so was made wise for salvation.
* The modern education philosophies are heavily informed by this ethos, that children chart their own destiny because they belong to themselves.
2. What is the role of parents in the education of their children?
We don't believe that there's anything in our lives that is outside the rule of God in His Word. All our belief, and practice must be informed by the Word of God.
While parents are answerable to God in everything about their children, this doesn't mean that the parents must do everything, rather it is their responsibility to make sure that the children are educated in a godly manner.
See Wikipedia on the definition of education.
Experience is another form of education.
Bringing up means education (as in Latin) check same word in Ephesians 6:29 (nourishing our bodies!)
Teach them God's word as it's His wisdom that begins and leads to the fear of God. The parents are to bring up children in two ways:
a) Not to provoke them to anger and sin or anything that will bring them to ruin, even eternal damnation.
b) Instructions and admonition that will build them, even by enforcing it. Discipline includes punishment but covers all disciplines of learning to make them responsible.
Teach children lifeskills and how to earn a living.
When it comes to choosing schools it's wise not to send primary school children to boarding schools. When children are in boarding the parents must check the visiting hours.
Don't just be so concerned about their homework when with them. Rather let it that when you're with your children, you're concerned to instruct them in godly living, integrity and eternity. Incalcate values that have eternal implications. It's all about spending quality time with children.
3. What are the limitations of the contemporary education
More than 78% of our time between age 5-23 is spent in pursuit of academic goals and objectives. Moreover, parents spend about 80% of their funds in investing toward their education!
Many parents have abdicated their parental responsibility in the education of their children by simply dumping their children to school every morning to pick them in the evening. They think their role is to pay fees and make sure homework is done. Many parents don't realize that school are supposed to supplement their home education.
This is why discipline has failed at various points.
Who is at the centre of the education system? Many philosophies of education boast of using 'children centered' approaches. Sadly, if the child is at the centre and apex of their education then in effect God is dethroned and his glory stolen.
Many schools have unbelieving teachers. The bible describes all who deny God, whether verbally or by conduct, as fools. These means the fools imparts knowledge! Imagine what sort of knowledge is this. Many times parents, when looking for children's schools, they are only concerned about the amount of fees, the academic reputation of the school, and the comforts at the school for their children, yet rarely do they labour to find out the conduct and integrity and character of the teachers.
Education fails to tailor make education for children as it does not appreciate God-given abilities, talents and weaknesses.
James in 3:13-18 highlights the measure of the outcome of education on the basis of the '...meekness of wisdom' Education of our day teaches people to be proud rather than meek. It's about passing exams and beating everyone else to bring glory to oneself (and of course the parents who foot the bill). Where one has not achieved as much as would be appreciated by the world, the outcome is usually jealousy and selfish ambition in the heart. This is the wisdom that is earthly, unspiritual and demonic!
Christian education emphasis is that truth, good and beautiful are the qualities to be pursued and these three are not mutually exclusive. They must be held together. Exams in contemporary education have been lifted too high that they don't measure the success of learning for they are not inculcating the discipline of learning but only the disciplines.