Education Under Heaven
Practical collection of articles to simplify learning at home.
This booklet was compiled to ease the burden of home education and show how simple and practical it is. There is much money being made in the home education market selling elaborate curricula. We have observed parents spending hundreds of dollars per year on curriculum and then pressuring their children to work systematically through each of the books. These poor children are sentenced to four to six hours of seatwork daily. This puts tremendous pressure on the child and parents.
Introduction No nonsense home learning
Children do not need hours and hours of book learning every day. The purpose of a Godly education is not to fill up a child's brain with facts and figures from a book. Intellectual knowledge is only a small part of education. A more important aspect of learning is gaining practical wisdom and understanding of God's world. As we seek to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, we need them with us. As life unfolds, we seize daily decisions as opportunities to instruct and set an example for our children. The scriptures give us the ideal method for teaching our children:
Hear, O Israel: יהוה is our Elohim, יהוה is one: And thou shalt love יהוה thy Elohim with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 RNKJV
We share our lives with our children, taking them with us to the workshop, to the garden, to visit the sick, to the store - wherever our lives take us. This is the practical way for our children to learn. As parents, we are intimately acquainted with the needs and traits of our children. As the children are ready, we introduce reading, writing and math concepts. We encourage them to do as much as possible on their own. If we push our children too hard or compel them to study too long, they may lose the joy of learning and it will be an uphill battle to teach them.
The purpose of this booklet is also to add insight into our relationship with the state and their home schooling laws. If we have a conviction about educating our children at home, how do we respond to the demands of the state? This booklet also explains our school enrollment program to place the supervision of your children's education under the covering of the Church.
No nonsense home learning
Let me offer one simple thought that can greatly reduce stress in learning. You can master any new skill in a reasonable amount of time. This idea does not sound earthshaking. But when you compare it to the way schools usually teach, you'll see how revolutionary it is.
Say Johnny wants to learn to read. Does his teacher say, "O.K., Johnny, I'll teach you to read. It should take about twenty hours total, and then with practice you will be able to read anything you want"? No way! Johnny is facing up to eight years of reading instruction. No matter how well he can read, every year he will be reviewing his sight words, writing out spelling lists, filling out endless "reading comprehension" tests, and on and on and on. Would this discourage you? Of course it would! And it discourages Johnny too. The task seems endless. Nothing he does will make it shorter.
For dramatic results in your home school program, just make it clear to the student that this task will not go on forever. If he applies himself, he can finish it more quickly. Don't review him constantly on his skills. Instead, immediately put those skills to work. If you teach your child something that he never gets any practice using in daily life, you probably didn't need to teach it in the first place.
Another reason school seems like such a hopeless burden to many children is that it goes on so long. Thirteen years is a longer sentence than most murderers get nowadays. Yet we toss kids into school and lock the door on them for thirteen years and expect them to be enthusiastic about it!
Nobody needs thirteen years to learn what the schools have to teach. At the most, you need three or four.
Let me explain why I said that. It's really pretty obvious when you see how our forebears handled education. In those olden, golden days, kids didn't start school until age eight or nine. They attended classes for, at the most, three six-week sessions a year, six hours a day, and by the time they were sixteen they could read, write, and cipher rings around modern children. Nor was their instruction confined to the Three R's. American children of the 1700s through the early 1900s learned history, theology, geography, practical science, and hundreds of practical skills that are now only tackled in college, if at all. When you add up the total time in school, it comes out to eight years of eighteen weeks each. Modern children go to school thirty-six weeks a year; so by simple arithmetic four years of old-time instruction should be all it takes for similar results.
Every child who attends school, public or private, is retarded. "Retarded" means "held back." Schools are in the business of keeping children off the street and out of the job market for twelve years. So they drag out learning needlessly for years, and fill up the time with mindless, boring exercises.
You may wonder what to do with a child who flashes through the standard school subjects. Don't worry. He'll know what to do! The whole point of learning the basics is to get to the good stuff - other languages, literature, serious writing, theological studies, designing and inventing, art, music, and on and on. With the whole wide world out there, who wants to spend eight years with reading comprehension worksheets!
Anyone who has a fine crop of youngsters to teach at home quickly discovers the importance of letting students do as much as they possibly can by themselves. One of my favorite lines is, "Try it. If you have trouble, come and ask for help." Only children, and adults, who are allowed to work through a problem on their own ever discover the thrill of accomplishment. Throw away those crutches!
Lastly, here is how to make teaching more enjoyable.
You know, teachers are the most overworked and harassed bunch of people around. Why is that? In large part, it is because so much of their assigned job is pulling facts out of people.
I've never plowed with a mule, but I do believe that it's no harder to get an ornery mule to pull that plow than it is to get an ornery kid to divulge what's in his mind. Especially if nothing is in his mind. You can't pull out what isn't there. Yet 90 percent of schooltime is spent on tests, quizzes, seatwork assignments, and verbal cross-examinations ("Who can tell us when Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor?"), instead of on giving children information and giving them a chance to ask their own questions.
These demands for feedback are not teaching. Teaching is telling or showing people what they don't know. And it is so much easier to concentrate on input (telling) than on output (dragging feedback out of students)!
To make the most of your teaching time, and to make it easier on yourself, tell your children what they need to know. Don't be afraid to repeat yourself. Increase the proportion of input to output. A few simple oral questions will tell you whether your offspring are on track. Forget those piles of workbook exercises!
Read history to your children. Read science books together. Read the Bible at meals. Whatever the knowledge you want to impart, put it in! Don't wear yourself out checking whether they are learning. After they received ample instruction is the time for a little low-pressured feedback.
Nobody tests your children on TV commercials. But if you still have a TV, you can see they have learned the ads. TV taught them. Unless your children are actively hostile, or so lazy that they won't even bother to listen, or so illiterate they never read anything, you should be able to do at least as well as a TV set.
Robert Doman, head of the National Academy of Child Development has said that the average child gets only three minutes of individualized instruction daily in school. Three minutes! I don't know where Mr. Doman gets his figures, but my own school experience sure validates them. Do you think you can beat this at home? Even fifteen minutes a day is five times more than your children get in school!
Reprinted from THE BIG BOOK OF HOME LEARNING, published by Crossway Books, 1986.
Learning without bells and whistles
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
"You look like you're old enough to be in school. What are you doing in this bookstore during school hours?"
Our daughter Brooke, then eight years old, looked up at the stranger and said, "I am in school."
"No, you're not," he retorted, "you're standing next to me looking at books."
"I'm always learning," Brooke replied. "These books are school for me." About that time I came over and the old man said, "Your daughter has taught me a thing or two. I've never thought of school that way."
The old man had been programmed to think that school was only in operation when the bell rang and the children sat down at their desks. There's no bells at our school and our children don't even have desks. But "school" is in session during all their waking hours.
Education is not just filling up a child's brain with facts and figures from a book. Intellectual knowledge is only a small part of education. A more important aspect of learning is gaining practical wisdom and understanding. It involves learning respect for the authority of parents and learning to love and forgive each other. Children form a close bond with their parents and brothers and sisters as they work together and help one another.
Home education does not need to be expensive. We went to a used book store and purchased a set of 1960's Compton's Encyclopedia for under $10. We also picked up some old math and science books. The children have spent many hours on their own looking up various topics of interest in these books. Yesterday our daughter Brooke was curious about volcanoes. She checked out what the encyclopedia said and wanted to learn more. I gave her a book on the eruption of Mount St. Helens. I read parts of it to her and she eagerly finished the rest of the book. The next thing I knew she was writing a short story about a man whose farm was threatened by an erupting volcano. Our younger daughter participated by listening to the Mount St. Helens story and then drawing pictures of erupting volcanoes.
We do not expect them to spend a set amount of time doing math, then science, then spelling each day. That plan is too rigid. We use an integrated approach. If they are studying volcanoes, for instance, they will be attaining reading and science skills. Then if they write a story about volcanoes, they'll be using their spelling and writing skills and maybe their math skills. This is a much more natural way to gain knowledge and the children are more likely to remember what they have learned.
Children often forget what they memorize unless they understand the concept and put it to practical use. To commit facts or concepts to long-term memory, first involves understanding the concept. "What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have handled...." (1 John 1:1) is a great way to learn.
Our favorite way to learn history is by reading biographies. To make 16th century history come alive, read a biography of Luther or Tyndale. For hands-on science, we like the Peterson Field Guides. There are guides on birds, shells, butterflies, stars, wildflowers, mammals and insects. Spelling and grammar are corrected as needed when the children write stories. Our reference manual for secretaries contains basic grammar and punctuation pointers in an easy-to-find format.
We usually give our children a set of math problems to solve once or twice a week. They work out of a math book or sometimes we give them practical problems. We use catalogs or supermarket ads and send them on imaginary shopping trips where they buy products using their math skills. We also make a point of having the children use their math skills in practical ways throughout the day. "Our neighbor Joe was born in 1911. How old is he?" Or, we ask them to double a bread recipe and calculate the new amounts.
The most intense instruction is done when they are learning to read. That is a time of closeness between the child and parent. Learning to read will go smoothly if the child is ready to learn the concepts. Both our girls didn't start reading seriously until age 8. Prior to that time, we made up games that familiarized them with the sounds of vowels, consonants and blends. Once they started to actually read, they progressed rapidly. By age 10, our eldest daughter could read almost any adult book. Our children are not forced to be on the same time schedule for learning skills as their peers in the world. When they are ready to learn, we are there to guide them.
We used a simple, basic phonics book to teach them to read. (Alpha-Phonics by Samuel L. Blumenfeld). Watch out for elaborate phonics programs that are expensive and can bewilder a child and overwhelm parents. Once the child begins reading, it is important that they read out loud to someone for about 15 minutes every day. After several months of daily reading out loud, many children learn to love reading and prefer it to movies. Even though our children can read on their own, we still enjoy reading a good book together in the evening.
The easiest way to convey needed information to our children is by including them in practical living experiences or to gather them round and read to them. We also tell them stories about our childhood or other first-hand experiences. Our children love to hear about how their Great Grandfather escaped from England by being a stowaway on board a ship headed for America.
We like doing things together like planting a vegetable garden or making cookies or baking bread. Our children also help on the ministry by collating and stapling and by filling orders. Home educated children have many practical learning experiences that will benefit them when they set up their own household. The closeness and bonding that develops from home education is precious - and is not possible when children are sent away to school. But far more important than all these advantages, is gaining the understanding that Jesus Christ is King. In every thing that we do, we acknowledge Him and seek to do His will. We often refer to The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5 through 7) and the Book of Proverbs because they are full of principles for daily living.
The world has its agenda - to socialize children to fit into the world order. We are different. Through our allegiance to Jesus Christ we are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19). We train our children, not to be good citizens of the world, but to be faithful citizens of the nation of Heaven.
Learning without pressure
Parents who are teaching their children at home need not force them to read chapter after chapter in lifeless textbooks, nor answer question after question in silly workbooks. Curricula like that are expensive and destroy children's creativity. There is a better way:
by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
Much of the educational material offered today is mentally inferior and useless. How colorfully and scientifically our generation talks down to the child! What insipid, stupid, dull stories are trotted out! And we don't stop there. We don't respect the children's thinking or let them come to any conclusions themselves! We ply them with endless questions, the ones we've thought up, instead of being silent and letting the child's questions bubble up with interest. We tire them with workbooks that would squeeze out the last drop of anybody's patience. We rob their minds of proper, interesting, strong meat to nourish their growing needs. Many small children are robbed of free and happy childhood play by endless "Play-approach" lessons that bore them and leave no time for imaginative real play in or out-of-doors.
I feel profoundly sad that such things should be happening. It need not be so. We have to be willing to start again. Here is a challenge:
Get a few really good books, and read them together aloud. Set aside a good regular chunk of time. This will be one of the most rewarding and stimulating relationships in your life. Guess what? If you have the courage to be honest, that youngster's comments and questions are really going to make you think, think hard. You can throw away all the manuals. That child has an awful lot to teach you. Your mind is probably in a worse state than his. After reading together, go to a really nice place outside for a couple of hours at least. Don't rush. Turn a rock over and watch the beetle run away. Throw rocks in the stream and slide down a hill.
Talk together. You'll find yourself enjoying it! Relax.
It isn't as hard as the experts make out. We are human beings, persons, created to live. To have life more abundantly. Wonder together; grow together. Together share the struggles of knowing that we cannot perfectly follow God's law. We are fellow-pilgrims. We walk side by side as human beings under the love and authority of Him who made us.
It is important that a child is read to. Not isolated little stories, but really good books, chapter by chapter. Read all sorts of things. Biographies of historical figures, works of literature, stories about faraway places, fables, stories about animals and birds. Always read really good books, chosen carefully by the criterion that a book should be "really valuable for its own sake, accurate, and interesting, of a kind that the child may recall - with pleasure."
Try this for yourself. Read the child a good tale full of interest and then ask him to tell you about the story. As he puts it into words, he has to think for himself. He uses his memory, and he is attending deeply. His own reactions and expression are involved. It is a total human activity. You don't need to reduce the child's appreciation to elementary "true/false" tests. The child has acquired knowledge, and having expressed it creatively in his own words, he will be able to remember what he has learned.
Children benefit from working steadily through a well-chosen book. And if they narrate it to you, it will become theirs. But more happens. Because they've tackled a complete book, they become acquainted with its flow and its use of language. They are students of another person - the author. Further, they are allowed to notice the content themselves. As they aren't forced to memorize facts, they are free to react to the writing themselves. They are the ones who decide what parts they consider important. It becomes an active experience of the mind, personality, and language.
"Education," said Lord Haldane, "is a matter of the spirit." No one knoweth the things of man but the spirit of a man which is in him; therefore there is no education but self-education. Our business is to give the child mind-stuff, and both quality and quantity are essential. Naturally, each of us possesses this mind-stuff only in limited measure, but we know where to procure it; for the best thought the world possesses is stored in books. We must open books to children, the best books; our own concern is abundant and orderly serving.
The child's self-education begins with listening to carefully chosen books read out loud to him every day. He then sometimes tells back in his own words what he has heard. Or he may draw a picture to illustrate what he has pictured in his imagination. When older, the same child will read for himself and write essays which narrate some part of what he has read.
Let me try to indicate some of the advantages of this approach to learning that I am urging. It fits all ages, even the seven ages of man! It satisfies brilliant children and discovers intelligence in the dull. It secures attention, interest, and concentration, without effort on the part of the teacher or the taught.
Reprinted from FOR THE CHILDREN'S SAKE, by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, published by Crossway Books, Westchester, Illinois.
Educating children at home
Should we obey state laws?
Nearly every family who is educating their children at home is confronted with the question: Should we disobey the state law? While in most states, it is not illegal to school at home, the state does impose certain requirements upon parents who home school. State law may require that parents register with the school district. They may require that a particular home school program be approved. Children who are home schooled might be required to be tested regularly. Parents who do not comply with these regulations may find themselves being visited by truant officers threatening to take away their children if they continue home schooling. Or fathers may face child neglect or other criminal charges if they refuse to comply with the demands of a school superintendent.
Even though we are engaged in the Biblically-ordained activity of educating our children in the way they should go, the state may view us as lawbreakers. At what point do we submit ourselves to the state's demands? If the state wants to be notified that we are educating our children at home, do we notify them? If the state wants our children tested each year, do we have our children tested? If the school district demands that we show them the textbooks we are using, do we show them? If the superintendent wants us to come to his office for a visit, do we go? When do we "give to those who ask" and when do we "obey God rather than men?"
Some advocate a position of "total obedience" to the state. After all Peter does say, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (I Peter 2:13).
At the other extreme of this issue are those who advocate "total disobedience" based on the principle that "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
The answer to this dilemma lies in knowing our residency. If we are residents of the state, then it is a privilege granted by the state to home school. And that privilege can be regulated or even taken away. But if we are residents of Heaven, then the state is a foreign entity to us. The state school system is not our school system and our children are not eligible to attend public schools unless we pay nonresident rates. We do not educate our children under a state-granted privilege. We educate our children under the authority of Jesus Christ.
Can residents of Heaven ask for "approval"?
At the cornerstone of all the regulations imposed upon those who educate their children at home are the "approval laws." An "approval law," in effect, grants permission to a state resident to home school if the local superintendent approves. Once you've submitted to the approval laws, you've obligated yourself to submitting to other state requirements such as mandatory testing of children or state approval of your curriculum. Many states have approval laws. Should residents of Heaven seek approval from the state to educate their children? No, and neither did Daniel when he was faced with a similar situation.
The incident is recorded in Daniel, Chapter 1. Daniel purposed in his heart to obey God, regardless of what men might say.
Daniel was a captive in Babylon being trained in government service. His training was in what could be called the Babylonian Public School system. This system had compulsory attendance and compulsory eating laws. Daniel was commanded to eat the king's meat and drink the king's wine. To do so would have violated the instructions Daniel had received from God's law.
On the surface it may seem Daniel sought and obtained approval from the Babylonian school system to engage in his alternative eating program. But the crucial fact is recorded in the eighth verse, "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank."
Daniel proposed an alternative vegetarian diet. But it didn't matter how the officials answered because Daniel had already purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. If Daniel would have asked the Babylonian officials for "approval" of his eating program, he would have been submitting himself to the decision of the officials. If they would have disapproved, he would have been forced to defile himself with the king's meat.
Similarly, when those who educate at home ask for "approval," they are really saying, "We will abide by your decision. If you approve of our home education program, then we will continue. But if you say no, we will quit educating our children at home." When parents submit to "approval laws," they obligate themselves to abide by the decision of the officials.
If Daniel had sought "approval," even though he had purposed in his heart not to defile himself, he would have been deceitful. In the same way, parents who purpose in their heart to educate their children at home, are being deceitful if they seek approval from the state. If God has instructed them to educate at home, they have all the authority they need. They should not seek approval from men.
Daniel wisely avoided submitting himself to the official's decision or even appearing as though he planned to do so. Instead, he gave the official notice that he was opting out of the King's eating program.
If we believe that God forbids us to seek state approval for the education of our children, we need to stand on that conviction. When we are questioned about our children's education, we can give notice to the officials that our children are being educated under the authority of Jesus Christ through His Church. Now we have informed the officials of our intent, which is far different from asking for their permission. In a kind way, we have told the state officials that our children's education is none of their business - it is the Lord's business.
Daniel is one of God's prime examples of a man who maintained a proper separation from ungodly government. Daniel had no problem giving the officials notice of his intent to obey God. When we are questioned by school officials, we can do the same. Daniel was a man of conviction who was prepared to go to the lion's den if need be. Let us pray that we also stand until the end when our convictions are tested.
Reprinted from Embassy of Heaven NEWSLETTER, Issue No. 924, Fall 1992.
Conviction versus Preference
The following message is a transcript of a lecture given by Attorney David C. Gibbs, Jr.
The court says a very particular thing about our beliefs and it is at this point that your testimony in the courtroom becomes quite critical. The court says a man cannot hold those beliefs if he cannot describe them. The court said a belief is not a hunch. It is not a feeling, it is not "it seems to me." We have people who go to the witness stand and say, "what do you believe about this?" and they will say what they believe.
"Well, why do you believe that? Can you show me in the Word of God?" And they will say, "I don't even know if it is in the Word of God but it sorta seems to me. . . ." and the court says that the problem with "well it seems to me" is that feelings change rapidly and as a consequence they are not going to honor hunches, they are not going to honor feelings, they are not going to honor "it seems to me."
You must be able to take these beliefs in the Bible and make them oral. You must be able to break them down. The Court says you don't need to be eloquent. We can bring a man up here who would be a teacher in your Bible department, for example, and he might be able to systematize his beliefs. The court says that is not required, but you must somehow be able to make your beliefs vocal.
The second thing the court said is that you must be able to have a knowledge of those beliefs. This becomes important because we like to hide behind a title. We say, "I am a separated fundamentalist." "I am a Christian." Those are three descriptive terms. Now tell us what that means. It is not simply enough to tell the court a general term. You must tell the court what those terms mean. In this matter of beliefs and believers, the Court suddenly realized there had to be a test. The court said there must be a way that we can determine which beliefs are to be upheld and which beliefs will not be honored and protected by the First Amendment.
In 1972 the court came down with the test. And ironically, they came down with the test in the case which involves Christian education. A man who lived in the State of Wisconsin by the name of Yoder was an Amishman. And he told the state of Wisconsin, "I am not going to send my children to your schools anymore." The state of Wisconsin said, in effect, "you can't do that. You have to send your children to our school." He said, "I don't think you hear me, I am not going to send my children to your school." They said, in effect, "Mr. Yoder, if you don't send your children to our school we will have to sue you. Do you want us to sue you?" He said, "No." They said, "have you ever been sued before?" He said "No." They said, "Send your children to our schools." He said, "I don't think you heard me. I am not going to send my children to your schools."
I don't know if you have ever talked to a stubborn Amishman, but you might as well talk to the back side of a barn for the result you are going to get. They said, basically, "Look, If we sue you and we win you could go to jail." He said, "I don't want to go to jail." "Put your children in the school." He said "I am not going to send my children to your school." They said "If you don't do it and we win the court case you will be put in jail and once in jail you could even lose your children." He said, "I wouldn't like any of that." Then they said, "Well, put the kids in the school." He said, "I don't think you understand. My religious beliefs prohibit that I do that."
They took him to court and he didn't fare so well. He lost. And they said, "Now, you had your day in court, send your kids to our schools." He said, "I am not going to."
He found out a very interesting thing. He didn't give up. He lost his appeal and they said, "Send your kids." And he still said, "I am not going to do it." Finally, he got to the United States Supreme Court and they said to Mr. Jonas Yoder, "You don't have to send your kids to that school because the First Amendment protects you," and they laid down the test that was to be used on all subsequent cases to determine which beliefs are to be protected and which are not to be protected. (Wisconsin v Yoder 406 US 205, 32 L Ed 2d 15, 92 S Ct 1526)
The first thing the court did in defining the test was to say this, "Every single religious belief is one of two types. It doesn't matter what your belief structure is, or who you are, every single religious belief you have is one of two types." They said it is either a conviction or a preference. The court said that is all there is. We don't find that there is any other type of beliefs.
Let us define the two for you. Because, bear this in mind, in the United States of America only convictions are protected by the constitution. Preferences are not.
Let us look at a preference. That is a very, very strong belief. It is a belief that you hold with great intensity and strength. In fact, let me tell you how strong that belief can be. That belief can be so strongly held by you that you go into full time service in the name of that belief. You can be a minister of the gospel, a Christian school teacher, or a missionary. That is a strong belief. The second thing that makes this belief strong is that it is belief that you can hold with such intensity that you give all of your wealth to it. I don't know very many people who have given everything. The court says you can do that and still have only a preference.
The third thing is that your belief can have such strength and fiber to it you can be energetic in proselyting other people. You can stand on the street corner and witness. Every time there is Thursday night visitation you are there. Saturday morning you have a zeal toward spreading the gospel. The court said you can have all of that zeal and still only have a preference.
Then notice one final thing. They said you can be so convinced this belief is good that you can want to teach it to your children. Now that is a very important thing. I sat next to a man on an airplane one day and he was telling me all about his troubles with his business and how his personal life had degenerated. And then we started talking about his son, and he said he really wants his son to go to the same school he went to and undergo the same training he had, and run the same business he was running. And I asked that man, "Did running this business and going to that school bring you any happiness or satisfaction at all?" He said, "No, none at all." I said, "why would you want that same thing for your child?" He said, "I don't know, I just thought it would be a good idea."
I think he wished on his child the same thing that had been wished on him. We have the same problem with our faith. We hold it very dear and as a matter of that endearment, we want our children to have it because we know that faith can take them to a home in heaven and give them a life that is meaningful and Christian. The court said you can believe all of that and still only have a preference. Here is what makes a belief a preference. It is a very strong belief but it is a belief that you will change. You prefer it. That is why we call it a preference. But you will change that belief under some circumstances.
The courts have reviewed these circumstances and have found some circumstances that cause people to change their beliefs. Let's talk about them. Circumstance number one is called peer pressure. A minister studies the Word of God and says, "Here is something I know I must do." He resolves in his heart that he is going to do it. Then he goes out to his friends, other ministers, people in his congregation and says, "this is what I am going to do." And the other ministers say, "Hold on just a minute. You are right. We don't say that you are wrong. But couldn't you tone it down just a little bit? Couldn't you fix it so that we could cooperate with you? Couldn't you come around just a little bit so that is not so offensive to us and maybe you could still get done what you wanted to do." That minister said, "This is what I believe," and then little by little he bends. And he proves that what he first said was a preference. He preferred it. He wanted to do it. He resolved to do it. But he changed. The Court said that if you can change that belief, that belief is a preference.
Now bear this in mind. If a person can ever show you from the Word of God where you should change something then you must change it. But we are talking about peer pressure causing good men to change. The court said if that will change it, it is a preference. There is another area we see peer pressure all the time. Ministers come to us and say, "I agree with everything you are saying but how am I going to go home and sell that to the troops back at the church? The people in the church are not going to agree." That man knows what he believes is right but the pressure of the people causes him to bend. The court said if you can do that you have a preference.
Secondly, they noted a cause of change is a family pressure. That is probably one of the strongest pressures I know of. A man says, "This is what I am going to do," and his wife says, "Please don't. You know what is right, but please don't. We just got everything settled, let's not blow it wide open again." And as a consequence that man changes his beliefs. The court said if family pressure will cause you to change, your beliefs are preferences.
Now there is a third area we see is a strong pressure and brings out preferences, and that is a lawsuit. I know a lot of men who will say "David, I am for this but I am just not going to get sued over it. Can you imagine what they are going to do if they sue us, Dave?"
Back in the Lord's day they had the scribes and the pharisees. The Scribes are still alive today. They run the newspapers. And these men know they are going to be hung by the newspapers. They know that most of the people in their church are not going to understand why they are taking this stand that caused them to be sued. They know of families they are going to lose.
Everyone likes to talk about Levi Whisner and his great victory in Ohio. (Whisner v Ohio is an Ohio Supreme Court case involving sending children to an unapproved, private Christian school). Everyone likes to talk about Roy Forrest and his great victory in Concord, New Hampshire. What nobody likes to talk about is men who have churches of about one hundred and they reduce to twenty. And a man with a church of 350 to 400 reduced to 60. Now would you do that, or would you say, "David, I'm just not going to take a stand that is going to cause me to get sued because I don't want to see that happen."
If that would cause you to change your beliefs then your belief was a preference.
The next area the court noted that caused people to change was jail. And I know in our circles today that we like to speak of jail very lightly. People say that jails are souped up holiday inns. They have just not seen enough jails. Jails are horrible places. One of the things that we forget is that when you go there you are isolated from all your Christian influence. They tell you when to go to bed, when to get up, when to eat, how to eat, when to stand, when to sit, when you go to the restroom. And suddenly you are thrown into the middle of that with brutal men. Men who normally relish the thought of breaking a Bible-toter. You are an offense to them there, and they hate you on their ground, and they are going to break you.
Now, would you go to jail for a matter of your faith? No one is going to understand why you have gone. If you read the histories of the great men of the faith, when they went to jail nobody understood why they went. Although many of the great men of the faith did go at one time or another. Would going to jail cause you to change your beliefs? If it would, then yourbeliefs are preferences.
Let me ask you one other question because it is right on point. A man says, "I will go to jail." You probably don't know what you are talking about, but none the less you say I believe I could. Would you, as a man, watch your wife go to jail? Levi Whisner faced that. Levi Whisner and his wife made plans for who was going to take care of their children while he and his wife were incarcerated.
The question is, what does that belief mean to you? If it is a preference, I want to do it but I have the right not to do it if I don't want to do it. The Court says that is not protectable. The last thing is, the Court said, "I suppose that a man has to be prepared to die for his belief." Is that belief changeable? You know, there are may things in this life worse than dying, and denying the faith is one of them. The court said, "Would you die for your beliefs?"
The court said a conviction, on the other hand, is a belief that you will not change. Why? What creates a conviction? The Court said only one thing. A man believes that his God requires it of him. A belief that is God ordered is a conviction. It is a matter of believing with all of your heart that God requires something of you. The court said, "when you believe that your God has required something of you, you will withstand all of the tests they have spoken about." The court said the first thing would be for you to decide, is your belief a conviction or is it a preference? Is it a belief that you hold that is God ordered, because preferences are simply not protected by the constitution.
Now the Court noted another interesting point about this, and it parallels with a story in scripture about the three Hebrew children, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. The Court said a conviction is not something you discover, it is something you purpose. It is not something you accidentally come across, but something you purpose in your heart as a fabric of your belief system. Dr. Bob Jones used to say that he has never seen a man made by a crisis. Never. I used to think that was a strange saying. He said I have never seen a man made by a crisis, the crisis just exposes the man for what he already is and that is exactly what the court is looking at. The court said your convictions will be purposed.
If you study the history of the three Hebrew children in Daniel you will find that they did a strange thing. When taken into captivity, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves. It was something about which they determined with resolve. The court said your convictions must be determined by you or else those convictions will not bethere.
You will recall what happened to Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. A golden image was erected, and all of the people were supposed to bow when the instruments played. The musical instruments played. The scriptures say these three stood erect. A question has to be asked at this point. "Where were all the other Hebrews?" There were more than three Hebrews in the land. That is clear from the opening passages. Where were the other Hebrews? The other Hebrews were kissing the dirt making sure that they were in compliance with the King's orders. The scriptures say that the three Hebrew children were the only ones that stood erect. The court says this. If it is required of you that people stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences and not convictions.
I have had preachers come to me and say, "Dave, I believe that I ought to stand on this issue but I will only stand if you can get this or that conference to say that I should stand. If you can get this school organization to say that I should stand, get me some people to stand with me." The question has to be asked, "As great as those people may be, what do they have to do with what God requires of you?" And the Court said that is a valid test. If other people have to stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences and not convictions. Now you remember what happened. They were taken before the king and the king was upset. He said, "Do you know what you have done?" and before they could even answer he did a strange thing. He broke the law. He said, "I am going to give you a second chance. If the next time, when those instruments play, you bend down all will be well. If not, nobody is going to deliver you out of my hands. You are dead men." Now you know what I think we would have done. I think most of us would have said, "Praise the Lord. We are alive, we are breathing. God has given us another chance," and we would have been excited. The three Hebrew children did not do that. Do you know what they said? They said, "King, we don't have to be careful how we answer you because if you give us another chance or not, nothing is going to change. We have resolved we are not going to bow and that is not going to change." What the three Hebrew children were telling the king is, "This matter of our faith is nonnegotiable." The court said if you can discuss the negotiation of your faith, your faith is a matter of preference and not conviction because convictions are nonnegotiable.
Why? How do you negotiate something that God ordered? The court said you can't. So if they can get you into a dialogue where you negotiate, the court said this is a matter of preference and not conviction.
Now, recall what the three Hebrew children said, because it is the last point. "King, we believe that our God can deliver us, but even if you throw us into that furnace and God does not deliver us we are not going to bow." What they are saying to the King is, "Whether we come out of that furnace or not our beliefs stand firm." The court said if you must be assured of victory before you stand, your beliefs are preferences and not convictions. And that is a test they are narrowing in on more and more because more of our men are more concerned with winning than with standing. You bear this in mind. In the Christian faith we do not fight for victory we fight in victory. We have already won. The only thing we are doing now is standing in that victory. When Levi Whisner went to trial and lost, he still won. When he appealed and lost, he won. When he went to the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio and they unanimously said he was right, he was right all along. A court does not tell us whether we are right or wrong. We are right as long as we honor the Word of God and Levi Whisner recognized that.
We also must recognize that Levi Whisner stood in this country when no other man saw the issues, when no other man even cared to see the issues. He saw them and he won the liberty for all of us. He stood with no one beside him. All the tests of preference versus conviction were applied, he passed.
Now, the court said we have a problem, and the problem is that sometimes people don't tell the truth. In the courtroom, I don't know that I have ever seen anybody lie but I have seen some men who have been incredibly casual with the truth, and the court has recognized this. The court says there must be a way to know whether what you are saying is the truth or not. But how? How do we know if you have a preference or conviction? The difficulty is that there are going to be lawyers like David Gibbs. And when you are ready to go to court, here is what I am going to tell you. When you walk in there, you make "conviction" your middle name. You get it out as often as you can. It doesn't matter what the circumstances, keep using the word "conviction." Well, the court said how do we know whether you have those convictions or not?
And then they came up with a test. This "conviction," they say, will always show up in a person's lifestyle. They said, "what is on the inside of a man is always going to show on the outside of a man." And if that is true, and we teach that it is true, they say, "what we need to do is look at what is on the outside and recognize that it is there because of what is on the inside." And the court said you do not have the right to say you have a conviction unless we can somehow see you live that conviction with some element of consistency.
Now, they began to apply the test and somehow people began to squirm. They asked "Do they have this right?" The Word of God says a strange thing. The book of James says, "Don't tell me about your faith, show me your faith." Because faith without works is dead. It is like a body with no spirit; it is all there but it is meaningless. Because the thing providing the fibers that give life to our faith, is our works. If that is absent, then it is all useless. So the court came back and said, "We want to see your faith in action and we want to see it in order to prove that it is a conviction."
Let me give you some examples. A man stands up and says, "You ought to send your child to a Christian school. We believe that a Christian school is the only place for your child. It will be an education in the truth. We want you to send your child to a Christian school because it will make the Bible the foundation for his life, However, if you are not going to send your child to a Christian school, then you have your child be the best witness he can in the public school." What have I just said? I have just said a preference. I have said I want you to send your child to a Christian school. I prefer it, and you ought to, but if you are going to do the other then do the best you can. The court said that is a classic preference statement.
And so, what they are looking for is this. If we say that something is a matter of conviction, where do we get our convictions from? Where do we get all our beliefs from? We get them from the Word of God. Now, when a child comes to Sunday School for the first time what do we teach a child that it is to disobey the Word of God? We teach that child that it is a sin. The court says the opposite of "conviction" is "sin." And you must stand for that or else it is not a conviction. We really have nothing to take exception to, because that is consistent with our beliefs. If the Bible requires it, it is God ordered. If it is God ordered, it is a conviction. If it is a conviction and if God ordered it, what is it not to do it? It is a sin because it is disobedience to what God has ordered. And that is the classic definition of sin. So before you say something is a conviction you must be prepared to take a stand to say the opposite of that is a sin. If you say, "I have a conviction about Christian education" you must be prepared to say not to give a child Christian education is a sin. If you say, "I have a conviction about certain matters of a Christian lifestyle - the refraining from the use of alcohol-" you must say the opposite is a sin or it is not a conviction. A person who says "I believe I ought to do something, but I think that I should be more tolerant, a little more open minded about this," he is saying a preference and the court says, "make up your mind what you believe!"
Remember what I said. The court said knowledge about your beliefs is critical in the courtroom. You must be able to define what you believe. You must tell the court whether you hold them as preferences or convictions, and you must be able to explain to the court that the opposite of these convictions is a sin. What happens if you don't tell them it is a sin? We have this happen:
"Pastor, do you believe that every child must receive a Christian education?"
"Yes, I do."
"Well, Pastor, do you hold that as a conviction of your faith?"
"Yes, I do."
"Well, Pastor have you ever told your people that not to give a child a Christian education is a sin?"
"Well, no I haven't done that."
"Why haven't you done that Pastor?"
"I just haven't gotten around to it."
"How long have you been in getting around to it?"
"Oh, a couple years."
Then they will say,
"Pastor isn't it true the reasons you have never said that is because you were afraid of the effects of that? You were afraid that the public school teachers in your church would leave? You were afraid that the people who don't believe in Christian education in your congregation but are good givers might be offended? You were afraid of what the repercussions would be? Isn't that why you didn't say that?"
Now, bear in mind, that man has taken an oath to tell the truth in that courtroom, and he must now answer that question. The court said if you say you have a conviction make sure that you do. Otherwise the court becomes a very painful place to be trapped with those convictions.
Now in this matter of lifestyle consistency the court said one further thing. When we say "consistent practice" we mean reasonably consistent, not perfect. But one judge said it to me, I think, very aptly. He said, "David, your people don't have to be perfect but they are getting to be awfully perfect in being imperfect. As a consequence I would like you to see if we can't match up the two L's. Life and lip." And that is what a good part of every court case is about. Is what you say with you mouth practiced with your life consistently? Is it a conviction of ours that matters of pornography should not be viewed? Is it a conviction of ours that matters of obscenity should not be viewed? Is it a conviction of ours that unrighteous themes should not be exalted? That is, you take what is base and low and make it seem to be right and good and just. That is a conviction of the Bible. Is it a conviction of ours that righteousness should be exalted? You have seen godly characters made to look like fools. That is taking a righteous theme and debasing it. Are those convictions of ours? Those are all conviction upon which we place the Christian school movement.
I think if I were to ask most of you here, you would say the Bible teaches every one of those things. "They are a conviction with me." Why? Because the Bible requires it. Is it a sin to do it otherwise? Yes.
All right, they will ask you all of those questions I have asked you in the courtroom and then they are going to ask you this, "Do you own a television." And you'll say, "Yes I do." "How much did that television cost? Five hundred dollars?" "Where do you keep that television? In the living room or in the family room?" "Why do you keep it there?" "We keep it there so that the most people can see it." "Now, answer me this about that television. Isn't it true that if you don't plug that television in and turn it on it is inoperable? That television cannot do anything to you until you do something to it. For it to reach you, you have to make it reach you, isn't that true?" "Yes, that's all true." "Having said all of that, let me ask you this, on this television, do you ever hear obscenity? Do you ever hear someone cuss?" "Yeah." I had a preacher say to me the other day that he got rid of his television set. He said, "I was sitting in my living room and the thing swore at me." He said, "There ain't nobody going to sit in my house and swear at me." So he got rid of it. I know we know that it does, right? There's not a given evening that you can watch it, that it will not use, in your presence, profanity, obscenity.
"Is there any nudity, or matters of pornography?" You know if I were to come to your house and a woman dressed the way that the women on that set dressed you would not let me in your house. You'd say, "You offend me by coming here with someone dressed like that. What's the matter with you? But we let them in on the electronic media and, in fact, we pay hundreds of extra dollars to get it in color. Do you, on that television, ever see unrighteous themes exalted?" "All the time." "Do you ever see righteous themes debased?" "Yeah" "And you have no problem watching those and having that in your house on an instrument that you have to pay hundreds of dollars to get, that you put right in the most traveled portion of your house, and that you have to make it do it to you before it can do it to you?" What happened to our convictions? We have just showed the court that through our lifestyles the conviction that we mouth is not consistently practiced. In the courtroom the examination of the pastors and Christian teachers is predominantly centered on, "Do you live your beliefs?"
Now, bear in mind, the court said you don't have to believe anything. But if you say you believe something, and if you say that it's a conviction, then the court says you must live it, at such level that when we look at your life we can see it. You know what would happen if I stood here with a glass of alcoholic beverage, and I told you, "I don't believe in alcohol folks," and then I guzzled it? You'd say, "the man's crazy, he says one thing and does another."
That's exactly what's happening in the courtroom now. The court says these people say one thing, but they do another. Now I've just used the example of a television, but they will go into all the areas of entertainment, the use of your finances, the use of your time. +++
Reprinted from a pamphlet published by Christian Law Association, P. O. Box 30, Conneaut, Ohio 44030 (216)599-8900. We thank CLA for permission to reprint this important message.
Children's Services Division visits the Reveres
It's been pretty quiet this summer here at our family kingdom - living in the liberty of Jesus Christ. But then the fun started again last Friday. The dog started barking so I looked out the window. Traveling down our wooded canyon was a state car marked with Oregon public vehicle plates. "Now which state agency has descended so unexpectedly upon us?" I murmured to myself. "Which branch of state government has not heard us speak the word of God?" I put on my jacket, told Rachel we had visitors from the state and walked outside to greet them.
Two fine looking gentlemen in their mid-twenties got out of the car and introduced themselves. They offered my wife and me their business cards and claimed to be from the state Children's Services Division. With a very confident air about them, they asked for Mr. 'Paul De Revoire.'
"He has died a civil death. I'm Paul Revere, can I help you?"
The young social workers glanced at each other with a skeptical look that said, "this guy is more of a kook than we thought."
"How do you know he died a civil death?" asserted the man named Tom.
"Do you know what the term 'civil death' signifies in law?" I asked. "It means the person is cut off from the rights and benefits of civil society. You see, I am not a member of your club. I belong to another. My King is Jesus Christ, and I obey His commands."
"We're very happy you have found Jesus Christ," they agreed. Then they proceeded with their agenda as if I had said nothing.
"Do you have a child named Brooke?" asked Larry.
I saw no need to answer their questions because they had not established a foundation. What relationship do I have with them?
"Listen, I don't know what your purpose is for coming here. Are you here to save my life or destroy it?"
They wouldn't answer the question, though I asked them half a dozen times during the course of their visit.
They thought that they needed to warm up to me so they changed the subject.
"Sure is a nice place you have here. Did you build your own house?"
I didn't answer.
"Is that your backhoe over there? Do you use it to make a living? How do you support your family? Are you employed?"
"God has blessed us very well," I said. "I am going about my Father's business, not yours. I take Jesus Christ very seriously. He is not a baby lying in a crib on Christmas Day. He has risen and sits at the right hand of the Father, above every power and authority."
"Are you aware of the state's mandatory school attendance laws?"
"I am not under the laws of the state of Oregon because I serve another master. Since Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, only Him do I obey."
"All of us living in the territory of Oregon have an obligation to obey the state. You can't have your own set of laws," interjected Larry.
"Have you forgotten that my Father created the heavens and the earth and He also created Oregon. Just because I live here does not mean I am under the laws of the state or that I must obey you. I am in the world for Christ, but I am not of the world. I, like Jesus Christ, have died to the basic principles of this world. Why, as though I belonged to the world, would I submit to its rules? Jesus Christ forgave my sins and canceled the written code. Because I am doing righteousness from a good heart, I fulfill the purpose of the law without being put under the law."
"You say you're not under the law," said Larry in a very authoritative voice, "just try telling that to a black-robed judge. How far do you think you would get? We know you fear us, now open up and answer our questions. You know if you don't cooperate with us you may find yourself in a lengthy courtroom battle."
"In the first place, I fear my Father - I don't fear you or what you can do to me. He is my Lord and Protector, not you. Secondly, as far as scaring me with the courtroom scene, I've already been there. I'm fully aware of their magnificently executed deception. Did you know Oregonians have been robbed of their constitutional courts?"
"We don't care about that, we're not lawyers. Now, how old is Brooke?"
"You're on my place, you're taking up my time. You're going to listen for a few minutes to what I have to say."
"Remember back in good old public school," I began, "we were taught the separation of powers doctrine? There are three separate but equal branches of government, the judicial, the legislative and the executive. The Oregon constitution says that no person charged with official duties under one of these branches shall exercise any of the functions of the other. The separate branches were to be a check and balance so that no one branch could rise above the others and control them. When all three branches of government are under one authority, you have a kingdom or a dictatorship. In 1910, the Constitution was amended so that the courts were created by law, instead of by the Constitution. Case law says the legislature was given the authority to change the entire judicial system of the state - and they have.
"Today, the legislature, even though elected by the democratic process, acts as the king. They have taken over control of the other branches of government and so there is no check against their tyranny. Members of the democracy are expected to obey all the statutes the legislature makes for the society.
"The legislature makes the laws, they have a police force to enforce their laws and courts uphold their statutes. Do you think there is any possibility for justice with such a stacked deck? Now that the legislature has their kingdom, all they need are subjects and, sad to say, that is what you are. (See article entitled "WHO STOLE OREGON'S COURTS" for more information on the legislative courts, Embassy of Heaven NEWSLETTER, Issue No. 871, Winter 1992)
"I have removed myself from all the enticements of the legislature. I obey God rather than men. Since I am separate from the democracy, you'll have to find a court better than the legislative tribunals to adjudicate anything with me. Those administrative units are by and for members of the democracy and would not be qualified to render an impartial decision for someone outside their realm."
Of course, they were not interested in my discourse and were itchy to move on with their probing.
"Would you be willing to come to our office and sign some papers so we can grant you a waiver to teach your children at home?" asked Larry.
"My goodness, no," I replied firmly. "If I seek permission from you, then I am acknowledging your authority over me. Why do you want to oversee my activities when I already have my Shepherd? Don't you realize the early followers of Christ were thrown to the lions rather than being brought under the power of Caesar? For 200 years it was a crime punishable by death to verbally deny that Caesar was lord. The police were given the power to bring followers of Christ in to be executed just because they stated Jesus Christ was their Lord, not Caesar. Now I am telling you the same thing. What are you going to do with me? Do you think it is a crime for me to live in the Spirit of Jesus Christ and be separate from you?"
They did not answer me directly, but instead asked if there were many others like me out here.
"Now wouldn't that make your job interesting," I said with a grin. "I guess that's something you'll just have to find out."
"Let me demonstrate further that I belong to someone else.
"Do you see that pickup and car parked over there? Now look at your vehicle. Do you see any obvious differences? Notice the car you drove has state plates. I have no state vehicle plates or driver's license. I'm not marked by the state. My Father knows me and I know Him."
"Yes," Tom said, "but do you ever drive off your own property?"
"Sure," I said, "I go places all the time."
"Do you ever get picked up?" Tom asked in disbelief.
"Yes, and when I go to jail I fast and pray that those who are doing wickedness will see the errors of their ways and repent."
"Could we take a look at the curriculum you are using for your daughter?" Tom asked, attempting to get on with their goals.
"I am very pleased with the education my daughter is receiving. Thank you," I said.
"When did you start educating your child?" Larry inquired.
"Oh, I guess it was the day she was born," I replied.
"That's not what we mean and you know it," exclaimed Larry in an exasperated tone. "Why won't you be serious and tell us the things we ask you. Why are you keeping secrets?"
"I do everything in the open. I do not like dark alleys. But why should I tell you anything. I don't know what you're going to do with the information. You haven't told me whether you came to destroy my life or to save it. If we were friends, and I knew you very well, then maybe, I would want to talk with you and tell you these things. But you did not come here as a friend. You came here representing the laws of the state of Oregon. Because of your position with the state, you want me to tell you what I have been doing so you can report to your supervisors. But those people aren't my authorities. Look fellows, for me to answer your questions would be obeying you and I'm not one of your children.
"Before I can answer your queries," I continued, "you must establish the foundation of why you are here and what evidence you have that I belong to the state of Oregon. Now, let's start with this question, what brought you out here?"
"We received a complaint," answered Tom.
"Who complained about us?"
"Oh, we can't tell you that. By Oregon law, the identity of the complainant is kept secret," said Larry.
"Now wait a minute," I interposed, "You've been accusing me of keeping secrets, why are you keeping secrets from me? You want us to show you all our laundry, yet you won't so much as tell us the name of our accuser. Why is everyone acting like they don't want to come forward and testify of the crime - if there truly has been a crime committed?
"I think that whoever made the accusation must think I am still that old man who belonged to the democracy. But let me show you something. I'll be right back.
"Look in here," I said, as I returned with the phone book, "can you find the name of that person you came down here seeking?" I queried.
"You won't find that person listed. Now look under Paul Revere. See, there I am, right after Remington."
"You mean if we call you at this number or write to Paul Revere we'll get you?" they asked in amazement.
"You sure will," I said confidently, "and besides, you'll score a first. No government agency has ever written to me!"
Larry was quick to say, "I'll write you a letter outlining the Oregon statutes on school attendance and I'll highlight the pertinent parts."
"You're not hearing a word I'm saying, are you?" I exclaimed, "Let me illustrate my relationship to you.
"For this example, Larry, you be a Catholic priest."
"Oh no! I don't want to be a priest," protested Larry.
"You have no choice about it, Larry, you're on my place and for this moment in time you're going to be a Catholic priest. Now you come knocking at my door and when I open it you say, 'Mr. Revere, we've noticed you have not been attending Sunday mass and you haven't been tithing on a regular basis. We want you to come down to the church and defend yourself before our church council.'"
"Now two choices come to mind. Number one, I could seek out the Canon lawbooks, study them, and build my case. Then at the appointed time, come down to the church and defend myself. Do you like this approach?"
Larry nodded in agreement.
"There is a second choice available to me," I continued. "Right here and now I can tell you, Mr. Priest, (for the Bible says call no man father) I - AM - NOT - A - CATHOLIC!"
All of a sudden you could see it written all over Larry's face - he understood it, I AM NOT ONE OF YOURS.
"Now, Mr. Priest, why don't you visit John down the road. He tells me he's a Catholic, but I've seen him mowing his lawn on Sunday morning.
"In other words, just because there are Canon laws, doesn't mean they apply to me," I continued. The same thing is true with Oregon laws. Through the example I just gave you, I am trying to demonstrate that I am completely separate from the democracy of Oregon. I am responsible to another and He judges me, not you. Now the only time you could have a valid complaint against me is if I break my Father's commandments. In other words, if I am no longershowing that I love God and my neighbor."
Finally, when I could tell they were seeing a glimmer of the Light, they looked at their watches and Larry said, "It's very late. We're sorry we really have to get back."
It was now 6:00 p.m. and they had arrived about 45 minutes earlier.
"We'll do some more checking in the files and contact you next week," explained Larry as he quickly got in the state car. "Oh, by the way, we didn't realize you were so political. You musthave really caused some turmoil down at the Senate. We can tell you this, the complaint that brought us here came out of the Senate. Good-bye now."
Larry didn't know it, but his last comment left no doubt in my mind who had originated the complaint. As is typical, the complaint came from a neighbor who has a working relationship with a particular senator. Apparently, the neighbor, who had recently talked with our daughter about her home schooling, felt compelled to have the state investigate. Consequently, he called on his friendly senator to get the action started.
We immediately wrote a letter to the administrator of Children's Services Division confessing that we were new creatures who belonged to Christ's kingdom. The people they were looking for have died a civil death. The new creatures have no birth certificates, licenses, social security numbers, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies or other evidence that they belong to the democracy. We are citizens of Heaven and under the separate government of Jesus Christ. We are not part of the state's lawmaking because Christ is the end of the law for everyone who believes (Romans 10:4).
We stated that the public schools were funded by and for members of the democracy and we do not qualify. To force someone from Christ's government to attend their government's schools is placing them into involuntary servitude to the will of the democracy. We must obey God rather than men.
Our letter apparently ended the investigation. We never received a response from the administrator or the two social workers who visited us. We welcomed the experience with Children's Services because it gave us another opportunity to testify of our King. As for our neighbor, we forgive him for he knows not what he does.
Reprinted from Embassy of Heaven NEWSLETTER, Issue No. 884, Fall 1988.
Home educated students register with Church not state
Those of us who are seeking to raise a child in the Way of the Lord often encounter a roadblock - the state's compulsory education laws. Parents who do not comply with these laws are often uneasy about what might happen when school officials find out their child is not enrolled in any school. We have been given a solution that often turns back the battle at the gate (Isaiah 28:6). Parents register their child in the Embassy of Heaven Christian School. Then, when the local authorities question the child's education, the parents show evidence that the child is registered in a school. Having the child's education supervised by a schooling authority, often prevents the state from moving ahead with charges against the parents. Showing school registration documents has stopped the state from sending parents to jail and the child to a foster home.
The state assumes the responsibility of seeing that all children are educated in the ways of the world so that they will be productive members of society. State laws require that school age children be registered in school. In some states, the school district will grant the parents a privilege to educate their children at home - on the condition that the home school is registered with them. But even with a home school, the state wants to maintain supervision and control.
What is a citizen of Heaven to do? If the state wants the children registered in school, we'll register them. But we will not put our children's education under the supervision of the state - we are the ones responsible to God for raising our children in the Way they are to go. We register them with the authority that we are under - Jesus Christ, through His Church. We register them in the Embassy of Heaven Christian School. We register our children, not because we are subject to the state's laws, but out of consideration for our weaker brethren. We love them, and don't want to cause them to stumble. The weaker brethren believe that all children must be registered in school. They want the children's education to be supervised - and they do not believe parents are qualified.
Registering with the Embassy of Heaven Christian School fulfills the supervisory requirements of their law. The child is registered in school. Now the only argument left is who you registered with? Are we compelled to register with a foreign government when we are citizens of Heaven? Now we throw the argument into a Kingdom issue. Are we not free to serve Jesus Christ and His Kingdom?
The Embassy of Heaven Christian School registration procedure is simple. The parents request a school enrollment for their child. We send them the enrollment form, they fill it out and send it back to the Church. We return a letter, sealed by the Church, saying that the child has been accepted as a student in the Embassy of Heaven Christian school.
The Embassy of Heaven Christian School is different from the other schools, right at its foundation. We operate under the authority of God, not under any state-granted privilege. Parents are the teachers and the learning program is based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The children do not gather in a central place like typical modern schools. We actually teach the children in a home setting, but it is not a "home school." The reason it is not a "home school" is because that term has special meaning under state statutes and denotes a privilege by the state. So we are not a "home school," even though the education is carried out in the home. It is an extension of the Embassy of Heaven Christian School. If anyone challenges the education of their child in their home, they are to respond, "My child is enrolled in the Embassy of Heaven Christian School."
Giving to those who ask
When parents have documents that show their child is enrolled in a school, much strife and persecution is avoided. For instance there was a man who was thrown in jail for contempt of court. The judge said, "You're staying in jail until you register your home school with the state or enroll your children in school." A friend of his, who knew about our school, sent us enrollment requests and we sent back the acceptance documents. The judge looked at the enrollment documents and said to the parent, "You're out of here." And he was released from jail.
We had another instance where a man was being threatened with jail if he did not register his home school. He went to court and told the judge, "All four of my children have been registered in the Embassy of Heaven Christian School." The judge declared the matter was moot and closed the proceedings against him. All the dogs were pulled off and he did not go to jail.
Last year we had a 13 year old girl who was going to be sent to a foster home. She was enrolled in public school and was having truancy problems. The school district was building a case to justify sending her to a foster home. Her doctor, neighbors and teachers were all making affidavits against her, instead of trying to help her work out her problems. She panicked and fled half way across the country to her grandparents. The grandparents immediately enrolled her in the local public school. After one day, the child ran away. When she showed up again at the grandparents, she said she wasn't going back to school. She wanted to be taught at home. She agreed not to run away if she did not have to go back to public school.
The grandparents got in touch with us and enrolled her in our School. Meanwhile, because she had enrolled in the public school, the school file carrying the information on sending her to a foster home was sent to the local school. The local school wasted no time in proceeding ahead with the action against the girl. The case that had been built against her in Oregon followed her to the new school in the midwest. The grandparents found themselves in the midst of a custody battle. They arrived in court with the school enrollment documents from the Church and the case was dropped. The local school authorities did not have jurisdiction to proceed ahead since she was no longer enrolled in one of their schools.
Another service of the Embassy of Heaven Christian School is requesting records from the school your child has previously been attending. We did this for the 13-year old girl mentioned above and the public school sent them. The following year, the girl returned to live with her parents and was again enrolled in public school. The public school requested her records from the Embassy of Heaven Christian School. We knew there were many incriminating documents in the school file so we notified the parents and held a hearing. The child and her Mother were able to review the file and destroy or amend any documents that were objectionable. The amended file was then sent to the public school. The hearsay information and false testimony was removed from the record and the girl was able to start the year with a fresh slate.
These are true stories. And they work. The Embassy of Heaven Christian School is a place where parents can educate their children in the home. The parents act as teachers. They do not have to be certified by the state, because the Church is not under the authority of the state. The Church remains separate at all times. The Church can retrieve records from public schools and get them out of the control of the state. These records, once they are under the Church's control, become the Church's responsibility and we can clean up those files if necessary.
There are many of us who are trying to make a Christian stand, a separation from the worldly powers. We can use the Embassy of Heaven Christian School as an avenue to relieve some of the persecution. The School registration documents provide written evidence of who our Lord is and where our authority comes from. Having something in writing makes it easier for others to see that there is more than one jurisdiction. The state is not the only one on the block. Christ shed His blood so that we can be freed from the state - so that we can be free from the worldly powers and the worldly ways. His blood does not need to be shed again. His blood is done once and for all. And He was raised up, and He is raised up in us.
As another example, a family spent several months traveling from state to state preaching the good news of Christ's kingdom. One day the police stopped them and hauled their Dad off to jail. Then social workers and sheriff's deputies tried to seize the children. The school enrollment papers were shown - but the officers just scoffed at them. Social workers spent the next 2- 1/2 hours attempting to take the children. Their Mother just set her mind on Christ as her Protector and confessed Him: "The children and I will not be separated in any way by your social services department. We have committed no crime and are being detained illegally. We have nothing to do with the state and the state has nothing to do with us. We belong to Christ and His Church." The officers immediately left off their intimidations and did not take the children.
Presenting school enrollment documents is often all that is necessary to satisfy most people. But sometimes officials may just scoff at them - then that piece of paper is not enough. We must show our conviction. If we stand in faithfulness to Him, He will give us words and wisdom that none of our adversaries will be able to resist or contradict (Luke 21:15).
The problem that most of us are having is that we clean out the house, we clean out the wickedness, but we forget to invite in the good spirits. That is what the Embassy of Heaven Christian School is about. It replaces the wickedness of the world's ways with something good, so that there is no place for the evil to get a stronghold. If they want our children in school, we'll enroll them in a school - but it will be Christ's school.
The Embassy of Heaven Christian School is just as real as their school. We perform the same function, except we do it better - we do it in the Lord's way. We don't waste time having children memorize state capitols. Instead, we teach them about Christianity, the New Testament, the New Covenant - how to love one another. The things that are meat, the things that count. We don't clutter up our children's brains with things of the world that have no relevance to their lives.
Once your child is enrolled in the Embassy of Heaven Christian School, you need to teach him or her how to answer questions from those who are curious about their schooling. "What school do you go to, child?" The child responds, "Embassy of Heaven Christian School." And no suspicion is raised. But it is easy to forget and say, "I go to home school." Now the casual questioner becomes suspicious. "Oh you do?" and they begin checking you out. "You go to home school, huh? Who teaches you? Does the state approve of it? Does the local school know about this?" They might ask hundreds of questions that are none of their business, but your child has already opened up the door. Keep the door closed by saying, "I go to Embassy of Heaven Christian School."
When you are going out during normal school hours, you might be asked why your child is not in school. Just tell them you're on a field trip. You don't have to hide in the corners. Carry on a normal life style. Use the words the people have been programmed to understand and you will find that these people will not pry into your business. By telling them your child is enrolled in a school, their mind is set at ease.
If they want to know where the Embassy of Heaven Christian School is, you can give them one of two places. You can tell them that it is based out of Sublimity, Oregon. Or, give them the address of your home, since that is where the education is occurring. They probably won't go any further than that. It is none of their business. It is the Lord's business. Most people are just curious. When they hear the word school, their mind is reassured that everything is normal. "Why is your child out here when she should be in school?" They are confused, help them out. If you can settle their mind and ease their conscience, then you can go on your way. I believe we bring much of the persecution upon ourselves. Every man ought to have the Word for everything he does. Give to those who ask. Unfortunately, the world is made up of meddlers and snoops - people who have nothing better to do. But give them a hand, settle their mind. Then you can go on your way and do the Lord's work quietly without being harassed.
Help for home educators
As citizens of Heaven, we are educating our children under the government of Jesus Christ, not the state. But the state can be persistent in demanding that all children be enrolled in school.
It is often helpful in overcoming these officials if we are affiliated with a school. If the state wants our children registered in school, we'll register them - but we'll register them under the jurisdiction that we belong to - Heaven. We'll show these officials evidence that our children are enrolled in the Embassy of Heaven Christian School. By giving to those who ask, we hope to turn the battle away at the gate.
Questions and Answers
Who is eligible for enrollment in the Embassy of Heaven Christian School?
Any school-age child of a parent or guardian who has given allegiance to Jesus Christ and declares citizenship in Heaven.
Does the Embassy of Heaven Christian School provide a specific curriculum?
No, we leave curriculum to the discretion of the parents. Parents, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, tailor their child's individual learning program.
What is the advantage of enrolling my child in the Embassy of Heaven Christian School?
The school provides written evidence that your child is being educated under the authority of Jesus Christ, through His holy nation of Heaven. When parents have documents that show their child is enrolled in a school, much strife and persecution is avoided.
What services does Embassy of Heaven Christian School provide?
1. Enrollment letter, sealed by Embassy of Heaven, showing child is registered in school.
2. Photo identification card for student.
3. Transfer of student records from previous school.
If your child has previously attended a public or private school, we can remove the child's student records from the school. Parents complete the Request for Student Record and we forward the completed form to the school specified.
It's not too late to register your children in our School. Just contact us and we'll send information and enrollment forms. Let us know how many children you want to enroll. The Embassy of Heaven Christian School is open to families who claim citizenship in Heaven. For those who have funds, we ask for a small donation to help cover the expenses of providing this service.