The good father: teaching your children to submit to authority...

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Patriarchal homeschooling enclaves are dogged by rebellion against authority. Ask me. Ask your pastor. Ask anyone.

How does it happen that a movement promoting the authority of the father of the household also ends up promoting rebellion against the authorities God has ordained outside the home?

First, the children of patriarchal homeschooling families grow up being taught not to trust...

the civil magistrate. The civil magistrate claims the authority to educate the nation's children, but homeschoolers are jealous to keep that authority for themselves. How else are they to exercise their First Amendment rights?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech...

The masses have the privilege of watching their paganism being promoted and practiced everywhere. Secularism is simply the label the Western world applies to the resurrection of pagan morals and pagan worship. Since secularism has now normalized even gross sexual perversions and has given us a nation awash in the shed blood of unborn babies, the masses have every reason to be complacent. Lust and bloodshed are the opioids of the masses, and the media, entertainment industry, and public educators do a good job spreading this immorality and maintaining its temples. If the secularist wants to hear his thoughts expressed publicly, it's as easy as going to class, turning on the TV, or waking his laptop.

Patriarchal homeschoolers, though, are a marginalized people group whose children are integral to their freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Christians can't depend upon our culture to communicate our faith and convictions, so we propagate our faith and speak our minds through our children.

If our teaching our children is our freedom of speech, it must not be obstructed by the civil magistrate. Similarly, if raising up a godly seed is our religious worship, instructing our children in godliness is our freedom of religion.

The conflict is clear. With secularism regnant across these United States, every civil authority works to silence the Christian's conscience and obstruct his practice of his faith. It starts in the public school's pre-kindergarten. Being zealous to protect their godly seed from their government's bloody and perverted idolatry, Christians say "no." Hearing this "no" so early in their lives is easily understood by our children to be the pattern of the Christian's relationship to authority outside the home.

Start with learning at a tender age that government schooling is anti-Christian, then add the constant critique of the media's lies around the family table—homosexual marriage, global warming, evolution, gun control, Black Lives Matter, etc. Ice the cake with one or more of the following: grinding our own grain, gathering our own eggs from the chicken coop, having home births, joining health co-ops as an alternative to Obamacare, watching our movies through Mormon filtering companies, slaughtering our own pork and beef, drinking raw milk, having our own Christian versions of food fads, weaving our own toilet paper, and spending four days in the car on pilgrimage to the Creation Museum every other year. Honestly, who would be surprised by the children growing up in these homes being distrustful of their pastors, elders, deacons, and the older women of their church?

So now, let me say it again: homeschooling families don't raise church-submitting children. Ask your pastor—he'll tell you it's true. He'll tell you there is a general disdain for authority among patriarchal, homeschooling families and he'll tell you this even (and maybe especially) if he himself believes in father-rule, he and his wife homeschooled their children, and the church you and he are a part of is comprised of such families.

Generally, authorities are quite sensitive to the presence of rebellion—starting with their own. Their own personal rebellion, that is.

So if you're a homeschooling patriarch, the first danger you must be on guard against and seek to correct in yourself, your wife, and your children, is rebellion against authority.

Begin with your children's rebellion against their Sunday school, Awana Club, or youth group leaders.

You say your children don't go to Sunday school, Awana, or youth group? You say you don't believe in Sunday school? You say your wife doesn't believe in youth groups? You say you believe in family-centered churches (although you prefer the term "family-integrated")?

You say you and your wife have studied this a lot and you are opposed to the church subverting the unity of your family by separating you by age or marriage? You say you baptize your own children and that your family-centered church meeting in your boss's living room takes the Lord's Supper every time you meet? You say the last time you went to an "institutional church," the pastor talked about the aeons of time it took for the Colorado River to carve the Grand Canyon? It scandalized your wife and children, you say: "My wife asked me how she is supposed to raise her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord if they grow up listening to such faithlessness from a pastor, no less!"

Yes, of course the church has sins and errors. Have you never read the Old or New Testaments? Do you not remember the sins and errors of the churches of Ephesus, Philippi, and Corinth? Did the Apostle Paul solve those sins and errors by telling the dads in those churches to go home and do things for themselves? Did he recommend books and conferences to them where they could learn to do the church thing for themselves?

What patriarchal homeschooling fathers seem to forget is that we are the problem. We are the sinners. We are the rebels—we, our wives, and our children following in our footsteps.

We have met the enemy of Christian faith and he isn't really the President of these United States or the Governor of the State of Indiana or the Superintendent of the Monroe County Community School Corporation.

I have met the enemy and he is me. And from the time I realized this as a husband and father, I have loved the church and never forsaken her. She is my mother, feeding and cleaning and clothing and teaching and rebuking and loving me as no other mother ever has. I can't live without her, and neither can my wife, my children, or my grandchildren.

The truly Christian home is permeated by love and respect and submission to the officers of Christ's church, and this for two reasons:

First, because God Himself commands the church's leaders to fulfill their calling with all authority:

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. 1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed... (Titus 2:15; 3:1)

And second, because God commands those He has not called to lead His church to obey and submit to those He has:

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)

Cut through your household's superiority complex. Humble yourself, your wife, and children by telling your wife to ask the older Titus 2 women of your church if your children honor and obey their Sunday school teachers? Their Awana and youth group leaders? Then humble yourself by asking your elders and pastor if you honor and obey them yourself?

There's nothing more important for the Christian father to teach his children than to respect and submit to authority. God is the One Who delegated every authority over us, our wife, and our children. Thus disrespecting and rebelling against those authorities is disrespecting and rebelling against the Father Almighty.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!