Unity in the Body of Christ in Regards to Homeschool versus Public School

“In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty.   In all things, charity." 

 Parenting is the most personal path you may ever walk; our hearts are so raw when it comes to our children that defensiveness can be our knee-jerk reaction.   There is so much defensiveness on both sides of homeschooling that it easily leads to bitterness and resentment in the Body of Christ. 

I love Homeschooling.  I believe with all my heart that my family was called to homeschool.  I think I could talk to you all day about why we homeschool and how rewarding it has been for our family.  I can and probably will write why we home-school in other post, but this is not an explanation of why we home school.  I pray for this issue to be an open dialogue with prayerful and wise conversations. I attend an amazing church of people who have become my family, but I am in the minority as a homeschooling family. While this can be hard some days, especially Back to School Season, I want it to always be open to conversation.

ADVICE TO BELIEVING PARENTS
To ALL Christian Parents of School-Aged Children:
The response ,"That is why we homeschool", or "That is why we send our kids to public school" is usually NOT an appropriate or helpful response when a fellow believer is sharing a struggle with their child. Seriously, both sides, stop this.  I have been on the receiving end of "That is why we send our kids to school" more times that I can count, it is hurtful and  judgemental. When a fellow believer ,who has a different schooling choice than you, confides a parenting struggle with you, please prayerfully answer with scripture and encouragement, or keep your mouth shut.

I want to urge Christian home-school parents:
While I can not speak as a public school parent, my lovely sisters in Christ who public school or teach in public school have shared concerns with me. Homeschooling parents need to be careful not to guilt public school Christian parents. Be careful not to imply  that public school parents are lazy or unconcerned with the welfare of their children because , most of the time, this is is furthest thing from the truth.   

I want to urge Christian public school parents (or teachers):
Be careful to not imply that home-school parents are not teaching their children to boldly share their faith by not yet fully immersing them in a secular environment. Serving and time in our communities looks differently than in public schooling, but it still is a priority for most Christian  homeschooling parents. And implying that fear is our main motivation for homeschooling is hurtful, and often times not accurate.


DIFFERENT CALLINGS, SAME END GOAL
As much as I am sure God called my family to homeschooling, I am also sure God called a close friend of mine to public school.  This Public-School-Sister-In-Christ writes Scripture on the walls, mirror, and speaks it into the heart of her children. I respect and support her as she steps out in faith into the scary unknown and encourages her children to be light in a dark place of public school.  I also believe she respects and supports me as I step in the scary unknown of schooling my children at home. Even though  we don't always understand each other, we seek to have a dialogue and sharpen each other as sisters in Christ.  Me and my sister in Christ may have different callings, yet we both believe that our children are called to stand out and share their light in a world of darkness.

Public school and home-school parents alike must be diligent to write the Word of God on their hearts as often and as soon as possible so that they may shine in the darkness. My friend has Scripture all over her house, they do no neglect gathering with other believers each week for church and small group, and  most importantly she lives out her beliefs.  She shows her kids what bible study looks like by doing it herself. She disciples them in the Word and teaches them how it applies to their every day lives.

 I grew up in public school with  non-Christian parents.  While  many of those public school experiences led to my decision to home-school,  if I had not had Christians and Youth Leaders coming to my  public school I would not know Christ. If I hadn't made mistakes and felt what it was to "ride the fence" of Christianity by partying on Saturday and then going to youth group on Sunday, then I would not have know the heart ache and pain of living a double minded life. Even though not all Christian kids stand up for their faith in public schools, the ones who do make an eternal difference in the the unbelievers around them.  Homeschooler, please pray for your public schools and their teachers.  Your child's future spouse is could most likely sitting in a public school classroom right now. 

An Important Side-note: While I don't believe that you have to home school to be a Christian, if you are feeling the call to home-school please do not ignore it I was terrified when I started, but obeying the call has reaped unimaginable rewards in our family.  


UNITY AND CHARITY IN THE BODY
 To see a more in depth study of distinguishing essential to Non- Essentials see Reclaiming the Mind.

“In Essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity."   These are the words of obscure reformer Rupertus Meldenius and the basis of my home church's mission statement.  I praise our Pastor for seeing the necessity of discerning where divisions in non-essentials can easily split a body of believers. He does not waver in the essentials and when the Bible is completely clear I have witnessed  painful, but necessary church discipline.  There is no wavering on The Truth when it is clearly spelled out in Scripture. Not all things are clearly spelled out in Scripture and we must work to discern these essentials versus non essentials.

Essential for salvation: These are the most essential doctrines of all essentials. This includes what every Christian should always be willing to die for. In essence, if someone does not believe the doctrines that are “essential for salvation,” they are not saved.
  • Belief in God (there is no such thing as an atheistic Christian)
    All issues pertaining to the person and work of Christ:
  • Belief in Christ’s deity and humanity (1 John 4:2-3; Rom. 10:9)
  • Belief that you are a sinner in need of God’s mercy (1 John 1:10)
  • Belief that Christ died on the cross and rose bodily from the grave (1 Cor 15:3-4)
  • Belief that faith in Christ is necessary (John 3:16)

Non Essentials:Choose Your Battles Carefully.  Just because something is non-essentials, does not make it unimporant, but  these are the issues that can trip us up, and I believe Satan uses to Divide the Body of Christ.   We are to seek Unity and be at peace whenever possible. Yes, Jesus says The Truth will be divisive (Luke 12:49-53), but He is referring to the division between believers and un-believers.  The Word does not contradict itself and there is a clear emphasis on Unity in the Body of Christ.  (Ephesian 4:1-5) I believe it is essential that that we teach our children Jesus is the one and only way to Salvation, but how we do that we have liberty in.

The following are very are important ideas, but not essential for salvation. Some examples of the non essentials that we have liberty in are:
  • Beliefs about particulars in the creation debate
  • Belief about particular when Jesus come in Revelations(Pre/Mid/post post tribulation)
  • The order of books in the canon
  • Which translation of the Bible to use from the pulpit
  • Which Gospel was written first
  • How often one should celebrate the Lord’s supper
  • What kind of music to play at church
  • Whether to use real wine or grape juice at communion
  • Whether to hold Saturday night services
  • Schooling Choices (home-school, Christian school, Public School)

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