Home christian living Christians: A Form of Godliness Denying Its Power?

Christians: A Form of Godliness Denying Its Power?

by Kelly Crawford

(First sentence edited…my apologies if it sounded unloving.  I had just come from the discussion that spurred this post, and was feeling a little “charged” 😉

I wonder why so many Christians never stop and say, “What are we doing wrong?” I’m amazed at how quickly some get upset about any suggestions outside the “norm”, yet are equally upset when their children turn out like that norm.   I get comments to posts about dating that go something like, “Well, I think it’s silly to expect your children to refrain from a physical relationship during the dating years….” or “How will they know if they want to marry someone if they don’t see what kind of kisser they are?” (I’m serious.)

But then the same parents are angry when their child comes home pregnant.  (Scratching head.)

Then comments to the public school debate that go something like, “We are supposed to be in the world”, completely disregarding any biblical principle that suggests that to be “in the world” has nothing to do with allowing our children to be taught by a secular religion and becoming a “companion of fools”, the values of which usually trump any the parents try to impart.

But I digress….kind of.

My sister and I were talking yesterday about the high school classmates she had met up with on Facebook.  About half of them were already divorced, having just graduated from high school a few years ago.  Unfortunately my sister is one of them.  It should be noted, this was a Christian high school.  Most of the kids came from “Christian” homes.  One of the classmates was in jail for murder, one had a near-pornographic picture as her profile, and several others were involved in lifestyles not mentionable.

“For men…shall be…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:4-5

I’m just shaking my head asking, “What is wrong with this picture?” Divorce happens.  Maybe.  But at such alarming rates?  Among Christians?  Children out of wedlock happens.  But this often?  Fornication.  Divorce.  Drugs. Crime.  Aren’t these the things that Paul admonished the church to “not even let it be mentioned among you”?

And I think again of Einstein’s brilliant quote:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.”

So before you write off some “zany” idea like homeschooling or an alternative to dating, consider the proven alternatives.   We are doing something terribly wrong, and it’s high time more people say “enough is enough”.  If we claim to be new creatures, let us live like it, and not just give lip service.

“For you at one time were dark, but now are light in the Lord: let your behaviour be that of children of light…”  Eph. 5:8

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Gina September 16, 2009 - 11:05 pm

Kelly, it sounds like your sister’s friends might need to listen to Ray Comfort or read his book, The Way of the Master. He talks about false conversion. The talk he gives is called “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” and can be found at his website. If someone is truly born again, then they will be a new creature. It doesn’t sound like those folks are really and truly Christians. 🙁

Marcie September 17, 2009 - 12:48 am

A few years ago, I read a book by Josh McDowell titled something like Right or Wrong. Young people from Christian private schools are surveyed. What he found out through this survey was that there was almost no difference in the lifestyle of students in private Christian schools and public schools.

A new answer to the “How will your children be prepared to live in the world?” came to me a few days ago. It is “Which world?” The one that is temporary or the one that is eternal?

Leslie Viles September 17, 2009 - 7:04 am

I live in a small town south of Birmingham and we have only 2 Christian schools. When my husband decided we WERE NOT going to homeschool the 6 year old, we looked at both of these schools. One of them, is a very worldly school, it has all-day daycare starting at 6 weeks, there are no uniforms, and from what I saw no dress code was enforced and the children seem to be behind in math (if they transfer to another school, even public). Many of families are 2 income families and there seems to be an air of materialism rampant there.

Then there is the one we ultimately chose. I know people always say “our school is different”, but this one really is…so far. No teen pregnancies, no alcohol at the senior prom, and the children are a true joy to be around. The mission statement is “____ seeks to glorify God by bringing covenant children to spiritual maturity through a classical Christian education and biblical training and teaching using a Christian world-view as a foundation for all learning with a commitment to prayer and the Reformed Faith.”
They are not an accredited school and don’t want to be because of the government requirements that go with it.

I guess my point is that just because a school is “Christian” doesn’t mean it really is and while I agree with you on homeschooling, my husband (who still holds a LOT of worldly views) wouldn’t let me homeschool him. So, for us the only option was finding a true Christian school. I have found the presbyterian schools to be excellent choices because their philosophy is very biblical. All discipline issues are handled with the father and they don’t just require a statement of faith, but during the parent interview they make sure that the parents are COMMITTED Christians, that you are involved in some ministry and that you believe in salvation and resurrection, not just a “generic Christianity” that 80% of people believe in.

Maybe I am being naive, but I would be very surprised with the way those children are immersed in learning that glorifies God, if many of them turn from Him after graduation.

Word Warrior September 17, 2009 - 7:42 am


Ooh…I like that answer. We’ve really lost perspective as parents when we are more concerned with “this world”.

Christie September 17, 2009 - 9:23 am

My mother (who attends a church) did not throw my sister-in-law a baby shower because the baby was conceived before the wedding and born 6 months afterward. However, my parents had NOTHING to say to the fact that they were living together for 2-3 years before the wedding! What are you doing? Punishing them because the pill didn’t work that month? You cannot wink at sin and then act shocked by the consequences! The hypocrisy of that act still leaves me dumb-founded.

Nurse Bee September 17, 2009 - 10:06 am

Christians make mistakes as well (at least I do). And with my experience of attending a Christian college for a few years, it tended to be parents sending their children who didn’t necessarily share their parents’ beliefs.
Godly parenting is the answer (although not full-proof, every child must eventually make their own decisions).

Kelly L September 17, 2009 - 10:15 am

WHOO HOO! Preach it.
That is all I have to say … for now.

Word Warrior September 17, 2009 - 10:39 am

Nurse Bee,

Do you mind answering a few questions? I’m curious because your comments seem to reflect a general opinion among Christians, yet it is this very opinion that confuses me.

“Christians make mistakes.”

Sure they do. But mistakes are not the same as living a lifestyle of sin, as described in the post.

Christian parents should be raising Christian children, generally speaking. It is our duty. God said He created man and woman “one” because “He desires godly offspring”.

My question is, why are the majority of children from Christian homes not living a Christian life? What are we doing wrong?

You mentioned in another comment that as long as parents are teaching their children right from wrong, influences of the world (dating, public school, etc.) won’t matter. What would you say is happening to account for the statistics that seem to be opposite of your conclusion?

authenticallyme September 17, 2009 - 11:33 am

***You mentioned in another comment that as long as parents are teaching their children right from wrong, influences of the world (dating, public school, etc.) won’t matter. What would you say is happening to account for the statistics that seem to be opposite of your conclusion?***

Those parents arent teaching right from wrong, or establishing a trusting, nurturing relationship with their children where the children and parents actually LIKE each other.

I do not think most are without logic. People are growing at different rates. Many people after converting dont drop every bad habit, but LIVE in that habit or sin for quite some time. Until they learn the truth, or are truly convicted (or out from under the denial, might be a good way of saying it) they dont even necessarily know to give it up. Sure, the sane mind knows to give things up, but many of us coming right out of salvation dont have a sane mind yet! It needs to be learned. Or re-learned, should I say.

I would never mock homeschooling, anti-dating, or whatnot, but neither do I think it is appropriate to say MOST who dont do these things are just blind. I see from many comments here over the last year that there are some pretty well-thought out decisions made by those who choose not to homeschool. No one is saying homeschooling certainly doesnt have great benefits…well, there have been a few..lol.

Kelly, after you were converted, how would you compare yourself THEN, to who you are now? If your convictions weren’t embedded in you in THAT time, it goes to show we all need time/process/revelation to grow. We dont ‘get it’ the first day after we are saved. Where lies the protocol?

These are the questions I ask, because they are so easy to see for me, that *I* wonder why anyone would not understand the natural process of growing in God.

Possibly you are not, but sometimes it sounds like you are attacking your sisters in God, and claiming we are all just blind, full of nonsense, or the like? I really want to udnerstand too, but I dont see how it is ok to ridicule some of us. Maybe ridicule is a harsh word….but after some verbage used in certain posts recently, I fail to see how it could be.

Mrs W September 17, 2009 - 11:35 am

Kelly, can you provide any of the “statistics” that you claim that prove that public school is worse than home schooling? I’m talking about moral stuff, not educational stuff, even though I don’t believe a lot of home schooled kids get a real education either. You always talk of them, and you tell those of us whose experience in life tells us otherwise, that we are wrong because of some statistics that you have not provided as long as I have been reading this blog anyway.

Also, why do you want to deny your children what you had? I am assuming you went to public school, and you are a strong Christian today, so what makes you think that your kids are weaker than you and can’t make it and be victorious Christians like yourself? I don’t understand you and the many other parents who had the benefit of going to school, being strong Christians, and then wanting to deny your children valuable things in this area due to the fact that you don’t think they will be strong at the end of it. How does that make any sense?

About Christians “not living in sin”, I agree that they shouldn’t, but I disagree with you on the fact that I believe many DO. What do you make of people like Lot in the Bible? He was a carnal Christian “living in sin” yet he was a Christian. Do you just ignore stories like his, or write them off because they are in the Old Testament?

I’ve been doing reading about your perspective on eschatalogy and from that and what I’ve read here, although you claim otherwise, it seems that you must explain away large parts of the Bible in order to come up with a lot of this stuff.

Nurse Bee September 17, 2009 - 11:50 am

I’m not saying that Christian parents are doing everything right. We do need to be active and engaged in our childrens’ lives and that is something lacking in many families today. But I fail to see how homeschooling is THE answer.
What stats are you referring to??

Word Warrior September 17, 2009 - 11:54 am


Fair questions…and I realize sometimes it sounds like ridicule, though I really don’t mean to. My strong language comes from more of a “desperation” to see Christian families raising up children with a faith that makes a difference in their lives and the world around them. For years I’ve watched Christians flounder around, suffering the same destructive choices as those without Christ, and I don’t think that’s what God intended. I’m just heart-broken, and sometimes I think without the strong language, the message doesn’t get through. I hope you see my heart.

To address your questions…

“Those parents arent teaching right from wrong, or establishing a trusting, nurturing relationship with their children where the children and parents actually LIKE each other.”

Not so sure, while this may be largely true. I’ll have to say that I grew up in a godly home, had a “typical” relationship with my parents (I think it would have been radically different if I wasn’t so peer-oriented), and still lived like the devil, ultimately getting pregnant. My father taught us the Word of God, we were heavily involved in church and were surrounded by Christians, other than my peers from school.

That may not be everyone’s experience, but I’ve seen it happen often. The peer influence basically overrode all other influences in my life. Of course it was this conflict of values that caused my relationship with my parents to be so strained.

“Kelly, after you were converted, how would you compare yourself THEN, to who you are now?” I certainly agree with you here that a Christian grows, and not everyone is in the same stage. However, it was teachings that seemed radical to me at the time that ultimately caused me to embrace them. It was those asking hard questions that caused me to consider rejecting the “status quo”. It wasn’t the ones nodding their heads and agreeing.

I guess I continue “begging Christians to consider” because many of those who appear “blind” are not new Christians. I’m talking about Christians who have grown children, experienced the heartache of the above mentioned tragedies, and are STILL not offering to the younger Christians any alternative or questioning our approach to these life issues.

Where are the older Christians to teach the younger ones? Consider we are all on a different part of the journey. Yet still admonish, teach and point each other in the direction of life.

Word Warrior September 17, 2009 - 11:58 am

Mrs. W.

“why do you want to deny your children what you had? I am assuming you went to public school, and you are a strong Christian today, so what makes you think that your kids are weaker than you and can’t make it and be victorious Christians like yourself?”

I’m almost speechless at this question. I’m a strong Christian ONLY for the grace of God and my experience in public school was nothing short of tragic. Morally as well as educationally. Forgiveness does not erase damage. I still feel the effects of my destructive behavior.

Stats coming up…in a hurry and will be back after lunch.

Christie September 17, 2009 - 12:34 pm

Here is a quote from the Puritan Manton. It is in reference to salvation – but because it addresses means and ends in the light of God’s Sovereignty, I believe it is appropriate here. (More comments to follow at the end)

I cannot say to every one that ploweth, infallibly, that he shall have a good crop; but this I can say to him, It is God’s use to bless the diligent and provident. I cannot say to everyone that desireth posterity, Marry, and you shall have children; I cannot say infallibly to him that goeth forth to battle for his country’s good that he shall have victory and success; but I can say, as Joab (1 Chron. 19:13) ‘Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people and the cities of our God: and let the Lord do that which is good in His sight.” I cannot say infallibly you shall have grace; but I can say to every one, Let him use the means, and leave the success of his labor and his own salvation to the will and good pleasure of God…. Let us do what God hath commanded, and let God do what He will….Let us do our duty, and refer the success to God.”

The question here is – what is our duty in the light of God’s word and principles? It is to raise our children in the “nuture and admonition of the Lord”, to “teach them (God’s Words) diligently unto they children, … talk of them when thow sittest in thine house, when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down and when thou risest up.” I cannot do that if I pack them off everyday. 1.5 hrs in the morning and 3 hrs in the evening when you’re busy with the logistics of life cannot counteract 8-10 hours in a godless environment where they will be indoctrinated beyond my control (not only by the curriculum, but also by the very setup of the system: age-segregated classrooms, removal of parental authority and influence, artificial make-up of society, etc). I find that I cannot obey the Word if I send my children off to either a public or a private (even if Christian) school.

kimberly tucker September 17, 2009 - 12:56 pm

I live in a small rural community, and my children attend our country school. I stay very involved in my childrens’ day to day life, but even here most parents don’t, and their hair would stand on end if they knew what went on in some places. I know where my children are, and who they are with, and i don’t allow them to go to anyones house, because most of the time, no one is home…

My husband recently allowed our 17 year old daughter to date a young man we have known for some time. I was against it, but he spoke with the young man, and would allow her to go places, on the condition, they were chaperoned by a family member. My daughter decided after a few months, that as much as she enjoyed going to the movies, and dinner, she didn’t feel any pressure as her older brother and sister-in-law or other sister was always with her. Her heart was not ready for a grown up relationship, and she did not want to think about being engaged, or considering marriage in ayear or 2, and they have returned to just seeing each other at our home and being friends. If their had been any physical relationship, I don’t believe they could remain friends…

Word Warrior September 17, 2009 - 1:04 pm

Mrs. W.,

“Kelly, can you provide any of the “statistics” that you claim that prove that public school is worse than home schooling?”

I can provide statistics that prove a majority of Christian parents are not raising Christian children. My question was, “what are we doing wrong?”… It’s a challenge to consider whether our school choices and dating methods (in my opinion, this makes up the majority of a child’s/teenager’s life) are reinforcing our duty to “train up a child in the way he should go”.

The fact that a large percentage of children from Christian homes abandon the faith is just that…a fact. Every Christian magazine and organization has attested to it. In fact, there are so many claims to these stats, it’s hard to nail a simple study down. Here’s one by Barna (very popular researcher):

“LifeWay Research, affiliated with the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, recently reported that 7 out of 10 Protestants between the ages of 18 and 30 will quit attending church by age 23. Young people are walking away from the church in record numbers. Well-known researcher, George Barna, describes the results of his surveys among evangelical teens that represent this generation:

* They are a mixture of many ideals and philosophies,
* They have fluid relationships,
* They see spiritual issues as a mixture of many beliefs.
* The two most important parts to their lives are relationships and experiences, and 96% of their time in relationships is with friends, not parents.
* They are most impacted by the media, averaging 4-6 hours a day. This generation is over-stimulated, over-exposed, and under-protected.
* Music has the greatest affect on teens as it provides a forum for common experiences with their friends. They learn philosophy, select friends, pick heroes, set values, choose lifestyles, and copy the language of the music they listen to.
* There is very little difference between the music and movies of saved and unsaved teens.
* Because teens are overwhelmed with the media, most do not know how to examine things critically or Biblically.
* Their top goals in life are fun and personal fulfillment.
* Fewer than 10% of teens think seriously about moral or ethical issues.
* They believe truth is relative, not absolute, and actually . . . not very important anyway!
* They are not logic-based, but experienced-based . . . they go with what works for them.
* They are self-centered and waver on moral issues; faith is experience-based and depends day-to-day on how they feel.
* 86% of teens surveyed said they believed they are a Christian, but only 33% can explain what it means to be a Christian and how one can become a Christian.
* 50% say they are committed to their faith, but only 4% say they want a serious walk with God.
* They go to church for a common experience with friends, not because they want to worship God or learn from the Bible. They are less likely to attend church as an adult when their tribe of friends drifts apart.
* 66% say that the gods of all religions are really the one and same God.
* 66% say that the Holy Spirit and Satan are not real, but just symbols of good and evil.
* 60% say that reading the Bible is not important.”

Might I remind you, that was results from “Christian teens”.

(From: http://thechristianworldview.com/tcwblog/archives/1869)

Research on many aspects of homeschooling can be found here: http://www.hslda.org/research/default.asp

Word Warrior September 17, 2009 - 1:12 pm

Nurse Bee,

See above comments for stats…there are SO many, if you’re interested in looking.

Word Warrior September 17, 2009 - 1:24 pm

“Public School Indoctrinates Christian Kids”

Mary September 17, 2009 - 2:27 pm

Children do make their own choices, too, even if they have been taught right. We often fail to take that into consideration and blame parents and everybody else. Bad influences are just that: influences, not causes. The Bible says that we sin when we are led away by our OWN lusts and enticed.

My son has recently returned to the Lord. He says, “My wrongdoing was my own fault — not yours or the other kids or the school or the church. I chose to go away from God.” I thought that was maturity on his part. From the time they were little, we always taught our children not to be blamers, but to take responsibility for their own wrongs.

As women, we rely on methods. The cake didn’t rise, so I must have done something wrong — let’s see what it was: I didn’t put in the baking powder, or I opened the oven door as the cake was starting to rise, or I didn’t beat the batter enough, whatever. I’ll work out the glitch, and then my cake will turn out fine.

Children are not cakes. Sometimes you can do everything right and the child will make the wrong choice even though he knows better. I’m just thankful that my son returned to the Lord. We have a free will.

Mary September 17, 2009 - 2:29 pm

Also, you will never find that older lady who has that magic formula. The older you get, the less you feel like you know, and you get humbler.

kimberly in idaho September 17, 2009 - 3:02 pm

Kelly, thank you so much for your excellent post! I guess I’m confused by the comment “why do you want to deny your children of what you had?” I look at my teenage years in a Christian home and see that I was allowed to date at 13, lost my virginity at 14, allowed to go out nearly every weekend to places where there may have been drinking, and the list goes on. And just for the record I was a strait A student, went to church with my family on Sunday, and attended youth group. Yes, I will gladly “deny” my kids the life I had. And if someone is thinking, not my kid, well, maybe not, but most likely you would be shocked at the things your child does or has done. I am sharing this with tears streaming down my face because I love my parents, but they could have protected me so much more. And by God’s mercy and grace alone I am becoming the Christian wife and mother He wants me to be. I know I am forgiven for my past, but memories never fade. I want more for my children.

Word Warrior September 17, 2009 - 4:03 pm


“Yes, I will gladly “deny” my kids the life I had.”

A hearty and teary “AMEN”…I would do about anything to protect my children from the garbage I was exposed to and became a part of. I don’t think “going through experiences” like that are remotely what God planned for us.

Lori September 17, 2009 - 4:11 pm

Just another Momma here who is more than happy to “deny” my children what I had.

I grew up in a Christian home. I love my parents and honestly believe they did the very best they could. Hs’ing was not really heard of back then, plus wives were *expected* to “take advantage” of the women’s lib movement and work outside the home. Otherwise, you were lazy. My mom did the very best she could and I’m blessed to call her my mom.

BUT….growing up in that Christian home, going to church on Sundays, attending youth group……well, I still did all *kinds* of things my parents would be appalled at. It’s by the grace of God I did not die, become pregnant, get a disease, you name it!

And for the record, I was a “good” kid. I got almost all A’s, I was Drum Major in marching band, I was in theater and musicals, I was neither in the “popular” crowd, nor was I a social misfit – I was just “normal”. There were many, *many* kids whose parents had NO IDEA what their child was up to. Good kids, average kids, from normal, Christian families.

The term “average Christian family” is NOT something I want applied to our family. At least, not as the *average* Christian family stands today. I want MORE for our family – more of CHRIST in everything we do!!

So yes, I want something *MORE* for my children. My ps friends (I use that term very lightly) were all I cared about. I loved my parents, but when it came to decisions in my life, I went to my peers, not my parents.

Yes, I want something different for my kids. Praise the Lord I have the opportunity!!


Kristen September 17, 2009 - 4:43 pm

I can echo many of the posts here about being a “good kid” raised in a “good Christian home” who did a lot of things she regrets. I think that just because “I turned out all right” doesn’t mean that my sins don’t have consequences that I am experiencing now, even 25 years after high school. I know my children will make their own choices, but I hope to in some way protect them from the influences I had when growing up, especially when they are so young and vulnerable. I went to a small, country jr. high 30 years ago and was still exposed to hard core pornography and drugs. I can’t imagine what’s in the schools now.

Becky@FamilyandFinances September 17, 2009 - 5:11 pm

LOVE this post!!!

Mary September 17, 2009 - 5:32 pm

Everybody, even homeschoolers, needs to be careful. We pastor a church, and one of the young people who was homeschooled from his toddlerhood up through high school, plus isolated out on a farm in a remote area, plus not having a youth group in church, confessed that he was addicted to pornography. He found it, guess where? The internet. I guess his parents did not have filters or didn’t think they needed them. So, it’s all over the place and everybody needs to take care.

Jennifer September 17, 2009 - 7:01 pm

AMEN! Great post Kelly. Thanks for being bold enough to put your convictions out there. You are truly a blessing to those of us who are like-minded (and often misunderstood).

Sara September 17, 2009 - 10:00 pm

I think Mary raises a very good point. Life is not a formula. Sure, there are things we can do to affect the outcome, but we can easily overburden ourselves and be led astray by thinking “if I just do x and y, then z will happen”. I’ve lived a lot of my life trying to make legalistic formulas work, and even though they have may have caused me to do a lot of “good works”, good results are only by the grace of God–EVERY TIME.
When God gets you to a point where you can’t possibily be in control at all, you begin to realize that He is the one that can manage all the outcomes, and your job is to be faithful to what you know, relying always on HIM, and not on “well, I did my part” type thinking.
Because you can do everything right and someone else’s free will and sin can mess up the formula.
I also concur with a previous commentor, the people on Facebook that you are describing are either a) not Christians or b) in a period where they have fallen away. You can’t possibly see into their hearts to know which are which. And YES, Christians can LIVE in a lifestyle of sin. I was one of them. I purposefully disobeyed what I knew God was asking of me for over a year of my life. Of course, because I am HIS, I could not continue that way indefinitely. I think all those that truly belong to Him will eventually return, but who knows how long they will wallow in the meantime? For me it was a year, for some it may be a lot longer. How long was it for David? For Solomon? We can’t judge men’s hearts, we can’t see the expanse of their life as if it’s already complete. God can.
To those who call themselves Christians, there is a method laid out in Matthew of confronting them about their sin. If they are not involved enough in a body to be approached by their elders, then God will use other means to get through I suppose.

KB September 17, 2009 - 11:18 pm

First of all, great post as usual, Kelly!

Now, to address a recurring theme in this thread. Yes, people (not just women) like to feel as though there is some fail-proof formula that will result in a desired outcome (“Outcomes-Based”). The BIGGEST problem of being fixated on the outcome is that we loose sight of the PROCESS.

Becoming a Godly person is a process. There will be successes, there will be failures. But does this mean that when we identify a road that is consistent with the path we’re supposed to take as Christ-followers we throw up our hands and say “HA! Forget it! As long as I’m in this flesh I could fail!” I don’t think so.

My concern is the pervasiveness of the humanist belief system within the public school system. Recently I had the opportunity to talk with some of the younger children in our church about the account of God’s six-day creation. When we got to the sixth day, all were in agreement that God did indeed create the bears, squirrels, etc. and finally man. But when I asked the question “Are we animals?” the older (2nd and 3rd graders, all ps students) said “Yes!”, but the younger students (Pre-K through 1st) said “No!” Interesting, huh?
Just to make sure I was hearing things correctly, I asked the older students why they thought people were animals when the Bible said God created us in a special way. One just shrugged her shoulders, that’s what they were taught at school.

Now, I know the parents of these children very well. I know that their parents would be extremely uncomfortable knowing their children were swallowing down the doctrine of evolution hook, line, and sinker. And honestly, I’m still trying to deal with exactly how or whether I should mention what these children are being taught to believe.

Why does it matter? The area of our ministry has experienced a significant increase in serious crime. And why not? You teach children that they’re animals. Animals don’t have to follow the Golden Rule. Animals aren’t worried about lying, cheating, and killing. And before anyone says “But they’re not understanding it like that!” I repeat, this area has experienced a tremendous upsurge in crime including personal theft, rape, and murder. Something is not working. And until we accept this as being the case, more families are going to be destroyed.

Jen W September 17, 2009 - 11:33 pm

I, too, can echo many of the same sentiments about being the “good” kid (great grades, worked after school, youth group, etc). I would travel to the moon and back to save my children from the heartbreak, destruction & self-loathing I felt after drinking at 13 and having sex not much longer after that.
Thank you Kelly for such a great post! This is probably one of my favorites!! PLEASE continue to stand your convictions, as they are shared by many.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1Cor 1:18 KJV

Ruth September 18, 2009 - 7:16 am

This is something that has been on our mind as of late… we now have 3 adult children and 4 teenagers and several coming up. All we have done is obey God’s Word when it comes to child training and they each love and serve the Lord Jesus. They are happy and stable. So it makes one wonder why people reject when we share what God’s Word says about the subject.

God’s Word tells us to separate, separate, separate. Separate from sin and from the world.

I think that part of the problem is that people are not reading God’s Word anymore. They’d rather read a popular book or listen to their friends who sound authoritative, but have not been proved. Or better yet… they want to listen to people who have been there and made mistakes! Scripture tells us what kind of people should be elders and they are not people that have made mistakes in this sense. They are MEN above reproach whose children are in order. It is not a place to try to be godly. It is a position for only those that have been proved.

I disagree about not finding a formula. There is a formula. It’s God’s Word, simple and true.

Lastly, we determined many moons ago, before we were graduated from high school, before we were followers of Jesus, even… that we would home educate our kids. We had never heard of it, but didn’t think twice about it. We were shuffled through the government school with many bad experiences, and my husband attended a “Christian” school for a few years. He started out a “good” kid, but after awhile, he began to see the blatant hypocrisy and turned his back on God. So, we decided that “Christian” school was not an option. We could tell our kids in the government school why people are the way they are, but if they were in a “Christian” school, how could we explain away how the “Christians” were acting? Btw, my husband said that many of the kids there were not followers of Christ. Their parents would send them there hoping they would just learn to be good. My husband became one of those bad influences while there.

Have I rambled enough?

Jess in Peru (still pregnant) September 18, 2009 - 7:22 am

I didn’t read the comments b/c I’m sure people will try to defend the sinful, acceptable ways of our nation and it might just make me vomit in my mouth. So that said! I agree with this post 100%. There is no guarantee that our kids will not embrace what this world offers, but you can rest assured that I will fight like a mother Lion to get them started down a path of purity, wisdom and righteousness. Why would we NOT want that for our kids?

Jess in Peru (still pregnant) September 18, 2009 - 7:32 am

I just sent a comment, but it didn’t come up. This seems to happen to me frequently!

Word Warrior September 18, 2009 - 9:23 am

After sleeping on the post and comments, I wanted to add my 2 cents about the formula thing.

It is true that some children will grow up to reject Christ even if their parents are faithful to do all they can do to impart the life of Christ to them.

However, it is STILL our responsibility, as Ruth and Jess have pointed out, to follow hard what the Word of God teaches, “fighting like a mother lion” (I love that Jess!)

Once our children are grown, yes, bad choices are their own. But while they are children, it is our job to saturate them with the things of God, not willingly exposing them to the life of sin. (We put our kids under more temptation than we would allow ourselves as mature adults.)

I’ve said this in a post before…the difference in my children being exposed to lifestyles of sin (and they are on a regular basis) and my exposure to it as a teen, is that we are there with our children to reveal it for what it is, through the lens of God’s Word. When I was submerged in a “culture” of sin, my peers painted it in a wonderful light and for a time, it looked and seemed enticing despite all the teaching I received at home and church.

Echoing Ruth: we must be reading and looking to God’s Word for answers about raising our children.

Sara September 18, 2009 - 9:49 am

I don’t think anyone ever said we shouldn’t be reading God’s word or teaching our children what is right in the best ways we know how. And I certianly wasn’t defending the public school system, or trying to trivialize homeschooling.
My only point was that we would be living in denial to assume that just because we do good things as faithfully as we can and follow God’s word (which we should anyway) that it will always produce the desired results. If you depend on legalism vs. God you will inevitably be dissappointed, not only that but if your faith is weak, you might even doubt God…”I did everything You said, and it still didn’t turn out right! Do you even care?”
Look at Job.
I think we can whole-heartedly trust God’s word, especially in the areas of child training. But I think it’s simplistic to reduce kids to automatons: put in the desired info and receive the desired results. Most of the time this may work, but if it does, it’s only by God’s grace.
I certainly won’t be throwing up my hands and letting my kids be exposed to evil because “we can never know what they’ll choose.” I’m only saying that I will do the best I know how, give myself over to God completely, and pray like crazy.
I’m completely incapable of sitting smugly with my arms crossed and saying, “They won’t ever make the mistakes I made, or any new ones of their own because I’m raising them the right way.”
It just doesn’t work like that.
And just as an aside to the comment that stated exemplary elders will never have fallen, what about Peter-who literally denied Christ, the same way as Judas, and later was refusing to teach Gentiles and had to be soundly rebuked by Paul? What about Paul, who in Romans laments about how he continues to struggle with sin?
Christian history is full of Christians who slipped, fell, and made huge mistakes along the way, it was and has never been about who has the cleanest track record, because if you are saved, if you have accepted Jesus sacrifice for your sins-you have HIS track record, you are considered righteous because of His perfect life and His shed blood on the cross. Not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
As we work out our salvation with fear and trembling we undergo the process of santification-becoming more like Christ, and for some of us that process is much more painful with a lot of kicking against the goads and return trips to the pit. The only difference is our position in Christ and the Holy Spirit that grieves us when we sin, hopefully causing us to come back around sooner rather than later.
None of us have “arrived” in this life.
The qualifications for elders are very clear, but thankfully they don’t include any tack-ons like the one stated “must have never slipped in any egregious way or committed a sin that some Christians deem as ‘worse’ than other sins.”

Nurse Bee September 18, 2009 - 9:59 am

“7 out of 10 Protestants between the ages of 18 and 30 will quit attending church by age 23.”

I look at that stat and see something else entirely. I see a church that fails to address the needs of young people after high school. During my college years, I was one of maybe 4 people in my entire church in that age range. My only options were to help out with high school group or sit in with the young marrieds.

The rest of stats seem to have more to do with peers than school, per say. So it would seem that if one is trying to avoid a teenage rebellion, that they would have to not allow their children to have friends or at least tightly control the people they associate with.

Misty Smith September 18, 2009 - 10:05 am

“Those parents aren’t teaching right from wrong, or establishing a trusting, nurturing relationship with their children where the children and parents actually LIKE each other.”

I second what some others have said about this, but want to add that I have NEVER known of even pastor’s children who made it through the temptations of public school without getting sucked in and compromising their testimony. A way to gauge your teen’s testimony would be the level of rebellion the child has against you and your husband. The truth is that rebellion against parents is a sign of Spiritual sickness– it is a sign of peer dependency. Obeying and respecting parents is the primary instruction the Bible gives to children. If they cannot handle that, they have NO business discipling other kid’s their age. (And, be aware that “Christian” children are masters of disquise. I know this from my experiance in youth ministry.)

My parents were Christians who diligently taught me right from wrong. The missing ingredient in our family was following the call to “be separate”.

Needless to say, my “missionary” work in elementary through highschool was a joke. 🙁

I, too, have spent some of my years in a Christian school. It is the same old story. The fact is that the model of age-segregated, mass-produced education is spiritually fruitless and comprises the testimony of the Christian family. It just does!!

Word Warrior September 18, 2009 - 10:49 am

Nurse Bee,

“The rest of stats seem to have more to do with peers than school, per say.”

I agree. Can you separate peers from school?

Word Warrior September 18, 2009 - 10:54 am


Yes, I think we would all agree that God’s grace is ultimately what brings us and our children to Him. Period. And yet, as you said, it’s so important not to lean so far on that statement that we don’t take our responsibility seriously.

Also, I think there needs to be a distinction made between “committing sin”, which we all do regularly, and “living a life of sin”, which is what I was referring to in the post.

That difference has huge implications in a discussion as this.

Charity September 18, 2009 - 11:10 am

Just have to say that I agree with your post completely!

Kelly, I wish so much that my parents would have raised me the way you are raising and teaching your children. I was brought up in a perfect (looking) “Christian” home, only my siblings and I knew what was truly going on behind closed doors. I could tell you all about the terrible abuse I went through up until the very day that I married, and how through all this we were the perfect looking little family that never missed church or any church functions. I went to the “ulitmate Christian school” in the area I grew up, yet the things I learned there were so conflicting with what I learned at church…..so confusing! I longed so much for something different. I always thought “if this is Christian, I don’t want it…I want something real!” My parents actually made fun of me for no wanting to date and for choosing to wait to kiss until my wedding day. The entire time I was in highschool I was taunted by them that I would be pregnant and therefore not graduate (I actually graduated at the top of my class a year early, moved away to college, just to be safe from them, and completed a 2yr degree in 1 1/2yrs, and worked the whole time to pay my way!!). The whole time my husband and I courted my parents made fun, acused us of sexual activity and were totally unsupportive. (And his parents could have cared less if we were in the next room making them grandparents.) I say all this to say that I wanted structure, rules, I wanted to be protected….does that not show a child love? Surely there are more children that feel as I did…(in fact, I feel a little jealous of your children:)

I will also say that when my husband and I first married, he youth pastored for about 3yrs and we were SHOCKED at the things that Christian kids were involved in. And their parents had NO clue. Drugs, or*l s*x, (“what’s the big deal??It can’t get me/I can’t get her pregnant! So it’s ok!”)


Susan September 18, 2009 - 11:31 am

Oh, I knew this was coming. All this time that you’ve spoken against public schools, I wondered what your opinion was on Christian schools (and I refuse to put that in quotes because there are good, solid Christian schools out there). But I should have known that you have to make it so that your opinion is the only correct one. Kelly — and I say this as a believer — you just strike me as a fairly miserable person. I don’t see much of grace, compassion, or joy of the Lord in you. You’re very self-congratulatory about your large family and your open womb and your homeschooling, but you seem to spend most of your time bemoaning how much less Godly than you the rest of the world is, except those people who fit into your large family/open womb/homeschooling club. I know you will say that you preach your message because you have compassion for families and all that, but it seems to me that you enjoy being judge, jury and executioner a bit too much for that to be true. You have your own personal “pet” convictions which you’ve put all your focus on and elevated to the level of pillar doctrine, and your belief that the only true Christians are the people whose lives look just like yours is at best disturbing and at worst Pharisaic.

I realize there’s really no point in writing this comment, as you will only take any criticism as evidence of lukewarm faith on the part of the person who voices it, and as confirmation of your own righteousness and status as some sort of prophet. But I can’t hold my tongue when I see a fellow Christian who seems to relish condemning other believers for not sharing her own convictions in areas of personal liberty.

Kelly L September 18, 2009 - 11:54 am

Nurse Bee,
You said: “I look at that stat and see something else entirely. I see a church that fails to address the needs of young people after high school. During my college years, I was one of maybe 4 people in my entire church in that age range. My only options were to help out with high school group or sit in with the young marrieds.”

Church is not a social club. A Christian should want to go to church to worship God, not to hang with peers. That type of thinking is humanism. It strives to make a person comfortable in church. This is where watered down teaching/preaching comes from and age separated “Bible Studies” as well as youth groups rampant in flirting and other sin.
It is not about the person…it is about God and his being worthy of being worshiped, praised and adored by the body of believers together. People can go to hang afterwords. That is not a bad desire to meet with other believers.

As far as the other comments about child raising not being a formula, I think that word can be interchanged with another: obedience. It is an act of obedience. Follow God, obey Him in His directions for your children, teach them all day long, protect them from snares while they are too young to protect themselves. Good results cannot help but happen as the word of God does not come back void.

It amazes me that parents who think their children still need direction on things like proper food choices, hygiene, homework completion, and appropriate bed times will send them off for 6+ hours a day where their kids can choose their own social circles, their own belief systems based on what is taught and who is teaching, and their own view on the importance of the family. Just as bad decisions on teeth brushing and incompletion of homework will effect the rest of their lives, so will the friends they make and their teachers’ world views. It is just takes more of our time and diligence to protect them against the latter. Maybe we are just too into our own rights and needs to consider that.

Word Warrior September 18, 2009 - 12:05 pm


I appreciate your honesty and respect your right to that opinion. Please allow me to respond to a few of the accusations…

Let me remind you and other readers, that you probably do get a “one-sided” view of my personality just from this blog. The reason is that I tend to heavily address certain topics over others. That doesn’t mean these are the only “doctrines” I hold. It is just my reaction to a few things that I see happening that concern me. If my blog were specifically created to be a place of encouragement and haven to women, and that only, I wouldn’t mention these things, and you would hear my heart on other issues more often (like God’s unspeakable grace to me, my love for Him, the joy of my daily life, etc.) But it’s only one blog; for whatever reason, the Lord has lain it on my heart to talk about certain “hot buttons”, and so I do. Unbalanced here, maybe, but I don’t think it is in my life. There are lots of other blogs built for encouragement and rest. I can’t be “all blogs to all people” 😉

You say that I am “self-congratulatory about my large family and my open womb”, i.e. “full of pride”. I exalt the blessing of children, just like the Bible does. Beyond that, could you quote me or point out how I have been “self-congratulatory”?

I did not say in the post that I think “all Christians school are bad”. In fact, I didn’t say any were bad. I asked you, the reader, to take an honest look at what is going on, EVEN in Christian schools, and answer the question, “What are we doing wrong?” If you are able to see it and deny it, that’s wonderful. But frankly, it breaks my heart and begs the question.

Not sure what you mean by “pet convictions”…we really seek as a family to divide the Word of God and follow it obediently. We don’t try to elevate one thing over another.

I’m actually a very joyful person if you knew me 😉 with my share of failures and weaknesses just like you.

I see a tragedy among the Christian community–losing our children to the world hand over fist. That bothers me deeply. I believe it has a whole lot to do with our abdication of our duty to saturate them with the teaching of God, and instead, allowing them to gather their values and habits from the peers with whom they spend the most time.

I asked a question. You inferred my “opinion”. Do you have a better answer?

Kelly L September 18, 2009 - 12:11 pm

Never once have I read Kelly (WW) condemn anyone. All she does is offer scripture and encourage people to search their own hearts in the area of topic. I have 1 child. That is how God chose it. I have mentioned it. Kelly never said I must be in sin to only be given one. And we don’t agree on everything, either. She has never tried to condemn me. I am fairly sure she knows that only Holy Spirit can convict of sin. She gives verses and her opinions on them and allows Him to do the rest. Oftentimes, when Holy Spirit is convicting us, it is easier to place the blame on someone else. That way we don’t have to acknowledge His working on us. We can just get offended and move on. I know this, because I have done it and been on the receiving end.
As far as your determination that she enjoys judging that seems to be very odd of you in light of your comment.

KB September 18, 2009 - 12:22 pm

Just a brief post of support.
Please don’t let the ad hominem attacks get you down! Sometimes people have a strange way of asking for prayer, too.

And a reminder to certain others that on the vast Internet highway it is possible to find other blogs with like-minded writers/readers so that you need not make posts that may put your own soul in jeopardy!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof…”
Proverbs 18:21
“Thou shalt not kill”
Exodus 20:13

aimai September 18, 2009 - 12:23 pm

Interesting to see Susan’s take on this, as a Christian. I don’t post here to see my words in print here–I assume Kelly will read them and suppress them–but I do have a question for her and her readers if she allows me to see this comment: as I see it Kelly’s argument boils down to this–God is everywhere, and his hand is in everything, and his grace enables his followers to *be* his followers despite their personal failings and their personal sins and deficiencies. And yet, somehow, this all powerful god is helpless in the face of teen peer groups? Helpless in the face of teen music? Or sexual thoughts? Or desire to have a worldly profession?

I don’t get that. Kelly herself suffered, sinned (as she sees it) and found god. Why wasn’t all of that part of god’s plan for her? She literally wouldn’t be the person she is today if she hadn’t done what she had done. How can she deny that same freedom and that same journey to her children? She can’t stand in for them as believers anymore than she can stand in for them as a sacrifice in the world’s sufferings and sorrows.

As for the stats on Christian kids in Christian schools being no more likely to be perfect than kids in other public schools I’d really, really, really, like to see those stats broken out by educational and class attainment of the parents as well as other aspects of childrearing. In other words, I’d like to see the facts. I went to both public and private schools (though not religious ones). In my experience class is a much bigger indicator of pre-marital sexual behavior and of teen pregnancy or disease than is religion. Upper class kids do the same things as lower class, or working class kids, but they don’t pay the same social price–they have better health care, better sex education, better chance of using contraception, better ability to delay gratification and stay in school or return to school after screwing up. That’s just one of the benefits of class. Working class kids have always been sexually active and have always paid the price for it.

Christian schools that are committed to the illusion that kids can be denied information of, and control of, their bodies and desires have no lesser incidence of sexual activity and have a greater incidence of unprotected sex. That’s because, as study after study shows, peer pressure/parental pressure to publicly proclaim chastity as the goal is easy to give in to–but hard to live up to. And the refusal to allow kids to be educated about birth control and responsible sex (on the assumption that all sex must be procreative and that sex itself outside of marriage is dirty, demeaning, or shameful) leads kids to feel they are “safe” as long as they don’t premeditate their desires, as long as they simply give in to sexuality. Then its just a sin, and they can be forgiven, instead of a life choice made with full awareness. Study after study show that Christian Teens who take chastity pledges don’t delay sexual interaction, they just refuse to deal with it as adults and plan for it or take precautions.

I guess as a parent I want to raise my child to avoid physical harm–like disease or early pregnancy–so she can live long enough to make good choices for the rest of her life. That means I’m planning to raise her to make thoughtful, mindful, choices about sexual partners in or out of marriage. I’d rather have a daughter who had a boyfriend but who respected herself enough to use contraception than one who tried to wait for “Mr. Right” and gave in to pressure and had sex she wasn’t intending to without contraception. One is a mistake she can get over, and learn from. The other could be fatal. Its also why I ask my children to wear seatbelts in the car. I’m not intending for them to get into a car accident, but I like to be prepared. I don’t think that dying in a car crash is a sensible way of warning my child to be safety minded. Sometimes you have to equip them for safety issues so that they live long enough to form their own goals.


Lori September 18, 2009 - 12:43 pm

Aimai -“Christian schools that are committed to the illusion that kids can be denied information of, and control of, their bodies and desires have no lesser incidence of sexual activity and have a greater incidence of unprotected sex…And the refusal to allow kids to be educated about birth control and responsible sex ”
-I grew up in religious, Christian schools and I assure you neither I nor my classmates had any lack of accurate information about sex.

“on the assumption that all sex must be procreative and that sex itself outside of marriage is dirty, demeaning, or shameful”
-I was never taught this, and am pretty sure none of my christian classmates were either.

“Study after study show that Christian Teens who take chastity pledges don’t delay sexual interaction, they just refuse to deal with it as adults and plan for it or take precautions.”
-wait, this from the skeptic who really would “like to see the facts?”

“And the refusal to allow kids to be educated about birth control and responsible sex (on the assumption that all sex must be procreative and that sex itself outside of marriage is dirty, demeaning, or shameful) leads kids to feel they are “safe” as long as they don’t premeditate their desires, as long as they simply give in to sexuality.”
-And she’s a mind reader too!

“And yet, somehow, this all powerful god is helpless…”
-No, he’s not. But he has put certain standards out for us (they’re there even if we don’t agree on eah one0. If we choose to ignore them, sometimes he just lets us have our way, and the consequences that go with it.

Word Warrior September 18, 2009 - 12:45 pm


*sigh* May I remind you that the reason I usually don’t post your comments is because they are normally much more hateful than this one, and mainly for the reasons I gave here: http://generationcedar.com/2009/03/why-i-removed-comments.html

I feel for you as a lost person who denies the existence of your own Creator. I REALLY do. That denial doesn’t make Him any less real. One day that truth will be revealed to all. I pray He calls you to Himself before then.

But as long as you remain obstinate to your need of a Savior and hateful toward Christians, interested only in insulting them and arguing with them, I will not enter fruitless debate over the way we see things. That’s ridiculous. Two different planets. We know how enemies of the cross think. I don’t need you to “enlighten” us.

“God has given him a name which is above every name – that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” Philippians 2:9-11.

I hope one day you will understand the glorious freedom and joy that is found in Christ, the only One who can atone for us and make us acceptable to God.

I pray you will know what Christ did for you when He suffered and died–that His blood can cover you, and that you can enter rest–both now and eternally.

I will continue telling you that and praying for Him to turn your heart.

Mary September 18, 2009 - 4:16 pm

Aimai did make a good point about how we believe that God is sovereign (and I do), but not strong enough in the face of peer pressure. How do we reconcile that? I don’t know.

While there is no “magic formula”, we do have to do what we know is right and leave the results with God and pray, pray, pray. We can’t be “oh, whatever, and everything will turn out ok.” That’s not being responsible.

A lot does depend on the child. We have 2 sons. Both went to country public schools. They are 2 years apart, so had the same friends, the same teachers, the same church things, the same parents. One went astray for a couple of years. One has always been as solid as a rock, never wavering from his Christian beliefs, and continues to be that way to this day (he graduated in ’07).

Kathy @ Teaching Good Things September 18, 2009 - 4:36 pm


“And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure” 1 Corinthians 4:12

ENDUE Sweet Sister! I know you. I know your heart. I know your crazy sense of humor and the happy, content children you and Aaron are raising.

I also know with your ZEAL FOR LIFE, comes the passion for living life to the glory of God.

Don’t grow weary, fight the good fight. But I must remind you that there comes a time when the Lord allows us to shake the ‘dust from our sandals’ and move on. He does tell us that pearls are not fitting for a pig. :o)

Press on! Press on!

Belinda September 18, 2009 - 4:47 pm

I can relate to what Charity said in that I wanted rules so badly that I tried to be good. I was unfortunately constantly exposed to sin as a result of an parent that had a if-I-can’t-see-it-or-hear-it-it-must-not-be-happening. A live and let live but just don’t tell me about it attitude. I think the hippy culture had some influence there.
I went to a very strict Christian School and found that the families there were just like mine. Burying their heads in the sand. There were so many kids there that came from public school because they had been kicked out or their parents had had enough that most everyone else came under their influence.Most parents just would not admit that to be true because we were under such scrutiny at school, they believed we were safe.

I think that each generation gets a new view into what the prior one did wrong. My parents were influenced by the 50’s and 60’s having forgot so much of why we were supposed to be moral. I was raised in the 70’s -90’s. So much decadence and a chance at every turn to have our desires met.
Now, I see that I craved discipline and order. I believe my mom did what she thought was best, but knowing what I know I have to do what I think is best.
I see where excess has led us and I want the next generation to be different. That is why I lean so heavily on God’s Word for help.
He shows me that children are a blessing and a reward- I want those from Him.
He shows me that I need to take care of the little souls He has entrusted to me- I guard their hearts at every turn.
He shows me that I need to teach them His ways- My eyes are open to the peer influence I was under and how I could not possibly have respected my parents, nor did my peers, being away from parents and with friends so much.

I was heavily influenced by legalism but with no heart connection at all. I want to love my children and get to the heart of the matter. Why do we obey? Because we love. Why do I protect? Because I love.
I cannot always follow the same rules of disciple with all my children but I can listen to their hearts and weed out bitterness by falling on my face and asking the Holy Spirit for direction.

I do not follow a formula but I do follow the guidance of my Lord. I hope at the very least to instill in my children the want to do the same.

Mary Ann September 18, 2009 - 4:48 pm

As for the stats on Christian kids in Christian schools being no more likely to be perfect than kids in other public schools I’d really, really, really, like to see those stats broken out by educational and class attainment of the parents as well as other aspects of childrearing.

I never thought of that! I would like to see this too. Do these exist anywhere?

Sara September 18, 2009 - 5:02 pm

I guess I don’t understand your definition of “lifestyle of sin”. I’ve been assuming that you think it would include “bigger” sins like sex outside of marriage, drug use, theft, etc. I guess it feels like splitting hairs when we talk about the timeline.
Like I said, I lived in sin for over a year, and this was after having been a Christian for several years. It wasn’t like when you are first converted and you are still learning discernment, I knew what was right, and I purposefully chose the wrong. Continuously, until I was so heart sick that I turned back to God. If you had met me at that time you would have probably have said I was “living a lifestyle of sin”. But because I am a Christian it didn’t continue on indefinitely.
I know of other Christians, yes anyone who knows them wouldn’t doubt, who struggled with some sin or other for much longer than my one year stint. Some for decades.
I think the only difference between a Christian struggling in private and a Christian who struggles in front of everyone (perhaps like these Facebook users) is time.
So, as far as I can tell you would have condemned me (and rightly so) when I was at the low point in my life.
However, I think we as Christians we need to realize that each individual wrestles with God in their own time, and won’t necessarily repent the first time someone like you or me comes along to call them on their sin.
There’s no need to rant about it. If we have confronted someone who calls themselves a brother about their sin, then the only thing we can do from that point on is regard them as if they are NOT a Chrisitan until and unless they repent and turn back to what they knew.–oh, and love and pray for them in the meantime.
Honestly, I probably would have left my sin a lot sooner if I hadn’t been so afraid of judgment from fellow Christians. If I had known I would have been welcomed back with open arms instead of marked as “tainted” for the rest of my life. Sad as it is, some Christians aren’t very loving (which seems like an oxymoron) especially the self-righteous ones.
For those who fall away the fear can be so great that you feel like since you’ve made your bed, there’s nothing to do now but lie in it. Satan is a very powerful liar, especially for those who have fallen (understatement of the year).

Jess in Peru (still pregnant) September 18, 2009 - 5:07 pm

Kelly:All I have to say is that you are a MUCH stronger, less emotional woman, than I am. If I had to endure the constant attacks that you delay endure, I would be a nervous wreck unable to take care of my family. It would consume me and I would just not function well. Thank you for doing what I could NOT do. I am fairly a tough woman, but as I read these comments I am reminded just how resilient you are! WOW!!!

Erica September 18, 2009 - 5:34 pm

Wow, I just want to say that I appreciate the work you are doing here. Nothing worth saying will be free of criticism. Like Jess, I do not handle attacks well either. I enjoy reading your blog. And I don’t understand why some people continue to read it if it makes them so uncomfortable. Keep up the good work. You are an admirable woman and I don’t think you are being judgemental at all 🙂

Miranda September 18, 2009 - 5:46 pm

I just want to say,coming home pregnant isn’t even the “big issue” with this thinking.

Babies are a blessing no matter how they come. The issue is the baggage that comes from giving your heart away before marriage!

Nurse Bee September 18, 2009 - 6:24 pm

So how does this look for your family? Do your children have friends? Are they allowed to only associate with Christians? (Please understand I have no problem with homeschooling…though I have no intention of doing so myself, I do support those who choose to homeschool) and am still learning much as the parent of a very little one.

As to Kelly L: one important aspect (although not the primary purpose, of course) to Christianity is fellowship. And young people in particular crave this. Ignore this and you lose them.

Kelly L September 18, 2009 - 6:27 pm

you said “Aimai did make a good point about how we believe that God is sovereign (and I do), but not strong enough in the face of peer pressure. How do we reconcile that? I don’t know.”

I would submit this to you and see if this makes sense. We live in Las Vegas. My husband is an awesome follower of Christ. He is a University Professor who preaches Christ in a very front-forward way, even in class. He is the faculty co-ordinator for Campus Crusade For Christ. He leads worship in music for the children. He stands for righteousness. I say this not so you think he is wonderful. (Altough I do). To let you know his walk, his fruit. We trust God is sovereign, without question. We still would not send him into the stripclubs to minister to the strippers. We have women at our church who do that with strippers and prostitutes. We can believe God is sovereign and still not be stupid (please don’t think I am calling ANYONE this) and put ourselves into temptations. We cannot pray God deliver us from temptation and then put ourselves smack in the middle of them. Because God IS sovereign we guard our hearts to honor Him. Because we have been entrusted with our children, we protect them to honor Him who gave us them.
That is my thinking, if that makes ANY sense. It is Friday night after a long week 😉

Word Warrior September 18, 2009 - 7:09 pm


You’re so right…had these same thoughts today.

Word Warrior September 18, 2009 - 7:37 pm

Nurse Bee,

“So how does this look for your family? Do your children have friends? Are they allowed to only associate with Christians?”

Good question. Their main peer group–their closest friends are Christians, mostly families who share similar values and beliefs as ours (for example, not dating, etc.) I think this is biblical, especially as it relates to children who are not spiritually mature. (“A companion of fools suffers harm.”)

Peer dependency is huge. Despite what anyone would like to think, we become most like those with whom we spend the most time. Our first inklings toward homeschooling began when we knew we didn’t want our children to follow the destructive practice of dating.

Logically, how likely is it to convince your children they will be the only one practicing this “great idea” when they are submerged in a culture where dating is the main activity? I would have run away from home had my parents tried to implement that.

But the children we know both understand *why* we don’t practice dating (it has become their conviction too) and feel bad for those teens who don’t have the benefit of being taught anything else. This could have only been possible by changing the peer group.

We have non-believers into our home as a family, we have family members who are non-believers, and most often the boys who live in my parents home are non-believers–they become like family to us.

Being “in the world and not of it” is really doable. It’s all about what lens your children see it through.

Which has been the heart of my message all along, which is why I don’t understand how I get accused so easily of “being judgmental” (not referring to you). I’m just asking parents to change the lens.

Word Warrior September 18, 2009 - 7:43 pm

Nurse Bee,

Another thought regarding your comment about the importance of fellowship among young people. I agree to an extent, but I know with all that is in me that we (the church) have really got an unbalanced view of this.

Children need relationships–family ones mostly. Most teens have pretty bad relationships with their siblings and parents. We are so concerned with them having friends, we arrange it to the neglect and often detriment of the family relationships.

Peer friendships are extra at best. Not even necessary to be honest. When there is a thriving relationship within the home and hospitality is being practiced, a child’s relational needs are met.

If the relationships in the home are lacking, all the peer friendships in the world will not make up for it.

And there is whole different blog topic about the segregation of family by the church 😉

Charity September 19, 2009 - 9:20 am

“If the relationships in the home are lacking, all the peer friendships in the world will not make up for it.” –Kelly, do you realize how awesome that statement is? 🙂

Word Warrior September 19, 2009 - 9:28 am


Sadly, I realize how obvious this SHOULD be, and yet wonder why most families and churches miss it? Money, time and effort are poured into peer-related functions, but you see very little effort into building family relationships.

Someone mentioned their church’s motto being “Building Family” and something, and the irony of the fact that the whole family was separated as soon as they walk in the door. Until we return to really building families, I don’t think we’ll ever see victory in the Christian community.

Mary September 19, 2009 - 10:57 am

Thanks, Kelly L. That makes sense. I just couldn’t find the right analogy.

Mary September 19, 2009 - 11:13 am

I definitely believe in family-integrated churches. We took a church a year ago that has non-family-integrated stuff (pastors inherit these things), and it is impossible to get rid of them right now without ripping up wheat with tares. A pastor’s job is more difficult than it looks from the outside (kind of like raising children looks easy to some of those who don’t have children), unless you are a dictator who doesn’t care about peoples’ feelings or about running them off. Sometimes you have to put up with tares (some programs are tares) for a while so you don’t run off the wheat. When people are used to these programs, and the people who RUN them feel they are meaningful to them and that they are doing something for Jesus by doing them, it is hard to just ditch them and break those peoples’ hearts. You have to pray and be patient.

We have had SOME success doing away with things we don’t approve of, sometimes by my husband preaching against them from the pulpit, but pastoral ministry is very plodding, unless, like I said, you are willing to just explode the whole thing and have everything your way. (A former pastor of our church did that, and split the church. Those good people never came back, and then he got fired. So what was the good of that for anybody? And, nothing changed.) You must be loving and considerate. Sometimes you can start your own church (not an option for us now). We did that once and found out that that was also not as easy as it looked from the outside.

People are always saying, “Why doesn’t the pastor JUST…” There is no JUST. Things are harder than they look from the outside, because people with feelings are involved.

There must be seeker-sensitive churches out there who cater to people who want family-integrated. You just have to keep looking. Family-integrated is good.

Mary September 19, 2009 - 11:26 am

Oh, and here I go writing one of my “books” again (I just want to explain some things). The sad fact is that these children’s programs in our churches are the only training about God that some children get, in spite of the fact that my husband (and I’m sure many other pastors) teach parents, especially fathers, that they must take on their children’s spiritual training. He has told them that from the pulpit (he has said, “Christian husband, don’t let your wife be the spiritual head of your home just because you are lazy!) and personally, that the father must undertake this godly task, (once providing a children’s Bible to start the father out easy), but all we get is a father who hangs his head and his wife who rolls her eyes (in other words, it ain’t gonna happen). Too bad. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. He has also preached from the pulpit, “If it is MY job to teach your children, then at least see to it that you get them here!” Attendance is not what it should be these days. That’s the life of a pastor. We rejoice when we find people who are eager to learn the Word and teach it to their children! Thank God there are Christians like that!

KB September 19, 2009 - 2:02 pm

“Money, time and effort are poured into peer-related functions, but you see very little effort into building family relationships.”

SO TRUE!! That reminds me of another quote, “Show me your checkbook, and I’ll show you your priorities.”

And Kelly, you know this already no doubt, but I think that when folks become defensive about the “radical” positions you (and I 🙂 ) hold regarding dating and homeschooling it’s because they’re pricked in their hearts. It’s hard to admit that you’re not really doing everything that you SHOULD or COULD be doing. But that’s why it’s so important for us to encourage each other with love, and more importantly, scriptural evidence.

Commiserating with you over here. “Pastoring” is NOT as easy as it looks on ANYBODY (the pastor himself as well as his wife-helpmeet who has to try to hold everything else together so that he can do his job well.) The number of grey hairs on my husband’s head has increased exponentially since he was assigned to our current church five years ago. Mine have too, but I’m more worried about him. It’s hard to see someone you love so dearly being weighed down with so much.

“If it is MY job to teach your children, then at least see to it that you get them here!”
LOVE that! I’ve got to pass that along to my hubby!

Charity September 19, 2009 - 3:40 pm

Kelly, You are so right!! It’s so sad that churches place little if any true emphasis on the family. Am I wrong in thinking that family was the instition that God created second to marriage? But churches…seperate families…hmm…(Uh oh, guess I’m getting into ‘segregation of family by the church’…or maybe back to the hot topic of children truly being blessings. I mean, really, why can’t a family worship together??

Charity September 19, 2009 - 3:42 pm

Sorry, ‘institution’ is what I meant. I sure hope I’ll teach spelling better than I actually spell 🙂

Mary September 19, 2009 - 6:30 pm

In the olden days, families always worshipped together. Look at many very old church buildings and there was just a sanctuary and not much else — no classrooms, etc.

Amanda September 19, 2009 - 6:32 pm

Oh thank you for this post and the thoughts in the comments concerning church “fellowship”. I said the other day that I feel like I’m constantly swimming upstream – even at church!! Now, I know that I am not alone.

Mrs W September 19, 2009 - 9:51 pm

“And Kelly, you know this already no doubt, but I think that when folks become defensive about the “radical” positions you (and I 🙂 ) hold regarding dating and homeschooling it’s because they’re pricked in their hearts.”

Do you realize how incredibly funny this statement is? That you would be haughty enough to think that those of us that don’t agree with YOU are pricked in our hearts.

Why would I be pricked in my heart to know that I had raised a child that was strong enough to stand against peer pressure in school (just because some of you ladies DIDN’T doesn’t mean you couldn’t…hmm…maybe YOU are just insecure???), or that I gave him some good things he’d miss out on if he were home schooled etc?

I’m not trying to raise robots who think like me. I’m trying to raise godly young men who love the Lord and have brains for themselves to figure out what is right and wrong in life.

KB September 19, 2009 - 10:09 pm

Mrs. W
It’s funny that although I didn’t address anyone specifically, you have chosen to address my comment directly.

Not feeling a bit “pricked”, eh? Funny.

Mrs W September 19, 2009 - 10:53 pm

No, I’m not, I simply didn’t want to let such arrogance slide. But in your arrogance, you can think what you like. At least I don’t deny my children things just because *I* sinned in the past.

Mary Ann September 20, 2009 - 1:15 am

Mrs W, you’re absolutely right. At least I think you’re absolutely right!! I can’t be with my children every moment of their lives, directing their every thought.

I knew a girl who was homeschooled along with her three sisters and four brothers. She had exactly the same raising. Went to exactly the same church. She’s now completely fallen away. There’s just no telling what will happen.

Savannah September 20, 2009 - 8:20 am

I agree with Mrs. W. Why do homeschoolers feel the need to have to justify their choices by putting everyone else’s down, or worse, by announcing that ANY other choice is “unbiblical”? What nonsense! And the height of arrogance, a decidedly-non-Christian behavior.

Read “Unchristian”. Read Michael Spencer’s blog (Internet Monk) if you want to know why young people are leaving the faith (and the church). It’s certainly not because they haven’t been “isolated enough”!

I’d also like to know how old the majority of homeschooling children are who are represented by posters on this blog, as well as the blog author. Our three sons all went to public school, our eldest having graduated and the younger two will graduate soon. They all love the Lord and are actively serving the Lord – every day.

The truth is that we parent by God’s grace alone, that there is no foolproof formula. As “Mary” said, children are not cakes. The truth is that NO parent knows exactly how their children will “turn out”. The proof is in the pudding. No matter what educational choice we Christian parents make (and yes, there are legitimate choices other than homeschooling), not a single one of us has a “guarantee”.

Word Warrior September 20, 2009 - 8:45 am

In our attempts to reason, let us rely on Scripture for instruction…let us all remember that the Bible does not say, “bring up your children in whatever way you like, because you’ll never know how they will turn out”.

It is specific. Bring them up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”…some translations read “discipline and instruction”.

Our job is to trust God for their salvation AND search with all our hearts to find out what it means to bring them up in the instruction of the Lord.

I don’t think that command is just a nice poetic saying. I think Scripture if full of practical instruction to be utilized in our daily living as we raise children.

As it relates to homeschooling and children who seem to favor following their friends over their parents (in droves, mind you), I happen to believe that parents are not keeping their children’s hearts,not because they’re not “doing” enough, but because peers have taken priority over parents. Keeping hearts is vital to passing on the instruction of the Lord. It’s not enough just to “tell” them periodically about Him. We are to inundate them, day and night. Discipleship–walking with them, just as Jesus taught His disciples.

I have no doubts that a child CAN graduate from public school a strong believer. Factually, it’s VERY rare. And the outcome is not the gauge of our duty. The Bible is.

Savannah September 20, 2009 - 10:16 am

“I have no doubts that a child CAN graduate from public school a strong believer. Factually, it’s VERY rare. And the outcome is not the gauge of our duty. The Bible is.”

Really? A rarity? I know dozens that I could actually name. Just from within our “circle” alone. I doubt I am unique.

You are stating your “opinion”, which is fine, but it should in no way be confused with “fact” or “factually”.

I will not argue with you, as it is ultimately unproductive, but taking EXTRA-Biblical opinions and man-made principles and elevating them to the level of Biblical mandates is a dangerous game. It is an example of “a different gospel” that Paul spoke to the Galatian church about:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” – Galatians 1:6-9

Abby September 20, 2009 - 10:31 am

“I have no doubts that a child CAN graduate from public school a strong believer. Factually, it’s VERY rare. And the outcome is not the gauge of our duty. The Bible is.”

I don’t think “public school” has as much to do with whether or not a child will graduate and be a strong believer as good parenting does. I’m sorry. I have far too many “strong believer” friends who graduated from public schools.

In fact, maybe you’d say this is rare, too, but out of 4 siblings, myself and two others are strong believers. And we went to public school from day one of Kindergarten to the last day of twelfth grade. Sure, I have lots of other friends who stopped believing in, or at least following Jesus, but there are others who were not even church-goers in high school (who were, in fact, some of the biggest troublemakers), who are now Christians, and one’s even a worship leader for a church. So it kind of evened out, I think.

Please don’t think I’m being harsh, that’s not my intention. But perhaps you are blinded by thoughts of “it can’t possibly be true!” and cannot see that there are many of us whose parents could only afford to send us to a public school system, and didn’t just “hope for the best” but tried to play an active role in our formation as Christian young people.

Perhaps public schools could lead weak children astray–children whose parents also had weak convictions and did not do a great job at giving their children their own beliefs. But here’s a great example of how we can never base our arguments on what kind of school a child attends, but ultimately, the choice of the child is what matters: I know a couple, a wonderful Christian couple, who had two children. Their son went to a public school his whole life, and turned out beautifully. He is married with three cute boys, and he and his wife are missionaries in Africa. Their daughter chose to go to a local Christian school. She got pregnant 3 times out of wedlock, gave up one baby for adoption, and married the man who got her pregnant the third time. She is only now beginning to turn toward God. She has always attended church with her parents, even as an adult, but her actions did not show that she was a truly repentant believer. Most of the girls she went to high school with have gone on to be unbelievers or lukewarm, while most of her brother’s public school friends from the same church are strong Christians and leaders in the church.

But here’s my real point: Who really cares where you went to school? Home, public, private, Christian, Zambia–it doesn’t matter, really, because even though it has an *influence* on your life, Turning to God is ultimately the decision of the individual.

I had a friend who had me read a book about the parable of the sower (you know the story), and was sure he had found the way to get all his seeds in the good soil. While I’m sure there are ways to improve the overall quality of your message to non-believers, there’s no way to fix the soil. The soil is what it is. The heart of a person cannot be changed by a message or by clever ideas. Only GOD through the work of the Holy Spirit can soften a person’s heart to himself, only when a person’s heart IS the right kind of soil, can that person become a believer. The sower parable is not a formula. It’s not talking about how to cultivate the soil. It’s talking about the truth that there are many kinds of people, and that some will simply struggle with belief in God. We don’t know what kind of soil we’re planting seeds in. We only spread the seeds and water them, hoping and praying that the soil will be good.

Charity September 20, 2009 - 11:32 am

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: AND WHEN HE IS OLD HE WILL NOT DEPART FROM IT.”

1. Are we forgetting the second part of this verse??

2. A parent is responsible, and accountable TO GOD for how they raise their children. Scripture says to “TRAIN up a child”….perhaps some of the recent comments have been made by people who don’t understand what the word “train” actually means. The definition of “train”…”to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of”. Remember, this is what the Bible says, not just a “zany idea” of ones own to raise robotic, children who are not allowed to use their brains!

3. Our children are not ours. They are God’s…on loan (if you will) to us to raise in His image for His kingdom. If this concept is realized and accepted then it would make parenting much easier for many folk. After all God did give us a guide to raise these children of His…the Bible. So really it isn’t about what anyone thinks, (or about so-and-so’s kids that turned out allright even though they were “allowed” x, y, and z)but about what HE says.

Mrs W September 20, 2009 - 2:20 pm

You are right, Charity, it is about what God says. And nowhere does God say we must home school.

Allie September 20, 2009 - 2:34 pm

Charity, how then do you explain the instances of homeschooled children raised in a strong family/church environment falling away? Surely you can’t think it’s life is *that* simple.

Allie September 20, 2009 - 2:34 pm

Ahaha, correction: can’t think life is *that* simple.

Where did that it’s come from? Hmmm.

Rachel September 20, 2009 - 3:29 pm

Another person here who knows scores and scores of people who went to state schools and are strong believers. Here in the UK christian homeschooling is very rare – I’d barely heard of it until recently – and yet I know many families where generation upon generation have followed the Lord, through state school and beyond. The Lord will keep those who are his own.

Rachel September 20, 2009 - 3:34 pm

Oh, and I myself are one of those people, with siblings who are also following the Lord. Praise his name!

Charity September 20, 2009 - 3:44 pm

Mrs. W….There is no in between…it is either God-honoring education or non-God-honoring education. It should be pretty clear to anyone with one eye and half a brain that government education is the latter.

Charity September 20, 2009 - 4:30 pm

Allie, how do you explain the “instances” of christian kids in public school who gave in to peer pressure like….my cousin, the beautiful “good Christian girl” who gave birth at the age of 15 and has battled so much emotionally since then because she knows that she gave her heart and her purity to the wrong person. Or what about my husbands 4 classmates (whose parents where devestated because “they were such “good christian kids”) that were killed in a car accident the night of their prom because they were driving drunk. Might I add that the parents of these kids had NO CLUE what their children were involved in??? Head of the youth group, straight A’s….so proud of them ….had no clue that they had been smoking weed and drinking behind the bleachers at school (and God only knows what else) for quite a while prior to the night of their death!! Can you explain these situations??? Do you not think the parents of these children thought “what should/could I have done different?” You see, I actually KNOW the “instances” that I am talking about (and many, many more)…not just trying to come up with something for the sake of arguement and I can’t help but think that these “instances” would have been far less likely to have occured if the children mentioned had not been in a place to be influenced in the way that they were!!!!

Mary September 20, 2009 - 5:04 pm

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it, IS a general principle. In the end, though, each one of us makes a choice to follow Christ or not. God has no grandchildren. Training up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord may or may not include homeschooling, or Christian schooling or whatever. It depends on the family, the children, the circumstances like where they live, and what the Lord leads that family to do. What is God telling YOU to do?

Abby September 20, 2009 - 5:19 pm

Charity, I don’t remember reading in my Bible anything about where to send (or keep) my kids for school. And I’ve read it several times through.

See, I don’t really understand what you are saying with “God-honoring education.” Is getting an education by any means necessary not honoring God? You are talking about a system–not people. A system cannot honor God. People can. If I sent my child to public school and she was a stand-up person, honoring God with her mouth and her actions, that would make me happy. If I kept that same child at home to educate her, and she turned out a complete heathen, that would not honor God and it wouldn’t make me happy.

We can talk about the bad experiences of public schooling, believe me, I’ve got some stories. Sometimes I wished I could stay home and learn by myself, but I came out of it fine. I wouldn’t like for my children to go through those things, but it is a part of public school life, so if that’s where they end up, I’ll prepare them for it.

But let’s not say that no (or few) Christians can come out of the public school system, because that is an out and out lie. It is completely unhelpful to the mothers who are struggling to find a way to provide for their families and MUST send their children to the “evil socialized schools” (Hyperbole on my part, to be clear). It says, “well, I know you’re trying to keep afloat, but your kids are going to reject your God, so it’s kind of pointless.”

Kelly, the idea that you have “made it out” of the public school system and not rejected Jesus ultimately seems to be a source of pride. You are saying “I’m one of the few.” I’m saying “I’m one of many.” It’s by the grace of God that I”m saved, not where I got my education. Children are not rejecting church or God because of school or even Sunday School, but because they have not been adequately prepared for life by their PARENTS. Parents are the primary religious educators of their own children, and if they are incapable (many are), then they would be wise to send their children to a friend or pastor who can teach them, or find a way to learn it themselves. Many young adults also reject that which is “old and stuffy” and “church” has become that in many places. But why in the world would the gospel ever be boring? We’ve made it that way, and we’re paying the price when teens reject the faith.

But also, let me just say that I’ve seen a trend in my own observations: Many who reject the church in their late teens return in their late twenties and early thirties because the world didn’t have what they were looking for. In that case, it’s lost years, not lost people. It’s prodigal sons and daughters, not dead sons and daughters.

Word Warrior September 20, 2009 - 6:09 pm


“but taking EXTRA-Biblical opinions and man-made principles and elevating them to the level of Biblical mandates is a dangerous game.”

To be clear, the only biblical mandate I have espoused here is the one to “bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”.

Where we part is what we believe the Bible says about that particular mandate. I believe the Bible speaks directly to certain things that we can live out practically. Just by the mandate itself, if we get honest, it excludes sending our children to be educated by an institution that rejects God (since we’ve kind of floated back to the issue of public school). In the very basic of Scriptural principles, we are to avoid the teaching and counsel of the ungodly. (And by default, if you aren’t FOR God you’re against Him, right?)

So it’s not elevating a man-made principle. It’s right from Scripture. And the gospel is the gospel. We’re not talking here about salvation, we’re talking about the Christian’s responsibility.

The main challenge of the post was to really search, using the principles from Scripture, to question why we are seeing so much heart break among Christian families and their children. We like to think that because the Bible doesn’t specifically mention school or recreational dating, that it’s just an open area with no biblical implication. That’s like saying I can freely view Playboy (or girl) because the Bible doesn’t say otherwise.

I think there are two layers at play. One is an absolute truth (i.e. the gospel) that we should all agree on, and the other has more to do with wisdom given to us that typically incurs certain blessings. In other words, my parents were strong believers but they allowed us to date according to our culture’s method. The result was heartache–all through my dating years as my heart was not turned toward my father, but to other young men, the scars from being involved emotionally with several different guys as only married people should be, and then the public shame of my pregnancy.

Those were curses that my parents partly have to share. I don’t think that just because it was “my sin” that my parents weren’t in any way responsible. (The Bible speaks specifically of a father’s duty to preserve the chastity of his daughter. Then there’s the example of Eli and his grown sons–God punished both Eli AND his sons for their immorality.) We do have a responsibility that is much more clear from Scripture than we’d like to admit. It may not be a matter of sin, but there will be consequences when we choose to ignore it.

God’s sovereignty does not alleviate our responsibility to follow wisdom. That’s all I’m trying to say–and I’m saying it with all love and tenderness.

Charity September 20, 2009 - 6:15 pm

Abby…”God-honoring education”….what I mean by that is either the education is based on the Bible or something else…there’s nothing in the middle (and it’s not that hard to understand).

Allie September 20, 2009 - 7:34 pm

Charity, I merely meant ‘he will not depart from it’ is not necessarily 100% true. Along the lines of what others were saying – ultimately, the choice to follow God rests with the individual. The best parents possible sometimes raise apostates.

I was only exposed to loving, stable christian families through the public school system – and there were a lot of them (in a small town in Texas, though, you can kind of expect that there will be a higher percentage of Christians). Not that I wasn’t raised in the church – I was, but not a godly church, when I talked back I was told that demons live inside me and I was exorcised multiple times. I might never have gotten over my fear of the church if not for the many wonderful people I met in public school that taught me that religion isn’t evil, taught me to respect the church and its people, gave me places to stay when I had nowhere else to go.

No, I don’t believe that children should be sent to public school as missionaries – but since everyone else is putting in their little personal experiences, I thought I’d put mine in too!

Kelly L September 20, 2009 - 8:02 pm

I have read many personal experiences on this blog. But I have not read, from those who determine they public school their children, what part of the original charter and/or the personal opinions of the founders of public education lead them to believe God wants their children there. Would I be justified sending my kid to a school where voodoo is taught because 100% of those kids went to college? How about a Muslim school? Focusing on outcomes, instead of original intent of the founders has lead to a back and forth. If you don’t know the original intent, Kelly has a post on several on the founding fathers of public education. Still not convinced? Read about the current head of education in America. Can you convince yourselves that this is where God wants your impressionable children?
And about raising a child strong enough to withstand peer pressure 100%. That would be an anomaly, pure and simple. What dictates how they dress? How about what phrases are their favorite to say? Who influenced them on their favorite music/books/TV. If it actually did happen, where they shunned peer pressure in totality, that would be a gift from God due to the future He had for them, not from you sending them off to another’s authority for 7 hours a day. His mercy, not your parenting. Just as if my daughter turns out a true Christ Follower, even though I home school and teach/live Christ continually throughout the day, it is through His grace and mercy, not my greatness.
BTW I don’t think my HS daughter can shun peer pressure 100%. She likes those ugly plaids that are now in. She didn’t get that from me! How crazy to think that a child out of your teaching for 7 or more hours a day can.

Julie September 20, 2009 - 8:18 pm

Can I just say, I don’t want my kids to have the normal life. I want them to have a radical sold out for Jesus life!
I too will fight like a mother lion for my kids spiritual lives.
I agree that we can teach them every day and they could still wander off, but really did we teach them everyday? Did we live that sold out life before them?
I do get tired of older women smiling at me cynically and telling me they were at church every time the doors were open and their kids knew how to live but they still wandered away.
Thanks. That’s what I as a young mother need to hear. Why don’t I just give up teaching them anything. Manners. Math. Compassion. It is probably all for naught.
I’ll tell you what. You tried the whole let the church and school system raise my kid way and that did not work out. I’m going to try something a little different and see how that goes. Maybe it will not work out, but then I will have some concrete advice for young mothers out there. Not this leave it all to chance stuff.
Kelly, this is my passion as well. I wrote a blog post a week or two ago that asked, “What makes me wrong?” It was specifically for this subject.

Mary September 20, 2009 - 8:21 pm

Kelly, do you consider your mother disqualified to mentor? I’m sure she and you father knew little about homeschool or courtship, as they were almost unheard of 30 years ago. Do they accept part of the blame for what you did? Have you forgiven them? Had they forbidden you to date, as my father did me, would you simply have sneaked out, as I did? I believe I have seen you describe yourself as rebellious. I’m curious. They seem like decent folk who did the best they could with the information available to them at the time. I agree that our customs of dating are not exactly safe, but I never even heard of courtship until a few years ago. These are very old-fashioned things that are only recently being brought back.

Abby September 20, 2009 - 8:31 pm

“And about raising a child strong enough to withstand peer pressure 100%.”
But Kelly L., we can’t. We just can’t. It is impossible for us to raise a child who will withstand 100% of peer pressure–or any external influences, no matter WHAT circumstances we raised them in. Keeping them away from those influences can lead to disaster, too. We have to make them aware of the things that might influence them negatively, else we let them out into the world a sheep among wolves. I was a strong Christian even as a teen, but still struggled with peer pressure at my CHRISTIAN Bible College. Where 90% of us WANTED to be there, and were there because we wanted to work for the Lord as a vocation or serve Him through our vocation. I was a great high school student. I only got in serious trouble once, and it was because of a misunderstanding of what was permitted. I took the punishment and my parents moved on because I knew I was wrong. But college was a different matter and I was surrounded by professing Christians! I’m not saying we were heathens, but there were things that we did to sneak around the rules constantly.

I’m more concerned with the people who are teaching my children (if I were to send them to a school) and what THEIR philosophy is. One person in D.C.’s opinion is not going to alter the whole of the education system, and the founders have been long dead and many of their theories been changed and proven wrong. I took education and psychology classes in college, too. I know the theories, and I know they hold little water with most of my Christian friends who are teaching in the public schools today. What of them, by the way? I mean, is it wrong for a Christian man or woman to try to be an influence in the public school? I know the answer there. It was a rhetorical question.

Children should have friends around their age (within 3-4 years), and I think that those friendships have influence. If they are all Christians, they are going to influence one another positively, hopefully.

Kelly (Word Warrior)–I mentioned my thoughts about the loss of teenage Christianity above. I wonder what you think about my assessment?

Charity–my question to you is how can I base my education on the Bible? I mean, I want to teach my children the Bible, that is true. But the Bible doesn’t teach us everything we need to know. I need the knowledge of Pythagorus, Galileo, and countless others throughout history to give me a full scope of knowledge. If I need to know math, I’m not going to find the answers to algebraic equations in the Bible. If I need to know Chemistry, I’m not going to find the periodic table in there.

I can have a Christ-centered philosophy of education, but not a Bible-based education. Only our Bible classes can be that. I’m not trying to sound rude, but I think it’s worth saying that Jesus didn’t learn carpentry from Jeremiah or Ezekiel, he learned it from his step-father, and it had little to do with his education in the Torah. If I want a BIble education, I’ll get a Bible teacher, but if I want to learn how to be a medical doctor, I’m going to medical school.

Word Warrior September 20, 2009 - 8:33 pm


No, not disqualified at all. Because she is willing to admit those activities were harmful and are not appropriate for those claiming Christ. Even though, as you said, they had scarcely heard of it (although our neighbors were doing it 😉

If they had told me I wasn’t going to date, I would have left home. I was already sneaking out at night. This fact underpins my point…peers had my heart–not my parents.

Now that our children aren’t being influenced by a cultural idea of dating, they think dating is weird while waiting is perfectly normal. Your worldview is simply dramatically shaped by those with whom you spend the most time. That is the heart of my message regarding school and parenting and discipleship. When you and your children are companions, you hold their hearts and it is so much easier to point them in the direction of the Lord–not just in theory, but in practically living out His Word.

I know you’ve mentioned your difficulty mentoring because of your son, but Mary, I see you in a wonderful place to mentor, both to young parents and to others struggling with wayward children. It is OK to say, “I wish we had known about some things then…or I wish we had done some things differently”.

My parents have said it, I have forgiven them, and we have a great relationship. I think you have so much to offer to other women!

Word Warrior September 20, 2009 - 9:17 pm


“Children are not rejecting church or God because of school or even Sunday School, but because they have not been adequately prepared for life by their PARENTS. Parents are the primary religious educators of their own children…Many young adults also reject that which is “old and stuffy” and “church” has become that in many places. But why in the world would the gospel ever be boring? We’ve made it that way, and we’re paying the price when teens reject the faith.”

Well I would submit the first part of this statement is exactly part of my point. It’s difficult, at best, to “prepare your children” in any way when you are not with them most of the day. And often extra-curricular activities take away the time parents would have with their children. Even at church, parents have relinquished their “religious teaching” to Sunday School and children’s church, and while it’s not true in all families, most families are content with this level of instruction.

Preparing children for life is a FULL time job. I think it requires BOTH enormous amounts of time but also a deep respect and companionship between children and parents.

Losing Christians because church is boring? I don’t mean any disrespect, but this theory is so damaging to the church. If we are entertaining people to Jesus, they aren’t true disciples anyway. Church is a place to worship–that’s really the essence. Even if we think it’s boring, it doesn’t account for “leaving the faith”. A follower of Christ doesn’t leave for any reason.

I would just ask you to stop debating and ponder these discussions. I used to feel and say the same things as you. And then I got a glimpse of a discipleship life between parent and child. There is no contest or theory or debate or example that holds up in the face of seeing it. Possible through a “normal” path, yes, but not worth the gamble. We are not called to normalness; we are called to holiness.

Charity September 20, 2009 - 9:20 pm

Abby, My question for you is how can you have “a Christ-centered philosophy of education, but not a Bible-based education”? That makes no sense whatsoever!

Word Warrior September 20, 2009 - 9:22 pm


By the way, I didn’t mean “stop debating”, but just taking some time to ponder instead of formulating your next defense so quickly. 😉 I just know how it took me some serious time and thought before I came to see things differently. Just a thought…

the cottage child September 20, 2009 - 9:43 pm

Kelly/WW – I think your statement about Christian responsibility is right on. We live in a culture of choice overload, choice dependency actually, and yet “I have/had no choice in the matter” is heard over and over as the reason we do many things that would be seen as “less than” in God’s eyes. Like you said, WW, it’s not a question of salvation, but a question of learning and living the Word or just reading it.
I lovingly, but adamantly reject most of the premises offered as reasons NOT to homeschool, up to and including “I see it nowhere in the Bible”. WW’s covered that nicely. Most of us justify and rationalize away lots of what we do or don’t want to do based on either fear or stubborness or both, but rationalizations don’t absolve us of responsibility.

The wisdom that comes from Biblically evaluating blessings in this life is another heavy subject – why would we continue to send our children to a place for 8 hours a day that does not even do what it is supposed to do in most cases, and then attempts to impose a set of values that is intentionally contradictory to the teachings of Christianity? I never hear the question answered, only the justifications. “I had a bad homeschool experience, I went to public school and I turned out great, I trust my kids to stand up to peer pressure”….etc., etc, etc. – none of this addresses our parental responsibility, it merely justifies our reasons to continue in the practice of “less than”.

*from the original excuse making former public school mom – you can’t come up with one that I haven’t :)*

Word Warrior September 20, 2009 - 10:04 pm

cottage child,

Much more succinctly said than I said it 😉 I shouldn’t try to comment on heavy topics when I’m tired and in a hurry 😉

Brandi September 20, 2009 - 10:05 pm

Been reading your blog for a long time. I am a homeschoolin mama myself. I am on the same page with you that it is the parent’s place to nurture and educate our children.

I get sad sometimes that I don’t have friends in my area that believe like us. A simple at home life of homeschooling and focus of raising children that love Jesus whole heartedly. At the church we go to nobody homeschools, but the pastor’s wife and her children are grown now. All of the moms are busy career women that would rather drop their baby at daycare two weeks after birth. Most seem so busy and frazzled with life. I am sad to say, I don’t feel much of a connection at our church.

I read some of your church lady friends blog’s (Kathy@teaching good things, Robin at just a family) and I wish so much that I could live near you all and be apart of your ladies group and friendships. I can tell that you all lift each other up. When someone needs a sister’s help, one of you are always there for the other. I long for that type of sisterhood and fellowship. Just wondering, how you quiverful mama’s came to be apart of the same congregation?

KB September 20, 2009 - 10:39 pm

Please forgive,
I intended to capitalize “Lord” in the Deuteronomy quote. If there are any other mis-spellings please excuse, it’s late and I’m trying to multitask.

Angela Cribb September 20, 2009 - 11:01 pm

One of my all time favorite Bible verses is this:

10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Prov 9:10 (NIV)

What is fear of the Lord?

Fear defined by Websters 1828 dictionary is to reverence; to have a reverential awe; to venerate.

Reverence is fear mingled with respect and esteem; veneration.

Veneration is the highest degree of respect and reverence; respect mingled with some degree of awe; a feeling or sentiment excited by the dignity and superiority of a person, or by the sacredness of his character, and regard to place, by its consecration to sacred services.

Now let’s look at education since this is what the majority of the comments have been about.

Education is defined as the bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations.

There is a large group of Christians who look and act no different than the world. We are raising children to fit right in instead of being separate. God’s command to us is this:

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Deut 11:18-21 (NIV)

God’s command is not to send our children to a good school to learn reading, writing, science, math, etc, etc, etc. His command is to teach children His commands all day every day. Secular education is secondary to that. I do not dispute that education is important but not at the expense of our children’s spiritual teaching. I believe that this is where many (not all) Christian parents go wrong. They are worried about the secular education and having “well rounded, socially adjusted” children and forget that God has commanded parents to make spiritual training the first priority.

And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
1 Sam 12:23-24 (NIV)

Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalms 25:4-5 (NIV)

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Psalms 34:11-14 (NIV)

1 O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter hidden things, things from of old–
3 what we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our forefathers
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their forefathers–
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
whose spirits were not faithful to him.
Psalms 78:1-8 (NIV)

We are commanded time and again to teach God’s laws to our children are we are warned very strongly against causing them to stumble and fall into sin.

5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Matt 18:5-6 (NIV)

Is not knowingly placing our children in an environment that is contrary to God’s teaching putting them in a place that is ripe for sin? We know how difficult it is to stand for God in the face of peer pressure as well as those placed in authority over us. Those we are around the most tend to have the most influence in shaping our thoughts and ideas.

Jesus was not concerned with secular teachings but with the things of God. And He taught people these things constantly.

After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.[1]
Matt 11:1 (NIV)

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them.
Mark 2:13 (NIV)

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake.
Mark 4:1 (NIV)

When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue,
Mark 6:2 (NIV)

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
John 8:2 (NIV)

The world will not approve of us. The choices we make will not make sense to most. As Christians, we are not called to be loved by the world but to be obedient to Christ.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
1 Cor 1:26-30 (NIV)

The question is this. Will we teach our children wisdom and understanding according to the Lord or continue to give our children to the world?

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Josh 24:14-15 (NIV)

Abby September 21, 2009 - 8:20 am

Kelly (WW),
I want to admit something. When I said “boring” what I meant was “irrelevant.” I agree that church should not be seen as entertainment–this is definitely a cultural notion coming from a culture of consumption. But relevance IS important.

I want to stop debating and tell you a couple of stories that kind of “prove” my point. Okay, not really, but they make interesting anecdotes.

First, I have a friend who grew up in a church-going home, whose parents took her to lots of different fundamental churches (they moved a lot), and who as a teen professed Christ. She is now a hardened atheist at 29 years old. What caused this? Well, a number of things. For one thing, her parents were hypocrites. They were constantly in debt and could barely take care of her and her sister. They moved all over and kept switching the girls schools. Both this young woman and her twin sister were some of my closest Christian friends in high school, but even I saw that this was not going to remain. For one thing, my friend has a very skeptical attitude. She likes to ask questions, this is her nature. She won’t accept pat answers for anything, and she had a lot of theology questions that weren’t sufficiently answered when she was a teen, which led her down the road to atheism. This isn’t all of it. Church was irrelevant. No one ever set a fire under her. Church, as she saw it, was archaic, unimportant, useless. Christ was obviously never presented to her in his full glory, or maybe this would have been different. She was given lots of rules and formulas, but she was never shown what being in the church *could be*.

Another story. Another girl. I grew up in a protestant church, but it was much more alive than my friend’s church while I knew her. Our youth group had the chance to go on multiple mission trips to various places, and I accepted Christ at the age of 11. Through the next 4 years I suffered at school–it was the worst time, beginning puberty. It probably would have been difficult even homeschooling. I struggled with a lot of things, and my faith was weak.

Then my parents took us to a new church. It was even more alive and doing a lot more than our other church. It was relevant to me because the pastor spoke in words that made sense, and in terms that I could relate to. It was like he was speaking directly to me, in a room filled with people. It was awesome. Jesus came even more alive to me then, and I rededicated myself within a year. The Holy Spirit was in my life in a new way, and my newfound attitude was reflected even among friendships in school. All my friends from church went to different schools because it was further away, but they were an encouragement to me because they were living their faith out, too. I went on several more mission trips, and even felt the Lord calling me to the foreign mission field during one of these trips. I met my husband months later, and guess what? He is Egyptian, and we have plans very soon to go to Egypt and work alongside his Christian family in a place that needs God’s touch.

What was the difference between my friend and myself? (yes, only two examples, but still important) There are lots of things. Family life and church life are two ways we differed, but in most ways we were a lot more alike than different. We both went to public schools and we were both extremely gifted at school. If she had stayed in the same school till graduation we probably would have been just about the same ranking in our class. We both asked a lot of questions and even researched and investigated things on our own when we couldn’t get a good enough answer. We both read the Bible through at least once before graduating high school.

The difference? I think it’s that God was never made tangible for her. I don’t know who was responsible in my own life for making God a reality, but my parents couldn’t have done it alone! They needed the support of the church family, and the community of believers. Yes, I believe parents are primarily responsible for their children’s Bible education. But I also believe that they can’t possibly do it alone. If my parents were Bible college professors of theology, then maybe they could do it, but they aren’t. Reading the Bible alone may convict some people, but it didn’t work with my friend.

Honestly, I think you want an easy answer to a very complicated question: Who is at fault when children growing up in Christian homes do not accept Jesus? I think that sometimes the parents can be partly to blame, but so is the world, and so, mostly, is the child who doesn’t accept Jesus. What can we do to gain more believers? Preach the gospel far and wide and make it relevant to the hearer.

I also think it’s easy to shift the blame to things we find displeasurable, like public schools and “the world.” The world wouldn’t be so appealing if Jesus was made relevant. I’m sorry, if the *message* was made relevant. Jesus is always relevant. It’s how we present him that is key. You can’t lecture to children. Jesus used lots of props in his teachings, he spoke in parables, he made demonstrations, and he lived out obedience to God in an amazing way. If we as parents and teachers and church communities are not using these same methods, we are not using our full potential to share the gospel.

Wow. Sorry. I didn’t realize I like to write so much. I’m going to let you get the last word and go back to what I was doing before I got involved in this discussion. 🙂

Amy September 21, 2009 - 8:58 am

I really enjoyed your post At The Well today and wanted to stop by and say hello! Also enjoyed this post! Recently there was a Janet Parshall radio program where they were going on and on about Obama speaking to the school children and possibly saying something about his “agenda” and how that just isn’t to be in the school system. I so badly wanted to call in and say something to the effect that their children were having an “agenda” pushed every single day…why were they suddenly upset about it?
Amy @ Raising Arrows

Mrs W September 21, 2009 - 10:56 am

Mrs. W.,

(Your comment got stuck in my spam folder–I am going to publish a part of it, but not all, because I want to stop this banter that has turned into an insulting argument, rather than respectful debate.)

Hi KB. You quoted: “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thine heart…And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart…And thou shat teach them diligently unto thy children…” Deut 6:4-7

If you are going to quote irrelevant Scripture, why not at least post the whole thing?… I’m almost certain you and your children don’t go around with Bibles bound around your hands and foreheads. If this applied to us, would not the WHOLE passage apply, not just the parts you like? I think these verses are great principles, and we have our ways of living out this principle in our family…however…we also know, from the very third word, that this passage is talking to ISRAEL. (Wow, I went to public school AND was taught reading comprehension!)

(Word warrior says: I thought you were homeschooled?)

There are places in the New Testament that specifically say that we are no longer under the law, yet you and your friends here would rather try to place people back under the law, but only the parts you like and you have privately interpreted…It’s interesting how many Christians try to change the Bible to impose things like home schooling on other Christians, telling them they are not righteous if they do not.

Word Warrior September 21, 2009 - 11:56 am


To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how there came to be so many like-minded families in one area..but we have a bunch! A lot of it just grew and happened as a result of families discipling families.

My husband and I started thinking in this direction only after observing a couple of our neighbors whose families seemed to really live a life influenced by the power of Christ. They had joyful homes, sweet, obedient children, and they just “looked different” than what we were seeing in the average Christian home. “If you’re going to live for Jesus, should the fruit of your lives reflect that?” That was kind of our thinking.

We started attending their church, then three other families nearby who were just “catching on” heard about us and joined.

All together, we have our church family with about 20 like-minded families, as well as a neighborhood network of about 9 or 10 families who gather Sunday nights for Bible Study, then we have another group of friends about an hour away that contain about 10 families–it’s really amazing when I think about it. But I also think it’s the power of God through family discipleship–evangelism lived out??

I guess maybe that’s why I get so excited and don’t understand why so many have a negative view of this “lifestyle” (The fact that it is counter-culture actually scares Christians, even thought that’s what we’re called to!)

We get the opportunity every week to witness dozens, sometimes hundreds of children who all love the Lord, love their parents and siblings, have a serving heart that is shocking to some, are joyfully content to be where they are, have brilliant minds, have incredible social skills–and their parents love and honor one another…the list goes on.

I just see the incredible fruit of seeking to say “no” to the culture’s way of living and the blessing that could come when we exercise practical, biblical wisdom in our lives.

Sorry for the book.

Word Warrior September 21, 2009 - 12:18 pm

Mrs. W.,

May I offer something that seems to be of a misunderstanding that *might* soften those who are offended about these topics?

You said, “It’s interesting how many Christians try to change the Bible to impose things like home schooling on other Christians, telling them they are not righteous if they do not.”

No where has that been stated–you inferred it. I mentioned in one of my comments the “two layers” at work. One is an absolute truth of the gospel which we all agree with,(I hope) and the other is what we perceive as wisdom from Scripture that brings with it logical blessings if followed, and often curses if not. (That’s not across the board, every time…) There is salvation; and there is “How then shall we live?”

I think the area of education and such enters that second category. NO ONE is saying that a person is less righteous if he doesn’t homeschool! We are suggesting, based on Scriptural inference AND observation, that there is wisdom to be applied to the topic of education. Just because the Bible doesn’t say “Thou shall homeschool”, doesn’t mean there aren’t practical principles for the Christian to apply to his life.

Obviously, we differ on these principles. That is why we discuss. But we must maintain respect, not inferring things like “you are not really saved”–from both sides of the debate. Debate is only good for prodding us to think and listen and improve. Let’s sharpen one another, but not insult and devour.

Mrs W September 21, 2009 - 1:45 pm

Kelly, just so you are aware…I was home schooled, but spent time in public school first and thankfully that was most of my school life as I’d have gone insane if I’d have been home schooled my entire life. I’ve also been to Christian school. Which is why I know that a lot of this stuff that people have against going to school is not really that accurate…I went to seven different public schools at that.

I notice that you deleted from my comment about where I got saved, I thought that to be very revealing about true purposes here.

Angela Cribb September 21, 2009 - 2:12 pm

Mrs. W.,

You said,
“There are places in the New Testament that specifically say that we are no longer under the law,”

But Jesus said,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Matt 5:17 (NIV)

God’s law still stands, it is man’s law (legalism) that is to be questioned. We are saved by grace but it is God’s law that gives us wisdom and teaches us righteous living.

You said,
“I think these verses are great principles, and we have our ways of living out this principle in our family…however…we also know, from the very third word, that this passage is talking to ISRAEL. (Wow, I went to public school AND was taught reading comprehension!)”

God says,

And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD
to serve him,
to love the name of the LORD,
and to worship him,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant–
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations.”

Isaiah 56:6-7 (NIV)


11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)– 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:11-13 (NIV)

Because of Christ, we are included in God’s inheritance. We are not exempt from the Ten Commandments because we are not Israelites just as we are not exempt from the rest of God’s commands.

Word Warrior September 21, 2009 - 2:23 pm

Mrs. W.,

I’m trying to be patient with you but I’m getting close to blocking you from commenting altogether–simply because of your constant attacks, such as the one you just made. I’ll tell you exactly why I deleted that part of your comment…it was written in a way that said to KB, “I used to think homeschooling was the only way to go and THEN I got saved” (emphasis mine). Insinuating that someone with a strong conviction (who may very well believe “homeschooling is the only/best way”) who enjoys sharing it with others is not really saved. It’s one thing to say you disagree with her, quite another to question one’s salvation.

That may not have been what you meant at all, but it came across that way, and in an attempt to curb some of the insults, I took it out.

You need to think more carefully before your write.

Brandi September 21, 2009 - 2:34 pm

Thank you Kelly for commenting back. I see so many folks here objecting (some rudely) to something I see as a beautiful way of life that you live. Even from long distance your family is witnessing to our family. I am observing the fruits of your family and sowing seeds of my own.

Honestly, I don’t get all the negative feedback. I can’t understand how Christians don’t get it. I suppose it’s that struggle of living in the world but not living like the world. For some, it’s hard to walk away from worldly life (mothers giving up paychecks to live a simpler way of life) by simpler I mean going without so many worldly objects for hard work at home. I personally have never been happier since leaving my career to stay home with my children.

I am praying and believing God for more families in our area that are like-minded at living a Christ influenced way of life.

Nurse Bee September 21, 2009 - 4:18 pm

While I think you (Kelly) and I probably have the same end goal in mind (raising our children to love the Lord), I can see we have different ideas about how to get there. I enjoy interacting with others around me, whether they share my beliefs or not. And I hope to teach my child(ren) to do the same, however they get their formal education.

Rachel September 21, 2009 - 4:32 pm

Brandi – I don’t think people object to this particular lifestyle (well, I’m sure there are people out there who do, and the same for any other type of lifestyle you could name). I think instead, people object to the idea that this lifestyle is specifically biblical, and other ways of living – public schooling of children, using contraception, women working etc etc are not biblical. Issues of lifestyle always divide christians – think of other issues, such as headcoverings, music or alchohol.

The author of this blog does not tackle these particular issues, but I’m sure there will be sites out there that do – and advocate, for example, that all christians be teetotal, or that all christian ladies wear headcoverings.

As has been said – all these issues are secondary. The new covenant gives us liberty to prayerfully and carefully consider these issues and make choices which perhaps others do not agree with. Under the old covenant, God gave his people very specific commands, partly because they were solely under the law, and partly because they were all living in the same country under the same conditions. Hence dietry laws for their own protection – which we no longer need to adhere to. Under the new covenant, where God has extended his mercy to Gentiles living in all parts of the world in many different cultures, he has given us more liberty. Of course, this doesn’t mean we can do what we like – but it does mean that our choices related to many many things, may be slightly different to other christians. What is a right choice for some, is not right for others. As Paul said, for some, eating meat given to idols was sin. For others, it was not. Some people have more tender consciences than others. We need to not judge those who have been given more liberty and a stronger conscience than we have. And likewise, we should not look down upon those who have more scruples than us. I think the reason debates like these get so heated are because, for example – those who advocate, for eg, homeschooling, perhaps give the impression that their way is the only way – nay, it is in fact GODS way! And those who don’t hold to this view perhaps belittle homeschooling christians for their scruples, or get irritated for a judgment upon them (perceived or otherwise) from homeschoolers.

Maybe homeschooling is the correct way. I don’t feel I can really comment – I don’t have children and I haven’t looked into the subject of education enough. But, what I do know is, there are many women for whom homeschooling would be impossible because of economic factors. I will be one of these women when I have children, because my husband is very ill. But I know that God can and does save children, whatever schooling they receive. Praise him that he saves, and not a child’s education. I think of Daniel and his 3 friends and how they stayed faithful.

Sorry for the essay – time for bed!

Rachel September 21, 2009 - 4:34 pm

Just realised – you must all think it’s very bizarre I’m going to bed at 4.30 pm! It’s 10.30 pm here 🙂

Mary September 21, 2009 - 7:40 pm

I think you misunderstand me, Kelly. I’m not saying that if I had my children to raise over again I would do everything differently (i.e. homeschool them).

When you deal with a wayward child (and maybe I’m exaggerating exactly how wayward he was — he never did drugs or anything illegal — if he had, the Air Force would never have taken him, as they did quite a thorough physical and background check — but still, it was awful for us) you always go through the “woulda-shoulda-coulda stuff. You go over everything in your mind that you ever did and wonder.

But, every decision we ever made was made with much prayer, and although we knew of homeschooling, we didn’t feel that was God’s will for our family.

The tendency when you have problems is to think, “I must have done everything wrong.” This is natural. I really went through that mental anguish.

What I’m trying to say is that just because you have a problem along the way when you have obeyed God to the best of your ability DOES NOT mean that you “missed God”.

In Christian circles these days, and especially in pentecostal circles, which is where I “live”, the teaching is that “if you are in the center of God’s will for you, then you won’t have any problems — you’ll sail right through.”

That is wrong teaching. Just because you have some problems along the way does not mean that you “didn’t hear from God.”

So, after much prayer and hand-wringing on my part, and discussions within our family with my husband and both sons, we have all come to the conclusion that we did right by our children, and if we had it to do over again, we would still make the same choices.

My wayward son came home and is now serving the Lord, and refuses to blame us or anybody else for his waywardness. That shows maturity on his part.

Supposing that, God forbid, one or more of your 8 children would go wayward. Would you then conclude that homeschooling them was the wrong thing to have done? Of course not. You believe God told you to homeschool your children, and if there is a problem along the way, well, some children learn the hard way.

I know homeschooled children from large families who were isolated out on farms and who ran away and went wayward. Does that mean that their parents were wrong for homeschooling them? Of course not. They did what they believed God called them to do.

Pray. Do what God tells you to do. There may be problems along the way even if you obey. We live in a fallen world.

Well, that’s my situation concerning my family. I don’t know about your parents and your family.

My point is that you need to do what God has told you to do (and I know, Kelly, that you are not saying Christian families are sinning if they don’t homeschool) and then do that. If there are problems along the way, well, that happens. It is hard then not to second-guess yourself (I sure did — but you never know about second-guessing — maybe the situation would have been much worse if you had done things differently — the great unknown).

My boys don’t date yet. That has been their choice. They’re busy getting their schooling done, etc.

Sara September 21, 2009 - 9:42 pm

Well said, Mary.
We don’t want to be like Job’s friends telling someone going through a trial that God is punishing them when, in fact, that may not be the case at all.

Word Warrior September 21, 2009 - 10:04 pm

Mary and Sara,

I certainly wasn’t trying to say that “God is punishing Mary” through her trial. I will say for my life, my peers had everything to do with why I participated in the things I did. I simply have a passion for other families who I believe may experience the same heartaches due to the cultural and peer pressure that is so prevalent.

I feel like this part of the discussion has gone round and round; and yet I still feel the need to point out that God does give us many principles by which we can formulate “wise” choices around. When the Bible says “a companion of fools suffers harm”, I’m going to see to it that my children’s companions–that is, those most intimate friends, are not “fools”. “But he who walks with the wise will be wise”. And so we ask ourselves, “who are our children ‘walking with’ “?

This has nothing to do (I can hear it coming) with shunning unbelievers, isolating ourselves, looking down on others, etc. We still have plenty of interaction with all types of people, inviting unbelievers into our closest fellowship as families. So please hear what I’m saying.

Word Warrior September 21, 2009 - 10:09 pm

I should have added, the example of companions is just one principle that we have taken from Scripture and applied literally and practically to our decisions regarding our children. There are many others, but I thought it would be helpful if I gave a specific example.

So while we maintain that a child could “turn out” a number of ways despite his influences, we seek to make life-choices that reflect the wisdom of God’s Word. Hope that makes sense.

Mary, I was simply asking if, even though you felt you made the best decisions with your son, perhaps there are lessons learned that now you are able to share with other mothers. That’s all.

Sara September 21, 2009 - 10:31 pm

I wasn’t implying that you were saying any such thing to Mary. I simply was concurring with Mary that my usual first response to trials (my own or others) is to figure out what I (they) did wrong that would explain the negative results.
But, I’ve had to learn recently, that sometimes we pray, we hear from God, we obey, and then we still don’t the good we expected.
It goes against everything I know to not try to just blame myself or someone else when something bad happens, but yet God has been teaching me that sometimes bad things just happen.
I was just agreeing with her assessment, not accusing you of anything.

Word Warrior September 21, 2009 - 11:00 pm


I gotcha..thank you.

Mary September 22, 2009 - 3:18 pm

Oh, no, Kelly, I never ever thought you were saying that God was punishing me. I never got that from anything you have ever said.

No, now that the crisis is past, I would say to do what God tells you to do. Even if you are obedient, there are still trials along the way.

That is a great truth to learn. Many great people in the Bible obeyed God, yet still had serious trials along the way. But this truth is not taught or received today. We all want a problem-free life (who doesn’t?) but as American Christians, we really think that we can find the magic formula to have it.

My husband and I have concluded that we wouldn’t do anything differently (but I as a woman and a hand-wringing woman at that went through the woulda-shoulda-coulda stuff).

Some children learn the hard way. Our son’s younger brother is 2 years younger and was raised the same: same school, same church, same friends, same everything. One was curious about the worldly life and thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence; the other has been as solid as a rock.

Here is what I have learned: If you ever have a wayward child, DON’T LET HIM/HER GO!!!

You wouldn’t believe how many people, including Christians, told us to let our son go, to distance ourselves from him, to dust ourselves off and move on. DON’T DO IT.

Don’t give up on that child unless GOD tells you to. Do what GOD tells you to do, confirmed by His Word.

God told us not to allow our child to come home unless he, like the prodigal son, was alone and repentant. My husband wrote that down and put it in his wallet. He resigned his church, which he felt was biblical, and the Lord made provision for us financially, and spent the year praying for our son (not that he could have concentrated to do a good job at the church anyway).

The hardest thing we ever did was to tell our son that he could not come home unless he was alone and repentant. He asked to come home for a visit and we had to say no (he said he was alone, but not repentant). That was hard.

He finally came to his senses. We had a hard time getting this child’s love, as you say, Kelly, from the time he was a toddler, before he went to any school or had any friends. Some children are hard headed and want to go their own way.

He is very loving toward us now and tells us all the time. He tells us that he owes us a lot. I could write a book.

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe September 22, 2009 - 3:22 pm

BTW, I should have put my entire name which includes the name of my blog, like I normally do. Oops. I’m still technologically challenged and don’t remember these things.

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe September 23, 2009 - 3:27 pm

I know the comments are closed on this now, but I wanted to say that like other parents, when we felt there was a problem, we prayed for direction and “tweaked” things as we went along!

Leslie Viles September 23, 2009 - 11:56 pm

I know this is a late post, but we have been on a camping trip for a few days. I read some of the comments, but not all.

Someone commented “As women, we rely on methods. The cake didn’t rise, so I must have done something wrong — let’s see what it was: I didn’t put in the baking powder, or I opened the oven door as the cake was starting to rise, or I didn’t beat the batter enough, whatever. I’ll work out the glitch, and then my cake will turn out fine.” This is true, but if you know that you didn’t follow the recipe and DECIDED to skip the baking powder, you wouldn’t be surprised if the cake didn’t rise. Same with kids. God gave us instructions and when we don’t follow them we need to be ready to accept responsibility and repent. (this includes me, as I currently send my 6 year old off to a presbyterian school and I know I we are pushing our God ordained responsibility off on someone else.)

“I can have a Christ-centered philosophy of education, but not a Bible-based education. Only our Bible classes can be that.” I REALLY disagree with this comment. I might have agreed with it until I started homeschooling my 16 year old (then 10). Once I taught a Christian curriculum, one with God at the center of EVERY subject, I knew I could never go back. It’s like a piece of the puzzle was missing and I didn’t even realize it. What cemented it for me was realizing, as I taught, that some of what I learned in school was a deliberate misrepresentation of some historical events, in order to diminish the impact that Christian men had on this country and also to elevate certain theories in science.

To WW: I imagine you must get frustrated sometimes. I just want you to know that I wish I had a Titus 2 woman in my life when I was a new mother and working outside my home and even later when I was sending that child off to a secular school. All the Godly women in my church (and they did love the Lord) were misguided and had a secular/feminist view. As a result, I got very worldly advice from them. I wish I had someone like you to honestly share your mistakes and convictions and the scripture that you based it on so that maybe I might have made different choices based on different information.

Also, I want to add that basing our decisions on how we “feel” God wants us to behave is not biblical. The bible says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9.

Like Kelly, I also went to secular school, my friends were my “life” and as a result I made some very bad choices. I was really cute (now 20 years and 3 babies later and I’m not nearly as cute) and enjoyed attention that I got from that. The 2 things we were praised for in my family were being intelligent and being good looking. So I was smart, and pretty….and promiscuous. I think someone commented on the socioeconomic status of the teens that were falling away. Well, you can’t come from a “better family” in Alabama than I did. (my family is extremely political and the emphasis was ALWAYS on how things “looked”) But avoiding pregnancy and VD is not the standard we should be setting for our children. Even respecting themselves. They need to respect GOD! And just having our children get “saved” shouldn’t be the only goal. the only worthwhile goal is raising children that are WARRIORS for CHRIST. all the other stuff, is just stuff.

BUT none of this matters. Outcomes DON’T matter. What matters is obedience to God’s word and I think it is very clear on how we should raise our children and carting them off everyday for someone else to teach is in direct opposition to that.


Word Warrior September 24, 2009 - 9:19 am


VERY well stated, thank you. I think I became exhausted with this thread and walked away 😉

I thought of an analogy in my sleep (as usual) to help explain why we don’t lean too hard on the idea that “there is no formula”…

People like to say that because the Bible doesn’t speak directly about education it’s open to whatever choice we make. I’ve maintained the Bible speaks *inn principle* about it, and gives us direction.

The area of money seems a lot the same. The Bible doesn’t say “don’t buy things you don’t have the money for”, i.e. credit purchases, but we take the principles from Scripture and know that credit cards can cause financial distress in a hurry.

And just like public school, for example, not everyone who uses a credit card to buy a plasma tv will experience difficulty; but more will than not, and it’s playing with fire. AND, not everyone who has a “debt-free” approach will escape financial trouble to some degree, but many more will than not.

Am I making sense? Another thing about that is, we don’t attack Dave Ramsey for pointing out the foolishness of making poor economic choices–he does it to HELP people, just as that is my desire, and many others who talk about this subject.

Enough rambling…

Leslie Viles September 24, 2009 - 11:10 am

Dave Ramsey also speaks from personal experience and the mistakes he made. Why is it so different when we do the same in regards to marriage and family?

Charity September 24, 2009 - 11:34 am

I know there was much um…shall we say, “upset” over this post, but I want to say again how much I appreciated it.

Leslie-the last paragraph of your comment is exactly what I was trying to say when I commented…you just did a better job 🙂

Kelly-may God bless you…for standing firm on your beliefs and encouraging other women. Maybe at times you may feel that you don’t make a difference or reach anyone…I’m here to tell you that you’ve been a HUGE encouragement to this young, stay-at-home-homeschooling-want-as-many-little-blessings-as-HE-gives-wife-and-mommy. Thank you! May God richly bless you and yours! Oh, and by the way…would you mind if we packed up and moved next door to ya’ll? It’d be so nice to actually be around a like-minded family. We wouldn’t make much noise, I promise 🙂

Word Warrior September 24, 2009 - 1:05 pm


LOL! C’mon, sister!

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe September 24, 2009 - 2:57 pm

I know I didn’t make any mistakes. I would make the same choices if I had my life to live over concerning marriage, family and children. I’m finally at peace about it.

Leslie Viles September 24, 2009 - 4:22 pm


WOW! I don’t know if I have ever, in my life, heard ANYONE say they haven’t made ANY mistakes.

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe September 24, 2009 - 5:17 pm

Ha,ha! I didn’t mean it to sound that way, that’s funny. No, I meant that about the major decisions we made, we wouldn’t change anything. No, we’ve tweaked many mistakes along the way and will continue to do so. Thanks for catching me in that blunder, Leslie! LOL (I really am!)


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