Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why This Blog

Dear Reader,

There are two simple reasons why I created this blog:

1. To encourage Christian parents with God's history through the church.
2. To discourage Christian parents away from wrong views of God's history through the church.

The first point is obvious: letters, essays, and practices in the realm of Christian education have been and will be posted. The design is for you the reader to have a dialogue of sorts with your spiritual forefathers. They are not going to speak back to you, but, as our elders, they have spoken first. And even if all they taught and did was not the best, at the least we should be aware of it first before we presumptuously discard their principles and practices in favor of some new fad.

The second point is less obvious: essays and short pieces will be presented, challenging some preciously held ideas (new and old). The design is for you the reader to critically read these postings, even following the reference trail I left for transparency. I will try to avoid innuendos: when I write "Perhaps they believe," I mean "perhaps..."--the word is not code for "you do in fact believe this." When I include a number of quotes, it is not to pick on people but to demonstrate the fact that such sentiments actually exist.

Americans tend to think in terms of sound-bytes and commercialized language. They especially think in emotional and pragmatical terms: I've met this guy, he can't be wrong! It works for me, you just don't understand. I will use emotional language at times but not in place of substantive evaluation and analysis. So some may take my articles as being brusque.

I do not write public critiques of private issues. Even with public issues (which are open to public critiques), I have attempted to contact people of opposing views.

Lastly, I am at a public disadvantage. My training, scholarship and character are verified by a local region of churches (ruling lay elders and professional ministers of the OPC) and those who know me. I have no big names to ride coat-tails on. I have no national conferences to head-up. You've never heard me preach. That is a huge disadvantage in the cases where I analyze men you may have heard and read and developed respect for even though you may not know them personally nor know of their actual credentials.

I can only implore you to read the evidence. And pray.

thank you,

Pastor Mathis

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The 2009 Men's Leadership Summit

I have been asked about my opinions concerning this event. The 2009 Men's Leadership Summit ran in early March 5-7 at Indianapolis. The website and promotions mentioned a Christian Education Manifesto that apparently never materialized, although mentioned a few times in the lectures. And I did write a preliminary posting on it here.

I'm sure there are those looking for the worse and hoping to find a hard-hitting expose. I'm equally sure that there are those looking for the worse and hoping to say, "You're just bitter."

I hope to disappoint both of them. The way to accomplish that is for the reader to shut down the over-driven emotional engine that I have witnessed personally on several occasions by those dedicated to a variation of Radical Homeschooling. And those most passionate (in my experience) are the leaders. And unfortunately, that has a way of clouding judgment.

For my part, the best way to avoid presenting a "hard-hitting expose" is to mostly avoid any direct references or quotes. You can get that over at John's Corner (I have verified much of his quotes and they are substantially accurate).

The way to bring to light a biblical-based examination of this conference is to write what I believe is the problem and the solution for America and for her churches especially. The links below are not necessarily to be read in order. If you have heard the summit (or were there), feel free to add your comments. Frankly, at the rate this sub-movement is growing the more dialogue the better.

Problem & Solution:
Revival of Rousseau
The Future of Homeschooling
The Revival of Homeschooling
Malachi 4:6 & the Revival of Homeschooling

Secondary Issue (many unsubstantiated claims peppered the conference)
Homeschooling, Statistics and Hype
Calvinism, History & Homeschooling
A Very Short History of Christian Education
Famous Homeschoolers in History..?
Controversy & Revival

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Family Integrated Church

This series of papers evaluates the big brother of family integrated churches, the National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC). They have a public confession for churches to sign. This confession asserts that those practicing comprehensive age-segregation are using methods in line with secular and even evolutionary origins.

Those claims are false. And potentially schismatic. And here is part of the proof:

1. What is a Family Integrated Church?

2. A Rejoinder to Recent Family Integrated Church Comments

3. Uniting Church and Family (a positive presentation of my views)

More detailed analysis:

4. An Extended Analysis of the Claims of Doug Phillips

5. Review of NCFIC book, A Weed in the Church

6. Review of the NCFIC movie, Divided.

7. Mr. Brown's late-in-coming distinctions for family integrated churches

8. A Very Short History of Christian Education (presents the true history of homechooling, etc.)

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Very Short History of Christian Education

This is a condensed version of A Short History of Christian Education. Due to the sensitive nature of a number of homeschooling leaders that I have met, who have actually accused me of attacking, ignoring or belittling homeschoolers, I need to point out that I am not against homeschooling and in fact plan on homeschooling my child.

With that said I doubt not that some readers will be offended or bewildered at this series if only because of all the misinformation about the history of homeschooling.

Have an open mind, enjoy...and you can always ask a question here or personally ( pastormathis at gmail dot com )

Part 1 Introduction & Definition
Part 2 New Testament & Early Church
Part 3 Medieval Period
Part 4 Reformation & Post-Reformation
Part 5 Early America

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Homeschooling, Statistics & Hype

Homeschooling is the up and coming trend in America. And because of that it is easy to take any sort of good news and run with it.

In many people's personal experience (even mine) much good has arisen from within the homeschooling movement: parental responsibility, familial bonding and love for children. But is this true because of homeschooling or because of motivated parents? Or other factors?

The answer depends on one's viewpoint concerning the larger question of what constitutes biblical education. Even with statistics readily at hand, their interpretation depends greatly upon pre-conceived notions (well-defended or not). However, it does not help to use statistics that do not state what people think they do.

Hopefully, dear reader, you will agree:

1. The Statistics of Homeschooling
2. A Story About Scholarship
3. The Future of Homeschooling