In an article from the Christian Post website, John Piper gives his opinion on how Christian parents can fend off supposed governmental indoctrination. Piper is answering a letter from Sweden. A concerned father is worried that a coercive and socialist government is indoctrinating his child. Sweden does not have a religious exemption for parents to homeschool. The father bemoans that “Christian Schools” are still forced to follow a government-approved curriculum. Even worse, that curriculum promotes acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. The father wants advice. What should he do?
Piper writes, “that it is parents, not the state, who have been granted the God-given role of rearing and shaping of the minds and hearts of the children in the knowledge of God and in how to live that out in the world.”
I agree. The government has a compelling interest in making sure that every person has basic literacy. The government also has a compelling interest in making sure that children are socialized. They need to know how to be good members of our society. That would include such ideals, here in the United States, as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Unfortunately, as many Fundagelicals do, Piper disagrees on what ideals like “Liberty and Justice for all mean.” He cites Romans 13:4 to say that God has established government to punish wrongdoers.
“for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”Romans 13:4
However, Piper interprets wrongdoing as anything that violates his religious interpretation of the Bible’s dos and don’ts. The LGBTQ+ community is considered sinful, and the government should not advocate tolerance.
Piper gave three pieces of advice. First, move away from Sweden. He suggested the father could move to a country where he can educate his children at home to make sure they are properly
brainwashed, indoctrinated, trained up in the ways of the Lord.
Second, keep the kids at home. Even if it means breaking the law and risking their removal from the house, keep them away from any ideas that are not “Christian.” Piper is a die-hard Calvinist Fundagelical, which means mainstream churches and progressive churches are heretical. His idea of proper “Christian” education is making sure they are taught Calvinism, fundamentalism, and dispensationalism.
Piper’s third suggestion is more reasonable: sending the kids to school and still educating them at home. Piper suggests that a “Radically Christian education at home, alongside the state education (which is going to be diametrically opposed in many ways), will be needed in order to build into the children’s lives two deep and unshakable convictions.”
I have no problem with the idea of practicing faith and modeling faith for our children. However, I’m also a big believer in teaching our children how to think and reason. I’ve watched the fallout from adults deconstructing away from their faith. These adults were raised in the church, many homeschooled, and fed “answers” to life’s toughest questions that don’t work. They find out that their apologetics, based on strawmen arguments and circular reasoning, doesn’t hold water in the real world. Their Fundagelical alternate realities come crashing into the real world, and their faith falls victim.
Perhaps if we focused less on indoctrination and more on teaching kids how to ask questions and seek answers, we would have better results. There would be more construction of faith and a lot less deconstruction of faith. If we focused on modeling Christian behavior instead of creating doctrinal cages for our kids, they would live the Christian lives they found.
The heart of the matter is this. Piper is afraid that his particular version of “Truth” will be lost if people don’t brainwash their kids into never questioning what they have been taught. He seeks to build a Fundagelical bubble to keep the kids in and fears they might be exposed to radical ideas like race theory or social justice.
In my opinion, that’s just telling our children that the Bible has all the answers, just not answers to the questions you are asking. Let’s stop being afraid, break our kids out of their doctrinal cages, and model a spiritual pilgrimage to God. Our children will know if we are headed in the right direction and can choose to join us on the journey.
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