It is almost time to send my youngest, the last of my four beautiful daughters, out into the world. Every parent surely must wonder, as I do: “Is my child ready to face the world? Is my child ready to go out there on his/her own?”
My child is five years old and will only be going off to kindergarten at the local public school, but I have learned from experience what this means. There are no two ways about it — this child is going out into the world with its false and corrupt philosophy. The Spirit warns: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).
The point that a five-year-old already faces the exposure to the basic or elementary principles of the world which are not according to Christ should not, indeed must not, be understood to mean that the danger is limited to young children. The Spirit’s warning given us through the Apostle is real and urgent for every age, whether five or ninety-five.
If we are sending our children off to the world’s elementary schools, high schools, or colleges, the reality is the same. They will be force-fed the basic principles of the world. The spoiling effect of the world’s philosophy only intensifies as we progress in life from school out into the working world.
The pressure is there to become wise IN the ways of the world, instead of wise TO the ways of the world, and wise IN the ways of Christ. The danger remains throughout our lifetime that someone may cheat us out of our salvation, taking us captive to the world’s way of thinking, which is NOT after Christ.
The Only Effective Defense
The only effective defense against the pervasive philosophy of the world which surrounds us in all our daily lives is the wisdom which is found in Christ alone. How blessed an education it is if “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).
>From days of old God presented His wisdom and His truth as a necessary ingredient of everyday life. It is the philosophy and truth of God which we are encouraged to speak of continually within our families. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:7).
Many who read this rejoice in the blessing they possess in their Christian day schools, but many more do not yet possess that blessing and are not equipped to home school in every area of education. But we are all to be educators for ourselves and our children in the truth of God.
Even as we make faithful use of the agencies of our church in Christian schools, Sunday schools, and Bible Classes, let us never forfeit the joy and privilege that the Lord has entrusted to the home, and especially to fathers, to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Dr. Martin Luther did not address his Small Catechism to pastors. It was written to provide God’s truths “As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to those of his household.”
By the Spirit’s power through our continuing Christian education, we are preparing ourselves and our children to go out into the world, aware of this captivating power of the world’s philosophy, and maintaining that greater wisdom of the Word that we might be wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
–Pastor Theodore Barthels