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Family Culture as the Battleground of Education

When we consider God’s vision for education in Scripture, we note that it is always linked with the culture of the family. Here are two key passages on education.

Dt 6:5 You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. . . . You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Eph 6:1, 4. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother. . . Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Education happens within the context of daily activities such as walking, sitting, lying down, signifying cultural activities within a family. Education also takes place within the context of relationships within the family. Family is important not just because parents have the primary responsibility over their children’s education, but because family is the center of culture and it is within the context of family culture that a child truly learns to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength.

But, Satan knows this as well. So, Satan knows that to thwart God’s plan to build his kingdom, he just needs to destroy the development of a God-centered family culture.

Here are several aspects of God's vision for family culture, and the corresponding ways in which Satan tries to thwart that vision.

  1. Sacrificial love and complementary roles of the members of family. The foundation of a biblical family is one in which the roles of the husband and wife are complementary, equally important but different roles. Both roles reflect the sacrificial love that exists between God the Father and God the Son. In contrast, secular family consists of a contractual love (e.g. Rousseau’s Social Contract) that emphasizes mutual benefit and the equality of role.

  2. Individual member is valued for their unique and important role in building the family culture. In biblical family, difference of members is appreciated for their unique and important gifts to bless the others in the family. In secular family, individual is obliged to give up their rights to achieve some secular goal of the family or the state (e.g. Tower of Babel)

  3. Identity of Children. In biblical family, the identity of children lies in belonging to Christ. In secular family, the identity of children lies in their self-esteem. Parents are more concerned about their child’s self-confidence rather than their confidence in Christ.

  4. The Purpose of Education. In biblical family, the purpose is to train the children to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength. In secular family, the purpose is to free the individual to pursue their own desire.

  5. Content of Education. In biblical family, the content of education is to tell the children the glorious deeds of the Lord (Ps 78). In secular family, the content is primarily skills and knowledge for a career.

  6. Discipline. In biblical family, children are disciplined, in view of restoring them to the path of righteousness, in obedience to the Lord. In secular family, discipline is given to the child to teach a child to make better choices. The difference here is the difference of repentance between Peter and Judah. Peter repented and returned to the Lord. Judah repented, meaning regretted his poor choice, and took his own life.

  7. Motivating Force. In biblical family, members are motivated by God’s grace to obey God’s laws. In secular family, members are motivated by rules and regulations that protect individual rights. In the story of the prodigal son (Lk 15), the younger son emphasized his rights to inheritance, and the older son emphasized his perfect obedience. But it is the Father's grace that restores the younger son to live by grace that leads to willing obedience.


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