Dear Mr. Derek Vanden Akker,
I write this letter in response to several comments you made in your letter in the March 2012 issue of the Beacon Lights. These comments largely deal with this statement of yours: “Furthermore, the Protestant Reformed Churches are to be commended not only for denying ordination to homosexuals, women, and homeschoolers, but in whole-heartedly condemning the practice in wicked, ungodly, apostate churches.”
First, I wish to state that homeschoolers are not to be included in the list of such wicked and vile sins as homosexuality and women office-bearers. These two things are clearly against the Word of God. Passages such as I Timothy 2:11–12, 15 and Romans 1 explicitly declare that homosexuality and female officebearers are against the Scriptures. However, I have never read anything in the Bible that declares homeschoolers are sinners and in error.
My other point is that it is not the teaching of the PRC that there are to be no homeschooling office-bearers or even homeschooling ministers. To make this clear I will quote liberally from the 2009 Acts of Synod.
- That synod uphold the position that it is the calling of everyconsistory member (ministers and elders) in the Protestant Reformed Churches to uphold Article 21 of the Church Order by word and by example.
- This implies:
1) That they see to it that there are, if at all possible, good Christian schools…. This requires of the Ministers and of the Consistories to take to heart, with all their strength and their gifts, the support and the construction of Christian Schools (CRC Acts of Synod 1892, Art. 23).
2) That where such schools are established, the consistories have a calling:
- a) to inquire of those parents who do not use the established Protestant Reformed schools their reasons for not using them, and
- b) to urge upon them the wisdom of fulfilling their covenant calling by educating their children together in these schools and
- c) to admonish them if there is indication that they are not fulfilling the demands of the covenant to the utmost of their power in the education they provide for their children.
3) That, therefore, where there are such schools, the officebearer must send his children to those schools unless there are valid reasons not to do so, and that such reasons are subject to the judgement of the consistory.
I would specifically like to call your attention to 3) of the last paragraph. First, notice that “where there are such schools” and “unless there are valid reason not to do so.” This shows that there are conditions when a homeschooler may and may not hold office.
Also that the PRC approves of homeschooling as a way to educate our covenant children is shown in this quotation.
Synod proceeds with the recommendations of the committee of pre-advice.
- That synod uphold the decisions of Synod 2008 and Classis East by which they declared that “homeschooling falls within the area of Christian liberty.”
Ground: Since Scripture does not legislate the precise manner in which the education of covenant children should take place, covenant parents have freedom in determining the particular form in which this instruction is given.
- One aspect of Christian liberty is that the conscience is not bound by the doctrines and commandments of men – the believer may do what God’s law does not forbid, and refrain from whatever God’s law does not require. In matters not legislated by God’s law, he has the freedom to serve the Lord according to the dictates of his conscience (James 4:12; Romans 14:4; Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 20:2).
- Although the Christian day schools of Article 21 are rooted in and are proper applications of biblical principles, they are not the only legitimate way of instructing children according to the demands of the covenant.
- Thus, homeschooling can also be a legitimate form of education for some parents, and in some instances is the best option available.
Finally, I wish to state that only where Christian day schools exist, is an officebearer bound to send his children to that school. The later part of Article 86 makes this clear, because an officebearer is called to be a good and uplifting example to the rest of the congregation.
Where such schools are established, each consistory member—unless there are special circumstances—must send his children to these Christian schools that he is called to promote. He is called to be an example (I Cor. 4:16; 11:1; Phil. 3:17; II Thess. 3:7).
Therefore, in summary I reprove you for including homeschoolers with such heinous sins as homosexuality and female officebearers. Also, I correct you for wrongly stating the position of the PRC regarding the matter of homeschooling officebearers.
Although this letter is addressed to Derek Vanden Akker and not to the editor, I acquiesced to Stephen Mulder’s request to publish his missive, and the Letters rubric seemed as good a place as any. Mr. Mulder’s letter concludes the discussion concerning home schooling—Editor.