Monday, March 22, 2010

Theology and Homeschooling

In January 2009, I began to homeschool my children. It was not a hasty decision; but one I did make rapidly. My reasons are varied. I was concerned about the increase of gang activity in the area. I was concerned about my children’s health (both mental and physical). The final straw was a real and substantive concern about the Mathematics curriculum in Gwinnett County and the resistance I felt from the administration when I voiced my concerns.

Therefore, I began to homeschool on Jan 20, 2009. I shortly discovered that there were homeschool associations around in my area and I tried a couple of them out. I decided to join one and attended a couple of meetings. When I was given the application, I decided that I could not sign their affirmation of faith in good conscience. I submitted to them the Articles of Faith from the UMC Discipline and they decided that I was not a suitable match for their group. I would have to agree at this point.
We Believe: The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God and is the completed and final revelation. Nothing has been added to it and it is the only source of divine truth. The Bible, in its original form, is without error in whole and in part, including theological concepts as well as geographical and historical detail. (2 Tim. 3:16, Rev. 22:18-19) God has existed from all eternity in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ was God come in human flesh, being fully God and fully man, except without sin. (John 1:1-18) All men are in violation of God’s righteous requirements and His holy character, both by nature and act; and are therefore under His wrath and just condemnation. The central purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ was to pay the penalty for man’s sin through His substitutionary death on the cross – the successful accomplishment of which was attested to by His subsequent visible bodily resurrection. (Romans 3:10, 23 – Romans 6:23)
Salvation is offered as a free gift; free to the sinner. This gift must be responded to in individual faith, not trusting in any personal works, but the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ alone! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

My Problems with this statement are not huge. There is more here that we agree on than where we differ. But to enumerate the problems: First, their stance on the Bible is usually called Biblical Literalism. I am not a Biblical Literalist: I take the Bible very seriously and it is my primary source, but see that revelation of God can also occur through reason, experience and tradition. Secondly, they believe in substitutionary atonement, whereas I subscribe to an atonement theology better described as the moral government theory. (The governmental theory teaches that Christ suffered for humankind so that God could forgive humans apart from punishment while still maintaining divine justice.) This statement of belief is a very common one for Christian Homeschool Associations.

My bigger problem is putting a definition on the word "Christian." If I say I am a Christian, why is that testimony not good enough? I have a problem saying that I will hangout with THIS group but not THAT group, because they aren't "Christian enough." As a Methodist, I will NOT turn anyone away from fellowship; not because of personal creed, how they dress, how they smell, their race or national origin. I will NOT turn them away and disallow the shear grace that can be found in Christian Conferencing. We have open arms and will greet ALL. In fact, I even welcome to my church those who don't call themselves Christian: the least, the last and the lost are those who need God the most. Can I get an Amen?

THEREFORE, I want to start a group of Methodist and Moderate Christian Homeschoolers. This will be a Christian group in that we follow Jesus' example. We will eat with sinners and rub elbow with tax collectors. Anyone who wants to join can join. And we will welcome them with open arms and say Hallelujah! AND there is no "minimum" statement of belief AND we won't make you read Chick Tracts and whap you over the head with big 10 pound Bibles. But we will do prayer and devotionals. What do you think?

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