Here is my opening article in the latest issue of my free monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter on the them of Homeschooling Christians and political activism, along with a list of several following articles on the same subject by other individuals. If you would like to receive the entire issue, just let me know by sending a post to the e-mail listed immediately below.
HOMESCHOOL EDUCATORS ON ACTIVE DUTY, SENDING UPWARD PRAISES
Monthly newsletter of general interest, encouragement,
and information for homeschooling Christians
% Wayne S. Walker, 9042 Amona Dr., Affton (St. Louis), MO 63123
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; phones: (314) 683-4719 (home), 544-1612 office
April, 2006; Volume 8, Number 9
TABLE OF CONTENTS (Part 1)
1. HOMESCHOOLING CHRISTIANS AND POLITICAL ACTIVISM by Wayne S. Walker
2. THE GOOD AND BAD OF “SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE” by Bruce Reeves
3. BILL OF NO RIGHTS by Alan Smith
4. SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE INVOLVED IN ELECTION ISSUES? by David Pratte
5. THE POLITICS OF CHRISTIANITY by Steven E. Yeatts
6. MORAL VALUES HAD TELLING EFFECT ON ELECTION by Walter W. Pigg
7. POLITICS: WHAT HAT DO YOU WEAR? from The Christian Chronicle
8. THE BIBLE AND POLITICS by Peter Wesson
9. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE by Floyd Chappelear
10. HOMESCHOOLERS HIT CAMPAIGN TRAIL: GOP leader says, 'By far, the best grass-roots workers in the nation' by Art Moore
11. SURVEY: HOMESCHOOLERS NEW POLITICAL FORCE: Refutes 'socialization' concerns posed by thinkers in academia by Art Moore
12. TURNING THE 2004 ELECTIONS INTO EDUCATIONAL GOLD by Zan Tyler
13. WHEN GOOD MEN DO SOMETHING: Redeeming Politics for Your Family By Bill Smith
14. POETRY CORNER: Long Ago by Eugene Field
15. QUESTIONS AND RESPONSE from HomeSchoolers e-mail list
16. BOOK REVIEWS
1. HOMESCHOOLING CHRISTIANS AND POLITICAL ACTIVISM
by Wayne S. Walker
The title of this article raises two questions. First, how politically active should Christians be? Through the years there have been those identified as Christians who have argued that because the devil is in control of the kingdoms of this world (at least so he claimed, Matthew 4:9), the separateness from this world that Christians should maintain means that they should not become involved in political activities. In the Anabaptist movement (Mennonites, Amish, etc.), this is known as the “two kingdom theory.” Influenced, I believe, by such ideas, some of our brethren have claimed that, while Christians must obey the laws of the land, except where they conflict with God's laws, it is wrong for a Christian to hold political office and, a few say, even to vote. Today, the First Amendment is interpreted through Thomas Jefferson's statement about a wall of separation between church and state to mean that religious people, specifically those with conservative ideas, should not strive to influence the government. Of course, this view is always one-sided because those who have very liberal religious concepts are always seeking to influence the government. Furthermore, the Bible says that God rules in the kingdom of men and that He is the one who ordains civil government (Daniel 4:25, Romans 13:1-2). Therefore, I have difficulty accepting the argument that Christians should have as little to do with government and the political process as possible.
The second question is, how politically active should homeschoolers be? Not all homeschoolers claim to be Christians. Not all homeschoolers who claim to be Christians are necessarily conservative. I am on several local homeschooling lists, a couple of which include homeschoolers who come from a distinctly liberal background, and I can tell you that they were very, very active in trying to elect John Kerry and others who supported abortion, homosexual rights, and similar issues. However, this is a monthly newsletter of general interest, encouragement, and information for homeschooling Christians. So it may safely be assumed that the homeschoolers in the question claim to be followers of Christ. The fact is that homeschoolers, of all stripes, had to be very politically active over the past twenty or thirty years in order to gain their rights and maintain their freedoms to educate their children as they saw fit by lobbying elected officials, working with legislatures, participating in court cases, and in some cases even running for office themselves.
The purpose of this issue is to examine these questions. The primary intended recipients of this newsletter are homeschooling families who are members of non-denominational, New Testament churches of Christ, although it is made available and sent free to anyone who desires it. The vast majority of articles that have been included in this newsletter have not been written by people associated with churches of Christ, although many articles have, for the simple reason that there are not that many people associated with churches of Christ who have written on subjects related to homeschooling. However, in this issue, the first eight articles were all written by men who are identified with churches of Christ. The first seven deal in some way or another with the attitude that Christians should have toward the government, politics, the moral problems that our nation faces, and the expression of our faith in the public arena. The eighth is a needed reminder that whatever degree of political involvement we feel is appropriate, the final arbiter of history is not the political process but God. Following that, there are some articles specifically about how homeschoolers have been politically active and how homeschooling families can use political events for educational purposes.
One other word of warning is advisable. There is a big difference between what individual Christians are allowed to do and what the Lord's church is authorized to do. As individual Christians, our faith should be strong enough that we must not be cowed into silence about important moral issues facing our society just because they are viewed by some as “political” questions. The truth of God's word must be proclaimed both by individual Christians and by the church as a whole. Individual Christians have many avenues available to them, politically, to translate their stand for truth into action, and their responsibility to be salt and light in the world encourages them to do so as they choose. However, the church, as an organized entity, is more limited by scripture. The primary function of the church is to save souls, not to transform society. As a result of preaching the gospel to save souls, society can and will be transformed, but we must be careful not to get the cart before the horse. Saving souls requires the proclamation of the gospel message, and that will include speaking out on moral issues. However, while individual Christians may become involved in political campaigns, the church as a body must refrain from such activity so that it does not take away from its primary purpose of preaching the soul saving gospel to a lost and dying world. With that caveat, please consider the following articles.