Whose is the Child Philosophy of Discipline and Problems - RR148J18

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Whose is the Child? Philosophy of discipline & Problems
Course: Course - Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools
Subject: Subject:Education
Lesson#: 18
Length: 1:19:25
TapeCode: RR148J18
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

I answered the last part of the last question which had to do with working mothers. Well, the fact is, of course, the virtuous woman of Proverbs was a working mother, so obviously scripture does not condemn it. Throughout most of history, bible history and history since then, a very considerable proportion of mothers have had to work, and it’s one of the facts of life. IN fact, many children could not be in the Christian schools today if it were not for working mothers. On top of that, a very sizable element in the middle class would become lower class if it were not for the income of the mother. Now, perhaps this isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t mean it’s immoral. There is a difference.

We’re going to go into a few subjects very briefly in this period. First of all, to give the very obvious answer to the question of Whose is the Child? The presupposition, of course, of humanistic education is that the child belongs to the state. On more than one occasion in American history, one state or another has referred to the child as the child of the state, and the presupposition of the regulations that are imposed so often upon the family and upon children, and upon the Christian school are that the state is the ultimate parent of the child. Now, this is an opinion we have to reckon with because it is basic to educational philosophy. Ultimately, we must say, as Dr. Van Til said, that there are only two philosophies of education: humanistic and Christian.

Now, let me cite someone from the opposite point of view who makes a similar statement. Van Cleve Morris, in his book Philosophy and the American School, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1961 declares with regard to education, “If it is man-centered, then education should encourage the open and curious mind to inquire into and challenge any idea it chooses, trusting that truth will out in the end. If education on the other hand, is essentially God-centered, then there will be certain subjects which the child must learn of necessity and which will lie beyond the reach of question and individual judgment. Since they are authored by God and not man, they do not have to be investigated and discussed, only learned in and for themselves. You can readily see that here is a region where a great deal of educational dispute originates, for knowledge and truth are the stock in trade of the school. Where knowledge and truth come from then, God or man, bears directly on how this basic commodity is retailed in the school.” Of course, Van Cleve Morris’s faith in man is very apparent. He says all questions are open questions for the humanist, for they are not. He begins with a faith, faith in man, faith in the state as the agency whereby education must be controlled, but he is very clear-cut there must be a recognition that there are only two kinds of education ultimately: God-centered and man-centered. [00:04:44]

Now, as we develop our perspective on the child, we...[edit]

Now, as we develop our perspective on the child, we cannot fall into the trap of saying that, “Well, this or that opinion which prevailed a generation or three generations ago is necessarily good.” We do not look to the past for our educational standards. We look to God and His word. That’s something very different. For example, older classical humanism had standards of education that superficially resemble ours, as I have pointed out before. They did stress a conservativism with regard to education philosophy, but just as clearly as today, the statist philosophies of education a hundred years ago believed that the child is the property of the state, and education has a social orientation, not a theological one. For humanism, the answer to the question as to whom the child belongs is first, for the older humanism, he is the property of the family. Thus, in ancient Rome, the parents could sell the child. The child was property. The father could sell the child into slavery. In the Far East, with the doctrine of family worship, the child again was the property of the family, a highly prized property, but still property. Wherever we go in the ancient world, and in more recent that more conservative humanism, we find that the child is seen, humanistically, as property belonging to the family in the most conservative versions.

Now, of course, the Christian perspective on this is that it is as wrong as Marxism. It doesn’t represent as militant and as dangerous a form of evil to us, but it is wrong. The family is not the owner of the child. The family is the trustee. The family has a stewardship to God with respect to the child. Now, I’m going to tread on dangerous ground now, because I don’t like to go into theology by and large, but if you’ll be indulgent with me, I’d like to deal briefly with the doctrine of infant baptism. I disagree with most of what’s taught on the subject. I think all too extensively a sacerdotal and a Romanist view prevails, but basically what it should teach is that just as the child is given us by the Lord, we return the child to the Lord and pray that he may work in the heart of that child. So, we recognize the child is not our property, but the Lords, and therefore, the parents vow and covenant before God and all present to rear the child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, as the property of God. Now, that is what the child is. We are trustees. We are stewards of children before God. This is our role, not only as parents, but as teachers and as pastors. In our every role, we do function as stewards, as trustees. [00:09:33]

Then, a second form of humanism holds that the child...[edit]

Then, a second form of humanism holds that the child is the property of the state, and therefore, a resource of the state. Accordingly, in Marxism, the child has a responsibility to the state to spy on his parents and to report anything they say to state authorities. This, of course, is very destructive of the life of the child and of the family itself. Most of you, perhaps, have had no contact with anyone from an Iron Curtain country who’s lived all their life there, but we still do have relatives behind the Iron Curtain, and a few years ago, one of them, through my uncle’s extensive intercession, finally got permission to come to this country alone. She was an instructor in physics. The thing that was most remarkable was that, while we learned a great deal about life in the Soviet Union, we learned it all very accidentally, because they are schooled from their earliest childhood days never to open up to anyone, to their parents, to their children, to a wife, or to a husband, because first of all, if you do, they can be tortured and compelled to witness against you, and it’s best that they know nothing. Everyone, you see, in Marxism, is the property of the state, the parents and the children alike. They are material, a resource, to be used.

Then third, we have the anarchistic view which has been influential in statist education of late, that the child is his own lord, and we have a very dangerous movement now that is part and parcel of this anarchistic view. Is anyone aware of what this movement is?

[Audience] {?} children of God movement, {?}

[Rushdoony] No, this is within secular and legal circles. Yes?

[Audience] {?} Indiana {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] {?} [00:12:24]

[Rushdoony] Right...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Right. The Children’s Bill of Rights. It is an amazing document. It would turn the parent into a criminal if any of these fantastic rights of the child were violated. It would be very destructive of the idea of the Christian family and of Christian education, but in terms of existential anarchism, the child ostensibly has to have his own bill of rights. Now in terms of scripture, however, we must hold that we are God’s property. Every time we speak of Jesus as Lord, we are declaring that He is our owner, because the word “Lord” means God and slave owner. It means that He owns us absolutely, that we are not our own, we have been bought with a price. Moreover, we as Christians are doubly God’s property. First, we are His by creation, and second, we are His by our redemption, so that we are doubly His.

As a result, for us, the focus of education is not on the child, nor on the parents, nor on the state, but on the Lord. Our major function in educating the child is not to make him valuable to society or to please his parents, or to enable the child to realize himself, but to make him a better servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our education, therefore, has a theological orientation. This means, therefore, it is not vocation nor knowledge centered, although vocation and knowledge are important. When we deal with vocation, and with preparation for a vocation, we do so in terms of the biblical doctrine of calling. We believe that because we are the Lord’s, we believe we must be useful to Him, and the more we prepare ourselves, the better we are enabled to serve Him. This is why worship and prayer are important in a Christian school. They are acknowledgements of the lordship of Christ, that He owns the school, and the emphasis in our worship should be precisely that; Jesus is Lord. Therefore, we belong to Him, we are His property, and we must prepare ourselves all the days of our life for Him and His service, and the child needs to see that stressed over and over again in the chapel worship. Jesus is Lord. We are His property, His possession. [00:16:28]

Then, it means we must not place ourselves under the...[edit]

Then, it means we must not place ourselves under the state by state accreditation. Accreditation means the rule of the state, and I’m going to call something to your attention with regard to the word “accreditation.” What is the root word there? The root Latin word? Yes, credo. “I believe.” Accreditation is an affirmation of faith. Now, who is the Lord, the state or Jesus Christ? The Christian school that will not seek its accreditation from the state is saying that it is working for the accreditation of Jesus Christ, to be approved by Him. It is therefore, manifesting what its credo is. It is saying, “I believe emphatically in God the Father, Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord.” So, accreditation has, as its root, the affirmation of faith, a confession of lordship.

As a result, the question of To Whom Does the Child Belong? Is closely linked with the matter of accreditation. Now, any questions before we go onto another subject, again hurriedly? Yes?

[Audience] Are you meaning to say that you feel it’s better not to have school accreditation {?} everybody in the state {?} school standards controlling {?} accredited and that’s what the parents and the board, and the {?} are for.

[Rushdoony] Exactly, you tell them first that you, on theological grounds, are not in favor of it, and second, let the state schools come to you for accreditation, you’re better than they are, because usually accreditation will involve lowering your standards, holding you down. I don’t think it hurts a school to fight accreditation because if you educate the parents who raise that question to what is involved, they will see the point, and those you lose aren’t worth having. Yes? [00:19:44]

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, we do need to stress the fact that what we do in life, our vocation, is to be a calling under God, and wherever we are, we are to serve Him. We need to stress to children that all of us are in full time Christian service, all of us, wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. Now, this is an aspect of the Puritans that was quite wonderful. They had all kinds of books out on the Christian sailor, the Christian cobbler, the Christian farmer, the Christian apprentice, and so on. I read a few years ago of a woman who had little typewritten cards above her kitchen sink which read “Divine Services Celebrated Here Three Times Daily.” She had the right idea. Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] The question is is it alright to have accreditation by a Christian school association. That’s an entirely different matter. Yes?

[Audience] {?} regard to state accreditation apply to regional accreditation association?

[Rushdoony] If they are not Christian, stay away from them. No regional accrediting association has really any jurisdiction over you. If you want to line up with a Christian group for mutual advantage and to improve your standards jointly, that’s another matter.

[Audience] Our problem in our area, I didn’t know what public schools had used, but our textbooks say Virginia, none of our high school students are recognized in the {?} school. If they transfer, they have to repeat every {?} under us.

[Rushdoony] Well, I’m sure they are still way ahead. Don’t they advance them?

[Audience] If they were, for example, let’s {?} tenth through twelfth {?} been with us since ninth grade, they would have to go back to the ninth grade, even though academically they are far ahead.

[Rushdoony] Well, I had heard there were one or two counties in Virginia that were taking very repressive attitudes toward Christian schools. If that’s the case, I think then the schools ought to consult legal counsel and fight it, and require them to test the children, because where they had tested them in such cases, they come out very definitely ahead. It should be fought. [00:22:58]

[Audience] {?} some testing the thing that we found out is their tests {?} and they are already designed really to for us to not do well on them. {?}

[Rushdoony] Well, again, that’s something to fight, you see. You have your own standard testing, you can show them the results, and you can show them the level of their performance. I think it has to be fought. Yes?

[Audience] Would you comment on regards to school the building code, and how the {?} thing {?}, sometimes they use that to slow down progress.

[Rushdoony] The question is what about building codes and what if they use that? That is sometimes done. Now, it would be difficult to object to a standard code for all public buildings with regard to fire safety and other health factors. However, it is true that in certain instances, they will try to pass laws that will hurt a Christian school in particular. I think you have to fight them on that, and to manifest that it is done with prejudice. I know of one case where a Christian school began in an old building, and it was rather crowded in there, and it sometimes got overly warm. So, they passed a rule in the county at the board of supervisors meetings that all schools had to maintain a temperature between 68 and 72, with no variation above and below that, or on the complaint of any party, they could be shut down. Well, the Christian school principal was there when it was done, and he knew they were going to pass it so he said nothing. When they got through he asked permission to speak and he thanked them for the measure, and he said, “I want you to know that tomorrow morning, I will be in your public schools to shut them down,” because he said, “I know that your custodians, in terms of their union rules, get there rather late, they turn the thermostats up high and force heat into all the rooms so that within fifteen or twenty minutes after they fill up with students, they’re about 78 degrees, and then they turn them back down. So he said, “I will be there to shut down your schools, one by one,” and they knew he meant it, and the thing became a dead letter immediately. Yes? [00:26:26]

[Audience] {?} on permitting in {?} emphasis as far as accreditation {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes. Licenses with regard to day care centers. Those, I believe, are unconstitutional requirements of a Christian institution and in several cases, in various states, they are going to court. They will be fought. I read earlier in the week, or last week a case of one group of women who met in a church and had someone take care of their children while they went on evangelistic visitation teams from house to house. That case is one of several that’s going to be fought in the courts. Yes?

[Audience] Do you believe that {?} that talked so much about {?} state licenses of Christian schools should not submit {?}

[Rushdoony] I think they should not submit, I think they should fight it, yes. We have, across the country, an attempt increasingly to license both Christian schools and now churches, and it is going to mean ultimately, step by step, their total control. It has to be fought.

[Audience] Along those lines is the legal aspect, once the school has submitted to that, can’t they justifiably change their minds {?} do they have grounds {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, but the details of that, I can’t comment on that, it’s a legal question, and there are some lawyers who are dealing with situations like that. Well, if there are no further questions, we’ll proceed briefly with a couple other aspects.

First of all, we’ll deal briefly with a philosophy of discipline. The first thing that we need to recognize here is that most of the time we define discipline incorrectly. Discipline is not chastisement. Chastisement is a necessary aspect of training, but discipline is not chastisement. The word “chastise” comes from the Latin “castus” meaning pure or chaste, and the purpose of chastisement is corrective. It is merciful, it’s idea is to purify. It shows loving concern. Hebrews 12:5-11 gives us the best biblical definition of chastisement, and we are told that if we are not subject to the chastening of the Lord, then we are not His children, but bastards, and the mark of God’s love for us is His chastisement.

Punishment, again, is still different. Punishment is retribution. What is discipline? Well, the root word in discipline is disciple, and it means to drill, to educate, to bring into effective obedience. So many parents complain that their children have gone bad and they were always disciplining them, they say. Well, I usually find that they never disciplined them. They punished them, but there was no discipline, because discipline is inseparable from drill, from education, from bringing one into effective obedience, into a close following after. [00:31:30]

Discipline is discipleship, really, and chastisement...[edit]

Discipline is discipleship, really, and chastisement without discipline is worthless. When our Lord chose twelve disciples, he took them with Him day by day, throughout His journeys. He instructed them. He taught them to follow Him. He sent them out on a missionary journey as evidence of the education they had received in their calling. Discipline is instruction and guidance into an orderly way of life, until it becomes second nature to us. The disciplined man is the man who does things without thinking. They come so naturally to him now that he does not have to think about them.

In the older army, before World War 2, and to a degree thereafter, army discipline meant automatic obedience before you even thought about something. This is what made an effective man, an effective soldier, or an effective Air Force pilot. He did not have to stop and think in a crisis, “What should I do?” He did it automatically before he even was fully aware of what was happening. He responded because of his discipline. Now a discipline Christian is one, therefore, who reacts in terms of the word of God before he has fully thought about a situation. The word has become so much a part of his life that it is impossible for him to react in a situation apart from that word.

When I was in the pastorate, I, on the Indian reservation was the only man for a hundred miles in any direction, so I was by a great many death beds, of Indians and non-Indians, and again, when I was in the pastorate after that experience, I was in a community with a very large number of retired community, so again, I was by a great many death beds, and I began to realize something then what was happening in the life of Christians, as I saw it them and have seen it since. Among the very older generation who had been brought up under a very much different kind of discipline, where memorization of scripture in the family was commonplace, as well as in Sunday School and school, it produced a different kind of person, and this was especially true among some of the old Scots I came to know who, in the homeland had the most rigorous type of discipling, of catechism and of endless memorization of, not just verses but chapters of scripture. Very commonly, when a person is in critical condition and, more or less unconscious, they babble and talk endlessly, and among people like that, the thing that would keep pouring out would be Bible verses, a very remarkable thing. They unconscious mind was so deeply marked by their education that this is what would well out. That’s not common now a days, and it says something about the lack of discipline that we have. In fact, now a days, I’ve had cases where people coming out of surgery will ask the nurse, “Did I say something I shouldn’t have said when I was unconscious?” They don’t trust their unconscious mind, but with that older generation, it was different, and it was a marvelous testimony to the effect of discipline. [00:36:58]

This kind of discipline is basic to sanctification...[edit]

This kind of discipline is basic to sanctification. When you have that kind of disciplined education, it leaves its impact on the child. This is why, in the early years of our country, because it was the old type of education, a Christian education with heavy emphasis on drill, on memorization, on biblical passages, on proverbs that reflected a godly perspective, it so thoroughly left its mark on the average person, that the criminals in jails in 1815 had an average age of 45. What it simply meant was that it took some years for someone to throw off, whether he was when he was unregenerate, the affect of a godly discipline. But by 1960, the average age of all criminals in the United States was 19. No discipline.

Now the work of discipline does not belong to the Christian school alone. It belongs to the home, the church, and the school. At this point, I want to go into some practical suggestions because I feel this is a very, very serious area, and the Christian school cannot do the work here alone. We cannot substitute interest or enthusiasm for discipline. Too often in the modern church, the goal is to generate enthusiasm for something, and thereby enlist people to do a particular job. But this is a poor substitute for discipline and faith.

Now, I think the school should, first of all, study the meaning of discipline, develop a program in its classes for discipline; memorization, drill, stressing following after the Lord, and the meaning of discipleship, systematic training until it is second nature, regularly be in touch with the home with communications to emphasize that you are working on discipline, and expressing the hope that the family is stressing discipline. Now, parents are very touchy people, especially if something comes to them from the school. The sad fact is that today, parents tend to believe their children more often than they believe the teacher. Nonetheless, it is important to work on the matter of bringing the need of discipline home to the parents. [00:40:56]

Then I would think it would be well to ask the cooperation...[edit]

Then I would think it would be well to ask the cooperation of the churches that are represented in your school. Perhaps a tactful way to do it is to let the pastors know that you have children from their congregation in your school, and you appreciate their presents there and you are doing all that you can to help them grow in the faith. Then second, you can suggest that, “Here are a number of verses from scripture, and Deuteronomy and Proverbs in particular have some magnificent verses with regard to the discipling of the child in the faith,” and suggest that the church could help by having, periodically, a sermon on the meaning of discipleship and its relationship to discipline. How that second nature in us is to be Christ and how, through knowledge of the word and study and drill therein, we can make the principles of that faith second nature in the child, in the home, the church, and the school. When we can enlist, and I trust it will be possible to enlist the cooperation of church and home in stressing discipline, then we will succeed in what Old Testament and New Testament education, education and Bible time were for, to prepare the children for the service of their Lord.

Roman education stressed the transmission of a tradition. Classical education stressed the transmission of information, but for us, at the heart of education is discipleship. Therefore, discipline is basic to our philosophy of education. Any questions now? Yes? [00:43:35]

[Audience] I’m curious about ...[edit]

[Audience] I’m curious about {?} give a candy bar when they learn their memory verse {?}

[Rushdoony] The question is with regard to the practice in some Sunday Schools of giving a candy bar for memorizing a verse, the first time I ever heard of it, my first reaction to that is, well, is the church planning to pay the dental bills? I kept my children away from candy and perhaps some other parents would feel that way. Now, I do believe in rewards. I think rewards are a good idea, but I think they can be carried too far. I think memorizing a verse and getting a candy bar, that’s disproportionate. Maybe if they memorized three of four chapters. But I think we’re putting up a very low standard of achievement there, you see, and that in itself is dangerous. In other words, we’ve lowered our standards. A reward has its place. Let it be the right kind of reward, but let’s not cheapen the reward, and let us make it something that is {?} that fits in with the context. I know that when I was in Sunday School, I did get rewards for memorization, but it was a lot more than a verse. It had to be a chapter or two, and I had to be able to memorize quite a bit, and having memorized it, go on to memorize something else and at the end of, I think it was the quarter, be able to repeat all of it, and then I got a bookmark. Now, I think that was a better standard. It didn’t cheapen the idea of reward, you see? Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Does it not give the wrong motivation? No. Because, you see, in our modern world, we have stressed the idea of learning for its own sake, and that isn’t godly. We do need to stress rewards and punishments, because while salvation is by grace, we are rewarded thereafter in terms of our works, so there is a place for rewards in the Christian scheme of things. There are blessings and there are curses. Yes?

[Audience] {?} [00:47:02]

[Rushdoony] Yes, that’s a real problem...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes, that’s a real problem. Some of the parents are so undisciplined that it’s painful to see, and when I was a pastor, I tell you, some of the homes I visited at times would horrify me because of the total lack of discipline, no concept of it. At that point, and I do think you need the help of the church, you also need to send material home to the parents about that, not singling out a particular parent, but stressing discipline in the home, some rules of discipline, how they can cooperate in the home with the education of their child. Some may respond, others won’t. I have a class once on family life and training, and so on, and I had a fairly good response. It did sound good, but others who were very enthusiastic in their attendance and response in the class, it didn’t change them at all, but it did some good. Yes?

[Audience] I’d like to comment on the idea of {?} the means justifying the {?} general, but are there any absolutes?

[Rushdoony] The question is with regard to the means justifying the means justifying the ends, or the ends justifying the mean. That’s a relatively modern concept which has arisen since the seventeenth century, not that there isn’t some merit to it, but the idea that was behind the formulation behind that was to achieve the pure moral act, by setting up a pure goal and pure means thereto. Now, we do not believe in employing ungodly means. So, the way we should phrase it, we should have godly ends and godly means. I don’t know whether what I’m saying registers, but what I’m saying is the formulation abstracts it from a biblical framework into a humanistic consideration. So, when we speak of ends and means, we have to see both the ends and means as scriptural. We don’t define them in abstraction. Is that . . .?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Oh, I see.

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] No, that, of course, we couldn’t agree with. Paul was grateful when some ungodly men were, who were opposing him, were all the same instrumental in the conversion of men, but he did not mean thereby that he justified those ungodly men. He continued to oppose them. So, we cannot approve of something because of the results. What I thought you had in mind was the modern abstraction of the idea of the good, so that the idea of the good is separated from God, and this we cannot do. Good is what God does because God is good. Yes? [00:51:19]


[Rushdoony] Can we overdiscipline a child? We can overdiscipline a child, and any child with any amount of discipline is overdisciplined if it is not a biblical discipline, because then it is a discipline in the wrong direction, but if the discipline is a godly discipline, it means that the more he is disciplined, the more the word of God is second nature to him, and I don’t see how we can have too much of that. Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes. The question is with regard to children from broken homes where there are serious problems. There’s no getting around the fact that the stable home produces, by and large, the stable children. There are homes that we can do nothing about, either as churches or as schools. In such a case, if the child can be reached in terms of the faith, if the child can be converted, a great deal can be done, because the child then has a power that enables them to withstand the family situation. The most remarkable example of that I have ever seen, was a girl who came from as depraved as home as I can imagine. It was a situation in which both rape and incest were normal. She became a convert and she became one of the most marvelous Christian mothers and wives you could imagine, a very joyful and happy women. So, there is no environment that God’s grace is not able to overcome. [00:54:05]

Well, let us continue now very briefly, since we’ve...[edit]

Well, let us continue now very briefly, since we’ve been dealing with discipline now, to touch on student problems. Wherever you have a false premise, you invariably have a false conclusion, and where we begin with a false premise regarding the child and his problems, we will, whether we are parents or teachers, wind up with a false conclusion. Today, we are surrounded by all kinds of false conclusions with regard to the problems of youth, and delinquency, and crime, and so on. Just recently, I read the Stanford Commission Report on violence. All the members of the panel issuing that report were psychiatrists. They spoke of violence as a means of adapting to one’s environment, and they blamed the violence of our time, on the part of youth, to the biblical views with regard to sex, and they said if we removed all those restrictions, we would not have violence in youth today. Now, such ideas are not only prevalent, but they are increasing. Delinquency is often traced to heredity, other times to environment. Very commonly, the parents will feel that it is the school to blame, or the other children in the class, or the teacher. We will encounter, as almost as often among Christian parents, the humanistic answers to the problem of delinquency as we will among non-Christians. I’m sorry to have to say that, but going and coming back and forth across country as I do, over and over again, every year, in talking to any number of Christian school teachers and administrators, this is a chronic problem. Parents insist on a humanistic answer to the situation, and if you talk to parents as I have, they will be indignant at the idea that they’re not thinking as Christians, that nonetheless, it is necessary for us to emphasize that these problems have their root in one fact: sin.

We cannot begin to cope with the problem until we recognize it for what it is. The same is true of our own problems, by the way. We are also prone to have answers that are not biblical but humanistic. When Christian couples have problems, it’s so easy for them to say, “It’s my wife’s fault,” or “It’s my husband’s fault.” They’re replaying Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden. Let me add there, by the way, to those of you who are not married, and I see one, the biggest source of problems in marriage is the attempt of the husband or the wife to change the other person. There’s one person we can change and it’s ourselves. What you can do with your husband or wife is to take them with a sense of humor. [00:58:57]

The problem, in any case, whether it’s with children...[edit]

The problem, in any case, whether it’s with children, or with men and women, is sin, and where you have a very serious problem with sin, the Bible has a remedy for it, and in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7, it is very clearly stated. It is excommunication. Kick them out, and the Christian school needs to expel students from time to time. The clear cut your policies are, and the more consistent you are in their application, the stronger your school will be, and you will have trouble with some parents, but you will be respected by others and your school will be the stronger for it. You cannot allow the students to corrupt the school.

Moreover, it is important to support the teachers in the school to maintain their morale. Where the child is clearly at fault, the teacher must be backed. Otherwise, you have a problem with the weakening morale of the faculty. This is a serious problem in some schools, and I am very sorry to say that very often the ministers are the responsible party. They do not want their children disciplined, and very often their children are the ones who try to take advantage of a situation, or the child of some prominent officer in the church. I think it’s particularly important in such cases to make the necessity of discipline clear to the pastor or the church officer. It is particularly disgusting{?} in those cases.

Moreover, it is important for us to look at a biblical word as we deal with these children, and it is repentance. Our modern idea of repentance is altogether wrong. Now I’m going to take a little while to digress here and go into some matters of theology because I think it is important for you to understand. Repentance is not a matter of words, of saying, “I’m sorry and I promise not to do it again.” Repentance, “metanoia,” in the Greek, is literally to turn around. It’s a change of direction. It means you’ve gone one way and now you’re going the opposite direction. I want to deal with a couple of other words while we’re at it. [01:02:36]

Forgiveness. Forgiveness in the Bible is not a matter of words. It’s not a matter of feeling. It isn’t a question, “I was mad at you, but I’ve gotten over it, so now I forgive you.” Forgiveness in the Bible is a legal, a juridical term which has reference to a court of law. In its root meaning, the word means, in the New Testament, two things: charges dropped because satisfaction has been rendered, or charges deferred for the time being. It has reference to a court of law, in particular, the court of Almighty God, where we are charged and the charges are only dropped when satisfaction is rendered by Almighty God, through Christ. The one instance where charge is deferred for the time being is used is when our Lord says, “Father, forgive them (defer the charges for the time being), for they know not what they do.” Now, how do I forgive someone when they make restitution in some way? You see, the biblical law with regard to sin in restitution, which can mean capital punishment, life for life. But it means if I steal $100, I have to restore the $100 plus $100 more fine. Now for offenses that are committed by students, the idea of restitution incidentally is a good one. I spoke about this at one Christian and they liked the idea so well, they instituted a program of restitution. Any child who destroyed a pencil had to bring two new pencils to school. They supplied the pencils. Or wasted paper, had to bring a tablet to school, and they had fines for other offenses, and they collect annually a tidy little sum, which now they contribute to Chalcedon, so the sins of the students there are rather profitable for us.

But the thing is that the parents like the idea and it has carried over into the home, and it’s a thoroughly biblical idea. You’re forgiven when you make restitution. I taught this idea to church women some years ago. You know, and one of the things, I use this illustration often, or to say at a women’s meeting, one woman has brought something in a dish, and it’s being washed, and another woman breaks it and she says, “Oh, that’s alright, forget about it. It was no dish, it’s nothing,” but she doesn’t forget. Five years later she’ll remember that “Mrs. So-and-So broke one of my dishes,” and in such cases, I always would say, “Go out and buy a dish that is twice as good as the one you broke and give it to her.” That is scriptural restitution and it will make for forgiveness. [01:05:21]

While I’m on the matter of biblical words, let me cite...[edit]

While I’m on the matter of biblical words, let me cite another thing that’s very important. In the first epistle of John, we have two words in the Greek for sin. We find that we are told, “He that says he is without sin is a liar,” but then we are told that “no one that is born of the Father sins.” Now how can you reconcile the two? Well, in the one instance, you have the word “Anomia,” lawlessness, and the other “Hamartia,” which means falling short of the mark. Now, all of us are guilty of hamartia, we fall short of the mark. No one can say he is without sin in that sense, but once we are born again, once we are a new creation in Christ, we are no longer guilty of anomia, of lawlessness, of in principle, being anti-God and anti-God’s law, but at any rate, I got sidetracked because I was going into the meaning of repentance. Repentance in the child means a new direction.

Now, as we deal with parents, we are often told by the parents that, “The teacher doesn’t understand my child.” How do we contend with that sort of talk? First of all, of course, there is no perfect teacher. There is no thoughtless teacher, so that if the parents want a perfect and a thoughtful teacher, they had better keep the child at home. They’ll never find such a one under the sun. But second, it is not the duty of the teacher to understand the child but to teach the child. Very, very few of my teachers ever understood me, but they taught me, and that was the important thing.

Moreover, the parents need to be told by the school when the child is brought, and this is an excellent time to give them a sheet or two and ask them to read it when they’re applying, wherein their responsibilities to the school and to the child are spelled out, and you can tell them what you want to accomplish with the child, but wherein you need their help, and you can tell them there is a difference on their part between defending and helping that child. [01:09:29]

There is a young man living in one of the southern...[edit]

There is a young man living in one of the southern states, whom I knew in California, I knew his parents. He’s a young man with a high IQ, close to genius, if not actually in the genius class. His parents are two very prominent people in their community, both in terms of wealth and in terms of their involvement in one or another Christian activity. They’re both very domineering and positive people. All the way through Christian school, they bullied the administrators and teachers with regard to that boy. Unfortunately, the administrators and teachers in those particular schools, grade and high, knuckled under each time, well they were wrong, it isn’t always easy to fight somebody who has so much power in the Christian community, and whose hostility can cause a great deal of trouble. That boy blundered his way part way through college and then married, and has been a moralist{?} incompetent workman, and his wife is supporting him right now, and his parents are two very bitter people. They don’t see it as their fault, however. [01:11:36]

Now there would have been a blow-out if that boy had...[edit]

Now there would have been a blow-out if that boy had been kicked out very early as he should have been. I think it would still have been better, ugly as the repercussions would have been because this husband and wife are very prominent, it would not have meant twelve of suffering on the part of teachers and administrators, and a lot of disruption in those schools. You see, we sin if we do not confront sin as sin. There was sin all along the line there. Sin on the part of the boy, sin on the part of the parents, sin on the part of the schools. We sin if we do not confront sin as sin. The reasons for failing to do so are usually first of all, fear of financial loss; second, fear of parents; and third, basic to all, moral cowardice, sin. Thus, our basic problem, whether with the students or with ourselves, is sin. We need to recognize it as such.

Are there any questions now? Yes?

[Audience] Do you feel that {?} teenage years {?} or are they different {?}

[Rushdoony] In a few cases, yes. It depends on the situation, but I do know cases where I saw parents in the sixties save the younger children by throwing out the older one, and I know one very, very disastrous case where they brought the child back, out of pity, and he soon had another one of the boys involved and they were both in prison before too long. Yes?

[Audience] {?} I agonized over {?} two youngest children {?} and I felt the Lord led me to {?}

[Rushdoony] It’s a very difficult decision, but when the child is there and is doing nothing except trying to corrupt and to oppose, you cannot hold the child, you’ve got to throw them out. Yes?

[Audience] {?} [01:15:26]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes. The child isn’t there on the merits of the parent. The child is there on his own performance, and it’s best to spell that out carefully for the parents. A case very much like that took place in Southern California awhile back. The child was expelled and was put into a state school. At the same time, this state school, and the parents were well-to-do and this was a very good neighborhood, but there was busing, and as a result, you had all kinds of tension that had developed in the school, and a great deal of ugliness, some very serious incidents. The son of the negro boys who were being bussed in were hostile, pugnacious, and some of the whites, too. Well, this boy came into the situation without much knowledge of the background, and got a little saucy one day, and before he knew it, he had a broken leg, a bloody nose, and they were mopping up the floor with him. You know, he was begging his parents to be put back in the Christian school. When he was put back in, he was as meek as a lamb. Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] If a child has not been disciplined as a younger child, can he learn discipline in his teens, and do I recommend spanking? First of all, no one is ever too late to learn. Yes, he can learn, and as for the aspect of corporal punishment, a good deal of that will depend on your situation and the school, and its policies. If the school is supportive of it, fine. If it’s a situation where first, you don’t have problems with the state. In some states, if you lay a hand on the child, you’re a criminal, and if the school has such a policy, I see nothing wrong with it. Well, our time is about up. It has been a pleasure and I appreciate your attention to these various studies. Thank you. [01:18:34]

End of tape