It’s been a difficult six months. I’ve remained quiet about it, not breathing a word about the Vision Forum scandal because I didn’t want to jump into this sensitive situation and write about anything while it was raging. I have never been associated with Vision Forum (besides being an affiliate for their company in times past). I just appreciate some of the products they sold.
But now yet another homeschool scandal is appearing before us. Bill Gothard has been placed on administrative leave as they investigate scandals involving him. UPDATE: Bill Gothard Resigned after the charges were brought against him. These are men who have been extremely influential in the homeschool community. Many families have looked up to these men and trusted nearly everything that came out of their mouth. I’ve attended homeschool conferences where people stand around just gazing up with admiration and deep trust towards these leaders.
The problem is, homeschool “celebrities” are just men; real life flesh and blood men who make mistakes and sin. We are all capable of sinning. However, when you set yourself up as an authority on how to raise godly children and to have godly marriages, such mistakes are devastating in their effect, not only on you personally, but on the Christian community as a whole.
My husband and I have had countless discussions over the past few years about this. We reevaluated our perspectives on the family long ago and I believe even more strongly that many (not all) teachings espoused by these men for the past 20 to 30 years find little or no precedence in scripture. I agree even more strongly with the sentiments in my blog post on Why I wear Skirts All The Time. I don’t do it to obey a long list of rules found in the Bible concerning skirt wearing. Wearing skirts for me is a minor detail, along with many other minor details that so many seem to love to make into major, salvation altering issues.
We are told in Psalm 146:30 to “put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” Have we been guilty, as homeschool families, for putting our trust in man? It’s easy to do, but is it right?
Every word that comes from men needs to be brought back to the scriptures and it needs to be evaluated against the word of God.
Does the Bible really say we shouldn’t have a TV in our home? No doubt it gives clear instruction on what kind of things we shouldn’t watch on TV (Psalm 101:3, Philippians 4:8), but is there really a verse that says we should not have a TV in our home? What about a verse that says the internet is wicked, and it shouldn’t be found in our home? What about a verse that clearly states daughters should stay at home after graduation and not be found doing anything outside of the home until they are married?
If you don’t want a TV in your home, I totally understand. If you want your daughter to stay at home after high school, I respect that decision. If you are contemplating cutting the cord to the internet, I have no quarrel with you. But please, we need to step back from legalistic rules that say these things are scripturally mandated.
Now is a good time to stop and pray and ask yourself if you are following the arm of man, or trusting in God’s word. If you are wearing dresses because Caroline from The Modest Mom does it, please stop and ask God if HE wants you to do it. Be found walking in God’s path, not man’s path (or in this case, woman’s).
I say all of this, but please know my heart’s desire is to do my utmost to raise pure, undefiled, godly children. I don’t want to throw them to the world but I also don’t desire to raise them with a legalistic, proud spirit. These are opposite sides of the same coin and equally to be avoided. We are not special because we do things differently than the world. Our children need to understand this. If all we do is train our children not to do XY and Z because “that’s what the world does”, we should not be surprised if we get legalistic children who despise the people around them.
However, if we raise children who want to do XY and Z, because that’s what God’s word says (not some homeschool leader), and (most importantly) if they have a heart to please their Heavenly Father, we have a far better chance of raising pure and humble children.
I hope you read this in the spirit I wrote it. I’m not trying to gossip (which is a huge part of why I waited so long to write this). By now I think these scandals are common knowledge. As homeschool conventions are up and coming, let us remember to pray for the speakers and thank them for coming. At the same time, just remember they are there to encourage you. You are not perfect and neither are they. The only true and perfect leader is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.