Say hello to Genesis Christian Academy, the new Christian high school here in Ashland.
Genesis is a metamorphosis of Veritas Classical, the former Christian high school that ended up closing its doors this past May. Many of the teachers and students associated with Veritas will be continuing to teach under the banner of Genesis this fall.
Genesis came about much due to the hard work of Felicia Dupre, who's son attended Veritas. Dupre was grieved that the school was being discontinued because she thought it was such a great program. She then began talking to parents and teachers about the possibility of resurrecting the institution.
Those talks turned into a giant summer push to solidify classes and a core of students.
Finances were obviously a concern scrutinized during these discussions. The determined goal was to keep the classes as affordable as possible without compromising the quality of teachers.
Now that Genesis has been officially birthed, Dupre & the GCA staff are inviting parents to check out how this new institution can serve their educational needs. The classes and their descriptions have been posted on the GCA website and questions can be pointed to Dupre.
While students may enroll as a full time student GCA, classes are offered in buffet style. In sum, parents may opt their child(ren) in for as many or as few classes as they desire. Some of the classes include algebre I & II, Biology, Bible, Creative Writing, Chemistry, Latin I & II, and Western Civ. I & II. A complete list of classes may be found on their website.
I will be teaching creative writing at Genesis this fall. In the spring I may teach two sections of a great books class, John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.
Deadline to enroll is August 14th and a parent teacher informational meeting will be held on August 18th. Parents who are interested in finding out more are encouraged to visit the website and send any questions to Felicia.
Today I started my first book. I've often been stimulated by the line in 2 Timothy 4 where Paul says, "Do the work of an evangelist." I'd like to unpack that statement and give a sound exposition on an evangelist's office, powers, and duties.
I don't want it to be a bunch of esoteric stuff (like debating whether or not the office of evangelist was to be perpetual or not). My intent is to provide something practical, perhaps aiming at the college age guy who might be interested in evangelistic work.
This is by no means something that will be hitting bookstores in the near future. I'm sure it will be a life work. The prospects are fun, nonetheless.
Oh, why do I say, "My first book"? Because I've had other topics tickle my fancy. For instance, I've always wanted to write a study guide for women on Proverbs 31. I might start on that one when my wife finally lets me lead the women's study.
A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful. In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. Pro 14:25-26
Exegeting Scripture involves looking at all the different parts of God’s word. You whittle each line down and examine each and every word. Each phrase is scrutinized. But as you look at the individual trees (and even individual leaves!), you should never forget to step back and see the forest.
Each of these proverbs contains good lessons. You can learn a lot from each line. But it is important to notice their juxtaposition too.
We could talk about the excellency of a truthful witness. We could enshrine the bold advocate of Biblical truth as one who is a savior. And we could talk about how wonderful it is to know the fear of God and possess a good self esteem (confidence). But you have to understand that these ideas are not separate and independent of each other. They are intertwined and the first is absolutely dependent upon the second.
A truthful witness saves lives. He is one who stands up against the tide of unbelief and is willing to be known as a kook. He’s not afraid to speak out against the issues of his day, despite being the minority—perhaps even the lone voice. But how is it that he has that boldness? His confidence comes from his fear of God. When you are not anchored in the fear of God, you will end up pandering and capitulating to the masses.
Think of Athanasius. He was exiled three times for his standing against the rank heresy of Arianism. There is no doubt that there was the temptation to succumb to the falsehood that was becoming more and more mainstream. Life in exile was certainly not a pleasant thing. Yet, despite his persecution, he remained faithful to the word of God.
Martin Luther is a good example too. We romanticize Luther’s life. We tend to forget that people didn’t much care for his speaking out against purgatory, the Roman establishment, and such. We forget that he cowered at times in his home, to the point of being almost mad.
What was it that made these stalwarts so persevering? It was their fear of God.
Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, think of the Apostle Peter. He betrayed Christ three times. What was the grand pressure that he faced? It wasn't anything much. He got rolled over by a little girl. Why did he cave? Why did he lack the confidence to speak up? Because he didn’t know the fear of God.
What about our day? What would it be like if you spoke up against the sacred cows of our day? If you dared to pipe up about feminism, and talk about things like Titus 2 or 2 Tim. 2:14. Or if you had a crazy thought like: You know, children are leaving the faith in droves and becoming atheists and agnostics almost en mass. Perhaps it is because they are going to schools that are atheistic and agnostic? Maybe we should do something completely off the wall and reconsider the way we raise and educate them.
What would it be like if you attempted to broach these kinds of issues? Imagine the kind of blowback you’d get. I would suppose some of your jobs would be on the line. You’d likely be thought of as a kook. You might not be physically exiled like Athanasius, but you might experience an exile of sorts as people leave your church or say things like, “there goes Crazy Uncle Matt again!”
That’s why the fear of the Lord must be your confidence. The best summary of what that is goes like this: The fear of God is when your biggest fear is breaking God’s command and offending him. God is so loved, so enjoyed, so reverenced, so enjoyed that His will, and it alone, is what matters.
Only when He comes first will you be able to be a savior...and an oddball.
Every culture has its temples. The are places of worship and learning. They are places where the gods of the age are enshrined and promoted.
Above all, they are places where the priests and prophets promise a future and a glorious golden age of prosperity.
Today's temples are the government schools. They worship the god of self and espouse the doctrines of Darwin, Rousseau, Marx, and Sartre. They posit that their tolerance, materialism, and existentialism will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.
Unfortunately, many Christians have believed the lie and been duped into thinking that these sacred places really are the key to the future. Instead of recognizing the importance of fearing God and building a world and life view on the basis of Scripture, they rally to the synagogues of agnosticism and atheism.
But without the fear of God, they are temples of doom. Those who hate Him (as they demonstrate in their epistemology & metaphysics) love death. How can the hopelessness of existentialism produce a future? It posits that there is no future for which we live! Darwin himself saw the end of his worldview and slid into a despairing mental state! Without Christ at the center, there is no future.
From time to time I'm asked about books that are "must read's". Just today I was asked what I would recommend for a high school home education reading list. There may even be an interest in doing a homeschool class on one/some of them. So, if you are a homeschooler, give it a think.
And now, without any further adieu...the list that I fully endorse:
"As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." Proverbs 26:11
A while back I spoke out against Ashland Seminary for bringing William Young, author of the radically unorthodox book The Shack, to town for a seminar. That didn't stop them from further endorsing the heresies and raking in a ton of money through the event.
Some said that the seminary was simply open to examining different views. If the were willing to bring in conservative and orthodox people, particularly of a Reformed bent, I might be willing to accept that. However, no such thing has been done.
Now the seminary is revealing their colors in even more vivid detail. They have opened their doors yet again to Mr. Young and are promoting another seminar with him as the featured speaker.
They are proving they are not simply wanting to examine other views. They have an agenda to oppose that which is orthodox, and favor those doctrines of demons which are built on emotional blather.
Pastors in town would do well to warn their congregations and personally stay away from their degree programs. Students of the seminary would do well to transfer away as soon as possible or start coming to churches like Providence that will see to it that they are trained in the historic faith that was once for all delivered up to the saints.
The seeds of sin are always germinating in the garden of God's church. Let us therefore as Christ's ministers be ready to perform our duty as the appointed husbands of this divine orchard. We have the only solution that may exterminate these gross weeds. Those who do not diligently apply the holy Word of God will be guilty of destroying the fruit of the field.
A friend once said of her son who was advancing through his teenage years, “It was a lot easier when all you had to worry about was whether or not Barney had an agenda.” Another friend of mine once said “Leave it to Beaver is perhaps the most Satanic show that ever aired.” Such may at first seem like funny comments, but they emphasize well the point of worldviews.
Does Barney have an agenda? Maybe he doesn’t intend to be a radical purple crusader, but he does send messages about life and morality to kids.
I'm not saying that parents need to ban Barney from the home. I'm simply saying, we need to be aware of worldview issues that are prevalent wherever we go or in whatever we watch.
All of this, of course, gets much more involved as you get older. Consider the following review one mother gave of the movie Gladiator:
You are probably thinking, "It's just a movie!" But remember that the powerful images in which these messages are wrapped can meet with impressionable minds. Whether or not they are conscious of it, some may walk out of the theater having absorbed the sermon in picture.
All in all, worldviews are everywhere and they shape lives! For instance, the first 150 years of America’s history children were taught from the New England Primer, which started out “A -- In Adam’s fall, sinned we all.” It continued to go through each of the letters of the alphabet in a similar manner.
B -- Heaven to find? The Bible mind!
C -- Christ crucified, For sinners died.
D -- The deluge drown'd the Earth around.
The whole of the workbook contained prayers and other items of Christian significance, such as the Westminster Shorter Catechism. When it came to the education of children the early American people were consciously centered on Christian principles.
In the 20th century the New England Primer was replaced with the McGuffey Readers. The content of which went like so:
Lesson 1: The dog ran.
Lesson 2. The cat is on the mat
The consciously Christian perspective was replaced by a more humanistic worldview. God had been erased from the picture and life was now simply about cats and dogs.
Today another seismic shift is taking place. Early elementary children are starting to read things like “Heather Has Two Mommies.”
How did we come to this? It was the evolution of ideas. Once the Christian worldview was eradicated, education could go in a new direction. It was now free to cross boundaries of morality and develop its own pedagogy.
I've been asked by a local group called Leadership Ashland to be part of a panel discussion on home education. I thought I would post my reflections on the first question they are going to ask.
Q. Why choose home education, as opposed to public schooling?
Each family will most likely have their own reasons. For my family there are many, but I'll give you the top two.
The primary reason was because, as a Christian, my chief duty is to train my kids in the fear of God and pass on to them a distinctly Christian worldview.
The government schools have as their basis a distinctly un-Christian worldview. When I say that, you have to recognize that it is much more than teachers not being allowed to say a quick prayer with the kids before school starts. It is much more systemic than that. I'm saying that we have completely different philosophical basis. Government schools approach education from a Darwinian and atheistic viewpoint So when it come to basic questions of the nature of reality, ethics, and the nature of man, we are headed in completely different directions.
I came through the public education system, and I can honestly say that when I graduated I was a better atheist than Christian. I don't want that to happen to my children.
I could flesh that out more if you would like, but I think that it is enough to say that the main reason why we educate our children at home is that I want my kids to be nurtured in the fear of God.
The second reason why we home school is simply because we really love our children. It is hard for us to imagine being away from our kids for 7, 8, 9 hours a day. We love being around them. We learn together, we play together in the afternoons, we do almost everything with each other.
I remember that we were talking with a college age girl once. She said in an almost bewildered way, "You are with each other all day and all evening? You must really love each other!?"
She was right. We do!
It is funny to see the hubbub that people are making over at the Mansfield News Journal. People are all in an uproar over the local schools new lunch menu divinely ordered by the Obamas. What they probably don't know is that they are being fed a poison which is much worse than whole grain tacos.
The daily doses of teaching that lacks any regard for God and His Word is where they really ought to be concentrating their worries. I find their complaints laughable because they bark over how a top down order can be sent and affect the nutrition of our young people, but fail to consider how a top down education could have much more drastic consequences.
If your kids grow up on a diet of evolution, godlessness, prayerless-ness, unanchored & relativistic morality, how do you think that will affect them in the long run?
The food that is being served is just one more illustration that the state doesn't really know what is good for our children.
O, and by the way, our kids are not only getting thorough training in knowledge and wisdom here at the Timmons House of Higher Education, they are also eating fantastically well.
Kindled Fire is dedicated
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.