Samuel Rutherford against Radical Home-Schooling

I am not against home-schooling.  I plan to home school. The following is from Daniel Ritchie’s blog.

Samuel Rutherford versus radical home-schooling

rutherford.jpgAlthough the editor of this blog is not opposed to home-schooling (indeed, it is often the only way for parents in our current circumstances to ensure their children get a Christian education), we reject the extremist notion that it is the only scriptural (or even the best) way to educate children.  Our Reformed forebears did not believe this to be the case; you will even notice that Samuel Rutherford applies a favourite home-schooling “proof-text” to those who teach children in schools.  This, moreover, also demonstrates that the Covenanters did not believe in Kuyperian notions of sphere-sovereignty.  Since magistrates and school-teachers are also “fathers”, texts like Ephesians 6:4 could also be applied to them and not just to literal fathers.  Hence they rejected the idea that education belonged to the “sphere” of the nuclear family alone :

There are with us Doctors of Divinity who teach in Schools and Universities, men tried to be holy and learned, and then put in office, as 1 Tim. 3. 10. under whose instruction are students aiming at the holy ministry called expectants, as in the Jewish Church in their Colleges, were young Prophets, or sons of the Prophets, as 1 Sam. 10. 5. 2 Kin. 4. 1. 1 King. 20. 35.  These Doctors and also the teachers of human literature, who train up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Pro. 22. 6. Ephes. 6.4. if they aim at the Ministry, prophesy in our presbyterial meetings, 1 Cor. 14.29.

Samuel Rutherford, A peaceable and temperate plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland (London, 1642), p. 319.


2 comments on “Samuel Rutherford against Radical Home-Schooling

  1. Justin says:

    We homeschool, as it is the only option available to us given our location and circumstances. I think that it is absolutely true that the parents are responsible for bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but I do not think that this necessarily means that homeschooling is the only Biblical method to do this. A parent can just as well do this through the use of a Christian school, assuming proper attention is paid to what the child is learning. The parent (and father especially) is still ultimately responsible and accountable for the upbringing and education of his children, even if some of that teaching is outsourced.

    By no means does a child’s attendance at a out-of-home school, however, absolve the parent of the responsibility of always being about educating his or her child, especially as it pertains to God.

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