There are two questions most often asked of home educators. The first is, “What about socialization?” This question is met with an inward sigh and is patiently answered in a variety of ways. It is easily sloughed off and does not affect us very deeply. The second is harder to disregard, because the one asking is most likely a fellow Christian believer, and the query is not simply for more information but is a question that challenges our calling – “Aren’t we supposed to be salt and light to this generation?”
Most of my home educating friends are earnest believers who have chosen the path less trod in order to train up their children at God’s prompting. This query is particularly difficult because it strikes at the very heart of obedience to God’s direction. Have we not been led? Is the call to home educate our children in opposition to the command to be salt and light in the world?
When I was thus confronted, I went to God and asked if I had been led. Almost immediately two scriptures came to mind. One was in Matthew 5, in the Sermon on the Mount, and the other was in 1 Peter, quoting Leviticus 20:26:
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world.
But like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, ye shall be holy; for I am holy.
1 Peter 1:15-16
These scriptures are often quoted along with the assumption that we are holy in Christ. When they are put together, the thought that emerges is that we are holy and are called to be salt and light. A careful reading of the scriptures reveals the exact opposite. We are salt and light and are called to be holy. In fact we are warned not to lose our saltiness!
The word “holy” means to be separate. The Bible often calls us to be holy–unto Him. This thought is beautifully expressed in 2 Corinthians:
Wherefore come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 6:17-18
As we respond to what He has put on our hearts, we are indeed raising up a godly seed unto Him. Our testimony enables us to point our needy neighbors to Christ. This is consistent with what my wife and I felt when God moved us to educate our four boys at home and not send them off in the big yellow bus to “be salt.”
It is an exceptional child who can affect a godless institution. Usually it is the institution that affects the child, which is consistent with the statements, “Evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33) and “Walk with wise men, and thou shalt be wise; But the companion of fools shall smart for it.” (Proverbs 13:20)
Therefore BE encouraged, you who have responded to God’s call to raise a godly seed. You are on the right track. Be holy. Be obedient. By your obedience, you and your children are light in this dark world. As the Holy Spirit through Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord.”
All scripture passages are from the ASV.