While the homeschooling
moms role is pretty well defined within the trenches of educating the kids and
running the household on a day in day out basis, the fathers role of
participation and leadership is often left to appear somewhat removed, subjective,
delegatory, or just plain absent. For example. Carrie was recently telling me who the
speakers would be for a beginners home schooling seminar sponsored by our church for
the community. I noticed the speakers were all ladies. When I asked her who would speak
about the husbands role, she laughed, and said something to the effect that we all
know the husband contributes nothing but funding to the project. Of course she was only
pulling my chain. But imagine! How dare her be so openly close to stating the truth!
The fact is that us guys, in general, run
the gamut of participation in the schooling responsibilities. Then, whatever our
particular level of participation at home might be will usually ebb and flow with the
demands of out of the home responsibilities. Now, Im not looking for excuses to
shirk my share of the work, but the fact is that there are certain aspects of the job that
is best suited for Carrie while others are best suited for me. Even when some of the
division of labor might be based on skills, talents, preferences, or time, there remains a
certain level of responsibility that belongs covenantaly to the husband and to him alone.
Paul instructs us that, "...the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is
man, and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3) Paul is not making an
arbitrary assignment of role between God, Christ, man, and woman. Rather, he is putting
forth the God designed order of creation. It is a decreed order of God from the very
beginnings of creation that is based on His everlasting covenant with creation.
Accordingly, we invite His covenantal blessings when we submit and adhere to His design.
Conversely, we invite His covenantal curses when we fail to observe or when we rebel
against His covenantal design. Because there are potential positive and negative
consequences based on our willingness to submit, we do well to know that which God has
ordained for us as husbands and fathers.
The overwhelming significance of Gods covenantal order of creation begins to unfold
before us as we become ethically self-conscious that Paul equates (and I mean exactly
equates) the standard by which Jesus rules in service to His Church with that of the
husbands duty to rule in service to his family. (Ephesians 5:25-33) To say it
another way, I submit to you that Paul goes so far as to say that the exact same standard
of rulership established by the Son of God, the Word become flesh, who was before the
foundations of the earth, over His Church is the same standard of rulership for me, mere
mortal man, who just arrived on the scene yesterday, for my family. Notice there are no
contingencies relating to my fleshly weaknesses, no auxiliary escape clause, only
exactness: "...let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as
himself..." I trust you are beginning to grasp the magnitude of our difficulty.
More important than the difficulty before us, though, is to quickly affirm that as God so
establishes the standard of rule for husbands over their households, He certainly ordains
the means by which they are able to successfully fulfill their calling. Unfortunately, too
many husbands choose to be ethically unconscious (i.e., one whose actions and decisions
are inconsistent with professed beliefs) and default to grace: "I cant live up
to the standard. Im only sinful man and the wife and kids know that better than
anyone. I cant rule my family; no one will listen to me." While it is true that
Gods grace does cover our shortcomings and failings, it is not a valid appeal for
apathy, laziness, indecisiveness, selfishness, or self-indulgence.
Christ first and foremost loves His church by willingly leaving His place of glory with
the Father, taking upon Himself mans nature (with all the essential properties and
common infirmities of man), and dying the painful and shameful death on the cross. Such an
ultimate sacrifice few of us will be called upon to do on behalf of our wife and family.
This winters Hollywood blockbuster, Titanic, vividly displayed the contrasting
nature of those who willingly gave their lives so that women and children would have a
place on life boats against those men who selfishly sought any means to save their own
lives. However, Jesus sacrifice is not the only way in which He displays His love
for His Church.
The Westminster Confession of Faith Larger Catechism explains the name of Christ as our
mediator in Question and Answer 42:
Q: Why was our Mediator called Christ?
A: Our Mediator was called Christ, because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost above
measure; and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute
the offices of prophet, priest, and king of his church, in the estate both of his
humiliation and exaltation.
Christ demonstrates His love for His Church by His perfect execution of the office of
prophet, priest, and king. If this is so for Christ, then it is certainly so for husbands
who are ordained the head of woman. Though we will never attain the full measure of the
Holy Spirit as Christ, we can still stand confident with the measure of grace He has given
each one of us, that we have been ordained (set apart), and that we have the authority and
ability to execute the office within our household. What we dont have to worry about
is attaining an estate of exaltation in our position. There is enough work before us to
keep us plenty humble.
The best understanding of the office of
prophet is gained by a study of the biblical prophets. They were called by God to be His
mouthpiece to the people. Their duty was to proclaim and apply Gods word to the
circumstances and actions of the people and to pronounce Gods blessing or curse
accordingly. The pronouncements were not a mystical foretelling of the future in the sense
of a soothsayer. Rather, they were based on Gods covenantal promises of blessing for
obedience and curse for disobedience. The prophets words were the judgements of God.
Some have characterized the biblical prophets as that of a prosecuting attorney bringing,
for example, a covenantal lawsuit against the children of Israel during their times of
rebellion. Accordingly, the false prophet was put to death not so much for his wrong
predictions, but because of his wrong judgements made in the name of God. (Deuteronomy
I have yet to meet a modern day prophet who is willing to be held to the same standard as
that of the biblical prophets. Todays prophetic movement in evangelical circles has
gone to great lengths to revise the meaning and duties of the prophetic office in order to
accommodate their modern view of the office in todays church. Such revisionism is
dangerous and has so opened the gates for other changes in orthodox definitions that some
leaders of the movement openly state, "Through this [the coming spiritual civil war
within the Church] the very definition of Christianity will be changed, for the
better." (Rick Joyner; The Morning Star Prophetic Bulletin; May, 1996; page 2)
Jesus was known by the multitudes as a great prophet who spoke Gods word with an
authority they had not before experienced. Question and Answer 43 of the Larger Catechism
expresses His fulfillment of the office of prophet:
Q: How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
A: Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in his revealing to the church, in all
ages, by his Spirit and word, in divers ways of administration, the whole will of God, in
all things concerning their edification and salvation.
Husbands, likewise, execute the office of prophet within their family by teaching them
the whole will of God in all things concerning their edification and salvation. We are
duty bound to judge the affairs of our family and society with a righteous judgement and
bring the word of God to bear on those affairs. The stakes are too high for us to be
silent. Be assured, if you dont address the issues according to Gods word,
someone else will according to some other word.
Familial issues such as child training, discipline, education, health and hygiene, diet
and nutrition, dating, modesty in dress and conduct, family alliances, church and
community involvement, entertainment and recreation, and others need the attention and
direction of a Godly husband who is instructing and leading his family in a particular
direction based on biblical guidelines. If he doesnt take the lead in these areas,
his family will find leadership from other sources. Such is the case in too many
instances. Too many times the wife, seeking leadership on a particular issue, takes off in
a direction while the husband acquiesces to whatever counsel she has received from other
people. A husband might get away with this with his wife for a while, but an indecisive
father will soon find his children going in differing directions both physically and
In addition to familial issues, there are societal issues that the husband must bring
Gods word to bear upon for his family to know the Godly way to respond. Societal
issues include the arts (music, movies art, etc.), body piercing/tattooing/mutilation,
dating and marriage, pornography, abortion, economics (taxes, debt, income earners,
investments, etc.), politics, public education, and others.
The importance of the leadership by the husband in these areas is due to the myriad of
philosophies that do address these issues and are competing for the loyalty and devotion
of you and your family. Competing philosophies will capture the loyalty of your family if
you have not laid the foundation with them enabling them to know how to respond from an
unwavering Biblical position. The bible states that God has made foolish the wisdom of the
world. (1 Corinthians 1:20) But that doesnt mean we are to sit back and allow the
foolish ideologies of the world to go unchallenged. Rather, His Church, by bringing His
word to bear on the wisdom of man, is one means by which God glorifies Himself to the
While the prophet serves as Gods
representative to man, the priest is mans representative before God. In other words,
if the prophet is the prosecuting attorney, the priest is the defense attorney. Their
duties included standing before God and interceding on behalf of the people, judging
matters of dispute and alleged religious violations, performing religious rites and
sacrifices on behalf of the people, the dispensing of Gods blessing, inquiring
Gods will on behalf of the people, and teaching Gods law to the people.
The original priesthood for the children of Israel originated with Aaron and was to
perpetuate through his lineage. Jesus, on the other hand, established a new lineage of
priesthood, according to the order of Melchizedek, as affirmed in Hebrews 5. Question and
Answer 44 of the Larger Catechism explains Jesus fulfillment and administration of
the office of priest:
Q: How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A: Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his one offering himself a sacrifice
without spot to God, to be a reconciliation for the sins of his people; and in making
continual intercession for them.
The practical application of Jesus execution of His priestly office is expressed
first by His death, burial, and resurrection in that He fulfilled the word of God
regarding salvation and victory over sin and death. Second, because of His obedience, God
raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand where He continuously pleads a
sure case for those Christ has redeemed by His own blood.
While there will never be a creature so qualified as Christ to stand forever in the place
of sinners, scripture tells us that Christ has called His people to be a holy nation and a
royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6) We are more apt to think of our priesthood
in terms of a concept known as "the priesthood of the believer." This concept
rightly affirms ever member of Gods kingdom direct access to the throne of God
without an earthly intermediator. What has been lacking is, while there is a great
privilege associated with the priesthood of the believer, there are great responsibilities
also associated with the privilege.
Our priestly duties toward our family include more than sacrificing our own personal
agendas for the benefit of our family. Also included is leading our family into personal
and corporate worship, teaching them how to pray, teaching them the meaning of salvation,
instructing them in the meaning and application of Gods word, calling them into
times of meditation and repentance, interceding with prayer on their behalf, and
pronouncing judgements on issues within the family.
Few people complain when I speak
of a husbands priest-like calling in the home. Few have given much serious thought
regarding a husbands prophetic calling in the home. But when you start talking about
a man fulfilling his kingly duty, then you can see people to begin to get stirred up.
After all, we dont want men to get the idea that theyre superior or that they
have the right to lord it over, rule over, dictate and enslave the other family members.
We don't want another Archie Bunker, you know!
Such thinking is not from a biblical view of kingship. Rather, it originate from an
emotionalized, feminized, egalitarianistic perspective that attempts to protect people
from ungodly abuses by neutralizing the originating cause, even if it is biblical. There
are, for sure, many historic examples of bad kings. But there are also many good examples
of kings. Kings who, during the feudal system, were loved and honored by the peasants
because they served them, protected them, defended them, provided them with a sense of law
and order, made improvements to the land, etc... Psalm 72:1-4 gives us a picture of the
Godly king: "He will judge Your people with righteousness, and your poor with
justice...He will bring justice to the poor of the people; he will save the children of
the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor."
Jesus, like the office of prophet and priest, is our leading example of a Godly king.
Question and answer 45 of the Larger Catechism expresses it such:
Q: How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A: Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to
himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them;
in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them
for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings,
restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his
own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and
obey not the gospel.
The writers identify 6 major traits of a Godly king as demonstrated by Christ:
- He gives us the means by which to be effectively
governed. By establishing His Church, Jesus affirmed the Fathers creation order by
an order of rule that required mutual submission, accountability, and responsibility.
- He extends us grace through encouragement and discipline.
While there will always be consequences for our actions (blessings for obedience, curses
for disobedience), there is always forgiveness for our failures, encouragement in our
victories, and confidence that we will not be called on to do something beyond our
- He does not abandon us in our weakness. We have the
confidence of His constant presence.
- He protects us from enemies. Were not left to fight
our battles alone, but He fights on our behalf.
- He orders all events for His glory and for our good. No
matter how tragic or senseless an event or catastrophe may appear, we have the confidence
that nothing happens in vain.
- He executes justice. As sure as He rewards the righteous,
He punishes the wicked. He exemplified this when He ascended to heaven, sat at the right
hand of God, and carried out the covenantal judgement, as proclaimed by Gods word
and carried out by the hands of the Roman army in 70 A.D., against the idolatrous worship
in the Jerusalem Temple. He continues to execute justice until that final day when
everyone will stand before the throne of God.
Kingly headship of a husband follows the same characteristics and traits of our
Lords kingly rule. Husbands are to establish a rule of order within the home. Order
and discipline within the home are key ingredients to successful homeschooling. There
should be a basic foundational schedule from which everyone works from and is held
accountable to. There should be a visible chain of command. While we do not confer a lot
of authority to siblings over younger siblings until theyre in the 9, 10, or 11 year
old range, we do expect and train the younger siblings to honor, respect, and obey their
older siblings. An important aspect of familial government is for the husband to
unfailingly support the authority of the wife and for the parents to unfailingly support
the authority of the older siblings. That doesnt mean we must support or affirm an
injustice performed by someone, but it does mean that we must be very sensitive as to how
we, as husbands and parents, correct the mistakes made when there is a wrong judgement
made or if authority is abused.
Therefore, husbands are to lead in exemplifying grace in the family. Grace and tolerance
are not synonyms. Tolerance tends to allow for ungodly and non-edifying behavior. Grace,
on the other hand, deals with such behavior in an uncompromising and firm manner yet
freely extending unconditional forgiveness where there is true repentance. Grace does not
try to eliminate consequences for bad behavior, but rather encourages the offender to
recognize the consequences, patiently work through them, and learn from the consequences.
Moreover, our children are to know that we are with them even when they make mistakes.
That doesnt mean we approve of their misbehavior, but that we are available to lead
them in doing the right thing, to support and encourage them in the process of
reconciliation. Through this our children learn first that their earthly father will stand
with them during their battles in life so that later they will know that their heavenly
father will do the same and, second, that no matter how grim the circumstances they find
themselves in, "... all things work together for the good of those who love God, to
those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) Few children or even
adults will discover this truth on their own. It is the Godly fathers responsibility
to lead his family in this truth as the time is right.
The husbands kingly duty requires him to protect his wife and children from danger
and harm. Certainly, that includes immediate physical danger and harm. Just as certain
does it mean protection from actions, attitudes, and acquaintances that can produce ideas
and lifestyles that would gradually or many years later cause danger and harm. Therefore,
the father must address issues of peer activities and acquaintances, dating, music,
cultural fads, etc... even before these things become an issue within his family. To
ignore or neglect these issues in advance of them becoming a problem is to invite the
enemy into the city gates to have whatever hostages are available.
Last, kingly headship means a father that is known by his family as a righteous judge. He
demonstrates his love for his family by proactively sorting through the details of a
dispute or injustice, taking time to hear all the evidence, and ruling according to
biblical standards. His family has confidence that they have a righteous advocate, one who
judges with a righteous judgement, punishing wickedness and rewarding righteousness. As
such, the whole family can agree with Paul that "... rulers are not a terror to good
works, but to evil." (Romans 13:3)
The homeschool movement has done more to
bring the hearts of fathers back home in the first generation of homeschooling than
any other work in the last 20 years. As we look forward with anticipation to the advent of
the second generation (homeschooled parents homeschooling their children), there is much
reason to be excited and encouraged. There is still much work to be done.
We will probably never know just how debilitating the evolutionary training we received
from the public school system has been on the way we process information and make
decisions and to what extent we have passed such thinking on to our children. But it is
time for us to come to grips with the fact that all of us have suffered in some degree or
another by such training. Likewise, most of us have defaulted, more or less, to the only
method of teaching children that we know: the public school system method. Thats not
to take away from our efforts and our desire to forge a new (actually, re-discover) method
of education. Christian education, both homeschool and private Christian schools, have
gained much ground in putting God into the center of the educational process. However, I
believe the next generation of homeschoolers has two major steps to make toward restoring
the education process back to its Christian base.
First, the next generation of homeschoolers must make a distinct break from the
traditional methodology of education inherited by and handed down from the first
generation. The coming generation of educators must go the next step in Christian
education by making the systematic study and applications of Gods word (formally
know as Systematic Theology) the very foundation of all academic discipline. Currently we
have, for the greatest part, a sporadic sprinkling of scripture and bible stories laid
along side the other disciplines. Such a shotgun approach to teaching Gods word,
while certainly better than nothing, leaves one vulnerable to the very difficult questions
facing our world and, therefore, leaves our young people susceptible to competing
philosophies that present a more compelling solution. Systematic theology, while not
concerned with proving the existence of God, begins with the existence of God as a
presupposed foundation and builds layer upon layer the doctrines of Gods character,
creation, the fall of man, inspiration of scripture, redemption, etc... in such a way that
each layer of doctrine is tied to and dependent upon the other. Under this system, God and
His word is the centerpiece of all education with the other academic disciplines then
finding their validity and value only from God. Only then will our children be equipped to
effectively take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.
Second, the husbands of the next generation will need to better position themselves to put
their confessed priority of their family over all else into real terms of action. What our
generation has done, emphasizing home based businesses and offices and resisting the
temptation of climbing the corporate ladder at our childrens expense, has been a
good staring point. While that work must continue, there is an emotional aspect of such
thinking that remains still too ignored. We have all heard the stories of out-of-control
preachers kids (PKs). Then you have the business professionals. Hes the one
who works 60 to 80 hours a week, climbing the corporate ladder, and indulging his children
in every thing money can buy in exchange for his personal attention. Both have one thing
in common: theyre astonished that their children were not satisfied either with the
dedication of the fathers conviction toward the work or by the indulgences of their
every want and desire.
The fallacy that continues to plague the men of this generation is the belief that their
children will somehow be inspired by the commitment and dedication of their fathers
righteous cause, learn from it, and catch the fire of the conviction with no help or
encouragement from anyone. It will just be there because they see what dad is doing.
Ministers and businessmen are far from the only ones who fall prey to this fallacy.
Professions that tend toward the service of peoples needs (e.g., police officers,
doctors, lawyers) and activities that ten toward a certain cause (e.g.,
anti-pornography/abortion/etc., politics, revivalism) can be so emotionally compelling for
the parents that they never see the complacency of their children until the childs
sudden rebellion gets their attention. Thirty years ago this generation sat in church
listening to the preacher talk of getting to heaven and the such all the while wondering
what that had to do with them. Thirty years later, this generation finally found the true
meaning of religion and theyre singing and clapping and dancing in the church isles
while their children sit in the back, arms folded, wondering what all this has to do with
These issues of education methodology and familial discipleship will have to be addressed
for the next generation to make progress with their children. Both require a critical
evaluation of the presuppositions acquired from the previous generations and the
willingness to hold strong to those that pass the test of biblical scrutiny while
jettisoning those that do not. Both will require the active participation of a Godly
husband that is faithfully fulfilling his ordained calling as prophet, priest, and king
within his family.