House Church Talk - home education with respect to "ruling one's house well"

Keith Smith castillofuerte at
Wed Jun 16 08:08:37 EDT 2004

So are we going to take our teaching from the traditions of the Rabbi's now? The Jewish education system was very good. But was essentially communal, and not just in a home setting. Therefore is a poor example of home-schooling.

Elaine and I home schooled Clare and Simeon. They both did well. Clare has just finished University, and Simeon finishes next year. BUT... if I knew then what I know now, we would never have done it! Whilst gaining so much, they lost a lot of early lessons. I have been ammazed at the ghettoism that I have seen, especially among many house churches in the US. Yes we need to protect our children, give them a Godly education etc. But insulate them from the real world, never. We must teach them to be in the world, but not of it! How can we do that while keeping them wrapped in cotton wool at home. Don't get me wrong, the home-schooled Kids i've met are wonderful, but oh so many, lack knowledge of the world at their doorstep. How can one so educated truly reach out with understanding to a junkie on a project. I thank God that my kids always come with me into the dark places and are now reaching out to the poor and needy. I have seen successes, but I have also seen "Stepford Wives". Is it not time that we reassessed what it means to be in the World but not of it in the area of education.  


Keith Smith 
castillofuerte at<mailto:castillofuerte at><>

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  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: House Church Talk -request at<mailto:House Church Talk -request at> 
  To: House Church Talk  at<mailto:House Church Talk  at> 
  Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 10:00 AM
  Subject: House Church Talk  Digest, Vol 3, Issue 176

     1. home education with respect to "ruling one's house well"
        (David Anderson)


  Message: 1
  Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 11:44:05 -0400
  From: David Anderson <david at<mailto:david at>>
  Subject: House Church Talk -  home education with respect to "ruling one's house
  To: <House Church Talk  at<mailto:House Church Talk  at>>
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  You know, one could almost make the case that little or no formal 
  education (rather than a home school education requirement, per Jonathan 
  Lindvall) might more than suffice for "church leaders." Likewise, for 
  those able to make sound judgments in order to settle disputes among the 

  Wisdom to all is the promise of God. The Spirit of Truth indwells all.

  Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived 
  that they were UNLEARNED AND IGNORANT men, they marveled; and they took 
  knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 

  1 Cor. 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, 
  set them to judge who are LEAST ESTEEMED IN THE CHURCH. 

  I have several pieces of documentation about the early education of 
  Christians in the apostolic age. The first Christians were predominantly 
  Jewish, as you are likely aware. They were pretty good historians and 
  record keepers, too.

  If you have evidence to the contrary, please submit it for review. Thanks!

                David Anderson

       Alfred Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life

       Chapter 8  Subjects of Study, Home Education in Israel, Female 
  Education, Elementary Schools, Schoolmasters, and School Arrangements.

  Before passing to an account of elementary schools, it may be well, once 
  and for all, to say that the Rabbis did not approve of the same amount of 
  instruction being given to girls as to boys. More particularly they 
  disapproved of their engaging in legal studies - partly because they 
  considered woman's mission and duties as lying in other directions, 
  partly because the subjects were necessarily not always suitable for the 
  other sex, partly because of the familiar intercourse between the sexes 
  to which such occupations would have necessarily led, and finally - shall 
  we say it? - because the Rabbis regarded woman's mind as not adapted for 
  such investigations. The unkindest thing, perhaps, which they said on 
  this score was, "Women are of a light mind"; though in its oft repetition 
  the saying almost reads like a semi-jocular way of cutting short a 
  subject on which discussion is disagreeable. However, instances of 
  Rabbinically learned women do occur. What their Biblical knowledge and 
  what their religious influence was, we learn not only from the Rabbis, 
  but from the New Testament. Their attendance at all public and domestic 
  festivals, and in the synagogues, and the circumstance that certain 
  injunctions and observances of Rabbinic origin devolved upon them also, 
  prove that, though not learned in the law, there must have been among 
  them not a few who, like Lois and Eunice, could train a child in the 
  knowledge of the Scripture, or, like Priscilla, be qualified to explain 
  even to an Apollos the way of God more perfectly.

  Supposing, then, a child to be so far educated at home; suppose him, 
  also, to be there continually taught the commandments and observances, 
  and, as the Talmud expressly states, to be encouraged to repeat the 
  prayers aloud, so as to accustom him to it. At six years of age he would 
  be sent to school; not to an academy, or "beth hammedrash," which he 
  would only attend if he proved apt and promising; far less to the 
  class-room of a great Rabbi, or the discussions of the Sanhedrim, which 
  marked a very advanced stage of study. We are here speaking only of 
  primary or elementary schools, such as even in the time of our Lord were 
  attached to every synagogue in the land. Passing over the supposed or 
  real Biblical notices of schools, and confining our attention strictly to 
  the period ending with the destruction of the Temple, we have first a 
  notice in the Talmud (Bab. B. 21 b), ascribing to Ezra an ordinance, that 
  as many schoolmasters as chose should be allowed to establish themselves 
  in any place, and that those who had formerly been settled there might 
  not interfere with them. In all likelihood this notice should not be 
  taken in its literal sense, but as an indication that the encouragement 
  of schools and of education engaged the attention of Ezra and of his 
  successors. Of the Grecianised academies which the wicked high-priest 
  Jason tried to introduce in Jerusalem (2 Macc iv. 12,13) we do not speak, 
  because they were anti-Jewish in their spirit, and that to such extent, 
  that the Rabbis, in order to "make a hedge," forbade all gymnastic 
  exercises. The farther history and progress of Jewish schools are traced 
  in the following passage of the Talmud (Bab. B. 21 a): "If any one has 
  merit, and deserves that his name should be kept in remembrance, it is 
  Joshua, the son of Gamaliel. Without him the law would have fallen into 
  oblivion in Israel. For they used to rest on this saying of the law (Deu 
  11:19), 'Ye shall teach them.' Afterwards it was ordained that masters be 
  appointed at Jerusalem for the instruction of youth, as it is written 
  (Isa 2:3), 'Out of Zion shall go forth the law.' But even so the remedy 
  was not effectual, only those who had fathers being sent to school, and 
  the rest being neglected. Hence it was arranged that Rabbis should be 
  appointed in every district, and that lads of sixteen or seventeen years 
  should be sent to their academies. But this institution failed, since 
  every lad ran away if he was chastised by his master. At last Joshua the 
  son of Gamaliel arranged, that in every province and in every town 
  schoolmasters be appointed, who should take charge of all boys from six 
  or seven years of age." We may add at once, that the Joshua here spoken 
  of was probably the high-priest of that name who flourished before the 
  destruction of the Temple, and that unquestionably this farther 
  organisation implied at least the existence of elementary schools at an 
  earlier period.

  Every place, then, which numbered twenty-five boys of a suitable age, or, 
  according to Maimonides, one hundred and twenty families, was bound to 
  appoint a schoolmaster. More than twenty-five pupils or thereabouts he 
  was not allowed to teach in a class. If there were forty, he had to 
  employ an assistant; if fifty, the synagogue authorities appointed two 
  teachers. This will enable us to understand the statement, no doubt 
  greatly exaggerated, that at the destruction of Jerusalem there were no 
  fewer than four hundred and eighty schools in the metropolis. From 
  another passage, which ascribes the fall of the Jewish state to the 
  neglect of the education of children, we may infer what importance 
  popular opinion attached to it. But indeed, to the Jew, child-life was 
  something peculiarly holy, and the duty of filling it with thoughts of 
  God specially sacred. It almost seems as if the people generally had 
  retained among them the echo of our Lord's saying, that their angels 
  continually behold the face of our Father which is in heaven. Hence the 
  religious care connected with education. The grand object of the teacher 
  was moral as well as intellectual training. To keep children from all 
  intercourse with the vicious; to suppress all feelings of bitterness, 
  even though wrong had been done to one's parents; to punish all real 
  wrong-doing; not to prefer one child to another; rather to show sin in 
  its repulsiveness than to predict what punishment would follow, either in 
  this or the next world, so as not to "discourage" the child - such are 
  some of the rules laid down. A teacher was not even to promise a child 
  anything which he did not mean to perform, lest its mind be familiarised 
  with falsehood. Everything that might call up disagreeable or indelicate 
  thoughts was to be carefully avoided. The teacher must not lose patience 
  if his pupil understood not readily, but rather make the lesson more 
  plain. He might, indeed, and he should, punish when necessary, and, as 
  one of the Rabbis put it, treat the child like a young heifer whose 
  burden was daily increased. But excessive severity was to be avoided; and 
  we are told of one teacher who was actually dismissed from office for 
  this reason. Where possible, try kindness; and if punishment was to be 
  administered, let the child be beaten with a strap, but never with a rod. 
  At ten the child began to study the Mishnah; at fifteen he must be ready 
  for the Talmud, which would be explained to him in a more advanced 
  academy. If after three, or at most five, years of tuition the child had 
  not made decided progress, there was little hope of his attaining to 
  eminence. In the study of the bible the pupil was to proceed from the 
  book of Leviticus to the rest of the Pentateuch, thence to the Prophets, 
  and lastly to the Hagiographa. This regulation was in accordance with the 
  degree of value which the Rabbis attached to these divisions of the 
  Bible. In the case of advanced pupils the day was portioned out - one 
  part being devoted to the Bible, the other two to the Mishnah and the 
  Talmud. Every parent was also advised to have his child taught swimming.

  It has already been stated that in general the school was held in the 
  synagogue. Commonly its teacher was the "chazan," or "minister" (Luke 
  4:20); by which expression we are to understand not a spiritual office, 
  but something like that of a beadle. This officer was salaried by the 
  congregation; nor was he allowed to receive fees from his pupils, lest he 
  should show favour to the rich. The expenses were met by voluntary and 
  charitable contributions; and in case of deficiency the most 
  distinguished Rabbis did not hesitate to go about and collect aid from 
  the wealthy. The number of hours during which the junior classes were 
  kept in school was limited. As the close air of the school-room might 
  prove injurious during the heat of the day, lessons were intermitted 
  between ten a.m. and three p.m. For similar reasons, only four hours were 
  allowed for instruction between the seventeenth of Thamuz and the ninth 
  of Ab (about July and August), and teachers were forbidden to chastise 
  their pupils during these months. The highest honour and distinction 
  attached to the office of a teacher, if worthily discharged. Want of 
  knowledge or of method was regarded as sufficient cause for removing a 
  teacher; but experience was always deemed a better qualification than 
  mere acquirements. No teacher was employed who was not a married man. To 
  discourage unwholesome rivalry, and to raise the general educational 
  standard, parents were prohibited from sending their children to other 
  than the schools of their own towns.

  A very beautiful trait was the care bestowed on the children of the poor 
  and on orphans. In the Temple there was a special receptacle - that "of 
  the secret" - for contributions, which were privately applied for the 
  education of the children of the pious poor. To adopt and bring up an 
  orphan was regarded as specially a "good work." This reminds us of the 
  apostolic description of a "widow indeed," as one "well reported for good 
  works"; who "had brought up children, lodged strangers, washed the 
  saints' feet, relieved the afflicted, diligently followed every good 
  work" (1 Tim 5:10). Indeed, orphans were the special charge of the whole 
  congregation - not thrust into poor-houses, - and the parochial 
  authorities were even bound to provide a fixed dowry for female orphans.
  Such were the surroundings, and such the atmosphere, in which Jesus of 
  Nazareth moved while tabernacling among men.


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  End of House Church Talk  Digest, Vol 3, Issue 176

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