Thinking about Mary Okeyo and the scholarship fund that we use to send people over the Kenya and to learn from the Kenyans how they educate children in the church (especially in the Bible clubs) I have just been thinking about a great conundrum. In Kenya there is actually some real issues about frustration when parents cannot get their children into a school. We have to be careful that orphans for instance do not crowd other children out of an opportunity to learn. We want everyone to have access to Christian education. So we have all of this jostling and vying for opportunity to learn and especially to learn about Christ and his salvation.
Here I am having more an more trouble getting people just to send their children to Sunday School. It’s hard to get them up in the morning, it’s hard to get them to confirmation in the evenings and on and on it goes. I found a portion of a quote from Luther on education for yesterday but thought I would share the whole thing with you today. The thought behind all of this is that people even in Luther’s day were refusing to bring their children up in the church schools, or to raise them to be Christian. There is some strong language here.
He has not given you your children and the means to support them simply so that you may do with them as you please, or train them just to get ahead in the world. You have been earnestly commanded to raise them for God’s service, or be completely rooted out – you, your children, and everything else, in which case everything you have done for them is condemned, as the first commandment says, “I visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” [Exod. 20:5]. But how will you raise them for God’s service if the office of preaching and the spiritual estate have fallen into oblivion?
And it is your fault. You could have done something about it. You could have helped to maintain them if you had allowed your child to study. And where it is possible for you to do this but you fail to do so, where your child has the ability and the desire to learn but you stand in the way, then you – and mark this well! – you are guilty of the harm that is done when the spiritual estate disappears and neither God nor God’s word remains in the world. To the extent that you are able you are bringing about its demise. You refuse to give one child – and would do the same if all the children in the world were yours. So far as you are concerned, the serving of God can just die out altogether.