"The Lenses of Reformation Concerning Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR)"
by Dr. Patti Amsden
Parents are to have compassion on their children and nurture them in a loving environment (Matt.19: 13,14; Luke 11:13; Eph. 6: 4; Col. 3: 21; Psalms 103: 13a). Parents are to be the first line of defense for children against unhealthy relationships, teaching, influences, and danger (Psalms 144: 11, 12). One of the primary realms of oversight and discipline that parents are to exercise involves training in the entire array of social behavior, personal relationship skills, emotional self-control, care for personal property, and understanding the rights of others.
Reformation lens #1 –. The task of guarding, governing, and educating children is the God-appointed responsibility of parents and not the role of a civil board of education or JCAR.
The training of a child is be formed and framed by the Word of God. This is commanded by God in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and is recognized by scholars as one of the primary commands to parents in the Bible. Parents should guard their child from non-biblical forms of training. This is often the civil government’s strongest point of entry to try and separate parents from their jurisdictional responsibility.
Reformation lens #2 – Parents must be alert to civil authorities or programs that create and support laws that advocate the removal of parents from determining the content of their child’s training or try to generate policies that propagate ungodly training.
Parents are required by God to turn their hearts toward their children for the child’s benefit and future and not to provoke them to wrath (Ephesians 6: 4). When parents refuse these responsibilities with intention, the Lord also threatens to curse the land (Malachi 4:6). This verse buttresses the notion that both parents, but especially the father, have a strong ability to strengthen the heart of the child for biblical success and to protect them from deep wounds of insecurity, educational failure, and all sorts of weakened character susceptibilities.
Reformation lens #3 – Parents must not be intimidated to stand up for the right and responsibility God has given them to love and train their children.
As reformers, we must be aware of the lesson to be learned from Numbers 14 when the people of Israel were at the border of Canaan and ready to do battle. They sent in 12 spies who returned with a fear-filled report about the giants in the land. Overnight, the parents complained in their tents about the prospect of facing the giants (Deut. 1:27), but they justified the faithless refusal to fight by saying, “our children will be victims in that land” (Numbers 14: 31). Parents do not have the right to be fearful about the future for their own sake and, especially, not for the sake of their children. Parents have a responsibility to the Lord and their children to courageously face the ‘giants’ of secular humanism, sexual uncleanness, idolatrous pagan influences and numerous ungodly forces mounting up in this generation. We can be among the believing and, like Caleb, stand with the next generation trained in God’s word to enter the fray, or we might find ourselves among the fearful who die aimlessly in the wilderness of the culture. Our children need our courage.