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I look in vain for such a requirement in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. The text does say that the elder should be able to run his own household. Presumably that would include the ability to judge for his own family's well-being which school to send his children to. If the elder can't be trusted to make that decision, then he probably fails the biblical standard, "If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?"

Here's what Lester DeKoster and Gerard Berghoef advise in The Elders Handbook:

[quote]When school age arrives, let the choice be carefully made. It is desirable, indeed indispensable, that the values held high in the home not be undermined in the classroom. This may imply the choice of Christian or parochial school. The Church should share, when necessary, in the added expense this involves.

The eldership should be fully acquainted with the value systems and philosophy of life implied by what goes on in all the classrooms which children of the Church attend. Know, and discuss together, what passes for “education” in your community. And let your voice be heard, and your weight be felt, where false values and mistaken views govern the upbringing of children. Do not be bluffed out of the arena of public education by cries for the “separation of Church and state”. This separation can be fully honored, institutionally, without removing religion from public life and schooling. Decline to let Truth be pushed aside just because the state, rightly, does not support one faith over another. The Truth of the Decalog, for instance, is not only religious; it is inherent in the nature of man, and is written on every conscience. Honesty, not religion, testifies to this. Do battle to secularism where it tries to govern the spiritual growth of the child, getting wherever you can a fair and objective hearing for what religion means in human life and history.

Meanwhile, support Christian alternatives in schooling, and you should join the struggle — in our opinion — to avoid “double taxation” of Christian parents by seeking tax support of religious schools, strings-free.[/quote]

Thanks for this post, Karl. I've actually raised the topic of the "Call" in relationship to the diaconate in a follow-up post today. The questions you raise are precisely the ones we ought to be asking.

My response to Terry would be: Yes, God does have a special concern for the poor, and all of these institutions have roles to play. My problem with the Call and other similar campaigns, e.g. What Would Jesus Cut?, is that they don't put enough emphasis on the roles institutions other than the federal government have to play.

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