Is your home a house divided?
On the one hand, we stress Christian education for our children. We recognize the fact that as believing parents we receive from the hand of the Lord covenant seed. We also recognize the fact that as parents it is our duty before God to instruct this seed. The Bible is clear. It lays it upon parents to provide for their children good, sound education; and that means a God-centered education. Our children must not only be instructed, but instructed in the things of God. They must not only be taught knowledge, but the true knowledge of God. All their learning, no matter in which subject or area it is, must be from the point of view of Scripture.
In obedience to this command of God we send our children to the Christian school. The education offered by the state in the public school simply falls short. In fact, it is just the opposite of what our children are supposed to receive. It is a man-centered education—instruction in the wisdom of men and the lie of Satan. Thus, we as parents and also grandparents have banded together, built, and maintained Christian schools where our covenant seed can receive the instruction that they must have.
And although this requires much sacrifice on our parts, yet we have done so willingly. For we have this promise, that God will bless our labors and bless our children through these labors. God uses the Christian school and Christian instruction for the spiritual well-being of covenant seed. We send our children to the Christian school in the expectation that in this way we shall see them grow up before us in the fear of God’s name and with the love of God in their hearts.
We are emphatic on this whole matter of Christian education. That is good. It is well-pleasing to God.
That on the one hand.
But on the other hand, there is the matter of television.
It is a well known fact that 95% of the homes in our country have at least one working television set. That percentage is also fairly accurate for our homes.
It is also a well known fact that children spend a great deal of time in front of those television sets. Here are some statistics that will shock you. They appear in The Christian Century, April 21, 1972, in an article by Charles-Gene McDaniel entitled, “TV: A Wasteland for Tots.” We quote:
“Pre-school children, ages 3 to 5. . . watch television on an average of 54 hours a week—nearly 64% of their waking time. By the time the child reaches 5 and enters kindergarten, in the previous 2 years he spent more time in the TV room than a liberal arts student spends in the classroom throughout his 4 years of college.
“American children and youth spend one-fourth to one-half of their waking time watching television, with only sleep surpassing television as the top time consumer. By the time a child is fourteen and in the eighth grade, he has watched the violent assault or destruction of nearly 18,000 human beings on television. During an average year, the older child attends school 980 hours and watches television 1,340 hours, so that by the time he graduates from high school, he will have spent roughly 11,000 hours in the classroom and more than 22,000 hours in front of the television. . . .
“A new member of today’s generation can expect to spend nearly 10 years in front of the television screen during his life-span.”
Unbelievable, isn’t it?
Or is it?
Keep track once. Keep track of the hours your children spend in front of the television: before they go to school; when they come home from school; after supper. And keep track, if you can, of how much they watch television at the homes of their friends. Do that for a week. Then add it all up. Do your children spend one-fourth to one-half of their waking time watching television? Do they spend more time in front of the TV than they do in school? You may be surprised and shocked when all the totals are in.
Is all this TV viewing consistent with the ideals of! Christian education, as we maintain it?
Like the school, television is an. educator. We seldom think of it in that way. We usually consider the TV to be an entertainer. That is why we have it in our homes. And an entertainer it is. But in its entertainment it is also an educator. The TV is a tool to disseminate information and knowledge to its viewers. It is a tool to instill into those who are glued to it night after night certain values, attitudes, and viewpoints. It has the power to form one’s world-and-life-view. And it does this very subtly so that one is not even aware of it. This is the power of mass communication. Radio and the printed page do the same thing. But television is more effective in this because it reaches us through both the eye and the ear. Sit glued to your TV set hour after hour and it will entertain you. But it will also educate you. Place your children in front of the TV. They will love it. And while they are enjoying themselves, they too will get quite an education.
But what kind of education?
Is it a Christian and God-centered education? We know better than that. There is absolutely nothing Christian at all in television programming today. Men of God are not in control of the TV industry. The Scriptures are not the standard which determines the content of TV programs. God is nowhere to be found on TV, except in a perverted and blasphemous way.
The world controls TV—the world at its worse—and ultimately Satan. That is all too obvious from the immorality, crime, murder, profanity, and violation of every one of God’s commandments that characterizes the lion’s share of TV viewing today. Remember the quote from The Christian Century: “By the time a child is in the eighth grade, he has watched the violent assault or destruction of nearly 18,000 human beings on television.” Our televisions are the most godless, anti-Christian educators that exist today!
And we can not set our children before this educator without their being affected. They will learn. The devil is only too happy to teach them. You place your children in front of the immorality of TV, and they will learn immorality. You let them watch their police and detective shows with its crime and murder, and they will learn crime and murder. You give them a steady diet of television’s profanity, and profanity they will learn. How can it be any different when night after night, year. after year, our children are engrossed in this type of godlessness? Our Christian school teachers only wish that they could command such interest and attention from our children as do our TV sets. What they could not teach our children in the things of God!
The objection is raised: “But we don’t let our children watch those types of programs. We regulate our TV very closely. Our children watch only the good programs—family programs.” These “good” programs differ from the crime and sex shows of television only in degree. What effect do you think a comedy program has on our children when a father is portrayed as a bumbling idiot, a laughing stock, and the object of ridicule? We laugh; our children laugh. They have learned disrespect for the authority of the God-appointed head of the home. What happens when Grandpa Walton of “The Waltons” (so I am told) chases after another woman in violation of the seventh commandment? We have told our children that this is a “good” program. They will undoubtedly learn disrespect for the holy ordinance of marriage and fidelity in marriage. Fact of the matter is that these “good” programs are also filled with every violation of God’s law, only not to the blatant degree as the other programs. This makes them more dangerous yet; for our guard is down when we and our children view them.
Perhaps a word ought also to be said about the “educational” programs—National Geographic specials, Sesame Street, Electric Company, etc. Are you aware of the fact that the godless theory of evolution comes through loud and clear in the popular National Geographic specials? Are you also aware of the fact that even worldly educators are alarmed at the values and attitudes that are taught in Sesame Street?! Even the “educational” programs are godless and anti-Christian.
Are Christian education and television viewing compatible? Hardly! Fact is, they are diametrically opposed to each other. The two are like water and oil—they simply do not mix. What we accomplish through the Christian school we completely undermine and destroy when we let our children sit in front of the TV. When we send our children to the Christian school by day, and then allow them to attend the anti-Christian school of television by night, we are a house divided against ourselves as far as the education and instruction of our children are concerned. And a house divided against itself simply can not stand.
If our homes continue in this trend, then we can not expect to see our children grow up in the fear of God’s name. Do not expect them to manifest a deep love for God and things of God. Do not be surprised when they walk in the way of rebellion and set their feet on the path of great wickedness. They are following the instruction we have given them through television. We can expect this type of thing.
Let us be consistent!
Let us rid our homes of every evil influence. If that means that the TV sets must go, so be it. Life is not unbearable without them. And let us bring to bear upon our children everything that is beneficial for them. Then we can expect to see them grow up in our homes and in the church as responsible citizens of the Kingdom of God, eventually taking their places in the battle line of the church fighting the good fight of faith.
This is important.
Our children are the future of the church.