Quoting Quiverfull: Understanding Education?

Quoting Quiverfull: Understanding Education? October 10, 2013

by R. C. Sproul Jr. of Highlands Ministries speaking of homeschooling – A Man For All Seasons

Among those lies hatched by the devil’s Research and Development lab that have found the most favor among modern American evangelicals is this- the path to personal prosperity is acquiring specialized educational credentials in a field in great demand. This, we believe, is what we must give our sons, or if we are slightly more modern, what we must give our sons and daughters, if we don’t want them to starve when we are gone.

There are at least two glaring errors in this common perspective. First, where does it end? The problem of the specialist is that as he learns more and more about less and less eventually he reaches that place where he knows everything about nothing. Second, the Bible doesn’t speak this way. The Bible says that wealth, prosperity, the capacity to provide for one’s family, these all flow out of character. These are the fruit of a tree planted by the living waters (Psalm 1).

Education then, rightly understood, isn’t preparation for making a good living, but is instead learning how to live a good life. This in turn tells us why the Bible ought to be our curriculum, whatever stage of life in which we find ourselves.  I teach my younger children the Bible, when they rise up and when they lie down. I teach my middle children the Bible, when they rise up and when they lie down. My two oldest study with me, and with other much loved faculty at Reformation Bible College, because I want to give them what matters most, the wisdom of God.

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Vaughn Ohlman

    …When we accept the wisdom of the world, the notion that we will earn on the basis of what we learn, even the Bible, for some, becomes a means to an end. One could argue, though I never have, that I am a theologian by profession. I teach theology in a college context. I teach the Bible from sundry pulpits, and through myriad media. I don’t, however, ever want to be a Bible scholar. I only wish to be a Bible student. When I am in my study, hunched over ancient wisdom, I am not looking for information to transfer to my students. I am instead seeking wisdom by which to live my life, wisdom I am blessed to share with my children and my students. I am not seeking to become an expert, to acquire specialized knowledge. I just want to know the things every man ought to know. The Bible is not how I make my living, but how I seek to make my life.

    Those who are not professional theologians are tempted to think they need only know so much of the Bible. Those who are professional theologians are tempted to think they need to know the Bible for their work. The truth is that the Bible is the very words of life, the words we all ought to be talking about, when we lie down, when we rise up, when we walk by the way. I once was young and am now not so young. But I have never seen the Word return void.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    A good quote, in context. Obviously young men and women also need training for their ‘daily work’. However too many Christians have made their daily work the priority, and their daily life something lesser.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Ugh. Raising America’s next underclass. No thanks. I’ll keep working outside the home, keep my daughter in her excellent public school, and feed her 529 account.

  • Trollface McGee

    First, having a good character and a good education are not mutually exclusive qualities. A doctor who gets additional training to become an ob-gyn does not gain evil knowledge points.
    Second, for society to function – we need people to specialise. Having a good character won’t fix my car, make sure my taxes are properly prepared or file a lawsuit against the guy with good character that messed up my car and taxes. Since when is competence a bad thing?
    Third, don’t even get me started on the “if we’re slightly more modern we’ll let women learn stuff even though we all know their proper place is making babies and sandwiches.”

  • persephone

    So they’re all goatherds?

  • Madame


    Two really good doctors who treated me and my children in the UK are Christian. They work for a surgery (doctor’s office in the US, I think) on a council housing estate. Both are caring, professional and dedicated. Both also have time for church and humanitarian work.

  • Brennan

    Ick, this comes way too close to Prosperity Gospel nonsense for my comfort level. Yes, character is important. Yes, Christians should actually know what’s in the Bible. Neither of these things guarantee that you’ll be wealthy or even that you’ll be able to put food on the table, which is why a responsible parent will make sure that their kid also learns some math and can type a cover letter at need.

  • The “knows everything about nothing” quote is a silly joke specialists make among themselves, not worth serious discussion.

    The second part is how he says the Bible say character is important, and how he then applies it as “study is not.”

    Among of the aspects that character helps you with is:

    * Being dilligent in using your gifts, including the study to use your intellectual gifts.

    * Knowing yourself, knowing what talents you should develop.

    * Understanding when things, including study and specialization, should be a priority and when not.

    As such, I would agree with him that character is important, but that does not mean study is not. It is a strange way to separate things. It is like telling a mother she should love her babies, and love is not synonymous with feeding and clothing them, so she should not feed or clothe them. The truth, of course, is she should feed and clothe them in an attitude of love, and students should learn while having good character.

  • Angela

    Let’s just say how glad I am that my own doctor did not learn her trade from studying the bible.