Covered WagonIn the spring of 1997, I felt the stories of the pioneers who blazed the trail for homeschool freedom in Nebraska needed to be told. I wrote a booklet entitled “Victory in Jesus,” subtitled “The Battle For Christian Educational Freedom in Nebraska 1977-1984.” The title was taken from the hymn that was sung at many of the gatherings of those who were standing up for the freedom to teach their children according to their Christian beliefs.

My intention in future blogs is to highlight many of the stories mentioned in this booklet, the first paragraph of which reads:

In order to appreciate today’s freedom to homeschool in Nebraska, it is necessary to be familiar with the struggle which occurred in the state during the seven years between the fall of 1977 and the fall of 1984. Many who have started home schooling since then have little knowledge of the sacrifices made and the hardships endured by a host of Christians whose faith was tested and tried during the early years.

Before telling the stories, however, the Biblical issues involved need to be clearly understood. With that in mind, the remainder of this blog and the next will discuss those issues.

The Biblical Background

Christians have historically believed that because God is the ultimate authority and lawgiver (James 4:12), any man-made law that directly conflicts with God’s Word is not valid and need not be obeyed.  Indeed, when commanded by the Jewish council not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, Peter and the other apostles replied,  “We ought to obey God rather than men” (see Acts  4:18-33 and Acts 5:27-29).  Old Testament examples of civil disobedience for the sake of obedience to God include the Hebrew midwives, as well as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Three Institutions

God, as the ultimate authority, created three human institutions and gave each one authority over different areas. The family was the first institution created and was the one entrusted to beget and nurture children and to teach them the ways of God (Ephesians 6:4). Human government was later instituted to be the “minister of God” to praise those who do good and “to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 12:3,4). Finally, the church was instituted and was given the responsibility to evangelize the lost and to teach the saved for the work of the ministry, which includes all types of charitable works (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Limited Duties

As long as these three institutions are obedient to God and limit themselves to their own duties, society prospers. But whenever any institution neglects its duties or tries to usurp the duties of another, society experiences trouble. Government was instituted to have only a very limited sphere: God never gave it the duties of nurturing and of educating children.