Saturday, July 23, 2011

Call for Strategic Planning Ideas: NDHSA State of the Art to Cutting Edge

By Jim Bartlett

I received a newsletter from an electronics manufacturing company recently with some helpful insights on how organizations can do their best in competitive industries.  Below are a few of the thoughts from Jim Raby, Technical Director for STI Electronics, that are also helpful toward advancing the state of the North Dakota Home School Association. The bottom line: Get young adults (and other creative) ideas involved to move the NDHSA from state-of-the-art to leading edge in serving God and the home school families of ND.

To read more of this article, visit the NDHSA Blog at:

From Jim Raby: "I was just thinking about ..companies and how some of them work very hard to maintain growth and market edge, while others have coasted along with products that they have had for years and as a result, get by or are passed by in an aggressive industry. advance the state-of the art..Many times a company will pull their .. staff directly from the old school population and ask them to do this advanced planning and design.  It is difficult to see how these people will think ahead or out-of-the-box.  They are only going to support the old design and confer with the same old school colleagues and have  no new ideas. To achieve or develop leading edge technologies, one should go to a university known for producing great .. talent and collaborate with their students or recent graduates. These people have no preconceived notions, have no old ideas and don't know any better than to think out-of-the box using new technology.  As a result, leading edge technologies are developed that meet the challenges of today that are brought to the market.... Do you need help in advancing the state of the art with your products to become leading edge or are you just going to change colors of the units and shipping containers? ..desire revolutionary thinking..."

Christian thinking young home school adults should be encouraged to use all of their talents to the glory of God (Ec. 12:1) and their good ideas are very important to the advancement of the Kingdom of God via Christian organizations like the NDHSA.  Just as in the electronics manufacturing example above, to advance the NDHSA from state of the art to cutting edge, anticipate and meet the current and future needs of a larger and more diverse home educating population -- young adult home schoolers, we need your insight.  And the NDHSA welcomes your participation in all aspects of its home education ministry, from board members, staff positions, to volunteers or just sharing your ideas with us via an email.

Could your family take a few minutes after dinner one evening and brainstorm about how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the NDHSA?

If yes, please take a few notes and send your thoughts to me, including any "out-of-the box" ideas that you think that the NDHSA should consider.  The NDHSA Board of Directors will be meeting for their annual retreat at the end of August with long-term strategic planning on the agenda and therefore, your ideas will be helpful and timely.  Give us a call or email or reply to this blog post to let us know what you think we can do to be more effective and efficient in: outreach to churches, help public school parents transition to home education, convention planning, legislative action, home college development, information resources, political action, publications, fund raising, support groups, encouraging dads in leadership, or other areas of interest.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Watch Divided the Movie – Free Online

By Jim Bartlett, July 2011
If you have been concerned about the effects of youth group ministry on your family or are wondering what a family-integrated church is all about, then watching “Divided” may be helpful to you.  It is very common for home school families to notice issues with their church experiences.  I think this is because they are taking Biblical duty seriously and as a result, the Lord is showing them where church experiences differ from the Bible.

Watch” Divided” the movie
Visit the NDHSA Blog Here to read the rest of this article which contains additional  recommended references on youth ministry and family-integrated church.
When our family began home schooling we heard about “family friendly” churches and then asked our pastor what a “family friendly church” was.  He explained that a family friendly church was one that had programs for each age group.  When I heard that I thought, “I don’t know what a family friendly church is, but I don’t think that is the right description of one.” Today, the term used for a family friendly church is “family integrated church” and such churches deliberately keep the children with the families for worship and usually don’t have Sunday schools or youth groups.  They tend to serve youth in family other integrated manners.
A few years ago, I attended a great example of a family integrated church in Iowa after a home school convention in Iowa.  Each family sat at a round table together for Sunday school and Worship and lunch.  We are now helping to develop a family-integrated church in our area, which was common for 1800 years of church history, and is common among most home fellowships today.
Divided the Movie helps people understand that most young people are leaving the faith because the church has abandoned the Bible in how youth are being educated in the home and church. Instead, the evolutionary-based factory model of segregating children by ages, just like public school, has been adopted by most churches.  Long story short: Platonic family-separating psychology and pragmatism has usurped Bible.
Watch” Divided” the movie HERE (
Two other references along these lines that have been helpful to our family on the topic of youth ministry and family-integrated churches are:

By Christopher Schlect, Canon Press, free online HERE.
FAMILY WORSHIP: Biblical Basis, Historical Reality, Current Need by Kerry Ptacek, Southern Presbyterian Press, 1994. Free online HERE.
The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (  has directories for both families and churches doing or interested in family-integrated churches. So far only three families and one church haves signed in from North Dakota.  Check that out HERE.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Two Kingdoms: Of the Ungodly Power and of the Cowardly Retreat

By Bojidar Marinov | Published: July 6, 2011, American Vision

When a few weeks ago the Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli spoke to a group of 250 pastors assuring them that the churches are not only permitted but also expected to speak on political issues, and thus encouraged the pastors to give “guidance on issues that fall in the political world,” he didn’t do anything the Reformed theological tradition disapproves of. To the contrary, by doing that, Cuccinelli followed in the footsteps of those government magistrates in the Bible of whom Calvin says that are praised for “taking care that religion flourished under them in purity and safety.” Indeed, if the church is instructed to speak to governors and kings (Matt.10:18), then every governor or king that encourages the church to speak to him and advise him in his policies is obedient to his Biblical mandate in his calling before God. Whatever Cuccinelli’s personal reasons for his encouragement to pastors could be, his call must be praised highly by the church as an example for Biblically obedient magistrates, and the pastors must be strongly admonished to take Cuccinelli’s advice.

But no, some supposedly “Reformed” authors wouldn’t agree with Calvin, and wouldn’t agree with Jesus’ commandment for us to speak before governors and kings. In an article with the disparaging title, “When Churches Play at Politics,” Peter Wehner disagrees that the pastors should accept Cuccinelli’s encouragement – and Christ’s commandment, for that matter – to instruct governors. While we will return to his specific arguments later, it is helpful to note at the beginning that he summarizes his position with the words of Tim Keller, a prominent PCA pastor: “The church as the church ought to be less concerned about speaking to politics and more concerned about service.”

Now, Tim Keller’s views of social theory, economics, and politics deserve a more thorough treatment. But this statement of him is very important since it very well exhibits the basic position of the Two-Kingdom Theology: The radical separation between the sacred and the secular, between the “spiritual” concerns of the church and the “political” ministry of the state. This dualistic fragmentation of life has been plaguing the church and its theology for the last two centuries, leading to the disintegration of the Christian civilization created by our forefathers; and the taking over of the West by the secularists who create no such division in their own ideologies and religions.

What will the results be if we accept Keller’s statement as authoritative? Can we really separate between politics and service as he recommends? And who determines what “politics” is and what “service” is? Tim Keller and others like him are eager to limit the pastors’ political involvement but they are not as willing to limit the politicians’ “service” involvement. Thus the pastors are limited but the politicians are not, and therefore it is the politicians that are free to determine what is “politics” and what is “service.” Like I pointed out before, in such a situation we should expect to see the politicians gradually expanding the definition of politics to include what traditionally has been service. Our modern history has many examples of this. Education used to be a service provided by the church; today it is politics from beginning to end – laws, federal and state agencies, regulations, teachers’ unions, etc. Care for the elderly was traditionally Christian service, today it is politics – Social Security, Medicare, regulations and tax rules for retirement accounts, inheritance issues, etc. Care for the poor has always been the responsibility of the families and of the church – as the Bible clearly states in both the Old and the New Testaments – and today welfare is the largest financial commitment of the modern civil governments, as well the major topic in all political campaigns, legislature sessions, and political debates. Regulation of relationships between employers and employees, debtors and creditors, was the topic of many sermons in the colonial era and the early U.S. History; today these economic issues are entirely within the jurisdiction of the state.

So where do we stop? And how can the pastors oppose this absorption of everything by the state? Keller doesn’t say; neither does Wehner. They do not seem to notice the trend; or if they do notice it, they do not seem concerned about it. One could make a conclusion they welcome the march to statism. Eager to limit the pastors to their “spiritual” calling, they do not seem as eager to limit the politicians to their “secular” calling. Socialism wins by default in the outworking of such a theology in practice.

Wehner himself adds another argument against the pastors’ political involvement: Their lack of competence or insight. This is a serious issue, we must admit. But then Wehner’s conclusion is again in favor of the statist solution: If the pastors are incompetent, then the state’s “experts” should take over. Again, he claims, the pastors must remain limited and restrained, and the state reign supreme over all.

But why are pastors incompetent in the first place? Aren’t most pastors the product of the multitude of seminaries that teach the Two-Kingdom doctrine? Aren’t the seminaries supposed to teach the pastors to apply the Word of God to every area of life? What stops the seminaries from doing that? Isn’t it the same Two-Kingdom Theology that says at the very outset that pastors shouldn’t be concerned with politics but with “service”?

Wehner puts the buggy before the horse. He uses the incompetence of the pastors to justify his position that the pastors shouldn’t get involved in politics. The truth is, the incompetence of those pastors is the very product of Wehner’s theology taught in the seminaries. No seminary offers courses on political science, Biblical economics, Biblical philosophy of history, Biblical view of welfare, employer-employee relations, war, etc. No seminary teaches a comprehensive worldview to make the pastors competent to talk about any issue in our modern society from a Biblical perspective. The seminaries stand on the same foundation Wehner stands on: Churches should not “play at politics,” i.e. pastors should be silent on political issues. When seminaries believe that, we shouldn’t expect them to teach their students anything that smacks of politics in our modern world, and therefore the seminary graduates will remain incompetent to give the Biblical principles and inside to those areas of life that are “politics.” Pastors indeed are incompetent. And Wehner and others like him bear the responsibility for it.

Ironically, Wehner’s complaints against the incompetence of pastors don’t speak well of his friend Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Mohler’s own words, “the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.” Albert Mohler has trained thousands of pastors, directly and through his influence over other seminaries. And those thousands of pastors are exactly the pastors that Wehner talks about: incompetent and without insight when it comes to comprehensive view of life. Wehner is completely right: very little insight and wisdom comes from those pastors trained by Mohler – and in fact, from the pastors of any other denomination in general. What stops Mohler, with his influence and knowledge, from training those pastors to be competent?

The answer is: His theology. Mohler is one of the most prominent defenders of the Two-Kingdom Theology. The same theology that calls for the radical separation between sacred and worldly, spiritual and political, nature and grace, the Law of God and the “natural” law. Mohler’s theology forces him to produce incompetent pastors, devoid of any knowledge about the application of the Bible to all of life, because all of life is not under the directions of the Bible in the first place. Mohler doesn’t believe Christians can offer anything more than just vague “influence” in the society; and he insist they should restrain from any control or power over government or cultural decisions and policies.

This is especially visible in an interview that Mohler himself took of Peter Wehner about Wehner’s book, City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era. A significant part of the interview is devoted to the Two-Kingoms view that there is no such thing as a Christian culture. Mohler asks the question, “You are not really suggesting that there can be a creation of Christian culture.” And Wehner replies:

 I don’t think we can create a Christian culture. I think part of that frankly is grounded in scripture itself and Christ said that the world hated me and the world will hate you.

The two then continue to bash the view that we must create a Christian culture; they offer only what they call a Christian “influence on the culture.” They know they can not separate from the culture but they want to be faithful to their preferred theology of the two kingdoms. So, just like Keller, they place a very specific limit on Christians (“Do not create a Christian culture”) but they do not place such limit on the non-Christians. Non-Christians in government and in other vocations are free to do as they please, create pagan culture with everything it entails – government, economics, science, family, entertainment, literature, law, etc. – on the basis of their own ideologies and religions. But Christians are barred from doing such a thing. At the most, Christians are allowed to only “influence” that culture already created by pagans.

But wait, what are they going to “influence” it toward? “Influence” means “sway, make one change direction.” If Mohler and Wehner have no Christian culture to offer as an alternative, to what direction do they want to influence the prevailing pagan culture? Do they expect Christians to sway the pagan culture to a better pagan culture? On what foundation should this “influence” be based if Christians don’t have a culture to start with? Should they beat something with nothing? If Christians have no culture to offer, then they have no cultural solutions to offer, then by default they will be incompetent and with no insight to participate in the culture. If “the world will hate you” means what Mohler and Wehner want it to mean – no Christian culture – then why should it mean Christian cultural “influence” at all? Will a Christ-hating world be more willing to accept Christian cultural “influence” than Christian culture? If that hatred means that a Christian must shy from building a Christian culture, why not mean that a Christian must shy from anything cultural at all, including cultural influence?

Thus by default, a pastor trained by Mohler and by the seminaries influenced by Mohler will have to be uneducated and untrained and incompetent about the world. He has no other choice but retreat. He will have to focus on “service,” but only “service” as defined by the government bureaucrats, i.e. everything that is still not taken by the state. His Two-Kingdom Theology will discourage any cultural endeavor he might have – and of course, the very seminaries that trained him won’t offer him any training in cultural endeavors. By default, the government and the cultural leadership must be left in the hands of non-Christians. Not only Mohler and his theology discourage Christians from cultural and political leadership, they also actively promote non-Christian – i.e. ungodly – power over the society and over Christians themselves, and over their churches. Peter Wehner’s complaint against Cuccinelli, and Albert Mohler’s theology of the Two Kingdoms are in effect the religion of statism dressed in religious and theological garb. The two kingdoms of that theology are the ever expanding kingdom of unlimited ungodly statist power, and the ever shrinking kingdom of Christian cowardly retreat, incompetence, and lack of insight and wisdom. Wehner’s observations about the pastors’ incompetence are correct; he only misses the fact that that incompetence is the fruit of his own theology, and of the theology of his theological friends.

So, Cuccinelli is right, pastors must speak up on political issues. But we also need to understand that as long as the seminaries are captured by professors who refuse to preach the comprehensive Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the church will remain incompetent and unable to speak. As long as the seminaries’ theology encourages the cowardly retreat from our obligation to build a Christian culture in obedience to the Great Commission, our land will be under the oppression of ungodly powers. Competence comes only from the Word of God, and from a theology that submits everything under Christ and His Kingdom. Christians must stop listening to Wehner and his theological accomplices and accept their comprehensive responsibilities in the Kingdom of Christ.

Author: Bojidar Marinov

A Reformed missionary to his native Bulgaria for over 10 years, Bojidar preaches and teaches doctrines of the Reformation and a comprehensive Biblical worldview. Having founded Bulgarian Reformation Ministries in 2001, he and his team have translated over 30,000 pages of Christian literature about the application of the Law of God in every area of man’s life and society, and published those translations online for free. He has been active in the formation of the Libertarian movement in Bulgaria, a co-founder of the Bulgarian Society for Individual Liberty and its first chairman. If you would like Bojidar to speak to your church, homeschool group or other organization, contact him through his website:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Uncollege & Theil Foundation Inspiring Projects

Notice at that the unschooling method of home schooling is equally applicable to college studies. Over the years, there has been several good websites by uncolleging students which they used to keep their learning organized and displayed. Though doesn't promote Christian education, the founder has been speaking at home school conventions around the country, and the methods of uncollege can be used to learn anything. There was a good and simple example of a student curriculum vita linked to Dale Stephens is the 19 year old founder of and has received a grant for $100,000 to develop the concept further from the Theil Foundation.

The Theil Foundation encourages young people to challenge the authority of the present and familiar with $100,000 grants to students under 20 years old. Here are a few of the interesting projects that might inspire other home college methods (e.g., Biblical Concourse of Home Universities, AME Program, New Geneva) and students to realistically think high tech and outside the box.

1. Extend the human lifespan for a few more centuries and commercializing anti-aging research. .

2. Make affordable scientific instruments using open source hardware systems such as liquid chromotography.

3. Molecular spintronics fabrication to therapeutic drug design and synthetic biology to build a diagnostic biosenser.

4. Developing peer-based recruiting processes.

5. Create technologies which help people self-organize to solve social problems such as inflation.

6. Decentralize banking in poor countries with mobile financial services.

7. Create a tool for teachers to create and share lessons online by students and other teachers.

8. Mobile apps for the 21st century classroom.

9. More efficient motor for electric vehicles.

10. Solar panel rotation systems for optimizing energy usage for small villages.

Friday, July 8, 2011

2011 North Dakota Freedom Index

The North Dakota Freedom Index has the voting records of the entire North Dakota legislature on various freedom related issues like homeschooling.

In addition to showing how you are being represented by your public servants, the bill descriptions help teach about the proper role of government. This is a great educational tool for sharing with others.

The North Dakota Freedom Index is available free of charge HERE

Do this data demonstrate that North Dakota is a conservative state or a liberal state? How would you summarize the data in this document?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Research Supports Home Education

By Brian Ray, National Home Education Research Institute

Multiple studies over thirty years have consistently found positive things associated with homeschooling. Some critics, both of the research and of home-based education, claim that almost no research tells us anything significant about the academic achievement of the home educated.[note 1]

A new study by Martin-Chang, Gould, and Meuse [note 2], however, supports the hypothesis that at least a certain form of home-based education causes higher academic achievement than does public schooling. Their research, "The Impact of Schooling on Academic Achievement: Evidence from Homeschooled and Traditionally Schooled Students," was just made public.

Martin-Chang and her colleagues considered some of the limitations on research to date and worked for a design with more built-in controls. For example, they chose solely home educated and solely public schooled students, and matched homeschool and public school students on variables such as geographical area in which they lived, did fresh achievement testing of both groups, and found that all but one of the mothers were "married or living in committed relationships."

Although the sample sizes involved probably appear small to a lay audience - 37 homeschool and 37 public school students of ages 5 to 10 - it should it should be kept in mind that having a "large" sample size is not necessarily more important than carefully controlling for certain variables. For example, the researchers adjusted test scores for the mothers' educational attainment and household income, although "mothers' education and median income were slightly higher for the public school group" (p. 6). In a sense, they used a matched-pair design and were exploring for causal relationships.

Once into the study, the researchers found that "structured" and "unstructured" homeschoolers were two distinct groups. The authors focused their analysis on comparing students from structured homeschool settings with public school students.

As shown in Table 2, the children who received structured homeschooling were superior to the children enrolled in public school across all seven subtests. (p. 5)The seven subtests were Letter-Word, Comprehension, Word Attack, Science, Social Science, Humanities, and Calculation. Further, they reported: To gain a broad perspective of the level of standardized achievement in each group, we conducted a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) that included the scores from all seven Woodcock-Johnson subtests. ..... Thus, all seven subtests were used as dependent variables, and schooling group (public school and structured homeschool) was the independent variable. ..... all the variables showed a medium or strong effect. ..... In conclusion, when comparing the test scores of the children attending public school and children receiving structured homeschooling, it becomes clear that the latter group has higher scores across a variety of academic areas. Moreover, there is no evidence that this difference is simply due to the family's income or the mother's educational attainment. (p. 5)

The researchers reported a very small sample size for the unstructured homeschool-family students. Based on this, they wrote:... our exploratory analyses suggest that the unstructured homeschooled children generally score below their expected grade level on the standardized test, and that even with this small sample, performance differences are relatively substantial." (pages 5-6)

One should keep in mind, however, that the sole measure of learning in this study is standardized tests and the students are rather young; the researchers wonder whether the children receiving unstructured homeschooling would eventually catch up, or even surpass, their peers given ample time. (p. 7)

Martin-Chang and her colleagues conclude: The evidence presented here is in line with the assumption that homeschooling offers benefits over and above those experienced in public school. (p. 6)

It will be fascinating to see whether future research, that incorporates more careful controls as did these researchers, continues to find an academic homeschool advantage.

If you would like to support us in doing basic research on home education and keeping you and others abreast of research around the world, please let us hear from you.

1. Ray, Brian D. (2010, February 3). Academic achievement and demographic traits of homeschool students: A nationwide study. Academic Leadership Journal, 8(1). Retrieved February 10, 2010 from

2.Martin-Chang, Sandra; Gould, Odette N.; Meuse, Reanne E. (2011, May 30). The impact of schooling on academic achievement: Evidence from homeschooled and traditionally schooled students. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, pp. 1-8.