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The Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #53
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
October 23, 2003 / Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
Regarding links in this newsletter: We do not endorse all subject matter.
Table of Contents
What To Do About Halloween?
Teaching Our Children the Whole Truth
CBS Attacks "Home Schooling"
The Protestant Reformation
Unit Study on the Reformation
Christian Book Clearinghouse: Up to 80% off
Sing 'n Learn: 100s of Audio Learning Aids
McCourt Mfg.: Student Desk
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote
A big Thank You to everyone who responded to the survey
in our last newsletter! More than 300 readers responded, and
their replies were full of extremely helpful ideas, along with
encouragement for us as we continue to minister to you through
this newsletter. It will take us some time to respond to
everyone and to send the free back issues of The Teaching Home to
the first 50 responders. Thank you again!
Please read "Teaching Our Children the Whole Truth" in
this issue. It is very pertinent to the subject of Christian history
and important in its many other applications.
Our Unit Study on the Reformation can lead up to
Reformation Day on October 31st and/or follow it. The Reformation
is relevant to us today. Without knowledge of the real issues and
truths of the Reformation, ecumenical efforts can tempt
individuals and organizations to compromise with unscriptural
doctrines and practices. Even in Christian circles it is not "politically
correct" to talk about differences between churches. Yet Hollywood
movie producers have recognized the importance of the Reformation
and portrayed it in the major motion picture on Martin Luther which
is now in theaters.
Although the study of the Reformation is not pleasant, it is
important so that the blood of the martyrs should not have been
spilled in vain nor their testimonies forgotten.
As the world prepares to celebrate Halloween with blatant
attention to the dark themes of evil, horror, and the occult, we
can see clearly that there is a spiritual battle raging around us
as in Luther's day. Let us take refuge in the truths he put to
song 500 years ago:
A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing.
Our helper He, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 23-year-old, home-school family business.
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What To Do About Halloween?
Link to our Newsletter Archives and view Newsletter #16
for articles and links on this subject.
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Teaching Our Children the Whole Truth
Even Great Men Are Imperfect
In researching the Reformation, we found disturbing
information about some of the reformers.
No man is perfect, even if he does great things for God,
country, or mankind. In Scripture God has revealed the whole
truth (including the sins) of heroes of faith such as Moses,
David, and Paul.
We do not need to condone all the actions of great men whose
failings are revealed, neither do we need to discredit great
deeds and thoughts of men whose sins are made known. If we
do not teach our children the whole truth, then they will have
reason to question all our teaching when they discover the whole
truth later on in their lives.
Application to Our Parenting
Our children are commanded by God to obey and honor us as
their parents by virtue of our position, not our perfection, for their
own good. We need to teach our children this. We need to ask
our children to forgive us when we sin by word or deed. Our
children also need to hear us ask each other for forgiveness when
we speak disrespectfully to one another.
Separating the Man from His Message
We are taught that our walk should match our talk, and it
should. But we also need to teach our children to separate
the man from his message and evaluate them separately.
The message preached by the reformers -- salvation by faith
alone, apart from a church -- is such a precious truth that its
value transcends the flaws of the messengers' lives.
The reformers came out of a background of great heresy to
proclaim essential, yet partial truth. Many retained some false
doctrines or unbiblical practices in certain areas.
The most disturbing fact is that the persecuted became
persecutors. Even some great men failed to recognize their
errors or unbiblical practices and tried to compel others to
believe the way they did by force.
It was Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, who finally
provided a place where all men were free to worship as they
would. Later this right was incorporated into the United States
Constitution in the First Amendment.
A Challenge for Us Today
* Do we need another Reformation today?
* Are we effectively living in the pre-Gutenberg era?
* Is there a state-protected religion that is being forced on us?
* Do we have power to effect change?
These questions and more will be addressed in Part 2 of our
Reformation Study in the next newsletter.
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CBS Attacks "Home Schooling"
Excerpted from HSLDA's website
and a letter by their president, J. Michael Smith
CBS National News ran a negative two-part report on home
schooling October 13-14 entitled "A Dark Side to Home Schooling"
and "Home Schooling Nightmares." The reports focused on a
handful of child abuse cases that have occurred during the past
5-10 years involving families claiming to be home schoolers. To
view the CBS story go to:
Smith calls this "without any doubt the worst journalistic
attack on home schooling that I have ever seen" in his 20 years
with HSLDA. He goes on to say, "We are outraged that CBS would
ignore the obvious facts and draw the erroneous conclusion that
home schoolers need to be strictly regulated. The story is a
shameless attempt to smear an entire community of committed,
You are encouraged to call Viacom (parent company of CBS)
and CBS to express your opposition. Highlight the fact that home
schooling was not the cause of the child abuse and that you
expect CBS to have higher journalistic standards.
CBS Evening News Comment Lines: (212) 975-3247 or 7825
Smith adds, "Thank you to all who have, or will soon, make
calls to CBS regarding their recent stories concerning home
education and child abuse. From all indications, the response
has been overwhelming."
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The Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation (c. 1517-1600) was a movement
brought about by the conflict between various individuals and the
Roman Catholic church over matters of doctrine and practice.
The conflict between spiritual truth and error has always
existed and continues today. Christians have been persecuted
since the first martyr, Stephen, (Acts 7-8) until today. Thousands
are still being killed and tortured for their faith. (See Voice of the
Martyrs' website at http://www.persecution.com/.)
We can broaden our study of the Reformation to include an
awareness of doctrinal purity, error, and reform throughout all
of history, including the present day.
The Reformers broke with the state-established Roman
Catholic church, which dominated religious and even political life
in Europe at that time.
At the same time, we should remember that there have always
been a faithful few who never entered into the errors of the
Read the article, "The Faithful Few" at
"During every period of the 'Dark Ages' there were in
existence many Christians and many separate and independent
Churches, some of them dating back to the times of the Apostles,
which were never in any way connected with the Catholic Church.
They always wholly rejected and repudiated the Catholics and
their doctrines. This is a fact clearly demonstrated by credible
"These Christians were the perpetual objects of bitter and
relentless persecution. History shows that during the period of
the 'Dark Ages,' about twelve centuries, beginning with A.D. 426,
there were about 50 millions of these Christians who died martyr
deaths. Very many thousands of others, both preceding and
succeeding the 'Dark Ages,' died under the same hard hand of
Excerpted from "The Trail of Blood: Following the Christians
Down Through the Centuries" by J. M. Carroll. For the full text
of this booklet which traces both the true believers and the
increasing error of the Catholic Church, see
Foxe's Book of Martyrs
Be sure to read about the true history of the lives,
sufferings, and triumphant deaths of the early Christian martyrs
in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, one of the most widely read religious
books and one with which your family needs to be acquainted.
Originally an 8-volume set, this book has necessarily been
abridged in many different editions. The most complete 1-volume
edition has been republished by Mantle Ministries.
(Click on Non-Fiction Classics)
One abridged version is available online at:
For information on the 8-volume set see:
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Unit Study on the Reformation
Following are suggestions for learning activities related to
the Reformation in various subject areas.
"Rediscovery of the biblical doctrine of justification by
faith alone, more than any other truth, ignited the Protestant
Reformation. On what grounds is a sinner accepted in the presence
of a holy God? Acceptance is based on the 'righteousness of God
in Jesus Christ' (see Romans 3:19-24). It is a righteousness
wholly outside the sinner, accomplished by Christ, and imputed to
him through the one God-given means -- faith in the Savior,
acceptance of His gift of eternal life." Quoted from
* Study what God says in His Word about the central tenets
of the Reformation:
1. Solo Christo - Salvation through Christ Alone.
* Select a verse to memorize for each of the above tenets.
Acts 16:31; Acts 4:12
2. Sola Gratia - Salvation by Grace Alone.
Ephesians 2:8, 9
3. Sola Fide - Justification by Faith Alone.
John 1:12; Gal. 2:16; 3:26; Rom. 3:28
4. Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone. God's Word as revealed
in the Bible is our complete and sole rule of faith and
practice. No pronouncements, "revelations," etc. of men
can ever equal, alter, or supplant its truth or
authority. 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Gal. 1:8; Matt. 15:9;
Matt. 23:8-10; Rev. 22:18-19
* Study some of the ways in which the Bible and Roman Catholic
doctrine differ to better understand the spiritual issues of
the Reformation. The comparison on the website below uses
Catholic sources and Scripture.
* Do a parent-supervised internet search on the Reformation and
write a report with links to e-mail to your friends.
* Write an essay on a topic or question related to the
* Write a five-paragraph tract with Scripture verses on truths
of the Reformation.
* Write a quiz about the Reformation for others to answer.
* Write a thank-you note to Martin Luther or another reformer
or martyr with specific items you are thanking him for and why.
* Read independently, or together, biographies of the reformers.
From Bob Jones University Press:
The Triumph of Truth: A Life of Martin Luther
Faith of Our Fathers: Scenes from Church History
The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt by Day (William Tyndale)
Morning Star of the Reformation (John Wycliffe)
The Queen's Smuggler (Tyndale)
Spy for the Night Riders (Luther)
Kitty, My Rib (Luther's wife) by E. Jane Mall
http://www.amazon.com (type title in search box)
History & Geography
* Draw or trace a map of Europe and label the places where the
events of the Reformation took place.
* Write or locate on a timeline the dates of significant events
leading to, surrounding, and following the Reformation.
* Read and report on the political climates of the times and
places of the reformation. (High school level Christian
history textbooks from A Beka and Bob Jones University Press
will give you history from a Christian perspective.)
* Study the causes, events, and people leading up to the
Reformation. (See timeline below.)
Timeline of People and Events Related to the Reformation
300s Roman Emperor Constantine began a centuries-long series
of state-sponsored ecumenical Christian councils.
1139 Peter of Bruys, France, burned alive (followers called
Petro-Brussians condemned along with Arnoldists by
Pope Innocent II in 1139).
1148 Henry of Lausanne, Switzerland, died in prison (followers
1155 Arnold of Brescia burned at the stake (followers called
1150-1220 Peter Waldo, Switzerland, died (followers called
Waldenses, distributed Bibles to mountain villages;
condemned along with Albigenses by Pope Alexander III
1229 Papal Council in Toulouse forbade the Scriptures to all but
the Catholic clergy.
1320-1384 John Wycliffe, Oxford, England, published his English
translation of the Bible, c.1380 (followers called Lollards).
1369-1415 John Hus, Bohemia, burned at the stake (followers
1453 Johann Gutenberg, Germany, completed the printing press;
first publication was Latin Bible, 1456.
1483-1546 Martin Luther, Germany, posted 95 theses on
October 31, 1517; trial at Worms 1521.
1484-1531 Zwingli, Switzerland.
1492-1536 William Tyndale, England, burned at the stake.
1505-1572 John Knox, Scotland.
1509-1564 John Calvin, Geneva, Switzerland.
1555 Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, England burned at
the stake. See also Cranmer.
1572 Massacre of St. Bartholomew; 100,000 French Protestant
Art, Penmanship, and Crafts
* Draw a picture of a Reformation setting (e.g., Trial at Worms).
* Decorate or illustrate a timeline of events (see above).
* Design a poster or bookmark depicting a person, event, or
principle of the Reformation.
* Use calligraphy to write and decorate Bible verses.
* Embroider or cross-stitch a verse pertinent to the Reformation
or "Solo Christo, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, and Sola Scriptura."
Vocabulary and Spelling
* Make a glossary of words used in talking about the
Reformation and learn their meanings and spellings.
* Make a crossword puzzle using words from your glossary.
Speech & Drama
* Dress up as one of the reformers and give a report of why you
did what you did.
* Write a short play or skit portraying an exciting event.
* Make a video of your report or dramatization.
* Tape record a part of a book about the Reformation (see reading
list above), complete with sound effects.
* Watch a video about the Reformation and critique it as to
historic accuracy, scriptural doctrine, and dramatic
Videos & Movie
* Videos on church history, Luther, Hus, and Wycliffe from Bob
Jones University Press:
* Movie: "Luther" http://lutherthemovie.com/
* Learn the Latin phrases "Solo Christo, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide,
and Sola Scriptura" and what they mean (see above).
* Explore why Latin was used and the importance of translating
the Bible into the languages of the people, both then and now.
Music and Poetry
* Find out how Luther's practices and views on music
influence our worship today.
* Study and learn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."
* Write a poem about some aspect of the Reformation.
* Write words (a poem) about some aspect of the Reformation that
will fit a known hymn tune.
* Find out what effect the Reformation had on science.
* Find out what developments in science and math werev
happening during the Reformation. See:
Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei,
Isaac Newton, and Francis Bacon.
* Oral reports or speech and drama projects (even some art
projects) can be done together as a group.
* Invite another family or families to dinner on Reformation
Night to present your reports and/or view a video on a
reformer (see above).
Doorpost's "A Night of Reformation" designed for a Reformation
Night party also contains much information and ideas that can be
used in a unit study. http://www.doorposts.net/Reformation.htm
Sunny Side Up: Job Description
Our 5-five-old daughter Esther and I got to talking about
"What are you going to be when you grow up, Mommy?"
"I'm already grown up, and my job is a wife and mommy,"
I replied. I wanted Esther to understand the importance of a
After a few minutes of chatting, I asked, "What is my job,
Estie?" I expected her to say a wife and mommy, but she surprised
and elated me by answering, "Your job is loving."
Contributed by Jeanette Levellie, Gardena, Calif.
You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.
God Loves You.
Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died
in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ
as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
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