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Homeschoolers can save America: a book review of 'Take Back the Land'

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Take Back the Land

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Take Back the Land is both a book and a theme. The theme is the name of Mr. Boyer's speaking conferences across the nation for the last year. From Ontario to Kentucky, the author has been speaking about his book's theme at various homeschooling conventions. Mr. Boyer spoke in my home state at the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) before, lectured at CHEC's Homeschool Day at the Capital last year, and has been interviewed about his book on CHEC's radio show, Generations Radio.

And he will be a main speaker this year at CHEC's Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family.

Take Back the Land is a book about passion. Mr. Boyer is passionate about taking back America from liberals and unbelievers. Education, the media, arts, family, church and the courts need to be reconquered for God's glory. Each subject is a chapter in the book. And each chapter is full of his passion to set things aright.

What makes the book unique is its audience and assumptions:

"I’m writing to homeschooled young people in particular, and for two reasons. The first is that homeschooling is my mission. That’s where God has put me. My passion is the Christian family, and homeschooling is the purest form of it. The second reason is this: I believe that home education is producing, and will produce, the future leaders of our culture. I believe that you will lead America into decades of revival and national reformation. If you don’t, there is little hope for our country. A lot depends on you."

The book is peppered with such claims:

"I believe that your generation is the answer to our prayers"

"I personally think that [homeschooling] was the beginning of a spiritual revival as the hearts of parents turned to their children and vice versa."

This overbearing sentiment is not unique to the author. Other more well-known homeschooling speakers propagate this misguided belief:

"Home educators, almost by definition, have turned their heart to their children [Mal. 4]… So, there’s been a revival that’s taking place in the heart of these homeschool families. And this revival works itself out to the local church..." (Doug Phillips, interview, Generations Radio, sermonaudio.com, June 12, 2006)

"Norm [Wakefield] will express God’s heart and vision for revival and how God can use the homeschooling movement to transform families, churches, cities, states, and a nation." (description of an Elijah Ministries' lecture)

This theme of deliverance for America by the current generation of homeschoolers is foundational to the book. It is an unproven and ultimately harmful belief. This kind of burden should not and cannot be born by this generation of homeschoolers.

It should not be born because it is an unbiblical assertion based upon a faulty reading of Malachi 4:4-6. This passage was fulfilled by the work of John the Baptist as the forerunner to the unique ministry of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:16, 17). Being homeschooled as such is not evidence of any sort of revival or qualification to lead.

It cannot be born because the known evidence for the supposed superiority of homeschooling is lacking. The Nehemiah Institute (a worldview assessment center) has a worldview test that, although certainly far from perfect, suggests that homeschoolers are sub-par. A 2011 large-scale, longitudinal study of high school graduates, the Cardus Education Survey, suggests average to less-than-average results academically, culturally and spiritually for homeschoolers.

As one otherwise enthusiastic endorser of homeschooling noted, "During the great apostasy, friends, whether they go to public schools, private schools, Christian schools, homeschools, what you have, for the most part we are seeing failure. Failure everywhere" (Generations Radio, 2011).

In spite of this serious flaw, the book gives some good advice. The content in the chapters includes common-sense suggestions on how to engage the culture. The encouragement for young people to start acting like adults is most welcomed. And he makes an effort to talk with instead of at the reader. His short but clear call for preaching repentance is a plus.

Yet these strengths cannot make up for other important weaknesses of the book. Besides the aforementioned theological error, it has factual errors and poor or missing references.

For instance, it is claimed that the Great Awakening lasted 75 years; that most early Americans (such as Jefferson) were homeschooled; and 95% of the founding fathers were "God-fearing evangelical Christians." There are three whole pages of useful statistics offered to show the sorry state of the church and not one citation is offered (pages 211-214).

The book relies upon the weak scholarly work of Mr. Gatto and has a decided libertarian bent toward education. The author lauds the well-known legalist Bill Gothard and praises the questionable work of David Barton. And he quotes Charles Finney, twice and extensively, perhaps without knowledge of Finney's theology.

Most telling is the absence of the Gospel. The most rudimentary message of any Christian book claiming to offer important solutions to America's moral woes should have the Gospel front and center. Instead, the law is emphasized as the cure. And the church is declared apostate. The use of the public means of grace, especially preaching the law and Gospel, is minimal. All the while social activism, homeschooling and political involvement are placed center stage. Americans do need good law. But law without Gospel is no solution.

Mr. Boyer's passion cannot be denied. And his book has good advice. But Christians need to evaluate the troubles of America from a uniquely Biblical perspective. The fundamental problem is sin. And the fundamental solution is repentance and faith in the Christ of the Bible. But if 57% of self-described Evangelicals believe Christ is not the only way to heaven, then what is the real problem?

What if we take back America but lose our souls?

Perhaps another books should be written instead: Take Back the Gospel.

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