Parents need to be aware that if they are raising their children according to the biblical standards and principles, they may very well lose their children to the government. Especially should parents that are homeschooling their children be aware that there are eyes upon them and their children. A skeptic has only to ask the Norwegian couple that had their five children taken away and placed in foster care to believe that this infringement of liberty is a reality. Christian Post reports, “Child welfare services in Norway have reportedly removed five Christian children from their parents’ home and placed them into foster care after the parents were accused of radicalizing and indoctrinating their children with Christianity.
According to the British-based Christian Institute, Norway’s child protection services, known as the Barnevernet, seized the three sons and two daughters of Ruth and Marius Bodnariu in mid-November. Although the family wasn’t quite sure at the time why their children were being taken away from them, their lawyer discovered that the parents were being charged with Christian indoctrination. The family’s ordeal began on Nov. 16 when the Barnevernet took the Bodnariu’s two daughters out of school without their parents’ knowledge and moved them to an undisclosed location. Officials then went to the family’s home, allegedly without documentation, and seized two of the sons and arrested Ruth, who took her baby son, Ezekiel, with her to the police station. Officials also went to Marius’ work and arrested him. The next day, officials went back to the Bodnariu’s home and took Ezekiel into custody on the grounds that Ruth was ‘dangerous.’ According to the Institute, the parents were refused access to their older children over the following couple of weeks and told that their children had adapted well in their new foster home and ‘didn’t miss their parents.’”1
What crime warranted the search of the Bodnariu’s home, the inquisition and subsequent seizure of their children, and the arrest of the parents? Their crime was Christian indoctrination; which means that parents essentially cannot decide what and how to teach their own children in their own homes and cannot administer the disciplinary measures of their choosing. What does all this mean for parents who are raising their children according to the law and the testimony-the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy? This simply means that if attention were brought to their cases, they could be arrested and charged with a crime, have their homes searched without a warrant, their children removed from their homes and placed in foster care. To be more specific, parents who decide not to vaccinate their children could be charged with neglect or child endangerment. Likewise if parents have their children on a strictly plant-based diet free of refined, processed, and artificial products. If parents are homeschooling outside of the government-approved parameters and are teaching their children the principles of the Bible along with evangelism, they could be charged with “radicalizing” or indoctrinating their children to become “terrorists.” If children are prohibited from playing competitive sports, participating in certain recreational activities, are dress reformers, and live in the country, the parents can lose custody and be charged in like manner. What if parents refuse conventional medication for their children when they become ill and opt for natural remedies or do not take their children for their regular doctor visits? What if a mother desires to deliver her child at home through a midwife? The question really is, whose children are they—the parents’ or the governments?’ Of course they belong to God, but parents are given stewardship over their children to be trained and educated for His service. Sadly, most parents, even of professed Sabbath-keepers, are unfaithful stewards.
Is this far-fetched conspiracy theorizing? Not at all! The situation in Norway is by no means an isolated incident that happened oversees, but it is happening here in the United States of America. In May of 2015, it was reported that in Kentucky “police remove 10 homeschool kids from parents’ custody due to off-the-grid, self-sufficient lifestyle.”2
Again in Arkansas seven homeschooled children were removed from their Christian parents’ home. “The seven Arkansas homeschool children who were removed from their Christian parents’ home last month by state and local authorities for undisclosed reasons, were returned home for a four-hour visit last Friday, where they were allowed to pray and worship in their own home for the first time since being taken into custody.”3
Does this mean that the solution is for parents to compromise and raise their children according to the government’s dictations and recommendations in order to retain custody? Absolutely not! Parents are encouraged to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and so far as lies in their power, they are to train their children from birth as were Moses, Samuel, the maid that served Namaan’s wife, Daniel, the three Hebrew captives, John the Baptist, and Christ Himself.
“Upon fathers and mothers devolves the responsibility of giving a Christian education to the children entrusted to them. In no case are they to let any line of business so absorb mind and time and talents that their children are allowed to drift until they are separated far from God. They are not to allow their children to slip out of their grasp into the hands of unbelievers. They are to do all in their power to keep them from imbibing the spirit of the world. They are to train them to become workers together with God. They are to be God’s human hand, fitting themselves and their children for an endless life. Christian parents, will you not for Christ’s sake examine your desires, your aims for your children, and see if they will bear the test of God’s law? The most essential education is that which will teach them the love and the fear of God.”4
May God help parents to be faithful to their trusts, be the consequences what they may; and if faithful, their children will stand uncompromisingly, even if they are separated from their parents.
4. White, Ellen. Child Guidance (1954), pages 297 and 298
This article was first published on Prophesy Again – Saved to Serve