I am currently reading Across the Spectrum by Gregory A. Boyd. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially home school parents and teens!
I remember asking my father-in-law once about fundamentalism. The media seemed to really have a beef with that word, and fundamentalists were getting blamed for all kinds of hypocritical, mean-spirited, ugliness in politics and society.
I thought I was a fundamentalist, yet I was none of those things. So I asked my seminary educated father-in-law a question. "I guess I'm a fundamentalist, aren't I? I mean, all it means is that you believe that the Bible is fundamentally true, right?"
Maybe it's because I am a woman, and I needn't bother my pretty little head about such things, but my father-in-law told me that "yep, that's what it means all right." Very simplistic and patently untrue in all that was left unsaid.
My father-in-law and I apparently meant very different things by "fundamentally true". I meant affirming the Apostle's Creed. Unity in essentials, liberty in all else. What my father-in-law meant was pre-trib, dispensational, Armenian, six day Creation, young earth, male supremacy, and substitutionary view of the atonement.
These are all areas where evangelical, Bible-believing Christians disagree. But most of us have only been taught one point of view, the belief of our parents and/or denomination (or non-denomination, for those who don't affiliate with other congregations) promoted. The Christian home school curricula out there is full of apologetics, yet always promotes their own doctrinal stance as Divine Truth. I have yet to see a Christian curricula yet that explains that there are any other Christian beliefs on the matter besides the one they are promoting as The Truth.
I have taken formal apologetics classes, but these also have only taught one point of view, other than perhaps mentioning opposing arguments against the other side(s) in passing. I have taken formal comparative religion courses through Christian sources, and they never told me the history of fundamentalism. (Did you know it did not exist before the beginnings of the last century? That it is wholly an American invention? That fundamentalism was birthed by a set of reactionary pamphlets against the modernist liberal German school of thought, which denied the miraculous? Sort of like "I see your Sadducee and I counter with a boat load of Pharisee!! Ha! Take that!")
In those classes I learned the history of Mormonism, Jehovahs Witnesses and other world religions. Over and over growing up I heard what was wrong about Catholicism. I heard about the beginnings of the Protestant faith in Martin Luther's brave dissent. But I never, ever was taught the historical beginnings of fundamentalism and what it meant exactly and how it differed from other Christian beliefs.
This book is a treasure because it presents all the evangelical positions on many of these issues. Everyone should know what the basic Christian evangelical doctrines really are, and the supporting and opposing arguments for each position. If you want to teach yourself or your students true apologetics, start here. Let them see the rich variety of opinions and also the strong agreement between the world of evangelical believers.
If you are going to teach your children apologetics (and I think every Christian should!) do so honestly. Teach the whole spectrum of doctrine and belief in the evangelical world. Do so without prejudice or bristling if your students decide the other side rings more true to them. Let go of rigidity, and let freedom ring. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!