20. The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for training and socialization and as such provide the preferred pattern for social life and educational endeavors. The modern preference for grouping children exclusively with their age mates for educational and social purposes is contrary to scriptural wisdom and example. (Deut. 29:10-11; 2 Chron. 20:13; Prov. 22:15 with 13:20; Joel 2:16; 1 Cor. 15:33)
Deut. 29:10-11 – All of you stand today before the LORD your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water—
This is an example, and a command to Israel on a particular day. It is not a command to us. (If it was, it would have supported mega-churches instead of home churches.)
2 Chron. 20:13 – Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the LORD.
This is an event, not a teaching.
Prov. 22:15; 13:20 – Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him. … He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
If a child spend time with children, this claims, he spend time with fools. Thus children should not play with children or go to school with them. In that case, why do patriarchal mothers raise several underage children in the same home? This is fools (children) spending time with fools. And why do they want a mother to be with the children? She is then the companion of fools, is she not?
Do you want to reason that they spend time with the mother leading, not each other? In that case, the same goes for schoolteachers.
And why, if children should not spend time with children, do many quiverfull mothers have their 9 or 10 year old daughters looking after little siblings?
More importantly, this way of putting together verses may contradict Jesus himself: Matt. 18:3: I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Instead of regarding children as fools, we should become like them. That children have foolishness in them, is only a part of the truth about children.
Joel 2:16 – Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room.
This, too, is an order to a particular group of people in about 835BC to gather for a particular event, not a command to us.
1 Cor. 15:33 – Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
The Patriarchists probably claim here children are evil company. See the comment under the Proverbs verses.
20a) The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for training
Family and church are the God-ordained institutions for spiritual training. But the Bible don't spell out spiritual training should be age-integrated. In fact, there are places it mention teaching men, women (Acts 16:13), or children (Ps 78 - …we will [teach] their children), without mentioning all age groups were together at the time of teaching. It also mentions some age- and gender-integrated teaching.
b) The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for socialization
No verse backs up who are ordained by God for socialization. It sounds strange to ordain socialization - love and friendship - to an institution. For example, should I not socialize at all at work, because my co-workers/ employees are not in my church? Should a believer not reach out, in friendship, to witness to his neighbors, as those neighbors are not in his church?
c) and as such provide the preferred pattern for social life and educational endeavors.
With point b) undefended, and point a) defended only for spiritual training and only without the word "age-integrated", this conclusion has nothing to follow from.
d) The modern preference for grouping children exclusively with their age mates
Is there really a preference for grouping children exclusively with age mates? Schools have teachers. Children still spend some time socially with parents and grandparents and other adults and older and younger siblings. Some children fail at school, and those children are grouped with younger children. Children are pretty much grouped by age nowadays, but not exclusively.
e) grouping children exclusively with their age mates for educational and social purposes is contrary to scriptural wisdom and example.
I have to agree that it is contrary to scriptural example - scripture does not exclusively group children with age mates. It does, however, mention some grouping of children together. (For example, teaching children so they won't be like their fathers in Ps. 78, and children playing on the street in Zech. 8:5)
But then, even a father who teach his publicly schooled boy something once every two years, or a church that has one age-integrated worship service a year, do not group children exclusively with age mates. Such a father or church does too little inter-generational involvement, and neither I nor anyone I know advocates spending that little time with children. But the "even a father who ..." sentence show how little tenet 20, point e) actually mean.
Are age groupings contrary to scriptural wisdom, and a reason to keep them at home with their mother instead? Patriarchists will quote Prov. 22:15; 13:20 and 1Cor. 15:33. But those verses could as well be used against children from different age groups, and from the same family, spending time together. Whether your 6-year old play with 2 other 6 year olds, or with his siblings of 5 and 8, he still spends time with children.
Other Christians believe
Nobody denies that children have foolishness/ evil in them, but wise people know that anyone –child or adult – does, that children can be corrupted by sinful people of any age. And most Christians don't understand the patriarchal opposition to age grouping, as the same "problems" occur in families with more than 1 child.
Summing it up
How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:
The color code:
This is adequately biblically defended
This is a partial truth. (The other part of the truth, that together make it Biblical, will be added in brackets.)