Truth and an Exciting Surprise for Us at Notgrass History

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During Jesus’ trial before His crucifixion, Pontus Pilate asked, “What is truth?” but we don’t get the impression that Pilate cared what truth is. What a tragedy. There Pilate was with One Who could have told him the truth that could make him free, but he missed that wonderful opportunity.

I have been listening to a 30-plus hour biography of one of America’s most famous presidents of the 20th century. Again and again I come disgustedly to Ray to tell him about yet another way this president twisted the truth. The word that keeps coming to mind is disingenuous. With tongue in cheek, I asked Ray yesterday, “Did I say [that president] was disingenuous?” I’m not ready to mention which president this was. He is not alive today and wasn’t alive in my lifetime. My point isn’t who he is, but that presidents and everyone else need to tell the truth.

Unlike Pilate, we all need to care what truth is. Some of you may already listen to my husband’s Exploring History with Ray Notgrass podcast, but I want to be sure that all of you have an opportunity to hear the episode that we published yesterday. Here’s a link:

This week’s episode is unusual in that Ray is not on it. He is at home recovering well from pneumonia. However, he spent from last Tuesday evening to Thursday afternoon in the hospital receiving treatment. When podcast recording time came late last week, Ray wasn’t up to recording yet, so we decided to repurpose an interview that our son John did recently with Samford University professor Jonathan Den Hartog and make it a podcast. Dr. Den Hartog is chairman of Samford’s history department and is also a homeschooling dad. His family uses Notgrass History.

I am excited to tell you how we learned about Professor Den Hartog. John subscribes to a service that alerts him any time the word Notgrass appears on the Internet. He recently received an alert about a blog post which mentioned Notgrass History and Dr. Den Hartog. John contacted the professor and asked for a video interview. Dr. Den Hartog enthusiastically agreed. John conducted the interview this past Thursday.

When you listen to this 33-minute podcast, you will hear why we are so excited about what he had to say. You may even conclude that we paid him for an endorsement. We did not. Dr. Den Hartog simply spoke from his knowledge as an historian and from his heart as a homeschool dad.

During the interview, Dr. Den Hartog answered a homeschooling mom who asked:

How, as a parent, do I discuss and defend my position teaching history from a Christian perspective to those who say that I am not teaching my child the “true history”?

He replied that we should take in the fullness of the past. He said that we want to do that accurately and that part of accuracy is to start with saying that there definitely are influences that the church has had over the past 2,000 years. Simply pointing out the many good influences of the church as well as the occasional bad influences of the church is a start. He said that all people—both Christian and non-Christian—approach the past from a faith-informed perspective and that it matters what we believe about God and human beings. He said that teaching from a Christian perspective is a defensible method of teaching history and asked:

And who should be most concerned about telling the truth? The Christian, right? . . . If we believe in both small “t” truth and capital “T” Truth, then we should want to tell the truth about the past and that opens up an even broader perspective on history.

Ray and I have visited the Pennsylvania state capitol several times during trips to Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP) conventions. In 2007 I snapped this photograph on a wall inside the capitol.

One of the greatest blessings you enjoy as a homeschooling mama is the opportunity to teach your children truth, not only about history, but about everything. Most importantly, you can teach them the truth that will set them free . . .

So Jesus was saying
to those Jews who had believed Him,
“If you continue in My word,
then you are truly My disciples;
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32

And you also have opportunities all day, every day to introduce them to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Thomas said to Him,
“Lord, we do not know where You are going;
how do we know the way?”
Jesus said to him,
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:5-6


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