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Some thoughts about Christian education

The following quotes are from Biblical teachers who were equally outspoken on the necessity of Christian education.

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

Education, Christianity, and the State”

“What has Christianity to do with education: What is there about Christianity which makes it necessary that there should be Christian schools? Very little, some people say. Christianity, they say, is a life, a temper of soul, not a doctrine or a system of truth; it can provide its sweet aroma, therefore, for any system which secular education may provide; its function is merely to evaluate whatever may be presented to it by the school of thought dominant at any particular time. This view of the Christian religion…is radically false. Christianity is, indeed, a way of life; but it is a way of life founded upon a system of truth. That system of truth is of the most comprehensive kind; it clashes with opposing systems at a thousand points. The Christian life cannot be lived on the basis of anti-Christian thought. Hence the necessity of the Christian school” (142,143).”

John Murray (1898-1975)

“Christian Education,” in Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol.1,  Banner of Truth, 1976, pgs.369-374.

“How indispensable to education from the earliest years, even before the child arrives at school age, is the word of Gen.1:1…No question is more urgent than that of whence… Whence the universe in which we live? Correlative is the doctrine of God’s providence… [Thus] unless the school fosters the fear of the Lord as the beginning of knowledge and of wisdom, the influence of the home and of the church, even when it is to a high degree exemplary, tends to be negated, and it is common knowledge and experience that in many cases the school has undermined what home and church have sought to establish and develop” (369).

“Education, apart from any conception of man as to his distinguishing identity, purpose, and destiny, is inconceivable…If education is to be Christian, it must be based upon and conducted in terms of the Christian view of man. If not, it is not Christian, and if not Christian it is alien and opposed to Christian interests…If boys and girls…are in the image of God, if that is their identity, their chief end cannot be anything less than to glorify God and to enjoy him. And education that is destitute of this objective, or has allowed it to suffer eclipse has lost its direction” (370,371).

The sum is: “The whole range and content of education must be God-centered; that is, God must be the unifying principle and the interpreting principle of the whole curriculum” (374).

Charles Hodge (1797-1878)

Systematic Theology, James Clarke and Co., 1960, Vol.3, pgs.354-355.

“The Bible does require that education should be religiously conducted…(Deut.6:6,7 11:19 Ps.78:5-7 Prov.22:6 Eph.6:4)…These are not ceremonial or obsolete laws. They bind the consciences of men just as much as the command, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ If parents themselves conduct the education of their children, these are the principles upon which it must be conducted. If they commit that work to teachers, they are bound, by the law of God, to see that the teachers regard these divine prescriptions…This is an obligation which they cannot escape…Christianity requires that education in all its departments should be conducted religiously” (354,355).

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