What is a Christian education?


What Constitutes a Christian Education?

by R. J. Rushdoony

 

But what constitutes a Christian education? SometimesChristian Schools are Christian in name only: they are humanistic schools withBible added to a humanistic course of studies. It is a serious mistake to assume, first, of all, that there is any neutral subjectwhich can be taught in the same way by both Christian Schools and humanisticschools. To believe so is to deny God's total sovereignty over all things. Itmeans that areas exist where man, not God, is the Lord. There is no area ofneutrality in all of creation. What we believe determines our perspective inmathematics, history, biology, geology, art, physical education, and everythingelse. The triune God istotally the creator of all things and thus totally their Lord and determiner.All subjects are either taught from a Biblical, a theistic perspective, or theyare taught from a humanistic, a man-centered perspective.

Second, we must remember that facts are never neutral,as Cornelius Van Til has so powerfully taught us. Before there is a fact, there is afaith. The faith interprets and determines the facts. The "facts" of the universe are verydifferent for a Buddhist, an existential humanist, and an orthodox Christian.For the Buddhist, all is illusion and misery; his faith requires a world andlife negation. Maya andkarma determine all things.For an existential humanist, "facts" have only a purely personalmeaning, the meaning which each man assigns them. Neither man nor creation have anyessence, any created and preordained meaning. Good and evil and every other form of meaning isself-generated: they are values I assign to things in terms of my will. Nothinghas any meaning from God's creative act; all meaning comes from man's creativeact.

In Biblical thought, however,
 every fact is God-created and God-interpreted, so thatthe meaning of all creation is to be understood in terms of Him and HisKingdom. St. Paul makes clear tothe Corinthians that

3. But with me it is avery small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, Ijudge not mine own self.

4. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I nothereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. (I Cor. 4:3,4)

The word Paul uses for judge is anakrino, to examine, investigate, and question. Paulsimply says that he has no right to examine, inquire about, investigate,question, and judge anything in terms of his own standards and tests.Similarly, he has no regard for any and all such judgments made about himself.The only criterion for investigation and judgment is the Lord and His word, andeven then God's full and clear judgment will only be apparent plainly andtotally with the Last Judgment (I Cor. 4:5).

The plain implication here and elsewhere is that all study andinvestigation must be in terms of God's word and the fact of God's sovereigntyas creator, sustainer, and Lord.

Third, not only does faith determine facts, but faithdetermines the mind. The humanistic philosophy of education gives priority tothe humanistic mind. Intellectualismis the determiner: it is the true morality. The greater the level of humanisticeducation, supposedly the greater the level of moral character will be.Salvation is thus seen as the spread of humanistic education and knowledge overall the face of the earth.

For us, however, the spread of humanistic education is the spread of sin andapostasy.
 For us, education is even more to be desired than for thehumanists, but it must be godly education and in terms of God's whole counsel. Truth for us is not humanistic ideas, faiths andfacts, but Jesus Christ (John 14:6), and for us "truth is in order togoodness," and also to true knowledge. A man cannot be holy or moraloutside of Jesus Christ, nor can a man have true knowledge apart from Him.

This means that Christian textbooks are a necessity.
 We asChristians are members of another kingdom, the Kingdom of God. We live, not ina meaningless, blind, and evolving universe of chance, but in a universetotally created and governed by God the Lord. We dare not know anyone or anything apart fromthe Lord, because His Lordship, rule, and purpose are total. A school coursewhich is not systematically Biblical is a hidden enemy to the faith. Humanismhas no place in our hearts, churches, homes, or classrooms.

Taken from ThePhilosophy of the Christian Curriculum, pp. 129-131