The Exegetical Systematician: Fragmentation

The topic of Christian education may be approached from the angle of an evil of which I fear too few are aware, but one that is the bane of education at all levels. It is the bane of fragmentation. By fragmentation I mean that the pupil is not provided with what imparts a sense of unity, of wholeness, of correlation. This may most properly be called the need for, and aim of, integration. There is ground for suspicion that this directing principle is frequently absent and, therefore, those responsible for education at all levels need to address themselves to this question for self-assessment.

Perhaps the most germane example of the thesis that integration is a paramount concern of education is the place that education occupies in the fostering and development of character. It is not to be questioned that culture, however highly cultivated, has failed of its chief end if it contributes to the promotion of evil rather than that of good. The more highly educated the boy or girl becomes, the more dangerous the education acquired becomes if it is brought into the service of wrongdoing. It is easy to take the position that the fostering and cultivating of good character is not the concern of the school, that this is the function of the home and of the church. Admittedly, the home and the church are basically responsible, and it is also obvious that when the home and the church neglect this culture or are even remiss in imparting it, then the school is faced with a well-nigh impossible task. But it is apparent how devastating to the best influences exerted by the home and church will be the influence of the school if it pretends to be neutral on moral issues, or if the teaching of the school is alien to the ethical principles inculcated by home or church or both. And as it concerns integration, how chaotic for the pupil if opposing ethical norms are fostered in the same school. We know only too well to what depraved human nature inclines.

Underlying the plea for integration and co-ordination in education is the need for a unified world-view, a common conception of reality. If there is basic divergence in reference to world-view there cannot possibly be integration in education. —John Murray, Christian Education

The Apologist: Specialized into Ignorance

In our modern forms of specialized education there is a tendency to lose the whole in the parts, and in this sense we can say that our generation produces few truly educated people. True education means thinking by associating across the various disciplines, and not just being highly qualified in one field, as a technician might be. I suppose no discipline has tended to think more in fragmented fashion than the orthodox or evangelical theology of today.

Those standing in the stream of historic Christianity have been especially slow to understand the relationships between various areas of thought. When the apostle warned us to “keep [ourselves] unspotted from the world,” he was not talking of some abstraction. If the Christian is to apply this injunction to himself, he must understand what confronts him antagonistically in his own moment of history. Otherwise he simply becomes a useless museum piece and not a living warrior for Jesus Christ.

The orthodox Christian has paid a very heavy price, both in the defense and communication of the gospel, for his failure to think and act as an educated person understanding and at war with the uniformity of our modern culture. —Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There