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
Many seem to feel that the greater the art, the less we ought to be critical of its world-view. This we must reverse. —Francis Schaeffer, Art and the Bible
Epistemology is the theory of the method or grounds of knowledge—the theory of knowledge, or how we know, or how we can be certain that we know. Epistemology is the central problem of our generation; indeed, the so-called “generation gap” is really and epistemological gap, simply because the modern generation looks at knowledge in a way radically difference from previous ones. —Francis Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent
Length: 308 pp
Author: Dan Phillips
Want to read a book that powerfully presents the gospel? Here you go, Dan Phillips’ The World-Tilting Gospel. Want a book that will help you develop a Biblical worldview? Ibid. Don’t think a book can do both? Then you don’t understand the gospel and you don’t understand the world. Now we have gone from a want to a need. If you don’t see the connection then you need to read a book like this. Here you go:
Self-image matters, but not in the way that pop psychology paints it. What one makes of the human condition—what you think you are now, and/or what you think you were when God found you and made you His—has a major ongoing impact on our approach to God, our view of Him, and our day-to-day relationship with God.
Suppose we have the belief that we are good people who simply need a bit of a leg up. We aren’t really bad-hearted. People just don’t understand us. Deep down inside we mean well and want good things. Oh, we may have a few bad habits, we sometimes make a bad call here and there—a mistake, a goof, an “oops” . . . but it’s what’s inside that counts, and what’s inside is good.
Here’s Bud Goodheart, for instance. Bud sees himself as a decent, moral, well-meaning guy. So naturally Bud is attracted to the sort of worldview that presents God as the grand Rubber Stamp in the Sky. This God loves us unconditionally, just as we are, and wants us to realize our deepest dreams and aspirations. “Go for it, child!” Bud’s God cheers. “I’m right behind you!” That’s the line from the pulpit . . . or stool, or “enablement stand,” or whatever. “God wants you to pursue your dreams!”
So Bud simply brings God his biggest and brightest dreams, and God signs off on them. Whump! Whump! Whump! goes the heavenly rubber stamp. Approved! God claps Bud on the back, gives a big thumbs-up—and off Bud trots. Pursuing Bud’s agenda. Because God has Bud’s back.
How will such a man, such a woman, see Christ? Not as a Savior, surely. As Facilitator, as Enabler, as Cheerleader inspiring him to pursue his dreams, his goals, his ambitions. What is the Cross, to Bud? If anything, it is an expression of God’s love and approval. The Cross proves how much Bud means to God, how worthy Bud is, how irresistibly adorable Bud is to God. The Cross tells Bud that he is okay—that God just wants to fulfill Bud and make him happy with himself. It’s about affirmation, not execution.
Bud may view the Christian life as an ongoing negotiation with his partner, Jesus. Nothing radical, certainly. After all, Bud “invited” Jesus in, he gave Christ a “chance,” he “tried Christ” (like the bumper sticker says). Jesus was a plug-in, an add-on, like some enhancement to a web browser—a really good and powerful plugin that promises big things, but a plug-in nonetheless.
And Bud maintains control of the relationship.
But, you see, if Bud is wrong about himself, and he’s wrong about God, and he’s wrong about Christ, and he’s wrong about the Cross—then Bud is wrong about the relationship, too.