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Education and Truth

May 30, 2018
By John Morrison

As I wind down my blogs here at the beginning of the summer,  I would like to share a couple "installments" that are very much upon my heart as concerns our families.      

If we understand our cultural history, we will recognize we have transitioned from a society grounded in the absolutes of the Judeo-Christian traditions to one that is now "post-truth," where each individual determines reality based on his or her individual constructs, feelings, and opinions.  A whole generation of young people has been colonized by popular culture and its post-truth, relativistic values. According to a number of surveys, even the majority of professing Christians – some surveys put it as high as 75 to 80% -- reject the fundamental notion of truth as absolute and objective.  One of the great ironies among professing believers is our failure to recognize how extensively this post-truth mindset has infiltrated our culture.

Francis Schaeffer saw all of this coming in the late twentieth century and observed: "Do I really believe Christianity is truth, or does my Christianity rest only on an experience, an emotion—and when the experience, the emotion, cools, my Christianity collapses?"  This clearly explains the phenomenon of so many of our younger generations walking away from Christianity. And this is because they have never been consistently and thoroughly taught that our faith is not a matter of opinion or feeling, or even "what works for me."  Rather, as Paul stated in sharing the gospel with Festus, a Roman official: "I utter words of sober truth, rationality, and soundness of mind" (Acts 26:25).  Gospel truth is not a construct of one's personal feeling, but objective content that is the truth about reality regardless of one's opinion.

In this context,  I am saddened when, in the larger Christian culture,  I hear some of the rationales underlying parents' decisions concerning the course of their children's education.  One common theme is to provide them with "greater educational opportunities." Another is "I want my child to be happy."

In this context, I find myself asking: "What about the issue of truth in education?"  Is a genuine Christian education that is grounded in the Christian, Biblical assumptions about truth to play second fiddle to "greater educational opportunities" (please refer to last week's blog) and a child's so-called "happiness?"  Exactly what is our priority when it comes to the issue of truth as represented in the education our children receive?  The great reformer Martin Luther stated: "I am very much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.  I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount." John Calvin and most other early reformers shared Luther's perspective. I find it ironic that we who consider ourselves "reformed" (in the broader sense of the Protestant tradition) sometimes proudly cite our doctrines, yet have largely abandoned the Reformation emphasis on providing our children with a distinctly Christian education.  Is this not a glaring inconsistency?

Christian education was also deeply embedded in Roman Catholic tradition, but is now a minority movement.

I may be venting a bit, and I certainly need to be respectful toward those who see it differently.  But when I consider Schaeffer's words as quoted above, and I see the devastation of faith values within younger generations. I cannot help but conclude that many Christian parents are not appreciating that the Biblical teaching about truth should be one of the greatest priorities - even the cornerstone -- of our children's education.  

May God awaken us more completely to this vital priority!  Indeed, Jesus prayed to the Father on our behalf: "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth" (John 17:17).

Can there be any higher priority in our children's education?

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