New Schoolers, Neo-Calvinists, and Fundamentalists

After Darrell Todd Maurina kicked up some dust with his post at the Baylyblog on 2k, he made the following comment:

Men such as Dr. Darryl Hart have accused me in the past of holding the same position as the Bible Presbyterians and Carl McIntyre. That is an important accusation and it needs to be rebutted. If men such as Clark, Horton, Hart, and Van Drunen manage to successfully argue that they are in the heritage of Old School Presbyterianism while their opponents are New Schoolers, great damage will be done to the cause of those who oppose “Two Kingdoms” theology within the conservative Reformed world.

Well, if you look at the historical scholarship, Darrell, it gets even worse than you imagine. Consider first of all one inference that George Marsden drew in his first book, a study of New School Presbyterianism:

The most striking illustration of the similarities between nineteenth-century New Schoolism and twentieth-century fundamentalism is found in the sequel to the Presbyterian division of 1936. The newly formed Presbyterian Church of America itself was divided over a complex set of issues remarkably similar to those of 1837. The majority in the new denomination, led by J. Gresham Machen until his death . . . and then by his immediate associates at Westminster Seminary, took clearly Old School positions on each of the issues. The minority, which withdrew to form the Bible Presbyterian Synod, was led by the militant fundamentalist, Carl McIntire. McIntire, who had envisaged the Presbyterian Church of America as part of a wider “twentieth century Reformation,” soon found that he was not at home in a strict Old School tradition. The specific programs for which he fought were 1) toleration of a doctrine (dispenstational premillennialism) that the majority in the Church considered incompatible with the Westminster Confession of Faith; 2) continuation of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, rather than forming an official denominational mission board; and 3) adoption by the General Assembly of a statement that total abstinence from all that may intoxicate is “the only truth principle of temperance – exactly the same statement first adopted by the New School General Assembly of 1840. These programs, together with McIntires’s claim to represent “American Presbyterianism (a former New School phrase), his avid (anti-Communist) patriotism, his zeal for revivalism and legalistic reforms, his emphasis on interdenominational cooperation, and his lack of concern for strict Presbyterian polity – all indicate a continuation of the distinctly New School traditions with the fundamentalist wing of Presbyterianism. . . .

Perhaps the greatest difference between the New School evangelical movement and fundamentalist was that the nineteenth-century movement was largely successful, while the twentieth-century movement was not. The New School was not characterized by an almost total repudiation of the cultural and scientific advances of the age. Rather, it met those challenges without losing its own respectability. The New School thus advanced toward the center of American cultural and religious life, while fundamentalism was forced to retreat to the hinterlands. This, of course, is a crucial difference and makes a characterization of the New School as proto-fundamentalist s misleading as proto-liberal. The New School was in many respects a constructive and progressive religious intellectual movement with marked success in shaping American culture at large. (247, 249)

In case Darrell and other New School-like Protestants get bogged down in McIntire’s peculiarities, the point here is not that Maurina or the Baylys are dispensationalists or tee-totalers. The point is that they put the nation and its politics ahead of their theological and confessional commitments the way New Schoolers did. They want an American Presbyterianism, a faith that shapes America. In contrast, the Old School was willing to consider Reformed Protestantism as something independent or a matter than transcended the nation. The New Schoolers were Americans first and Americans second. Old Schoolers (at least some of them) were Presbyterians first and Americans second. If the United States and Presbyterianism are not the same, the order in which you put “Presbyterian” and “American” matters. (For Presbyterians from Canada or Ireland that makes perfect sense.)

But for those inclined to think that Dutch-American (notice the order) Reformed Protestants escape these parallels and analogies, consider this point that James Bratt made in an article about Kuyper and Machen:

Put in Dutch Calvinist terms: if forced to choose, Machen would let the Christian cultural task give way to the confessional church; Kuyper would force the confessional church to take up the cultural task. Put in American Presbyterian terms, Kuyper had some strong New School traits where Machen had none. To be sure Kuyper’s predestinarianism was at odds with the New Schools Arminian tints and his movement had a low impetus for “soul-saving,” but his organizational zeal was like Lyman Beecher’s in purpose and scale, his educational purposes at the Free University recalled Timothy Dwight’s at Yale, and his invocation of the “city on a hill” to describe the church’s place in a world recalled the charter image of Puritan New England which was ever the New Schools’ aspiration. In fact Kuyper honored New England as the “core of the American nation” and shared its definition of Christian liberty as a communal opportunity to do the right thing. At that Machen would only shudder. He indicted the “angry passions of 1861″ by which New England trampled on southern rights, and defined Christian liberty as the individual’s protection from the wrong thing. When put to the test, Machen endorsed the political model of Thomas Jefferson. At that Kuyper would only shudder back. (“Abraham Kuyper, J. Gresham Machen, and the Dynamics of Reformed Anti-Modernism,” Journal of Presbyterian History Winter 1997 75.4, 254)

So if folks like Maurina are going to talk about lines of historical continuity in the Reformed world, they may want to get their ducks in a row. And by the likes of these historians who taught/teach at Calvin College, the ties among Lyman Beecher, Abraham Kuyper, Carl McIntire, Francis Schaeffer may be stronger than the anti-2kers imagine.

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144 Comments

  1. mark mcculley
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Vos— “Now our Lord… contented himself with laying down the great religious and moral principles which ought to govern the life of man in every sphere. Their detailed application it was not His work to show.”

    Hart (unpublished)— If Christ the king was silent about these spheres, how can his subjects go beyond their ruler and still say they are doing the work of the king?

    SH: John Courtney Murray suggested that civility should be understood as “a disposition to conduct politics not as open warfare among conflicting interest groups, but as skilled and self-disciplined public ‘conversations.’ ” As such, civility is not just a political necessity, but a religious virtue. Its faithful exercise makes each of the communities participating in the American “public church,” as well as their respective members, more disposed to regard each other as mutually interdependent, as bound to each other, in Martin Marty’s terms, “by explicit or tacit agreement to mutual communication of whatever is useful and necessary for the harmonious exercise of social life….”

    SH:”Civility” thus is in our pluralistic context an indispensable precondition for building the Kingdom of God in America I must admit I thought that after John Murray Cuddihy’s The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi Strauss and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity, no one would be able to recommend civility without apology again. For as Cuddihy points out, civility is that part of the modernization process that requires the separation of private affect from public demeanor. It is the great bourgeois project to adapt the individual’s inner life to the socially appropriate.

    SH: “Niceness” is as good a name as any for the informally yet pervasively institutionalized civility required of members of the civic culture. Intensity, fanaticism, inwardness—too much of anything, in fact—is unseemly and bids fair to destroy the fragile solidarity of the surface we call civility. .”
    Civility is not merely regulative of social behavior; it is an order of “appearance” constitutive of that behavior. This medium is itself the message. “The Jews, ” writes Maurice Samuel, “are probably the only people in the world to whom it has ever been proposed that their historic destiny is—to be nice.”

    SH: Of course, you may well object that being nice is not a bad alternative to being killed. But the Holocaust is but the other side of assimilation into the new and oppressive order of civility.

  2. Richard Smith
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    MichaelTX: Hey Richard,
    Look there. We agree. The state is encroaching on the sphere of the Church and of the family… The state is to be at the service of the family because the individual is not born to the state but within the family. Though the same idea applies to the Church. God’s people are to be at the service of the individual in need of Christ’s presence. Which makes the Church not only a universal family born of God the Father but also the individual family born of the servant leader of the home. It is we who let the state do what the father ought, but also we often leave the Church to do what we ought as well.
    Blessings,
    Mike

    RS: Michael, it is good to agree on one thing. Blessings to you as well.

  3. Richard Smith
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Zrim: Richard, where is the state is going beyond its sphere and is encroaching on the sphere of the church?

    Erik Charter: Richard – It seems what most people don’t understand (here, on this blog) is that the state is going beyond its sphere and is encroaching on the sphere of the Church and of the family with its new laws on homosexuality

    How? Is the state making churches marry homosexuals, ordain homosexuals, or accept homosexuals as members?

    Is the state forcing us to accept homosexuals as members of our families?

    Oh, I forgot, all of us are the state in your muddled view.

    RS: Gentlemen (in charity), you might want to take a look at what is going on. The state is making a lot of moral statements about homosexuality and passing laws regarding hate speech that will be in the church before long. There are labor laws that will be passed that will require churches (if you want to retain tax exempt status, and go beyond that as well) not to preach against homosexuality as well as hire them as staff. They will force churchs (as far as they can) to perform homosexual weddings because that would be discrimination if you don’t. After all, if you deny a ceremony to an African American you should not be able to deny this to a homosexual. You can mock it if you want, but it will catch up to you before long.

    Erik Charter: Both of you guys (Terry & Richard) immanentize the eschaton. Jesus Christ is a big deal, but that doesn’t necessarily turn Christians into Ron Burgundy (or Darrell Todd Maurina):

    RS: No, EC, no immanentizing the eschaton at all. It is simply being faithful in all spheres of life rather than telling the non-church spheres to to hell if they don’t want to come to your building on Sunday. If you would listen to DTM rather than mock him you might actually learn something even if you disagree. Mocking people as a sport is not dealing with an argument at all. You really should also listen (read) to Terry Gray much more closely and not mock him so much either. If you would read carefully the least that would happen is that you would understand what he is saying so you could offer an intelligent (to some degree) response.

  4. Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Darryl, Zrim, scroll up to the last time we had this conversation about Christian schools. CRC emphasizes education in keeping with the demands of the covenant. I have no problem requiring that of church members. Often it’s a Reformed Christian school but it doesn’t have to be. Notice also the implicit recognition of sphere sovereignty. The church doesn’t establish Christian schools, the parents and members do. In our CRCNA we have Christian schoolers, public schoolers, and home-schoolers even among office bearers (including the pastor). No one out here reads the Church Order as narrowly as you all seem to read it.

  5. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Terry, I read it the way my own URC elders read it, which is to say that the church is called to promote and sustain a particular form of academia for covenant children. And while perhaps otherwise fit for office, those who take exception ought not even be considered for nomination. That’s to maintain order, but it’s to maintain an order per a form of legalism that simply cannot be biblically justified.

    It may be that in the CRC there is a disconnect between what the Order says and how things are practiced in real life. I’m glad for the liberty exercised there (I experienced it), but maybe it’s time for the language to catch up with the practice? One step in that direction is distinguish between catechism (binding) and curriculum (adiaphora).

  6. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Richard, without specific citations of what you are suggesting about the state encroaching on the church, you just sound like a neo-con talking about the Muslims coming to eat our first borns. It resonates with certain fears, I know, but where’s the beef?

  7. Richard Smith
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Zrim: Richard, without specific citations of what you are suggesting about the state encroaching on the church, you just sound like a neo-con talking about the Muslims coming to eat our first borns. It resonates with certain fears, I know, but where’s the beef?

    RS: Says the Ostrich. Zrim, I have no idea how you can honestly say that, but I suppose your theory requires you to do so. Meanwhile, the political process will continue unabated in setting up the extreme views of homosexuality as fact in the public schools and then the churches.

  8. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Richard, so, no you don’t have any specific citations to back up your claim that the state is now or intends to encroach on the church’s conscience? I’m just supposed to accept your chicken little routine because, well, everybody just knows the gays are coming and the state is lending a sword. But if the state which has dropped fornication and adultery laws hasn’t required churches to hire fornicators and adulterers or perform divorce ceremonies then what makes you think it’s going to be any different with homosexuals?

  9. mark mcculley
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Go underground. Don’t tell them you are a church. Even though you can see into their souls,rs, they can’t see into yours. Sure, they might kill your outside, but no way can they “set up a view” in your soul.

    Don’t worry so much. John the Baptist only lost his head.

    Remember. We are not talking about our sins now. Nor the forgiveness of our sins. They need us to talk about their sins.

    They come to us for gospel talk? We go to them with the law talk?

  10. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Hey Zrim,
    Sorry to butting in here and I know very few may agree with my Church’s teachings on this, but I believe it to be the clear will of God to anybody who truly looks into it to understand the Church’s stand against all contraceptives and abortifacience, which we are subsidizing in multiple ways.

    ” The new Mandate would requiring nearly all private health insurance plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs—drugs that interfere with implantation in the womb and therefore destroy the life of a human being in the earliest stage of development.”

    That is from: http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/mandate/

    Some may not agree with my stand, but I believe it to be a grave sin against God to tell him to get the hell out of the place of creation in the womb and let us just have fun with out you here to give new life. I don’t want to pay for anyone telling Him such a terrible thing, even if they haven’t thought of it that way before. We harm the world and those around us in many ways by not knowing what we ought. That is just how it it. Fallen world right? We are being renewed in our minds, but we are not there yet.

    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  11. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    MichaelTX, chiming in is fine but what does the mandate about contraception have to do with the gay marauders of Richard’s imaginations?

    Still, I’ll take your church’s language about education over the neo-Calvinist’s any day.

  12. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    I was responding to your question: Where is a “specific citations to back up your claim that the state is now or intends to encroach on the church’s conscience?”

  13. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    Here’s one that applies directly:

    A bill requiring public schools to teach the “historical contributions” of homosexual Americans was approved by the California legislature on Tuesday, July 5. The bill also prohibits any school material or instruction that reflects adversely on homosexuality, bisexuality or transgenderism, and prohibits parents from removing children from classes over offensive material.
    From: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/california-passes-bill-mandating-pro-gay-teaching-in-schools-no-parent-opt/

    We must remember “the Church” is God’s people, therefore to infringe on the conscience on the individual in these regards and force them to use their tax dollars to fund and empower these administrations is moving into the Church, which has no walls.

    Peace MichaelTX

  14. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    My atheist and other assorted unbelieving colleagues are always telling me how sick they are of Christians imposing their views politically on how they should live.

    Such as ramming creation theory into public schools and inflicting religious beliefs as normative for behaviour.

  15. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    kent,
    That is understandable of them, especially in education. Our problem is we have a public “discipleship” program we are all funding, therefore we all want our consciences respected. Now we are moving the same idea into health care.

  16. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    kent,
    State and nationally funded education is a relatively resent part of our government. It basically began in the 1920’s. Previous to that all education was essentially local and private. You talked to your neighbors not your representatives. Much better I think.

  17. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    MTX, thanks, but that involves the state carrying out an educational effort (something within its sovereign sphere in America, btw). My question was where the state is encroaching on the church in the specific ways Richard keeps suggesting. Sometimes it seems like whenever something is happening that Xns don’t like it gets awkwardly interpreted as some form of untoward encroachment or even persecution.

  18. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Thanks MTX:

    I feel like I”m back in a commons room watching the Patriots/Colts and 10 Pats fans are screaming on every play how the refs are being unfair (to put it mildly) to their team and 10 Colts fans are screaming they are getting ripped off on every play, but in the opposite way.

    And another 10 non-Pats/Colts fans are taking their hatred for one of the teams and yelling how the refs are damaging their team through a league conspiracy to stomp all over small markets.

  19. Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    I suppose that is one difference in me and your understanding of what the state is sovereign to do. I do not believe it is the states right to educate. I believe it is the state’s right to protect the right of the people to educate. I think that is in large part how our laws are screwed up in this area.

  20. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    MTX, I didn’t say the state is sovereign over or has an inherent right to education. I’m simply pointing out that in our civil arrangement the state is involved in education, and in what you provided all we see is it carrying out that task per its (ahem) worldview.

    But I’m still waiting to hear where the state the state is now or intends to encroach on the church’s conscience with regard to homosexuality.

  21. Richard Smith
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    kent: My atheist and other assorted unbelieving colleagues are always telling me how sick they are of Christians imposing their views politically on how they should live.

    Such as ramming creation theory into public schools and inflicting religious beliefs as normative for behaviour.

    RS: But why are you not sick of their ramming godless theories and their own beliefs of behavior down our throats?

  22. Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    I got ya. I suppose my point is that having “our civil arrangement” where “the state is involved in education” is the problem. Education is God’s call on the parents and therefore also the people of the Church. When it is given this responsibility it mucks it up, because it is not equipped by God for it, but the family and the Church are. The state must inherently surgically remove parts of education which God intends to be part of the education/discipleship of our children. This causes the attack on the right of the people and the Church that I and folks like Richard, if I understand him, realize to be occurring in our nation.
    Clearer?

    Peace, MichealTX

  23. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Richard, I have a job that takes up most of my waking hours, and leisure hours are often hampered by mulling over the work.

    And I try to live my life as a sinner saved by grace and am trying to adjust my life to meet what I believe are practical standards of personal piety, aided by Calvin and Horton and other noteworthies.

    And I fail miserably at it, the standards are impossible. I am ever so thankful for a forensic righteousness won through faith in the obedience of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And I will press on to live in gratitude for the grace that covers my guilt.

    So I have little time to worry about what straw men are doing out there, and people whom I will never meet, and all those floods and rounding up of Christians in North America and nuclear wars that never happened.

  24. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    kent,

    Love your heart brother. Just remember “I can do all things who Christ who strengthen me.” Don’t let that Fool of Old make you think God in Christ has not given you what you need to overcome the world. the flesh and the Devil, himself. His a great liar and he speaks all around us.

    Keep moving and learnin,
    MichaelTX

  25. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    MTX, like I suggested to Terry, there is a distinction between curriculum and catechism. The family and church are indeed called to the latter (not the state), but I see no problem with the state carrying out the former. Nor do I see any problem with families or private citizens carrying out the task of curriculum. With Reformed sensibilities about needing a clear or implied warrant from Scripture, what I find hard to justify is the idea that families and churches are biblically mandated to carry out curriculum.

    Much of the problem comes from assuming academia is about people making, which is actually the ordination of the home (soul redeeming the church, but there is overlap). What religious and secular worldviewers have in common is the assumption that schools do more than train minds to think, namely to also make human beings and shape worldviews. That’s why they fight over the homosexual stuff. But those of us who understand that academia is about the 3Rs can endure an educational system that is worldviewish in either direction—so long as the 3Rs are getting done we know that worldview is made at home and we will always have to push back and de-program something, whether it’s an affirmation of sexual deviancy or one that nurtures bigotry and paranoia. All in a day’s work.

  26. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I think I can basically agree with the idea you are presenting there. The problem remaining though is that education doesn’t teach how to think, quite often, but what to think. In a perfect world maybe your thoughts would work. In my world I teach my kids both, and they will move forward learning without me when that is God’s will. For now He has put them in my home and called me to be faithful. I do not believe this is the call on all parents, but it is mine.
    Peace Zrim,
    MichaelTX

  27. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Thanks MTX.

    The main problem I have with my Reformed faith is that those outside of it live public lives that put the Protestant evangelical community to shame. Serious Mormons and Catholics were and are amongst the best teachers, coaches, co-workers, bosses and overall lives lived that have influenced me directly (very ruefully for all kinds of labyrinthine reasons…)

    And there are so many other areas we lag at that are important in a temporal and eternal focus.

    But I have my gifts and temperament and life to lead and this path is optimal at present.

  28. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    The Lord gives us what we are called to as He wills it. May He keep you faithful with what He has given you and may you continue to seek Him for more wisdom and understanding. I could use some more too. Pray for me.

    Blessings,
    Mike

  29. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Sorry,
    That was to kent.

  30. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    kent,
    You may not know, but I am Catholic. Just so you know. One king calling us all. May we listen to Him faithfully.
    Peace, MichaelTX

  31. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks MTX, yes, I know that about you, I have a mind that quickly files these things.

    And I keep our diffs in mind, trying to achieve more than due respect…

  32. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I got a testimony over at my blog. I fully joined the Church in Easter 2012. So, I’m a bit new at it.

  33. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks,
    I’m still trying to get to know everybody over here.
    Blessings all and thanks for the patience.
    MichaelTX

  34. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    @Zrim, who said ” we will always have to push back and de-program something.”

    The one lesson from my k-12 public school education that was the most difficult to un-learn was not moral dissolution, but that mediocrity was acceptable. That was the lesson most strongly ingrained in me by k-12 ed., not sexual deviancy or other sorts of things. I don’t know what the case is in k-12 Christian day schools, if generalizations can be made.

  35. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    David, good point. It’s getting harder and harder to advocate for an educational system that doesn’t do the 3Rs very well.

  36. Richard Smith
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    kent: Richard, I have a job that takes up most of my waking hours, and leisure hours are often hampered by mulling over the work.

    And I try to live my life as a sinner saved by grace and am trying to adjust my life to meet what I believe are practical standards of personal piety, aided by Calvin and Horton and other noteworthies.

    RS: But of course, let us only be concerned about the practical standards. But remember that God does not settle for what we think of as practical. Usually, not sure about you, but practical simply means what I think I can or want to do. God’s standard is to love Him with all of our being.

    Kent: And I fail miserably at it, the standards are impossible. I am ever so thankful for a forensic righteousness won through faith in the obedience of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And I will press on to live in gratitude for the grace that covers my guilt.

    RS: Sounds like hard work.

    Kent: So I have little time to worry about what straw men are doing out there, and people whom I will never meet, and all those floods and rounding up of Christians in North America and nuclear wars that never happened.

    RS: But of course if you only think that the problems are straw men, it may be that you have already been encroached upon. But I suppose that is something that is not practical to worry about.

  37. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    David & Zrim,

    Gotta agree with both you guys on that one.

  38. Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Terry M. Gray posted April 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm: “Also, I was at Calvin for 11 years. I came under the district impression that I was one of only a handful of people who actually believed the Canons of Dort. CC is not a Reformed orthodoxy stronghold.”

    You sure got that one right.

    One of my theology professors at Calvin told me, I believe correctly, that the Christian Reformed Church can be explained by sociology, not theology.

  39. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    RS: Sounds like hard work.

    Yes, reality is hard work.

  40. Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Zrim. 3R’s, eh? You’ve got to be kidding. Public education today is indoctrination in PC. My work as a college teacher suggests that public K-12 education isn’t so good even at the 3R’s–not one of them. It’s truly shocking how many college students can’t read for content, write a coherent sentence, or do simple math.

  41. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Terry, I’ve already admitted the wanting state of public education–my work in standardized student assessments and isn’t exactly inspiring. But what I’m still curious about is a biblical justification for the church to “promote God-centered schooling” (URC CO 14) or the “…council shall diligently encourage the members of the congregation to establish and maintain good Christian schools…” (CRC CO 71). If I can admit the poor state of that for which I advocate, can you admit the biblical justification for that which you still seem wanting to defend is thin at best?

  42. Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Zrim, I don’t think I need Biblical justification for Christian education (although there is certainly Biblical warrant for training children in the faith). The notion of worldview, a philosophical notion, is what gives mandate to a worldview directed education, i.e. education is done from a perspective.

  43. Zrim
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Terry, my point isn’t about biblical warrant for Christian persons to pursue Christian education (i.e. academia). It’s about the institutional church speaking as if it is biblically warranted. I agree that the Bible calls for doctrinal instruction, but where does it call for academics? Maybe you don’t think there is any difference between catechism and curriculum, but that would only reveal the Reformed penchant to baptize the intellect. So here’s a test for your claim of educational liberty: how about editing CRC CO 71 with something more akin to RCC Catechism 2229?

  44. Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Article 71
    The council shall diligently encourage the members of the congregation to establish and maintain good Christian schools in which the biblical, Reformed vision of Christ’s lordship over all creation is clearly taught. The council shall also urge parents to have their children educated in har- mony with this vision according to the demands of the covenant.

    Zrim, I still think you are reading it too narrowly–encourage… Urge… Not to attend Christian schools but to educate in harmony with thus vision. Christ’s Lordship over all creation is catechism, confessional, and Biblical. Seems to me even 2K people confess it.

    Again the CO says that this is the work of members of the congregation and not the work of the church.

    If truth be told, I’d say that the CO doesn’t need this article in keeping with sphere sovereignty, but if its going to be there I like the latitude that it allows.

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