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The Great Commission

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Lesson 8: Godly Education

How to use the KLI: Online Worldview Training:

When you study the Holy Scriptures, how do you do it? First, you research. You compare scripture to scripture. You consult a concordance, dictionary, and a Bible commentary. Then you reason from the biblical truths and identify spiritual principles. Finally, you relate these truths and spiritual principles to your own life and the world around you. Many people record their personal Bible studies. To help you develop a biblical worldview you will use the research, reason, relate, and record teaching method, popularly called the 4 Rs of the Principle Approach. To learn more about the Principle Approach for teaching and learning, visit the Foundation for American Christian Education.

Select and print the lesson below. There are 10 lessons, each one containing scriptures and words to define using the online Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary. The study questions are designed to help you develop a biblical worldview and the principles of godly leadership. The training is based on the book, The Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual: Raising Up Leaders a Time Like This Demands, by Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas.

Godly Education

Education, in the Latin, means to pour in and draw out. “Educate” comes from the Latin root "ducere," meaning "to draw, lead." "E-" was then added to "ducere" to form "educere" which means "to draw out." This raises two questions, what are our secular public schools pouring into our children and, as a result, what is being drawn out?

Great Gates of Hell

Jesus taught we would discern the nature of things by the fruit it produces (Matthew 7:20). One just has to look at the condition of our public schools to realize there is a problem. Our schools have become veritable war zones. In addition to the violence, there is sexual immorality, pagan philosophy, gross vulgarity, rebellion, drugs and addiction. Why is this so?

There is a principle that nature abhors a vacuum. Whenever the knowledge of God is removed from the public life of a nation, violence and perversion always replaces it. This is the inescapable lesson that preceded Noah’s deluge (Genesis 6). America officially banished God from the classroom in the 1960s and into the void rushed every kind of unclean bird and doctrine of devils (1 Timothy 4:1, Revelation 18:2).

Martin Luther, the Father of the Reformation, stated:
I am very much afraid that our schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.

Does virtue and morality come to mind when thinking of our public school system? Or does depravity and immorality?

Look up the definition for “education” in the online Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary. Write out the definition below.

Continue your word study. Look up the definition for “enlighten.” Write out the five definitions below.

Read Hosea 4:1-6.

Consult Strong's Concordance online. Look up the Hebrew definition for “knowledge,” Strong’s number 01847. Write out the full definition below.

Malachi 2:7 reads, “For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” Note the Hebrew word for knowledge (Strong's number 01847)is the same as in Hosea.

Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

Consult Strong’s Concordance again. Look up the Greek definition for “knowledge,” Strong’s number 1108. Write out the full definition below.

Reason from your word study and the scriptures. According to the definition of "education," who possesses the "immense responsibility" to educate children? Based on Hosea and 2 Corinthians, what should be taught? Is biblical knowledge primarily “moral wisdom” or intelligence? What is the knowledge that a priest’s lips should keep? How does that relate to the Greek definition of knowledge, “things lawful and unlawful for Christians?” ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Relate what you have learned to your own life and the world around you. Are you pursuing intellectual accomplishment above moral wisdom? Are you educating your children according to the classic definition of education and the Bible’s definition of knowledge? If you are a young person attending secular school, what can you do to safeguard your moral and spiritual wellbeing within a public school environment? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Education and the Founding Fathers

What did our Founding Fathers believe about education? How did their view of education shape our country? Let us look at the Father of American Education, Noah Webster. Webster was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1758. He was the first to create an American dictionary. He was also the author of the "blue-backed speller," the text book that taught our nation to read and spell. Within this text book were biblical admonitions and stories that built christian character. According to historian and author, Bill Federer, Webster was known as "the schoolmaster of the Nation" and his 1828 dictionary, "contained the greatest number of biblical definitions in any secular volume."

In other words, the Father of American Education published a dictionary based upon a bibilical worldview and our country's earliest text book contained bibilcal precepts. According to Noah Webster's definition of education, education must build into our children the foundation of godly character in order to prepare them for their future stations in life. Webster also mentions that academics have a place in education, but it is secondary to religious training. Remove God and his Word from educating our young and there be no basis for true knowledge, wisdom, and understanding (Proverbs 1:7). Without the fear of the Lord impressed upon children's souls, there is no sound foundation for education.

In addition, in his History of the United States, Webster wrote:
Rpublican government loses half of its value, where the moral and social duties are imperfectly understood, or negligently practiced. To exterminate our popular vices is a work of far more importance to the character and happiness of our citizens, than any other improvements in our system of education...Almost all the civil liberty now enjoyed in the world owes its origin to the principles of the Christian Religion.

After the Bible, the Westminster Catechism, a shorter version of the Westminster Confession of Faith, was the most published piece of writing in pre-revolutionary America. But private homes and churches were not the only place the Catechism was taught. It was interwoven into the fabric of early colonial life. Towns had an officer whose work it was to visit homes to make sure children were being catechized by their father, as learning it was law. Children were taught the Catechism at school, the Catechism being part of the New England Primer. In addition, agreement with the Westminster Confession of Faith was formally required at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. As one website on primary source documents put it, “There was not a person at Independence Hall in 1776 who had not been exposed to it, and most of them had it spoon fed to them before they could walk.”

History proves that our Founding Fathers did not see a distinction between private worship and public education. In way of example, let us look closely at the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, Harvard College. Graduates from Harvard include Rufus King (a signer of the United States Constitution), John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, William Williams, William Hooper, Elbridge Gerry, Robert Treat Paine, and William Hooper (all signers of the Declaration of Independence).

Harvard College was founded in 1636, 16 years after the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, for the purpose of supplying ministers of the Gospel. It is named after John Harvard, a minister who at his death in 1638 left his library and half of his estate to the institution. The early motto of Harvard was Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae, which means, "Truth for Christ and the Church."

Engraved upon a wall in Harvard College is the following inscription:

After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had built our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.

As shocking as that may seem in the modern are, Harvard College dared to lay out the historical vision for true education:

Let every student be plainly instructed and consider well that the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus, which is eternal life. And therefore to lay Christ as the bottom as the only foundation of all sounding learning and knowledge.

Although it is true Harvard slowly began to lose its spiritual moorings when Increase Mather stepped down from the presidency in 1701 and secularist John Leverett was later elected as president, the underlying set of principles remained for sometime. According to Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison, although Leverett departed from encouraging a “particular sect,” “the spirit of religion” remained at the college. More importantly, Leverett left the curriculum as it was so the framework was still biblical, albeit not as emphatically Christian as at its founding.

Clearly, the framework was still biblical as the Harvard College Laws of 1700 stated, “If any student shall, either through willfulness or negligence, violate any law of God or of this college, after being twice admonished, he shall suffer severe punishment, at the discretion of the President or his tutor. But in high-handed offences, no such modified forms of punishment need be expected.”

It also stated, “If any student is absent from prayers, or recitation, unless necessarily detained, or by permission of the President or tutor, he shall be liable to an admonition; and if he commit the offence more than once in a week, to such other punishment as the President or tutor shall assign.”

Research the two primary source documents for Harvard College, comparing the laws of 1642 with the laws of 1700. Go to
How are they similar? How are they different? Which one is more emphatically Christian?

Read the primary source document, “The History of the Founding of Harvard College.”

Dr. Benjamin Rush was a Founding Father and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was also a physician, educator, and founder of the Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Read Dr. Rush’s 1830 tract, “A Defense of the Bible in Schools.” Summarize his eight arguments for using the Bible as textbook.

Dr. Rush warned of two severe consequences that would befall America if we were ever foolish enough to remove the Bible as the cornerstone of American education. The first consequence would be that our form of government would change. Take a moment and reflect. Is it not true that many Americans erroneously believe our nation is a Democracy? Is it not evident that our Constitutional Republic is fast becoming an Oligarchy?

The Supreme Court today sits as a god among us, answerable to no one- not the Constitution and certainly not the Supreme Law Giver, God Almighty. Black robed jurists have unleashed hell upon this nation by removing the knowledge of God from the public life of our nation. Our children our suffering the penalty of their judicial arrogance.

Dr. Rush also warned that our taxes would become excessive and spent on the punishment of crime instead of its prevention through an education centered on the Bible. In order for a nation to thrive and be free, Dr. Rush knew children must learn and obey the Word of the Lord. He understood the biblical truth that we are “destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

The Biblical Model

We have looked at the historic American definition of education and examples of education in the founding of America. Are they in keeping with the biblical model of education?

According to Rosalie June Slater, author of The Family and the Nation─Biblical Childhood:

In not nation in the history of the Old Testament were children so conscientiously educated as were the children of (ancient) Israel. It was an education centered in religion and therefore all aspects and all subjects were related to knowledge of the LORD and His works, and to man’s relationship to man in the light of God’s principles.

The biblical model for education is a far cry from our modern educational system. Nowhere in the Bible does God ordain the state to teach children. Although the church can help supplement our children’s education, the primary responsibility, according to God’s Word, is the parents. The scriptures teach honor thy father and thy mother, not “thy principal" or "thy teacher.” The Apostle Paul affirms this truth by stating, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1).

Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 32:46-47.

Reason from the scriptures and your word study on education. Whose responsibility is it to teach children? What needs to be inculcated? What inherent promise is contained within Deuteronomy 32 as it relates to teaching the law?

According to these passages from Deuteronomy, the greatest commandment is to love God and the greatest application of that commandment is home education. Moses declared this was not a vain thing; it was to be our life. How many Christians in America agree with Moses’ assessment on the meaning of life? How many truly believe the meaning of the Christian life is to get married, have as many children as God allows, and then home educate them for the glory of God and the advancement of his kingdom? (See Malachi 2:15).

There is a major difference between the biblical model of education, which is family based and relational, and the Greek model of education, which is what we see in America’s school systems today. The biblical model of education is discipleship and mentoring, while the Greek model is expediency, which merely views children as wards of the state. The biblical model emphasizes God at its center. The Greek model emphasizes the state. The biblical model bonds the family. The Greek model bonds children to principals, teachers, and peers. The biblical model nurtures honor for father and mother. The Greek model nurtures rebellion against father and mother. The biblical model emphasizes principle, what is right, while the Greek model emphasizes pragmatism, what works, regardless if it is right or wrong.

So what is the goal of education as far as our Lord is concerned? John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, maintained, “The end of learning is to repair the ruin of our first parents by regaining to know God aright; and out of that knowledge to love Him, to imitate Him, and to be like Him.”

Jesus, the great teacher, demonstrated this teaching style with his apostles. He ate with them, walked with them, and lived with them. This was part of his discipleship program. It was not a sterilized setting with classrooms segregated by age groups based upon an evolutionary model of education. No! Jesus taught God’s message and modeled it before his disciples as a way of life. They in turn passed the truth of God to others as a way of life. This kingdom educational program was so effectual that the world labeled the early Christians as followers of “the way.”

Visit the Foundation for American Christian Education and read the article, The Christian Idea of the Child, by Carole G. Adams.

Reason from the scriptures and what you have just read. “The twenty-first century is an age in opposition” to whom? “We must reassert the Christian idea of the child” in what areas of life? “The Hebrew home that nurtured our Lord in his childhood shared this focus of remembering” what in history? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lastly, relate these principles to your own life and the culture. Are you educating your children according to the precepts of the Word of God? How can you ensure a multi-generational vision? Are you mentoring your children? What can you do to “reassert the Christian idea of the child” in culture?

As we have researched, education involves enlightening the understanding. It deals with the inner man. We know our Founding Fathers experienced such an education, an education undergirded by the Word of God. They, in turn, gave birth to the freest nation the world has ever known.

If our nation is ever to have a new birth of freedom that secures a future and a hope for our posterity, we must obey God when it comes to the education of our children. Every academic study must relate back to the Word of God and the principles contained therein. To accomplish this noble goal in education, I highly recommend the Principle Approach, America's historic Christian method of education. You can learn more from Foundation for American Christian Education.">the Foundation for American Christian Education.

Homeschooling is designed to inculcate a multi-generational kingdom vision into the hearts of our young. In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3). Christian home education has this treasure as its rock solid foundation. Christian parents should embrace the godly task of rearing up critical thinkers who, like the children of Issachar, understand the times to know what our nation should do. We must impart a vision and mission that will inspire the next generation of kingdom leaders.

For a fuller treatise of the subject, read The Kingdom Leadership Institute Manual: Raising Up Leaders a Time Like This Demands.

Proceed to lesson 9

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