"For the Commandment is a lamp; and the Law is light; and reproofs and instruction are the way of life." Proverbs 6:23
A couple of years ago I was introduced to a book by Stephen C. Perks entitled, "The Christian philosophy of Education Explained." After reading its review I was eager to read it, in its entirety, for myself. To my delight, Perks was able to clearly state what most Christians are not even able to consider in the abstract. His work is perhaps one of the most important works on this topic. [Stephen C. Perks - Pub. Avant Books, P.O. Box 1 Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 1HP, England 1992]
In an effort to accurately reproduce Perks' insight upon the topic of Christian Education and the Covenant responsibility of all Christians, I began to structure my Sabbath Day lectures according to his outline with great success.
Since it is my solemn belief that Christ-centered Education is the high ground for the Christian goal of Cultural Dominion, Perks' work proved to be a formidable companion for realizing that end.
Education is the single most important discipline of life. Everyday we learn. The one thing that never ceases to take place is learning. While it is true that some are not adapt at learning well, nevertheless, they are learning something, even if it is that they are unable to learn well.
Yet, all education is not proper education. Some things learned are blatantly wrong and potentially destructive. Other things which are learned are useless, never bringing positive fruition to the life of the individual. What needs to be pursued, by every soul upon earth, is an Education which is True and profitable.
Education cannot exist in a vacuum. All education has, at its root, a fundamental presupposition. In other words, education cannot be neutral. It is not simply a list of facts, unattached to intentions that are fundamentally Theological in nature. The nature of education is religious. education either presupposes GOD or presupposes no God. All education has an epistemological [i.e. knowledge] base. That base is either God-centered [Theological/Theonomic i.e God's Law] or man centered [Humanistic - man's law].
Furthermore, education must have relevance. It must be applied if it is to have the transforming effect that it is intended for. The fact of the matter is that education is the means to change society. The simple equation then becomes clear. Good, Godly education, produces good and Godly societal change, while bad, humanistic, education produces bad, humanistic societal change. Without any doubt, education produces change. The question we face is "What kind of change will it produce?"
Education also must be all-encompassing. It must teach moral and spiritual character as well as practical academic knowledge. to teach facts in a vacuum without the Godly application of those facts, coupled with morality and ethics, merely produces "educated criminals". Once God's precepts of education are removed from the academic system, the system is doomed to produce Godless results. We see these results today.
Noah Webster emphases this in his 1828 Dictionary.
EDUCATION, n. [L. educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.
Thus, Webster includes, as an all important aspect of education, the manners and dispositions of the student. He also understands, and expresses, that the goal of education is to become useful and productive in society, for good. The focus of proper a good education, during the 1600 through the early 1800 was fundamental Christian. Webster notes this by use of the word, "religious". He then points to the parent as the principle source of education.
Education for Cultural Change
During the early 1930's, Germany's charismatic leader, Adolph Hitler, commanded the leaders of the Third Reich to begin the transformation of Germany. Hitler envisioned a New Germany, structured according to his personal vision. His goal was to solve the nations problems through national reform. The Nazification of the culture was under way.
Hitler's initial focus was upon the churches and the schools. Both institutions were educational and highly influential. Hitler's genius, as evil as it was, saw that by controlling these institutions, his task of dictatorship would be easy. Sadly, the German Christians supported the Nazi doctrines and leadership principles and wanted them to apply to their congregations. They would be come a Reich Church destined to bring the "Protestants into one all-encompassing body." Hitler gradually and then totally gained control over the churches and the doctrines they would teach.
Hitler provided jobs, restored Germany's military might, created general prosperity and brought Germany into the light of the world with his foreign policy. These accomplishments blinded the Christians into sacrificing their freedom for a bit of pottage. By 1941 the task to control the churches was complete, and Hitler declared the churches to be the National Reich Church.
William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" lists the demands upon the church. Among them were the following.
1. The National Reich Church [NRC] claimed exclusive rights and ecclesiastic control over all German churches.
2. The NRC would have no pastors, scribes, priests or chaplains. Only the National Reich orators would be allowed to speak.
3. The NRC would display no other book than the book written by Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf. Since Mein Kamph was nationally declared as the most important document of all time, containing the purest of ethics and truest doctrines, no other book was permitted upon the alters of the churches. Hitler declared that Mein Kampf was the most sacred book, to both the people and to God Himself, publicly placing himself above God.
4. Bibles and all religious artifacts were to be removed from all churches.
5. All crosses would be replaced with the Nazi swastika.
The education system was also transformed. A new national state, beginning with the re-indoctrination of the youth, was begun in 1933.
All professors and educators were screened to determine their political allegiance to the Nazi cause. Curriculums were revised and altered promoting only the Nazi agenda. A national brainwashing campaign was begun. Mandatory schooling of all children was enforced.
On November 6,1933 Hitler calmly stated,
"Your child belongs to us already. Who are you? You will pass on. Your descendents now stand in the new camp. In a short time you will know nothing except this new community."
And on May 1,1937 he stated,
"This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing."
Every discipline was taught through the Nazi World View. This view was fundamentally religious. It was fundamentally destructive. It is an event which will teach us nothing, if we do not learn from it and apply it to our situation today. The parallels are astonishing.
The Principle for Dominion
Since the World belongs to God, and He is the Creator, Lawgiver, Judge and Sovereign, God must define the World. Any definition apart from, or in contempt of, God and His Truth, is erroneous and potentially destructive.
Christian Education is the fundamental tool for Righteous, God- honoring, Cultural reconstruction. Without a solid Christian foundation of an explicitly well developed Christian World and Life view, victory and dominion, even liberty and life itself, cannot be established. All life must be viewed with and through Biblical understanding.
The good Christians in Hitler's Germany fell prey to Nazism simply because their Biblical Worldview, and concept of God-centered Dominion was flawed. Their epistemological basis of the Christian faith was undeveloped, which led to their deception.
What is Christian Dominion?
As a result of Christ's definitive Victory at Calvary, the New Testament Christian is placed in the responsible position of legislating and judging the world according to the Righteous decrees of God. His task is to put down all philosophies, notions, doctrines, and practices that seek to undermine the Truth of God's Law. Wherever and whenever the saint is presented with opportunity, he is to expound and apply God's Law in the public venue.
Providence dictates when and where we are to exercise Dominion. Dominion is to be sought whether it is in the home, the marketplace, in civil service, political service, business, or any other everyday situation. Wherever God has providentially placed us, we are to declare, and practice the Commandments.
The commission to subdue and take dominion rule over the earth is a command for the Christian to execute during his life on the earth.
Since the Christian is given such a commission, he is to actively seek to be privately and publicly influential. Escapism is not Biblical. Hiding behind the religion of Christianity so as not to become to vocal on political and economic issues is condemned by the Scriptures.
Knowledge of God's Truths, and the application of God's precepts are the tools of Dominion.
Perks sets the opening standard for the Christian, when he explains that,
"The task of theology, therefore is two fold: First the theologian aims to understand and communicate effectively the Truth of God's Word, and secondly, to apply the command word to God to the contemporary situation, thereby providing an intelligible basis for the practical out working of the Christian faith."
The task of each Christian is understanding and application. This is to be accomplished through Covenant Christian Education.
The Statist schools cannot accomplish this, nor do they try to. In fact, they seek to undermine God's definitive Truth by either forbidding it, or revising it. Simply speaking, the Christian should have absolutely nothing to do with the humanism of statist education. Christ must be the Sovereign Definer of Truth. All education must come under His Dominion in order for Righteous Dominion to flourish.
Originally published in 2003
is the founder and dean of the New Geneva Leadership Academy, pastor of the Reformed Bible Church in VA, and lecturer and CEO of the Institute for Theonomic Reformation. He has been involved in Christian education for more than 30 years operating a home school academy in addition to writing many monographs, articles and curricula in the area of Christian education. Dr. Raymond lives with his wife Jane and has three grown children and two grandchildren. Rev. Dr. Raymond's current projects include: teaching 40 new students from Rwanda, expanding his student reach to Australia and working as a court advocate in the local juvenile Justice system.