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  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
 
Americaís Journey Into Darkness-3
Education: From Walking In The Light to Groping In The Dark

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 01/11/04

Psalm 78:1-8

Introduction

In my first message of this series we saw that a family as defined in the Bible, is the backbone of any society. Colonial preacher Cotton Mather said the "well ordered families naturally produce a good order inÖsociety." As families degenerate, society begins to disintegrate. We are seeing this disintegration take place before our eyes.

In my second message we saw that the Christian religion and biblical principles were the cornerstone of our Republic. Following those principles is the reason our nation has been so richly blessed! However, as our society has become more materialistic they have become increasingly secular. As they have become increasingly secular they have ignored our biblical roots and denied that they really exited.

In this message we are going to look at American Education.

  • Education and The Bible

The first institution that God established was the family. Even a general survey of the Bible makes it clear that parents have the responsibility to instruct and teach their children. There is no hint that God has ever taken that responsibility from the parents. There are some passages the indicate the father and motherís responsibility in this area -- Deuteronomy 6:3-15; Psalm 78:1-8.

Turn with me to Proverbs 1:8 "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:" Next, turn to Proverbs 4:1 "Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding." Another passage is Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." The New Testament puts it this way, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up (rear them to maturity) in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

There is an indication in the Bible that parents sometimes did engage the help of others in teaching their children. Turn to Acts 22:3 "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day." It is important to note that Paulís education reflected the religious values of his family. Parents, remember that the education your child receives is important and characteristically has a lasting influence on his or her thinking and character.

  • Education and Our Nation

For the first 200 years of education in North America, the primary goal of schooling was to build character, biblical character, in the lives of those who were being educated and teach them to read so that they could read and study the Bible. The original Puritan, Pilgrim and Separatist colonists, possessed the Reformers desire that everyone be able to read the Bible. They believed that a biblically literate population was the best insurance for a successful society.

Our founding fathers, even those who were not avowedly Christian, recognized that education should primarily serve to encourage faith in Christ. They acknowledged that civilizationís health and very existence depended on people who understood and lived Christian principles. Jedediah Morse (father of Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph) wrote, "Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them."

Noah Webster, who was called the Schoolmaster of the Nation said, "Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was Americaís basic textbook in all fields. Godís Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct." Noah Webster (1758-1843).

I hold in my hand an 1823 schoolbook authored by Noah Webster. The title is "The American Spelling Book; Containing the rudiments of the English Language for the use of schools in the United States." Many of you have heard me say before that this book contained A Moral Catechism beginning on page 156. A question at the beginning of this moral catechism is this Ė "What rules have we to direct us in our moral conduct? The answer: "Godís word contained in the Bible, has furnished all the necessary rules to direct our conduct." Friend, this schoolbook is saturated with biblical principles. Another example is seen on page 43. After a list of words the pupils are to become familiar with we read this:

"Lessons of easy words, to teach children to read, and know their duty.

Lesson 1 Ė

No man may put off the law of God:

My joy is in his law all the day.

O may I not go in the way of sin!

Let me not go in the way of ill men.

What about higher education? Theodore Roosevelt said, "A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education." Along a similar line Yale University Professor of English Literature, William Lyon Phelps (1865-1943) said, "I believe that knowledge of the Bible without a college education is more valuable than a college education without the Bible."

I believe Teddy Roosevelt and W.L. Phelps were right! When a society knows and lives the truths of the Word of God they are building on a foundation of bedrock. When a society neglects or spurns the truths of Godís Word they are building on a foundation of sand (see Matthew 7:24-27). New York Tribune founder Horace Greeley (1811-1872) knew the value of a nation of Bible-reading people. He said, "It is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible-reading people."

Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was also known as The Father of Public Schools Under the Constitution. He wrote a paper titled "A Defence of the Use of The Bible as a School Book." (see-www.biblebelievers.com/Bible_in_schools.html)

"The benefits of an early and general acquaintance with the Bible were not confined to the Jewish nation; they have appeared in many countries in Europe since the Reformation. The industry and habits of order which distinguish many of the German nations are derived from their early instruction in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible. In Scotland and in parts of New England, where the Bible has been long used as a schoolbook, the inhabitants are among the most enlightened in religions and science, the most strict in morals, and the most intelligent in human affairs of any people whose history has come to my knowledge upon the surface of the globe.

"I wish to be excused from repeating here that if the Bible did not convey a single direction for the attainment of future happiness, it should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.

"I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues which constitute the soul of republicanism."

You do not read any of this genuine history in todayís secular history books. I have a minor in education from a Christian University and I did not lean any of it there either! So you have to ask yourselfÖ

  • Where Did American Education Go Wrong?

They moved from walking in the light of Godís Word to walking in the darkness of human philosophy! Hereís why I say that. The "Father of American Public Education," Horace Mann, conceived of an educational system that sought to develop character, but without any religious creed (faith). But, there can be no enduring character development without divine authority! Otherwise sin will eventually become a matter of majority vote. Sinful men arbitrarily decide what is sinful. Thatís exactly what is happening in our culture. State after State is dropping their laws against fornication and adultery.

Mannís educational plan was the beginning of the long slippery slope of excluding God from public education. From that time on, education became increasingly a tool of secularism and humanism. Secularism seeks to remove Godís existence, or at least His relevance, in daily life. Humanism centers the universe on humanity, making man, rather than a divine creator, its most important being. (That is not to say there are not Christians working in this system. Many of them act as missionaries in an increasingly adversarial environment). Charles Francis Potter, who is a signer of the 1933 Humanist Manifesto and author of Humanism: A New Religion put it pretty clearly, "Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?" He has a valid point, does he not? Therefore, I believe parents should seriously consider other options for the education of their children. And, if it is your choice keep your children in the public schools, you need to heavily oversee your childís education. Know what is in their books. Talk with your child and their teachers, and if you do not like what you see suggest alternatives assignments to their teachers. Your children and our nation are at stake.
 

 

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First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

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