Ask the Pastor — What Should We Make of the Current Higher Education Scene?

Dear Pastor,

Can you elaborate on the concept that University academia is inherently flawed and anti-Christian? I have always noticed that the Christians I know that have been to University tend to be more political leaning in one way, more sympathetic to humanistic ideas, anti-death penalty, more sympathetic to homo ‘rights’ etc etc.

Obviously you can be a Christian and be extremely infected with worldly ideas…which Universities of course specialise in propagating. What would be the practical alternative in an ideal world?

Thanks in advance,

Felix

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Dear Felix,

Thank you for writing.

The modern University system is flawed and anti-Christian because, in the great percentages of cases, it is owned and operated by the Cultural Marxists. As such, when you attend a University you are paying top dollar to be propagandized into one form of Marxism or another. Christian parents who pay to send their children to University are shelling out 20K a year for the privilege of having their children indoctrinated against Christianity. Christian Universities and Colleges are usually the worst because they take the same doctrines and teachings and cover them with a thin patina coating of “Christianity,” thus convincing students that the Marxist faith is, in point of fact, the Christian faith. Because this is so, I wouldn’t send my dog to modern Christian Universities – Colleges, never mind God’s covenant seed.

Second, there is the whole student debt angle. Many students graduate University with house mortgage type debt and a lousy degree. This insures that they will remain controlled and ineffectual as they are beholden to what jobs they can find and as they will be so consumed with working to pay off their debt that they will likely not take the time to ever think for themselves. Once you’ve interacted with professional Academicians one easily begins to see why our church and culture is in the shape it is in.

However, Felix, this is not anti-intellectualism on my part. It is, rather, anti-humanist intellectualism on my part. It is simply the case that by in large Christian intellectualism is dead on the vine. Harry Blamires made this point over a generation ago in his book, “The Disappearance of the Christian Mind,”

“We are all caught up, entangled, in the lumbering day-to-day operations of a [social] machinery, working in many respects in the service of ends which we as Christians reject. This situation, the present [schizophrenic] situation of thousands of thinking Christians is the end product of a process that began the day Christians first decided to stop thinking Christianly in the interests of national harmony; the day when Christians first felt that the only way out of endless public discussion was to limit the operation of acute Christian awareness to the spheres of personal morality and spirituality.

From that point, the spheres of political, cultural, social, and commercial life became dominated by pragmatic and utilitarian thinking.”

The only way the Christian mind will be recovered is to not marinate our children’s minds in the paganism that is typical of Universities, Colleges, and Seminaries Christian or otherwise.

Third, there is the whole Frat house – whore house college experience which emphasizes College as a Summer camp – Animal house experience. Hardly healthy.

Yes, I fully realize Felix, that exceptions to all this exist but the exceptions are indeed exceptions. We are floating in a sea of Academic Humanism.

What are the alternatives …

1.) Autodidact
2.) Education by Extension (College Plus)

In college plus one can get the Bachelor’s degree without being indoctrinated.

3.) Forget formal education and become Entrepreneur.

One more point on this score that you did not ask about but I want to mention. Christians, in order to overcome this current situation, simply have to get over the whole idea of “accreditation.” Educational establishments like to tote that they are “accredited.” Christian needs to start asking, “Yes, but accredited by who?” You see, the point I’m making is to ask why Christians think it is important that their children attend schools accredited by the humanist enemy who wishes to destroy us. Consider Gordon College. Recently, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Commission on Institutions of Higher Education considered whether Gordon College’s ban on “homosexual practice” runs contrary to its Commissions Standards for Accreditation.

Why would Gordon College care? If the Cultural Marxists don’t want to Accredit our schools that should be a reason for rejoicing. Christians, should they desire to return to Academic and Intellectual respectability, simply have to give up trying to curry the favor of Humanist Accreditation agencies.

Charles Hodge — 19th Century Old Princeton Theologian On the Failure of Government Schools

“As children are bound to honor and obey their parents, so parents have duties no less important in reference to their children” (352).

The “Bible does require that education should be religiously conducted…(Deut.6:6,7 11:19 Ps.78:5-7 Prov.22:6 Eph.6:4)…These are not ceremonial or obsolete laws. They bind the consciences of men just as much as the command, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ If parents themselves conduct the education of their children, these are the principles upon which it must be conducted. If they commit that work to teachers, they are bound, by the law of God, to see that the teachers regard these divine prescriptions…This is an obligation which they cannot escape…Christianity requires that education in all its departments should be conducted religiously” (354,355).

“If a man is not religious, he is irreligious; if he is not a believer, he is an unbeliever. This is as true of organizations and institutions, as it is of individuals. Byron uttered a profound truth when he put into the mouth of Satan the words ‘He that does not bow to God, has bowed to me.’ If you banish light, you are in darkness. If you banish Christianity from the schools, you thereby render them infidel…This controversy, therefore, is a controversy between Christianity and infidelity; between light and darkness; between Christ and Belial” (355,356).

Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
Systematic Theology, James Clarke and Co., 1960, Vol.3, pgs.352-356.

“Children are not to be allowed to grow up without care or control. They are to be instructed, disciplined, and admonished, so that they are brought to knowledge, self control, and obedience. This whole process of education is to be religious, and not only religious, but Christian. It is bring[ing] them up in the training and instruction of the Lord which is the appointed and the only effectual way of attaining the goal of education. Where this means is neglected or any other substituted for it, the result must be disastrous failure. The moral and religious element of our nature is just as essential and as universal as the intellectual. Religion, therefore, is as necessary to the development of the mind as knowledge. And as Christianity is the only true religion, and God in Christ the only true God, the only possible means of profitable education is the nurture and admonition of the Lord…it is infinite folly for men to assume that they are wiser than God or to attempt to accomplish a goal through any means other than those which he has appointed.” (Comments on Eph.6:4).

Charles Hodge (1797 – 1878)
Commentary on Ephesians, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1994, pg.204.

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It needs to be said here that homeschooling is not the magic bullet that cures the failure of Government schools. Homeschooling that is done outside the context of an epistemologically self conscious curriculum and teachers will inevitably result in not being a whit better than the curriculum and teaching that is offered in Government schools.

Further successful homeschooling will require a dearth of modern entertainment forms in the home, at least until such a time as the child is old enough to reinterpret the entertainment through a Biblical gird. (And by that time that takes place there likely will be little desire for modern entertainments.) It will require a extremely careful selection of playmates for one’s children. It will require pain staking care regarding what church is selected. It will require a close monitoring on the worldview that is adopted by one’s children. Most of all it requires casting all upon the mercy of the Lord Christ to have grace upon our children. Even when parents have been as faithful as they know how to be we must all end by admitting that “we are unprofitable servants.”

Too often I fear that people think that homeschooling is a magic bullet that by itself will rescue our children from the evil one. It won’t. It may me a better means of education than Government schools but I’ve seen to much homeschooling to think that by itself it is going to impact the culture.

R. L. Dabney Writes On Government Education circa 1873 … Is Proved Right in 2014

“Said Daniel Webster…‘In what age, by what sect, where, when, by whom, has religious truth been excluded from the education of youth? Nowhere never. Everywhere, and at all times, it has been and is regarded as essential. It is of the essence, the vitality of useful instruction’”

Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898)
“State Free Schools” and “Secularized Education” in Discussions Vol.4,
Ross House Books and Sprinkle Publications, 1979 [1897], pg. (219).

By now people well know my opposition to Government schools. Of course my opposition is only a reflection of my reading and observations. In what follows in this post I am combining my reading of Dabney with the observations of Bobbi Leigh Swagger, a person who is closely connected to Government schools and what goes on there. Knowing about Government schools is part of Bobbi Leigh’s vocation and career. Hopefully, the result of the combination of the abstract (my reading) with the concrete (real life accounts from Bobbi Leigh) will make a bigger impact on Christians to the end of getting their children out of Government schools if at all possible.

“We propose now…that tuition in Christianity is essential to all education which is worth the name…we mean in the fullest sense that Christianity must be a present element of all the training at all times, or else it is not true and valuable education…The human spirit is a monad, a single, unit, spiritual substance, having facilities and susceptibilities for different modifications, but no parts. Hence, when it is educated it is educated as a unit…it is impossible to separate the ethical and intellectual functions…knowledge is really valuable only as it is in order to right actions… The nature of responsibility is such that there can be no neutrality…‘He that is not with his God is against him.’ He who does not positively comply with the ever-present obligation does ipso facto violate it, and contract positive sinfulness. Hence as there cannot be in any soul a non-Christian state which is not anti-Christian, it follows that any training which attempts to be non-Christian is therefore anti-Christian. God is the rightful, supreme master and owner of all reasonable creatures, and their nearest and highest duties are to him. Hence to train a soul away from him is a robbery of God, which he cannot justify in any person or agency whatsoever” (220,221).

Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898)
“State Free Schools” and “Secularized Education” in Discussions Vol.4,
Ross House Books and Sprinkle Publications, 1979 [1897], pg. (220, 221).

“There can be, therefore, no true education without moral culture, and no true moral culture without Christianity” (222). R. L. Dabney

1. Just found out that a school in one of the former Cotton States just took down the walls of the bathroom stalls in the school because the kids were fornicating in the bathrooms. Oh, by the way this was a Middle School.

Bobbi Leigh Swagger

(I’m still working on understanding how it is that a child who would fornicate in a bathroom stall would suddenly find some scruples and modesty about fornicating without a stall.)

“Education is the nurture and development of the whole man for his proper end. The end must be conceived aright in order to understand the process” (230).

Is “a really secularized education either possible or admissible?…No people of any age, religion, or civilization, before ours, has ever thought so…Pagan, Papist, Mohammedan, Greek, Protestant, have all hitherto rejected any other education than one grounded in religion, as absurd and wicked” (230,231).

R. L. Dabney

“In one school district in which I operate they recently sent kids home with a test that said:

True or False: Christopher Columbus came to America and boiled the natives alive to make soap.”

Bobbi Leigh Swagger

“True education is, in a sense, a spiritual process, the nurture of a soul…Every line of true knowledge must find its completeness in its convergency to God, even as every beam of daylight leads the eye to the sun. If religion be excluded from our study, every process of thought will be arrested before it reaches its proper goal…[What if an unbeliever claims to be merely] teaching some purely secular course, without any such maiming of his subjects or prejudicing of Christianity? If his teaching is more than a temporary dealing with some corner of education, the fact will be found to be that it is tacitly anti-Christian; overt assaults are not made; but there is a studied avoidance which is in effect hostile. There can be no neutral position between two extremes, where there is no middle ground, but ‘a great gulf fixed’…The training which does not base duty on Christianity is, for us, practically immoral.”

R. L. Dabney (232-236)

In the Lone Star state I recently spoke with a parent who told me that her 9th grade daughter came home on Friday telling her mom that the teacher told them that Pocahontas married John Smith.

The child brought her own book about Pocahontas back to the school on Monday to show her that only in a Disney movie did Pocahontas fall in love with John Smith. The teacher said,

“I asked around, and none of the history teachers here agree with your version. They all think she married John Smith, so you must be wrong.”

Bobbi Leigh Swagger

The Christian creed of responsibility: “According to this, obligation to God covers all of every man’s being and actions. Even if the act be correct in outward form, which is done without any reference to his will, he will judge it a shortcoming. ‘The plowing of the wicked, is sin’ [Prov.21:4]…Our Savior has declared that there is no moral neutrality… The comparison of these truths will make it perfectly plain that a non-Christian training is literally an anti-Christian training” (238).

R. L. Dabney

In Connecticut I interviewed a Mother who told me her child was being summoned to the Dr. today for a psychological evaluation because her son had been cutting himself in 5th grade, stressed out over their new standardized tests.

Bobbi Leigh Swagger

(By the way folks … 5th grade means we are talking about a 9 or 10 year old.)

The “direction of the education of children…[is] properly a domestic and parental function…[God] looks to parents, in whom the family is founded, as the responsible agents of this result…He has also in the fifth Commandment connected the child proximately…with the parents, which, of course, confers on them the adequate and the prior authority…It thus appears that naturally the parent’s authority over their children could not have come by deputation from either State or visible Church…[But] the dispensation of Divine Providence in the course of nature shows where the power and duty of educating are deposited…No parent can fail to resent, with a righteous indignation, the intrusion of any authority between his conscience and convictions and the soul of his child. If the father conscientiously believes that his own creed is true and righteous and obligatory before God, then he must intuitively regard the intrusion of any other power between him and his minor child, to cause the rejection of that creed, as a usurpation…If this usurpation is made by the visible church, it is felt to be in the direction of popery, if by the magistrate, in the direction of despotism” (243,244).

R. L. Dabney

What “Protestant concedes therefrom that his religious rights were either conferred, or can be rightfully taken away, by civil authority?…The State or Church has no more right to invade the parental sphere than the parent to invade theirs…Did our republican fathers hold that any people have ever the right to subvert the moral order of society ordained by God?…So far is it from being true that the civil authority is entitled to shape a people to suit itself; the opposite is true, the people should shape the civil authority.” (245,246).

R. L. Dabney

In another case in the nutmeg state a Mom pulled child out after she showed up at the child’s school to get the child for a doctor’s appt…she had a doctor’s note/summons in her hand and they wouldn’t let her have her kid. Period.

Bobbie Leigh Swagger

Concluding with Dabney,

The State has no right to oppose the theological beliefs of Christians, but they do oppose these beliefs when they educate souls as they do, “because a non-Christian training is an anti-Christian training” (238).

“Since all truths converge towards God, he who is not to name God…can only construct a truncated figure…And no person nor organism has a right to seem to say to a responsible, immortal soul, ‘In this large and intelligent and even ethical segment of your doings you are entitled to be godless’” (239,240).

“In fact the Church does not and cannot repair the mischief which her more powerful, rich, and ubiquitous rival, the secularized State, is doing in thus giving, under the guise of a non-Christian, an anti-Christian training” (241).

Closing observations

1.) Keep in mind that R2K insists that there is no such thing as Christian Education.

2.) Obviously, not all Government schooled children will all have equally bad horror stories about their time in Government schools. Some accounts will be less bad than other accounts but all will be bad. Even in my own time we were taught the occult and given death studies. We also did the whole communist re-education thing in writing biographies.

3.) Even if Government schooled children have a comparative “good” schooling experience nothing can take away the fact that your children are being educated into a Worldview where God is hated and is seen as irrelevant.

John Murray Contra R2K … Christian Education Is a Must

“Now if the biblical revelation is ultimate for thought, outlook, and practice, we must readily see the implications for education… In a word, education must be Christian… [This] means that the subject matter of the classroom must derive its interpreting principles from the Christian revelation” (368,369).

“How indispensable to education from the earliest years, even before the child arrives at school age, is the word of Gen.1:1…No question is more urgent than that of whence… Whence the universe in which we live? Correlative is the doctrine of God’s providence… [Thus] unless the school fosters the fear of the Lord as the beginning of knowledge and of wisdom, the influence of the home and of the church, even when it is to a high degree exemplary, tends to be negated, and it is common knowledge and experience that in many cases the school has undermined what home and church have sought to establish and develop” (369).

“Education, apart from any conception of man as to his distinguishing identity, purpose, and destiny, is inconceivable…If education is to be Christian, it must be based upon and conducted in terms of the Christian view of man. If not, it is not Christian, and if not Christian it is alien and opposed to Christian interests…If boys and girls…are in the image of God, if that is their identity, their chief end cannot be anything less than to glorify God and to enjoy him. And education that is destitute of this objective, or has allowed it to suffer eclipse has lost its direction” (370,371).

“Christianity gives us a world view; it enunciates principles which underlie all our thinking if we are Christian; it prescribes the governing conceptions in terms of which we are to interpret reality. Christianity is not something tacked on to our world view; it is itself a world view. And the central features of our Christian faith are conditioned by, and in turn condition, that world view” (372).

The sum is: “The whole range and content of education must be God-centered; that is, God must be the unifying principle and the interpreting principle of the whole curriculum” (374).

John Murray (1898-1975)
“Christian Education,” in Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol.1, Banner of Truth, 1976, pgs.367-374.

Machen On Education As The Most Important Part Of Human Life

“In the political and social discussions of the day, God’s law has ceased to be regarded as a factor that deserves to be reckoned with at all…[But] of one thing we can be sure—a nation that tramples thus upon the law of God…is headed for destruction” (140,141).

A “very ancient principle in the field of education…has been one of the chief enemies of human liberty for several thousand years—the principle, namely, that education is an affair essentially of the State, that education must be standardized for the welfare of the whole people and put under the control of government, that personal idiosyncrasies should be avoided…It is a very ancient thing—this notion that the children belong to the State, that their education must be provided for by the State in a way that makes for the State’s welfare. But that principle, I think you will find if you examine human history, is inimical at every step to liberty” (87,88).

“I hope therefore…that we may return to the principle of freedom for individual parents in the education of their children in accordance with their conscience…But let us be perfectly clear about one thing—if liberty is not maintained with regard to education, there is no use trying to maintain it in any other sphere. If you give the bureaucrats the children, you might just as well give them everything else…No, we do not want a Federal Department of Education and we do not want, in any form whatever, the slavery that a Federal Department of Education would bring” (98).

“Uniformity in education under central control it seems to me is the worst fate into which any country can fall…parents have a right to educate children as they please…education is essentially not a matter of the State at all” (100-102).

We “are dealing with the most important part of human life when we are dealing with education” (114).

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)
Education, Christianity, and the State
Edited by John Robbins, The Trinity Foundation, Jefferson, Maryland, 1987.

Note, with the very last quote in this batch that Machen has said the Education is the most important part of human life. This is not a statement that is inconsistent with Christianity as the R2K boys might say. The R2K boys, given their beliefs about the dichotomous nature of reality, should be appalled that any Christian Theologian would say that, we “are dealing with the most important part of human life when we are dealing with education,” since for the R2K boys education belongs not to the grace realm (which would be their “most important”) but to the common realm.

This reveals, again, that Machen was R2K the way that Jeffery Dahmer was a chef.

Machen could say what he said because he realized, unlike the R2K boys, that education is primarily a religious enterprise. Machen understood that Education was definitely not a so called “common realm” concern. The education of children is driven by religious considerations and presuppositions and any Christian who says otherwise, may well be saved, but nevertheless remains a damn fool who shouldn’t be listened to on much of anything no matter how many degrees he has behind his names.

Also, we should zoom in on Machen’s statement here about the dangers of Christians giving over their children to the State for schooling. Machen realized that should we give up our children to the State then it will do little good to hold on to our guns, income, or anything else vis-a-vis the State. If the pagan State is the tutor and the “en locus parentis” of our children for upwards to 8 hours a day then Christians will not normatively keep our children for our undoubted catholic Christian faith. If you give your children to the State to be saturated, soaked, and marinated in a pagan worldview, via the government schools you can not expect the children to become anything but reflections of the religious pagan education in which they were saturated, soaked, and marinated. This is especially so when one adds to the the prison time government school influence upon God’s covenant seed the impact of a pagan culture.

When we baptize our children part of what parents hear in the Baptismal charge is that Baptism is not to be used as a superstition. Yet, when we baptize our children and then send them to Government schools what else can the practice of Baptism have been by the parents, but a superstition that was supposed to be a talisman to ward off the evil that comes from government school education?

Dr. J. Gresham Machen was a prophet who being now dead, still speaks.