“What has Christianity to do with education: What is there about Christianity which makes it necessary that there should be Christian schools? Very little, some people say. Christianity, they say, is a life, a temper of soul, not a doctrine or a system of truth; it can provide its sweet aroma, therefore, for any system which secular education may provide; its function is merely to evaluate whatever may be presented to it by the school of thought dominant at any particular time. This view of the Christian religion…is radically false. Christianity is, indeed, a way of life; but it is a way of life founded upon a system of truth. That system of truth is of the most comprehensive kind; it clashes with opposing systems at a thousand points. The Christian life cannot be lived on the basis of anti-Christian thought. Hence the necessity of the Christian school” (142,143).
“When we contemplate a type of Protestant orthodoxy that is content to take forlorn little shreds of Christian truth and tag them here and there upon a fundamentally anti-Christian or non-Christian education…[this is] humiliating to Protestantism” (143).
“Christianity should have an educational system of its own…Thus and thus only will the darkness of ignorance be dispelled and the light of Christian truth be spread abroad in the land” (144).
J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)
Education, Christianity, and the State, edited by John Robbins, The Trinity Foundation, Jefferson, Maryland, 1987.
Machen was clearly a Christian social activist as this quote bears out. He saw that the Christian faith opposed pagan belief system at a thousand points. He understood that one of those points of contest was education. Today, other Reformed Church leaders are disagreeing with Machen on the totalistic nature of the contest between Christian thought and pagan thought. For example, recently Dr. G. D. Hart wrote,
“A Christian social activist is just as scary as a secular one. Thinking that Christians running things is better than non-Christians running those same things is frankly dishonest.”
What is humorous about this quote is that,
1.) Darryl is saying that Machen, as a social activist, was just as scary as Margaret Sanger as a social activist.
2.) Darryl, by implicitly insisting that Christians shouldn’t be social activists is doing his best impersonation of a social activist against Christian social activists.
Note that Machen, in the last quote provided, insists that Christianity should have its own educational system. Of course, such an idea is anathema to R2K, since for R2K, it is not possible for Education to be Christian since Education exists in the common realm. R2K may well refuse to ordain a modern day Machen for this kind of conviction that insists that Christian children should be educated with a distinctly Christian Education.