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.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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