Machen: Education Degradation

Education takes a special place in the heart of the Christian. This is inevitable, for Christ commanded us to educate; “to make students of all the nations, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey.” We are saved by faith alone, but we only gain faith by becoming students. Even babes can become students of the gospel. What is more, education has an integral role to the Christian faith since we are to be lifelong learners in the process of sanctification and repentance.

Gresham Machen, in a defensive exodus, left Princeton to start Westminster Seminary in the early 20th century. After Warfield died, the opposition took total victory, leaving Machen no other option.

Being a lifelong educator himself, Machen spent the requisite time deliberating and contemplating education as it pertains to both the Christian and the State:

In the fourth place–the most important thing of all–there must be a renewal of Christian education. The rejection of Christianity is due to various causes. But a very potent cause is simply ignorance. In countless cases, Christianity is rejected simply because men have not the slightest notion of what Christianity is. An outstanding fact of recent Church history is the appalling growth of ignorance in the Church. Various causes, no doubt, can be assigned for this lamentable development. The development is due partly to the general decline of education–at least so far as literature and history are concerned. The schools of the present day are being ruined by the absurd notion that education should follow the line of least resistance, and that something can be “drawn out” of the mind before anything is put in. They are also being ruined by an exaggerated emphasis on methodology at the expense of content and on what is materially useful at the expense of the high spiritual heritage of mankind. These lamentable tendencies, moreover, are in danger of being made permanent though the sinister extension of state control.

For Further Discussion:

“Cultivating the Christian Mind: Education as Soulcraft & Learning as Discipleship” by Albert Mohler


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