Where are we going?
Culture as a Result of Education

Theologian Cornelius Van Til wrote, “Culture is religion externalized.”  Our culture bears the imprints of its molding by Christianity; we were Christendom before we began thinking of ourselves as Europe or The West.  From the twelfth through the eighteenth century, the leaders of Christendom understood the divine injunction in Deuteronomy.

Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you. Deut. 4:1

     The Puritan, Presbyterian and Anglican settlers of this country and founders of this culture understood the mandate to “observe and possess,” but we have forgotten. We Christians today do not understand that “Culture is religion externalized.” During the parent-teacher meetings at the beginning of each school, I quote the Scripture which is printed as one the Heritage Covenant Schools “Foundation Stones” and as the opening to our Philosophy of Education…

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  [7] You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  [8] You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  [9] You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 6:6-9

     Following these verses, God continues with a message of warning to those who forget.

So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build,  [11] houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant--when you have eaten and are full--  [12] then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.  [13] You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.  [14] You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you  [15] (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth. Deut. 6:10-15

     Our problem is not only our forgetting Who we are to serve, but we also have forgotten the position which we are to serve in.

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 1 Corinthians 6:2-3

     The saints, born-again believers, are to ultimately govern the world. With a biblical perspective, we alone are capable of giving direction, meaning, and cultural form to life in its every aspect.

     Americans believe a compulsory state religion to be a radical imposition upon the freedom of religious expression, but expect and demand a compulsory state education. But no real difference exists between the two.  Both require the compulsive power of the state for whatever the culture deems necessary. Horace Mann, the Founder of Public Education, and John Dewey, the Father of Progressive Education, envisioned the public school as a place of instruction in the new religion (humanism) and a house of worship of the new god (the state). They understood the significance of education in changing a culture. Today’s evangelical church ignores the Scripture and wallows in feel-good religion on Sunday mornings.

     “If Christianity has lost the ability to create and maintain a culture, then the Christian school has a peripheral and dying function today, but if Christianity’s cultural power remains yet to be manifested, then the Christian school has an essential and as yet unrealized role to play.” – R.J. Rushdoony

     During the enlightenment, the concept of the mind as a clean tablet became the ideal concept undergirding the idea of revolution. Taking the clean tablet concept to its ultimate conclusion, history had to be wiped out by revolution and history begun anew. The French began to date history again with the year 1 being the year of their revolution.

     With the destruction of the past, man has no roots, no starting point. Without knowing where he has come from, he knows neither where he is nor where he is going. The clean tablet ideal is erosive and destructive of all aspects of culture except the monolithic state, which is then the ostensible creator and patron of culture.

     Modern man without faith tends to be a wastebasket into which miscellaneous experiences fall without purpose or meaning. Men who once lived to work now work to play, to seek escape from responsibility and the pursuit of meaning. Thus man is steadily losing everything that makes him man, everything that characterizes him as created in the image of God. Rulers, presidents, senators, and judges no longer sit in terms of a higher and transcendental law, government and court, but as law and authority incarnate.

     In biblical faith, man has a calling as prophet, priest and king in Christ and a cosmic significance to his office. But modern man lacks calling; he has excellent working conditions but no sense of vocation. John Calvin wrote, “There is no mean (unimportant) calling.” For the Christian, every vocation and every task is significant when done to the glory of God.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

     A culture not convinced of its own value is incapable of its own defense. As the cultural collapse is accelerated, God alone can become the source of culture and meaning, and the Christian becomes the cultural force and agent. Our opportunity is at hand!

     If the cultural destiny of man apart from God is degeneration, then the cultural destiny of the true and consistent Christian must be regeneration, and there is no escaping this responsibility. The tool at our disposal is the Christian school and education that is self-consciously Biblical.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  [19] Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  [20] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.  Matthew 28:18-20

     Van Til has stated it, “The Bible does not claim to offer a rival theory that may or may not be true. It claims to have the truth about all facts.”