Today, there is a surge of interest in the secular world to return to Greek classical education. “We need to return to the traditional literary culture, the classical standards of the past,” experts demand. Insistence on a “back to basics” of “reading, writing and arithmetic,” has again become popular. It is a desire to turn back to the fork where we took the wrong road.
The classical method that was developed in ancient Greece and Rome, and established in the Middle Ages, was used almost exclusively in the Western world until the nineteenth century. The main focus was reading the Greek and Roman classics. To be in touch with literary arts marked one as accomplished.
There can be no doubt, literary education is more whole, more human, and more satisfying than scientific technological education. But is even literary education enough? Good literature-Scott, Milton, Virgil-promotes courage, insight, high morality, and imagination-but it can never do what the Bible does.
Why Go Back to Ancient Greek Ways? Why Not Return to Biblical Methods?
We understand this desire to return to a better way, but believe that, instead of returning to the ancient Greeks’ ways, we need to return to the biblical model. Our only hope for a stable, ongoing, integrated culture is placing the Word of God at the center of our thinking, speaking and acting. Literature and all literary arts must give place to mastery of the Bible. And they themselves become servants to the Word of God.
The Greek model is comprised of three phases of learning:
It is similar to the biblical model except for the main ingredient: true wisdom cannot be gained by unaided human reason. The Greeks wanted to conform to the good and natural things of the world, but without God this is not possible.
We must do more than rail against godless education. We must identify a distinctly Christian curriculum-one that takes its identity, its motion, from the reality of our redeemed condition-one that begins with the authority of the risen Christ speaking through His Word. It is not enough to know what we are against; we must know what we are for. Dismantling the world is one work; building the kingdom is another.
If we fail to make a positive contribution to education, if we keep the same old public school agenda packaged in Christian dress, our children will not prosper as they should. Without fundamental changes, we are only straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel.
We cannot let the wolf of antichrist values in because he is wearing sheep’s clothing.
The biblical model is also comprised of three phases of learning
Without knowledge there can be no understanding, and without understanding there can be no wisdom. The wise man is able to acquire even more knowledge and understanding, thus becoming even more wise-he has learned how to learn.
There is a long tradition in this country of resistance to the wisdom of the Greeks: Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and Noah Webster all judged the classics to be of scant use. (Learning from the Greeks, Commentary Magazine, Valiunas, 1998)
Literature is a blessing, but should never be the purpose or center of learning. When we return to Scripture-centered education two things occur:
- We can view language in its splendor without the danger of it replacing religion. We can appreciate it as God’s gift to us.
- Considering language as a skill, we can study it in a deeper way.
David Mulligan, author of Far Above Rubies, explains that when we hear the phrase “returning to traditional methods” we need to ask “whose tradition?”
In reacting against modernist educational failure comes an instinctive turning to traditional schooling. What does this mean? Does the bare use of nineteenth century educational material safeguard the essential Christianity of our school? There is a nagging sensation that we have not yet gotten down to the bottom of things. What is traditional education? What is the tradition? It isn’t modernism. We know that traditionalism offers another way to look at the world. We know that, but what is it? Where did it come from? Is it just a haven for Christians playing modernist Babylon?
We just want to be sure, lest we be like the man who, to escape the lion, ran into the house and was bitten by a serpent. An essential element of this truly Christian education is discovering what we mean by traditional or old-fashioned education, and to that question we have now turned.
Teachers of philosophy give their lives to examining convictions by which people can live, in order to develop a consistent worldview and way of life based on reliable evidence.
The Bible warns against philosophies whose highest realities and concerns are atoms, energy, cosmic laws-or even humanity-those founded on the basic principles of the world and not according to Christ.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
Defining Education in God’s Terms
As it is for all human activity, so it is with education. It must be defined in God’s terms. Consistently Christian education (and this means consistently throughout education) must be built up, line upon line, from a foundation of Scripture.
The tools of categorization, logical demonstration, and communication skills are to be used to identify systematically and put to proper use all things according to the interpretation given in the Word.
All human skills and educational abilities are to be subjected to the authoritative revelation of Scripture. These must have but one foundation. We cannot stand with one foot on the Bible and the other on human mystic tradition or we will be torn asunder. We must build foursquare on Scripture alone.
To build a thoroughly Christian educational system, we must begin with a thoroughly Christian definition of education. What does the Bible tell us about education? What is it? What is it for? As we have stated, nothing is self-defining or of absolute value except God, so how can education be thought of as having intrinsic value?
The value we usually give to education is the value imputed by man. Is that really valid? The intrinsic value of education is so taken for granted in our culture that our institutions of learning are intellectually considered to be common ground between the believer and the unbeliever.
The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach: Bible-Based Homeschooling
The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach is for all homeschoolers who want to make the Bible the center of their school day. This giant 500+ page book provides you with the methods, program, and resources for a course of study where students spend half the school day studying God’s Word and the other half studying God’s world (academics). Students study history chronologically and science in the order of the days of Creation. This book will encourage, motivate you and instruct you, step by step, how to give your child a Bible-focused, comprehensive education from preschool through high school; one that will train him or her to read, to study, to understand, to love to learn and, most importantly, to desire and seek true wisdom. This approach can be used for all grade levels.
When homeschoolers are asked about this book, one word continues to come up over and over–Wow! Read the excerpt today to see what all the wow is about.