Classical Education: Is it a Good Idea?

Classical Education: Is it a Good Idea? This is a guest post by David & Shirley Quine (founders of Cornerstone Curriculum) on Classical Education: The Three Pillars of Classical Education Some time ago Shirley and I were in a conversation regarding Classical Education with a small group of Christian educators. We were told that this was the growing trend among Christian home school educators and that we should consider embracing it as well. Although we mostly listened, we asked a few questions in the discussion — especially, regarding the notion of Truth. We were shocked to be introduced to the three pillars of “truth” being embraced by Classical educators: Christianity – the Spiritual Pillar Greece – the Philosophical Pillar Rome – the Governmental Pillar We were told that the union of Greek and Roman thought with Christian truth is the basis of Classical Education and that it actually yields a much broader and more comprehensive understanding of truth. However, this wasn’t the Protestant Reformation idea of Truth Shirley and I had been taught by Dr. Francis Schaeffer in his writings and lectures. Rather, this was exactly the opposite. Dr Schaeffer wrote extensively that Protestant Christianity provides good and sufficient answers in all three spheres: Spiritual, Philosophical, and Governmental. He warned us of the dangers of mixing Greek and Roman ideas with Christian Truth. A person must ask “where does this mixing lead?” I continue seeking greater understanding of the goals and objectives of Classical Education. Just recently I found a graphic from a Catholic web site showing the three pillars of Classical Education which we were encouraged to embrace years before. I was shocked to see the close connection between Classical Education and Catholic teaching. Protestant Reformation teaching does not mix Greco-Roman thinking with Christian Truth. Paul, writing to Christians living in the city of Colossae which would have been under the influence of Greek and Roman thinking, states: Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:6-8 PS. Teaching involves both curriculum (content) and instruction (the delivery). My greatest concern is not over the Trivium per se (although I do not...

Accomodation or Confrontation?

Accomodation or Confrontation? I recently watched, once again, a video presentation of Dr. Francis Schaeffer‘s last public meeting before he died in 1984. I was stunned, again, by the precision of his insights into his era, and ours. Dr. Schaeffer’s last two books, The Great Evangelical Disaster and A Christian Manifesto, were nothing short of prophetic. As he approached his death, after fifty years of his ministry, he observed that Evangelicalism over that time could be summarized primarily by one term: Accommodation. There is a syncretism, a relativism within the Western church that accepts and capitulates to the trends of the secular society around it. Dr. Schaeffer had pointed out in his previous book, The God Who Is There, that the true, confessing Church is the last holdout against despair in any given culture. The gospel has a restraining influence on a culture, like a dam holding back the flood of secularism. When worldliness and accommodation have infiltrated the church, a culture has gone as low as it can go morally. Dr. Schaeffer summarized the evangelical situation in 1984 by saying, “The grossest form of worldliness is conforming to the form of worldliness that exists in it’s own generation. If that is true, then we must say that Evangelicalism is as worldly as it can possibly be!” What Should We Then Do? The solution given at that time was that young evangelicals (and old ones) should rise up and confront the worldly church with the truth of God’s Word. (John 17:3, 2 Thess. 3:14-15) More than trying to change the culture, Dr. Schaeffer said the more immediate task at hand was to seek reformation within the church. After Schaeffer’s death, there was an increase in young Christian leaders who really understood the importance of, as Schaeffer would say, “The lordship of Jesus Christ over the totality of life.” Many, if not most, of the ministries that are really making an impact in our world today were inspired, to a great extent, by the message of Francis Schaeffer. In our day, we see passing on of many of the older leaders in the Christian world. In recent memory we’ve seen the home-goings of leaders like Adrian Rogers, Charles Colson, Jerry Falwell, Elisabeth Elliot, D. James Kennedy, and others. Who will take the baton in the next generation and carry the truth of the gospel without compromise? Truth is, by definition, exclusive. To claim that something is true, the antithesis of it must be, according to the Law of...

Dr. Francis Schaeffer speaks from the grave to the U.S. Supreme Court

Dr. Francis Schaeffer speaks from the grave to the U.S. Supreme Court You cannot have true freedom when it rests solely on the arbitrary decisions of a small group of individuals at a given time. Dr. Francis Schaeffer predicted in 1982 the judicial tyranny that was coming 30+  years later, when our U.S. Supreme Court would be legislating from the bench. When you replace absolute morality with Relativism, you will inevitably end up with tyranny. “We must understand something very thoroughly. If the state gives rights, it can take them away –they ’re not inalienable. If the state gives rights, they can change them and manipulate them. But the Founding Fathers believed there was a Creator and that this Creator gave inalienable rights –that is what has given us the freedoms which we still have…We are losing those freedoms and we can expect to continue losing them if this other worldview continues to take increased force and power in our country.” It is not too late for us to heed and apply these prophetic words spoken by God’s messenger, Dr. Schaeffer. We simply MUST hear these important words once again. “The Government, and especially the courts, have become the vehicle to force this anti-God worldview on the population.” Dr. Schaeffer also predicted and talked about the need for a Biblical theology of civil disobedience. You can get a copy of the book and DVD of A Christian Manifesto to hear this important and timely prophetic message once again. Israel Wayne is an Author and Conference Speaker and Director Family Renewal,...

Thomas Kinkade (Dead at 54) and a Perfect World

Thomas Kinkade, the “Painter of Light” died on “Good Friday,” April 6, 2012 at his home in California. The irony of the timing of his passing has inspired me to share with you a personal conversation I once had with Mr. Kinkade. A week or two before I met him, I had read a magazine article on his work that made the claim that Kinkade was trying to reflect a utopian world. The author said that Kinkade wanted to demonstrate what life would be like if there had been no original sin, or no Fall. If you think about it, you hardly ever see any tragedy in his work. It’s all very lovely and picturesque. So I asked him if that was an accurate reflection of his goal in creating Art; to show us what life might be life if sin had not entered the world. He paused for a moment, obviously considering if that was true. Then he said, “No, definitely not. In fact, the piece that I consider to be perhaps my most definitive work is ‘The Cross.’ If that isn’t a reflection of sin entering the world, the fallenness of humanity, and our need for redemption, than I don’t know what is!” Once again he became thoughtful. “No, I think that every artist, within the body of their work, has a responsibility to reflect the world as it truly is; broken. However, as a Christian, I don’t want to dwell on that brokenness. There are plenty of artists who do that, I’m not making judgments about their work. For me personally though, my desire is to give people a message of hope. You can see despair everywhere you look. If I am going to take the time to paint something, I want it to reflect beauty and give people hope.” His line about despair made me think of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, and his teachings about the Christian and artistic expression. I asked Kinkade if his work had been influenced by Dr. Schaeffer, and if so, in what way. “Oh, most definitely. I’d say the thing that I gained the most from Dr. Schaeffer was the concept that beauty has value in itself; because it reflects the nature and character of God. Beauty is an inseparable part of God’s nature; of who He is. So when you create Art that is beautiful, you are reflecting the nature of God.” I think it is ironic that Mr. Kinkade, whose pivotal artistic work was “The...

How Did the Church Disconnect from Truth? — Francis Schaeffer

How Did the Church Disconnect from Truth? — Francis Schaeffer Dr. Francis Schaeffer, a brilliant Christian philosopher who died in 1984, gives great insight to the Postmodern crisis we are experiencing within the church today. He explains how Thomas Aquinas opened the door for an Epistemological compromise between the Bible as an authority on one hand and Aristotelian philosophy being an equal viewpoint on the other hand. This mixture, known as Syncretism,  led to Christians questioning whether the Bible was needed at all. This is something we are struggling with in our day. Is the Bible merely “a” source of truth, or is it “the” authoritative source for all moral truth? Is the Bible “a” truth (i.e. Relative Truth), or are there real absolutes that relate to all of life and reality? If you have never read Dr. Shaeffer’s works, you need to rediscover this man’s amazing contribution to the Christian community. It may change your life, as it did mine nearly 20 years ago. Israel Wayne is an author and conference speaker and is the Director of Family Renewal,...

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