Archive for the ‘Christian Education’ Category

Note: This is a guest post somehow I miss scheduling for when I am overseas.  This is by our dear brother Josh Niemi.  Sorry Josh!  He is an author of the book Expository Parenting and the website can be found here.  The book’s Facebook page can be found here and he also tweets here.

When Education Lacks a Telos (Ecclesiastes 1:12-18)

What’s the point of education?

For many, the answer is purely materialistic: learn so you can have a good career; get a good career so you can make a lot of money; make a lot of money so you can buy and do a lot of “stuff.” Obviously, this perspective is fraught with danger. With self-indulgent consumerism as the ultimate pursuit, ethics are often just an obstacle to be overcome.


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Note: This is an urgent guest post by one of our readers we are sharing this immediately given that this is threatening tolerance of Christian beliefs of the Bible.

By B Dub

Freedom of religion is a central feature of our liberties as Americans.  It is a right affirmed in the First Amendment.  Once a society starts stripping its citizens of their essential freedoms, including religious liberty, it cannot long survive as a free society.  There is a bill in the California assembly numbered SB1146.  It could potentially be very bad for California Christian Colleges and Universities.

As of the Time of this writing it has passed the California Senate and is making its way through the California Assembly and is being review in committees.  As it is written now, it could cause real problems for religious institutions in California.  Once it makes it to Jerry Brown’s desk, he is likely to sign it.

The advocates of the bill claim it as a non-discrimination policy, but it disallows religious institutions to uphold their beliefs.   In this way it is in fact discriminatory. It says that religious requirements must be approved by the state. It could be a problem for a college enforcing their moral beliefs stemming from the religion.  For example they wouldn’t be able to talk against homosexual marriage or abortion.   This section in particular is biggest issue:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, including the perception that the person has any of those characteristics or that the person is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics.

As you can see, by the wording it claims to not be discriminatory.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.   By not allowing religious institutions’ freedom of conscious, it discriminates against their ability to enforce principles in accordance with their beliefs.

The whole text and history of the bill can be found here for reference and context.

Here is what several religious institutions in California are saying and how it affects them:

Concordia University Irvine: http://www.cui.edu/aboutcui/sb1146

Biola: http://now.biola.edu/news/article/2016/jun/08/preserve-faith-based-higher-education/

Western Baptist University: http://www.opposesb1146.com/

As well as another blogger talking about it.


What can be done?

Those of you in California contact your representatives.  Even if you are not you can still contact them.  Urge them to vote no.

If you don’t know who your representative is, you can find out here.

Tell your friends about this.  Let the word get out about this and why this bill is bad news.

Also, prayer is always encouraged.

Here is a site with more suggestions on what to do.


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Purchase:  Amazon

Part of being more consistent with a Christian worldview is the realization that there is no neutrality when it comes to secularism and a Biblically informed education.  Hence, the topic of homeschooling is important, for those who want to pursue this option in raising up their children.  A practical book is rare in this regards, but one that readers might consider is “Lessons Learned from Years of Homeschooling”by Andrea Schwartz.

This book is authored by a home school mom, and is largely a work that shares veteran experiences of years of homeschooling. As a parent who is looking towards the possibility of homeschooling my children, I thought I look into this book more for the practical wisdom rather than a fully orbed Christian worldview of education. The chapters were short, so it was a nightly reading for my wife and I. There were times when we wondered if the book was bragging about how accomplished her kids were, but we get the point that Christians can homeschool their kids in ways that shows success and achievements. I wished there were more practical wisdom the author could have “handed” down to the readers. However, given that there are probably not a lot of books like these, I would recommend it and something that readers can still learn from and reflect about the challenges of homeschooling

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Purchase: Amazon

The topic of this book is the relationship of thinking and the Christian life. As the beginning of the book admits, there have been other Christian works on the topic of the relationship of the intellect and the faith, with each having it’s different emphasis (such as the cultural aspect, role of faith and science, etc). This work emphasized more of thinking in terms of reading, and is more driven by biblical exposition and not a defense higher institution learning per se. I enjoyed the fact that the author is a preacher of the Bible first, who also began his career orignally in academic ministry. The author John Piper devotes two semi-biographical chapters to explain his own intellectual Christian life, including a discussion about the influence of Jonathan Edward’s Trinitarian approach to the relationship of the intellect and action. This gives the readers an honest picture of where Piper is coming from. The book is not a textbook on logic but comes across as a book giving a summarized Christian theology of the relationship of the mind to the faith and I would even say with enough devotional flavor. Piper covers the relationship of the mind to coming Christ and also in sanctification, and presents a balanced approach of both/and when it comes to the life of the mind and living faith. Piper underscores the need for the faculty of the mind to be used to treasure Christ, and that just thinking about the things of God is not loving God with all our minds if we don’t end us savoring him. To use an analogy in the book, the intellect provides the wood to stir our passion in loving Jesus. This works also refutes relativism and also dealt with the issue of anti-intellectualism and autonomous intellectualism, with the call to submit all reasoning in the service towards Christ and helping others and ourselves love Jesus more. Good work–readers might find it a treat to read Mark Noll’s preface, and the fact that Piper and Noll were both roomates at one time during the college days in Wheaton. Of course, Noll’s view on things are not views I would totally agree with (especially in terms of his stance on evolution).

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Several weeks ago, I reviewed this book by Henry Van Til here.  Apparently, you can read this entire work and download it for free on PDF!  Click here.

The work will have the 1972 cover on it–but the content is the same.

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For those who ever struggle with learning the Biblical languages, Dan Wallace’s testimony over at Justin Taylor’s blog is amazing.  I’ll repost Wallace’s portion here:

In my first year of Greek at Biola University, I nearly failed the subject. The professor, Dr. Harry Sturz, had compassion on me and gave me a passing grade. I took a different professor in second-year Greek. He gave us a battery of exams at the beginning of the semester. One exam each week. I failed the first exam. I failed the second exam. I failed the third exam. I failed the fourth exam, but it was a high F! And I got a D on the fifth exam. “Hey,” I thought, “I’m really getting this Greek thing down!”

The professor called me into his office and told me that I should check out of Greek. That was the wake-up call I needed. I went down to my dorm room, got on my knees, and confessed to the Lord that I had dragged his name through the mud. I reasoned that since I am in Christ and he is in me, he was failing Greek, too. And even though I was at a Christian school, I was soiling his reputation. I repented of my sin—the sin of mediocrity because I was surrounded by Christians, the sin of thinking that I did not need to do my best since I was a Christian.

I went back to the professor and asked for one more chance. He granted that to me. I ended up getting an A in the class both semesters. It still took me two more years of Greek at Biola before I even felt moderately comfortable with the language, but I had learned my lesson. Now, to be sure, my experience is not everyone’s. But, for me, learning Greek became a matter of spiritual discipline. And even though I was very sick in my fourth semester of Greek-so that I missed five and a half weeks of school-I still did well in the course.

I don’t consider myself good at languages, but I do consider myself a steward of the life that God has given to me. And I have never recovered from the impact that the Greek New Testament has made on my walk with Christ.

What makes this amazing is that Dan Wallace is the guy that have written much materials on Greek!  Furthermore, I think there is something I can relate to in this story.  I struggled much in undergraduate studying Classical Greek–I felt that I poured hours into it, and my grades didn’t reflect the time I spent on studying and doing the assignment.  There were many times I was discouraged.  I was always convicted how non-believers were better in their Greek than I was in class.  By the time I got to seminary, I was in fear and trembling.  I prayed much to the LORD that He would help me be a good steward when it comes to my Greek–so that I can rightfully divide the WORD and defend it with knowledge of the Greek New Testatment text itself.  And I think God has been gracious to me!

I think this post is a reminder of two things:

1.) We must not forget that studying is a spiritual exercise–we should pray for wisdom from God and help!  We should see our study as a spiritual stewardship–one day we will be called into account with what we did with our studies.  This makes it a big responsibility–and yet a great joy to see that language is part of God’s created order.  It should be a time of glorious worship when we are studying hard.

2.) We must not forget that those who might seem to be failing still have the hope in Christ that if they have a right biblical perspective on studying, and a “THEOLOGY of education” that is informed by the Scripture driving their study lives, God is still in the redemptive business of turning one who might be dumb, lazy and struggling to become a striving student.  I believe it, because I believe God’s sanctification include the sanctification of the mind and the will when it comes to the area of studying.

The proverbial excuse, “It’s all Greek to me!” shouldn’t be for Christian seminarians, pastors and the Christian student.  If I could bend my hermeneutics just a bit to make a point– Christians are to be “Greek” to  Greek and Hebrew to  Hebrew!

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This work was an unofficial festschrift for Cornelius Van Til, edited by Gary North.  The story behind this second Festchrift for Van Til is an interesting story in it’s own right.  The work attempts to put forth the foundation for a Christian approach towards various academic disciplines that is informed from a Christian worldview.  I thought Rushdoony’s chapter on Psychology was worth while.  John Frame contribution to the chapter in theology was also good, as he explores the issue of theology as a system, while also it being more than a system, paradoxes in theology, the inter-relationship of doctrines, etc.  Van Til’s disciple Greg Bahnsen also contributed to this volume, with a wonderful chapter on apologetics and another on philosophy.  His chapter on philosophy discusses the issue and refutes pragmaticism, and Wiggenstein’s language game theory of language.  Vern Poythress’ contribution with the chapter on math is also another excellent chapter in the book, and probably is the beginning work done concerning a distinctively Van Tillian flavor Christian worldview approach towards mathematics.  I highly recommend this work, and I think it is a tragedy that this work is out of print.  Perhaps an update or a new book that is in the same spirit would be excellent in the near future!

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Last year I put together a list of Christmas recommended books for gifts on Presuppositional Apologetics that can still be accessed here. I thought I also put out another list of books that I recommend when it comes to area of Christian worldview and not just presuppositional apologetics or apologetics per se.  It is also important to have the right biblical and Christian view on any given subject or area. Here’s my 10 recommendation and my short summary why I think it’s important for a Christian worldview to have these work. Bookmark this page, since the next few weeks I’ll be loading up book reviews for these books! I think these books are also wonderful for one on one discipleship in developing Christian’s thought in their life and worldview.

1.) World Tilting Gospel Why? It’s important that Christians get the gospel down and correct–if one has parts of a worldview correct and yet misses the gospel as it’s foundation, how tragic that would be.  My review of it is found HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

2.) God Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life: The Myth of Modern Evangelism After a true understanding of the gospel, it is important to have the Bible direct Christians in how they share their faith–the way the Master did, using the Law of God to show people their need of a Savior.  My review of this book can be found here.

Purchase: Amazon

3.) Foundations of Christian Scholarship An unofficial Festschrift for Cornelius Van Til, this book attempts to lay the foundation of Christian worldview in various academic disciplines from psychology, history,  economics, education, political science, sociology, math, apologetics, philosophy and theology.  Too bad there has not been new editions of this work in print.  It is good even though it is old! My review of this book can be found HERE.

Purchase: Amazon

4.) Honest Money Especially with the upcoming 2012 election, the issue of a Christian worldview of economics would be important.  My review of this book can be found here.

Purchase: Amazon

5.) Money, Posessions and Eternity It’s important to not just have a theorethical side of economics down, but the Christian worldview does spell out what it means practically how one sees money and possessions in the Christian life.  This book good is the best for that and I reviewed it here.

Purchase: Amazon

6.) The Biblical Philosophy of History A lot of apologetics discussion is concern with the historicity of Christianity and it is important to realize that there are a lot of presuppositions behind one’s philosophy of history that shapes how one interpret or understand “facts” of history.  Rushdoony’s short work lays a Christian foundation of history and critiques of other’s worldview when it comes to philosophy of history.  You can read my review of this work here.

Purchase: Amazon

7.) A God of Many Understandings With the big thing about Rob Bell this year, I think it is important to discuss the issue not just only as an issue of universalism vs. exclusivism, but also from the framework of what is a Christian worldview towards a theology of religion?  I review this book here.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

8.) Case for Life This work presents a good defense of the pro-life cause.  One can read my review HERE.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

9.) Redeeming Sociology Christian view of Sociology.  I shall review this work in the future.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

10.) Future Men After arriving at a Christian worldview, it is important to impart that knowledge to the next generation and hence the topic of parenting is important.  Today, there is many problem with the issue of raising boys to become men, I review this book here.

Purchase: Amazon

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This week on Veritas Domain, we will feature free books on the internet relevant to theology, the Christian worldview and apologetics.  Some are audio books while some will be PDF files or for Amazon Kindle.  Some are for a limited time, some have been online for a while now and little known.

Be blessed by them!

Check back this week for the updates!

Monday: Think by John Piper

Tuesday: Wealth and Poverty Four Christian apologetics

Wednesday: World Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillip

Thursday: The Gospel of Isaiah by Alan MacRae

Friday: Types, Psalms and Prophecies by David Baron

Saturday: A Survey of Christian Epistemology by Cornelius Van Til

Sunday: Biblical Creationism by Henry Morris

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In 1983, there was published a four views book on wealth and poverty concerning a Christian view of economics, which has among the contributor Gary North.

It was unfortunate that it never got republished, but it is now online for free in PDF by clicking HERE.

Election season will soon be upon us, it would be great to consider what is a Biblical view of Economics.

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I thought this was worthwhile.  It is important that for a blog that is concern with apologetics and worldview to tackle the subject of education as well.

Gary North had some wise words to think about and paradigm in thinking about education.  Given how so much of higher education can be antithetical to the Christian worldview, North’s discussion is especially illuminating.

1.) Covenantal Structure of College Education

2.) Voice of Authority in College Education

3.) Content of College Education

4.) Putting Your Degree to Kingdom Use

5.) Winners and Losers in College

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This is from a Christian perspective as lectured by Samuel Blumenfeld.

It is two part and can be found on Sermon Audio.

For part 1, click HERE.

For part 2, click HERE.

I’ve finished listening to it and it’s very interesting.

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I just received the following email from Phil Vischer about upcoming Christian TV shows on a “mini-network” called JellyTelly. I wasn’t able to hear the sound from the videos but the newsletter suggested the Christians shows are meant to address kids’ biblical illiteracy and compete with secular networks such as Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel.

Honestly, I think if they can pull this off business-wise, it’d be great. When I used to watch some of these shows with my younger cousin, I’d have to qualify every underlying message I felt compelled to bring up. Watching secular television without a developed Christian worldview is a uphill battle. Some common themes I saw on Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel included, secular love, dating, romance and marriage, portrayal of maliciousness toward other kids as humor, lying, and disobeying parents. Add secular music, and educating a kid with a biblical worldview is a losing battle. I can’t censor every song she listens to on Disney radio.  It’s no wonder she already has a “boyfriend.”

Anyways, I digress. Below is the newsletter and the links:

November 2008

Dear FFP (friends and fans of Phil!) …
We’ve launched! After three years of work, we just launched JellyTelly – our new kids “mini-network” – at www.JellyTelly.com!

Every day on JellyTelly kids can watch 20 minutes of “mini” TV shows and play online games while learning about the Bible and their faith. Biblical illiteracy is a huge problem in the church, and we think we can help address it in the same way Sesame Street tackled basic literacy back in the 60s and 70s.

Beyond that, by collaborating with other Christian producers we are planting the seed for what could become an alternative to Nickelodeon® and the Disney Channel® – a tiny kids network that can help raise the next generation of Christians while launching the next generation of Christian storytellers. It’s an exciting time – the most fun I’ve had since we launched VeggieTales® out of a spare bedroom way back in 1993!

To hear more about the mission of JellyTelly, watch this video. To see a sample of our programming and meet Buck Denver, Clive & Ian, the Bentley Brothers, Dr. Schniffenhowzen, Agnes & Winnefred, and Quacky the Duck, watch this clip.

We’ve got a great opportunity to launch the next phase of Christian kids media, and you can be a part of it. Check it out at www.JellyTelly.com/!
Phil Vischer

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James White during the “DIVIDING LINE” announced that he will be planning to work on his PHD on Islamic Studies.

He also discusses during the show why he is pursuing this and puts into perspective why it would be important that he is doing this.  To this I agree.

We can all pray for him, as this would be busy for his ministry (as if it’s not already, with all his responses to everybody from Arminians to Liberalism and the Cults.

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Here’s an update for the end of 2007 on Reformed Theological Seminary’s mp3s provided on iTunes for free since since it first debuted. Veritasdomain wishes you a Happy New Year for 2008.

Revisting itunes.rts.edu has revealed some changes:

“Educational Ministry of the Church” under Practical Theology A couple Chapel messages for Fall 2007 have been updated. And finally 2 new Seminar series “Worship Wars, Holy Kisses, and Names for God: An Evangelical Model for Contextual Theologizing” by Dr. Steve Strauss and “The Calvin I Never Knew” by Dr. Frank A. James III

They divided the plenary sessions from the seminar sessions for the 2007 and 2006 Westminister Confessions for Today Conferences.

They removed the commencement and other special event lectures.

And finally they added a large amount of videos, mainly promoting RTS, while organizing the original brochures by campus location.

  • RTS Virtual Courses
    • Old Testament
      • Genesis through Joshua by Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr. (30 Tracks)
      • Judges through Poets by Dr. John Currid (38 Tracks)
      • Isiah through Malachi by Dr. Richard Belcher, Jr. (34 Tracks)
    • New Testament
      • Gospels and Acts by Dr. Knox Chamblin (49 Tracks)
      • Pauline Epistles by Dr. Knox Chamblin (48 Tracks)
      • Hebrews through Revelation by Dr. Simon J. Kistemaker (46 Tracks)
    • Church History
      • History of Christianity I by Dr. Frank A. James III (33 Tracks)
      • History of Christianity II by Dr. Frank A. James (31 Tracks)
      • The Church and the World by Dr. W. Andrew Hoffecker (28 Tracks)
      • History and Theology of the Puritans by Dr. J.I. Packer (17 Tracks)
      • History of Missions by Dr. Samuel H. Larsen (36 Tracks)
    • Practical Theology
      • Disabilities and the Church (30 Tracks)
      • Educational Ministry of the Church by Dr. Andrew J. Peterson (25
    • Theology
      • Intro to Pastoral and Theological Studies by Dr. Richard L. Pratt,
        Jr. (23)
      • History of Philosophy and Christian Thought by Dr. John M. Frame
      • Theological Foundations by Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas (25)
      • Systematic Theology I by Dr. Douglas F. Kelly (38)
      • Systematic Theology II by Dr. Douglas F. Kelly (20)
      • Systematic Theology III by Dr. Douglas F. Kelly (38)
      • Pastoral and Social Ethics by Dr. John M. Frame (43)
      • Christan Apologetics by Dr. John M. Frame (27)
      • C.S. Lewis by Dr. Knox Chamblin (27)
  • RTS Chapel Messages
    • RTS Charlotte Chapel Messages (24)
      • Fall 2007 (11)
      • Spring 2007 (6)
      • Fall 2006 (7)
    • RTS Jackson Chapel Messages (30)
      • Fall 2007 (7)
      • Spring 2007 (12)
      • Fall 2006 (11)
    • RTS Orlando Chapel Messages (33)
      • Fall 2007 (12)
      • Spring 2007 (10)
      • Fall 2006 (11)
  • RTS Seminars and Lectures
    • RTS Campus Lecture Series
      • RTS Jackson John Reed Miller Lecture Series (9)
        • 2007 – By Dr. Mark Dever (3)
          • The Symbol and Significance of Preaching
          • The Use of Preaching
          • The Art of Preaching
        • 2006 – By Rev. Mark Johnson (3)
          • The Call to Ministry
          • The Call to Preach
          • The Call to Pastor
        • 2005 – By Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson (3)
          • Preaching Christ
          • Reaching Our Standards
          • Using Our Grids
      • RTS Orland Simon J. Kistemaker Lecture Series (0)
        • Group 1
        • Group 2
    • RTS Seminars
      • Crass Plagiarism? The Problem of the Relationship of the Old Testament
        to the Ancient Near Eastern Literature by Dr. John D. Currid (3)
      • New Perspective on Paul by Dr. D.A. Carson (3)
      • Roles & Relationships in Pastoral Ministry by Dr. John Sittema
      • Worship Wars, Holy Kisses, and Names for God: An Evangelical Model
        for Contextual Theologizing by Dr. Steve Strauss (3)
      • The Calvin I Never Knew by Dr. Frank A. James III (4)
  • RTS Campus Resources
    • RTS Charlotte Campus Resources (8 Booklets)
    • RTS Jackson Campus Resources (38)
      • RTS Jackson Campus Videos (32 Videos)
      • RTS Jackson Campus Resources (6 Booklets)
    • RTS Orlando Campus Resources (8)
      • One School, One Book (2 Tracks)
        • Writing a Spiritual Memoir by Lauren Winner
        • Real Sex by Lauren Winner
      • RTS Orlando Resources (6)
    • RTS Virtual Campus Resources (11)
      • RTS Virtual Campus Videos (4 Videos)
        • Distance Education
        • Technology
        • Contemporary Churches
        • New Students in Seminary
      • RTS Virtual Campus Resources (7 Booklets)
  • Westminister Confession for Today Conferences
    • 2007 Westminister Confession for Today (12)
    • Plenary Sessions (4 Tracks)
    • Seminar Sessions (8 Tracks)
    • 2006 Westminister Confession for Today (12)
    • Plenary Sessions (4 Tracks)
    • Seminar Sessions 8 Tracks)

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