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Archive for the ‘Christian Education’ Category

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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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