Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Educating for Liberty

On Mondays I typically stay away from the computer, stay away from the office, stay away from the phone. I never manage to stay entirely away from books. Yesterday I received in the mail the newest volume of the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, but I restrained myself and read only one article before I went to bed. Instead, on Mondays I work on the many family errands and projects which I do not have time to accomplish during the rest of the week. I even made a new chicken feeder yesterday out of a couple old buckets.

While I am puttering around, working on projects which don't require a lot of thought (like chicken feeders), I will occasionally listen to lectures on a wide variety of topics. Yesterday, I listened to a very good lecture entitled "Educating for Liberty" by Peter J. Leithart. I commend it to you. [Go to this page and then scroll down to the lecture referenced above.] Since Christ commanded us to make disciples, and since education is essentially discipleship, understanding education rightly is crucial to accomplishing the mission of Christ.

Leithart basically makes the case that education which is for liberty must be education in love, that which trains the students to love what is good, true, and beautiful. But he goes on to point out, quite correctly, that this is "precisely what liberal democracy, at least in its current form, prohibits. Rooted as it is in Enlightenment renunciation of unchosen tradition, American public education, at least, explicitly renounces all religious ends and sometimes operates on the pretense of promoting no ends at all. If I am correct, this kind of education cannot be education for liberty."

I wonder how many Christian parents who send their children to be trained in the public school system realize that they are subjecting their children to an education which destroys liberty? I wonder how many Christian parents who homeschool their children do so out of a false and unbiblical view of liberty, namely, "I can do what I want"? I fear that many, many Christian young people are being discipled into spiritual bondage because their parents and pastors do not understand the ends of education.

Listen to the lecture. I'll look forward to discussing it with you.

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