Homeworks academic service


Essays on christian education cornelius van til

Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? He was born in the Netherlands. When he was 10 years old his family moved to America, where he lived on a farm in Indiana. He taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, and was among the founding faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary in 1929, when a small group of fundamentalist professors departed from Princeton in protest over a liberal turn in both the Presbyterian Church and in Princeton Seminary.

His most famous work The Defense of the Faith was derived from his Apologetic syllabus. Van Til taught apologetics for a year at Princeton Theological Seminary and then for forty-three years at Westminster Theological Seminary. White, 1979 In addition to his work in apologetics he applied his philosophical theology to the field of education.

As a boy he attended a two-room schoolhouse in a close Dutch reformed community in Hammond, Indiana.

Reformed Antithesis

During his days as professor at Westminster he founded essays on christian education cornelius van til independent Christian school PhilMont Christian Academy that still serves close to 800 students on three campuses in suburban Philadelphia.

Oppewal, 1963; Westminster, 1987 The establishment of Dutch reformed day schools has a unique and important history in America. In 1847, a year before Horace Mann, the father of American education, would complete his tenure as secretary to the board of education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, another parallel educational movement was developing. In 1847, Dutch reformed Christians migrated from the Netherlands to pursue religious liberty, much like the puritans, and settled throughout America establishing the Christian schools they had sacrificed so much to have.

Their motivation was the freedom to educate their children in religious schools not controlled by the government. Ellis, 2003; Oppewal, 1963 The establishment of the Reformed schools predates the debate in this country between traditionalists and progressives. So in this way it was not a reaction to a public school system that was either too traditional or too progressive.

This was not about class size, test scores, or reading curriculum. Rather, it was a decision based on religious convictions, and a philosophy of education that considered faith more essential than anything else. This was not a protest movement, but a positive philosophical project.

The Dutch reformed or Calvinist schools were founded on principles derived from the Reformation. Though outside the common school and public school movements, they have nevertheless been influential on the American educational landscape. Sometimes, however, these Reformed principles are most conspicuous by their absence, as is the case in most Christian schools founded by fundamentalists and evangelicals. But even in these cases, examining the educational philosophy and theories of Cornelius Van Til may shed light on the educational philosophy and theories found in majority of Christian schools.

  • As prophet, Christ is the voice of the Father speaking words of hope to his people;
  • Science versus fundamentalism in America.

Finally, teachers in Christian schools may appreciate a fresh perspective on the distinctives of a Christian education. Is a Christian school just a public school with some prayer and Bible reading sprinkled on a common curriculum? Van Til helps answer the question, what makes a Christian school unique?

  1. A history of western philosophy. For others there was the rejection of reason and the adoption of anti-intellectualism.
  2. Issues and ideas in American education.
  3. This was not about class size, test scores, or reading curriculum.
  4. One must admire his faith, intelligence, courage, and determination.
  5. Perhaps this is what the apostle Paul spoke about in the passage that began this paper.

He often speaks of the covenantal nature of education and of the mission of assisting parents in the Christian nurture of their children. I think he would have said that it was antithetical for a Christian parent to send his or her child to a school where the education was based on non-Christian presuppositions.

He often speaks of the antithesis between theists, as he would call those that believe in the self-attesting God of scripture and anti-theists those that presuppose in their thinking that Man is the measure of all things. Such a firm unwavering line of demarcation can make a person uncomfortable. Essays on christian education cornelius van til, I am not aware that Van Til ever suggested that a Christian should not teach in the public school system and in fact, I believe his work would be valuable in a public school context.

Ribera Educational Theories of Van Til 6 as chief of the magicians in the diverse cultural environment of the Babylonian court. Perhaps Daniel was able to do that because, like Van Til, he understood the presuppositions and worldviews of the other wise men, sorcerers, and magicians in the court and lived faithfully for the God of the Bible. Modernity says that I essays on christian education cornelius van til create meaning entirely through the use of human reason.

An autonomous person does not need any authority or teacher or god to tell her what is true. She can depend on her own senses and on her own experience. Spretnak 1991 describes the movement from pre-modern times to modern times: The cult of modernity promised a world of peace, freedom, and fulfillment if we would just trust in an instrumental rationality and never look back at our past, so embarrassingly superstitious, communal, and constraining to the freewheeling, autonomous individual, homo economicus.

For some there was the attempt to synthesize modernity with Christianity. For others there was the rejection of reason and the adoption of anti-intellectualism. Ribera Educational Theories of Van Til 7 For some Christians the relationship between faith and reason has been problematic. Those who sought to synthesize rationalism and faith, allowed reason to precede faith. In other words, faith rested on understanding.

Van Til would say that this approach neglects the radical effects of the fall. Calvin would agree, saying that human depravity has rendered autonomous reason incapable of satisfactorily anchoring its truth claims to anything objectively certain.

Calvin In this synthesis approach there is a genuine belief in the ability and trustworthiness of human reason in its search for knowledge, even religious knowledge. Van Til 1990b comments that, The fight on this sector of the front is sometimes waged as though the issue could be settled by the data alone and once for all. This position accents the paradoxical character of Christian teaching to the point that it asserts that Christian truth is not capable of rational analysis.

They espouse experientialism as independent of, or superior to, the objective character and authority of Scripture for establishing truth. Perhaps this anti-intellectual sentiment was manifested during the trial of Tennessee v. John Scopes, the Great Monkey trial of 1925.

Ribera Educational Theories of Van Til 8 know the age of rocks; it is better for one to know that he is close to the Heavenly father than to know how far the stars in the heavens are apart! Van Til own position is that he would place belief over reason, and in this way he says, true reason is established.

We find that beginning with his understanding of the nature of man. He uses the Biblical motifs of prophet, priest and king to inform his understanding of students and teachers. As image bearers of God we are called to function as prophets, as we gain meaning and understanding of God and his world from the revelation of God.

We are also to function as priests as we dedicate ourselves and all things to God and live, work, learn, and worship in His presence. Following the pattern of ancient cultures a vassal king would serve under the authority of the sovereign King. Ribera Educational Theories of Van Til 9 His word; who is present in all creation; and is the sovereign King over the entire universe.

As a false prophet he speaks his own word; a lie rather than the truth. As a self- serving priest, man directs all worship to himself rather than to toward God.

As a rebel, fallen man rules in his own name, rather than as a vice-regent under the Sovereign King.

  1. Oppewal, 1963; Westminster, 1987 The establishment of Dutch reformed day schools has a unique and important history in America. This volume describes the field of Christian education from the perspective of practical analysis as well as introducing ideas of educational philosophy and its relation to the Christian school.
  2. Such a firm unwavering line of demarcation can make a person uncomfortable. Foundations of Christian education.
  3. The one is the worldview that starts with the self-attesting God of scripture and listens dependently to His Word in creation and scripture. The mechanical and routine are taken as the underlying reality of nature.
  4. Fundamentalist creationism is part of an evidentialist apologetic. Sermon text, illustrations, and media Signing in Forgot your password?

He becomes his own final authority. In this fallen condition, all things are affected, including our thinking and education. Van Til, 1979 For Van Til this is not the end of the story, because Christ came to fulfill the offices of prophet, priest and king, and to restore mankind.

As prophet, Christ is the voice of the Father speaking words of hope to his people. He is called the Word of God, and he came to earth preaching the gospel.

He is the sacrifice offering up Himself to satisfy divine justice, atone for sins, and reconcile us to God. As king Christ is victorious in overcoming evil and restoring and protecting his people. And they are true kings serving as agents and stewards of the high King here on earth.

  • Retrieved July 21, 2003, from http;
  • Ribera Educational Theories of Van Til 19 makes him very relevant in a postmodern world;
  • We are also to function as priests as we dedicate ourselves and all things to God and live, work, learn, and worship in His presence;
  • Retrieved July 21, 2003, from http;
  • It is a helpful resource to those in favor of Christian education as well as providing many thinking points for those who may be undecided or against the idea.

Van Til, 1979 In using the motifs of prophet, priest, and king, Van Til also worked out another thematic framework common in Reformed theology, the themes of creation, fall and redemption. Wolters, 1994 Implications for Education Van Til would see every student in the Christian school well educated in these facts. Van Til explains that there is an antithesis in the way a theist and an anti- theist understand the world.

Van Til does not use the terms atheist or agnostic, since he wants no suggestion of neutrality. From his perspective a person is either a believer in the God of the bible or an unbeliever. Thus the perception of each person, he says, is colored by his or her beliefs. Van Til, 1955, 1990a, n.

Van Til speaks of two antithetical worldviews. The one is the worldview that starts with the self-attesting God of scripture and listens dependently to His Word in creation and scripture.

Ribera Educational Theories of Van Til 11 He explains further what he means by this startling and dramatic statement that not a single fact can really be known. He talks about proximate similarities versus ultimate similarities, and proximate differences versus ultimate differences. There are some apparent similarities between the perception of the believer and unbeliever.

Both come to the same answer. This is a proximate similarity.

Apologetics

However, if you go deeper there are differences in how this fact is understood. In other words, the thing that makes this simple fact true is the creative Word of God. This is an ultimate difference. Implications for Education This has implications for both public school teachers and Christian school teachers. Does all knowledge ultimately point one to God? Or are facts simply neutral bits of information that point to nothing beyond themselves?

Ribera Educational Theories of Van Til 12 Now, in fact, I feel that the whole of history and civilization would be unintelligible to me if it were not for my belief in God.

So true is this, that I propose to argue that unless God is back of everything, you cannot find meaning in anything. I cannot even argue for belief in Him, without already having taken Him for granted. And similarly I contend that you cannot argue against belief in Him unless you also first take Him for granted. You may affirm that air exists, and I that it does not. But as we debate the point, we are both breathing air all the time.

Or to use another illustration, God is like the emplacement on which must stand the very guns that are supposed to shoot Him out of existence p. In this way Van Til introduces his presuppositional approach to epistemology.