Chalcedon College of Education: Reclaiming the Next Generation

Abraham Lincoln is often credited with saying “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”  Regardless of the quote’s author, the author of life is very interested in government…and because school rooms exist in this world, He is very interested in what happens there as well.

 The principle is that the doctrine students learn in school shapes their worldview, which informs their philosophical leanings, which produce cultural mores, which produce societal norms.  In today’s highly differentiated society, the office of educator, in most contexts endorsed and sanctioned by civil government, has produced prophets, kings and priests who espouse a philosophy that loves death and despises life under the rule of the God of the Bible.

 PROBLEM

 A war for the hearts and minds of men is being fought in every public square, and the most crucial theater is the American educational system, in whose schools millions of young people now languish.  The immediate battles require that Christians profess and confess Christ with weapons adequate to tearing down the strongholds gripping our people in today’s America.

 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…  (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

 The question is not whether to focus teaching efforts in the schools, the homes, or the churches. Christians must do all of the above. However, if they compartmentalize education by limiting themselves to the generation that is to come and restrict the definition of education to what happens in a building directed by professional educators, they run the risk of presumption.  What the Christian community must do to bring about a Christian society is to rebuild in all areas of life, at all levels.  In education, the core group must come first, that is, the children of believers.

 Knowing and teaching sound doctrine involves addressing the structure and function of God’s solemn pacts with mankind through the ages. God instituted His covenants with individuals, families, and nations.  Just as each covenant includes conditions, each also includes promises for adherence to His terms.  As the Good News was given to Abraham, so can non-believers be converted to receive the terms of the New Covenant.  A thorough mastery of covenant theology and a mature commitment to Christian reconstruction are indispensable for any cultural leader.  Such people are equipped to nurture younger people in a practical, productive faith.

 SOLUTION

 To assist the perfecting of Christian leaders in reclaiming the next generation, Chalcedon College of Education will offer classes leading to a master’s degree in Christian education.  This program can be a two- or four-year course of study (even longer if a student chooses), with a Christian reconstructionist emphasis on western literature and history.  The Christian educator must also be proficient in the English language and should possess sound understanding of economics and government.

 The Bible, literature and history must not be divorced.  The student must know the biblical influence on literary figures, works, and movements, as well as the historical events and major eras influenced by and reflected in those works.  These studies also include appreciation of visual and applied arts plus an understanding of God’s influence on math, science, and technology.  Analyzing historical characters and their accomplishments from a covenantal perspective will give students a deeper understanding of who and how God is and how He deals with His creation.  CCE will offer four semesters in this field:  Pre-Christian, Early Christian-to-Reformation, 16th-to-18th centuries, and 19th century-to-present.  Additionally, students will receive two semesters of history of Christian education.

 Knowledge of and successful participation in government, a term now relegated almost exclusively to the civil sphere, is essential for the free man.  CCE will offer two semesters, one on government pre-America and one on American government.  Personal, familial, and church governments will be emphasized throughout both semesters.

 Another important class for students is economics.  This study is so ignored in Christian circles, and is so poorly (i.e., socialistically) taught that great harm has been done to the Kingdom of God by wrong understanding, or complete ignorance, of the covenantal view of production, consumption, and transfer of wealth.

 Students will also study philosophy, curriculum, and pedagogy, of course always from a biblical covenantal perspective.  Finally, two semesters will be offered on the study of issues in education—permanent, past, and present.

 Below are possible class assignments under both programs.  Students may enroll for one, two, three, or four classes per semester.  In other words, they may take as long as they want to complete the degree plan.  Since the program will be taught at the master’s level, undergraduate students, though they may be admitted and be allowed to work at their level, would receive only a certificate upon completion, at least at the inception of the college.

TWO YEAR PROGRAM

Semester   1

Rhetoric   and Research

Pre-Christian   Literature/History

Economics

The   Bible and Education

Semester   2

History   of Christian Education I

Pre-Reformation   Literature/History

Civil   Government Before America

Christian   Philosophy of Education

Semester   3

16th-18th   Century Literature/History

American   Government

History   of Christian Education II

Issues   in Education I

Semester   4

19th Century-Present Literature/History

Curriculum

Pedagogy

Issues   in Education II

        FOUR YEAR PROGRAM

Semester 1

Rhetoric   and Research

Pre-Christian   Literature/History

Semester 2

Economics

The   Bible and Education

Semester 3

History   of Christian Ed. I

Pre-Reformation Literature/History

Semester 4

Civil   Government Pre-America

Philosophy   of Education

Semester 5

16th-18th   Century Literature/History

American   Government

Semester 6

History   of Education II

Issues   in Education I

Semester 7

19th Century-Present Literature/History

Curriculum

Semester 8

Pedagogy

Issues   in Education II

 SUSTAINABILITY

 CCE, though only in its conception and gestation periods, can be born if a few conditions can be met.

  1. Christian leaders develop and implement the concept of the Levitical task.
  2. Local church leaders see the work of CCE as a legitimate, useful ministry relevant to the needs and opportunities in our communities.
  3. Enough modern day Levites answer God’s call upon their lives.

 If ethical pastors and other church leaders recognize the biblical function of the tithe, they will faithfully respond by supporting not just programs like CCE’s but education in general.  R. J. Rushdoony has some poignant words to this effect:

First, Levites were used as judges, because they were experts in the law. Second, they were to teach the law: they were the national educators.

Imagine the implications of this if applied to the present. It would mean a network across the United States of Christian schools, colleges, and universities, all concerned with establishing a Christian culture and upholding God’s law.

If this seems a visionary idea, we must remember that it once was done to a degree in the United States. Up to about 1900, about seventy-five percent of all U.S. colleges and universities were founded by Scottish Calvinists who were immigrants here. When I was a student, and first learned of this fact, I mentioned it with some awe to an elderly, retired Scottish pastor, a Presbyterian, and he referred to it as a Levitical task. The more trusting ways of his times, and the lack of a Van Tillian presuppositionalism, made it possible in time to subvert all these schools, but it was still a remarkable and Biblical accomplishment.

As we have seen in Numbers 18:24-32, the tithe was given to the Levites, who then tithed the tenth of this tithe to the priests. This meant that instruction, when this law was obeyed, took priority in the faith and life of the people.

In our day, such an emphasis on education and scholarship on the part of the Christian community would revolutionize and recapitalize society. This law is also one reason why theonomy is unpopular in an age when the institutional church claims the total tithe and denies the right of anyone else to a penny of it!

Over the centuries, this Levitical aspect of God’s ministry has been the object of suspicion and control. When the medieval university developed, its scholars were monks, priests, or friars, i.e., under the jurisdiction of a church-controlled order. Protestantism has been no less eager to control its teachers. This has been an impediment to Christian scholarship. If Christian scholars cannot be trusted, are we to assume that only priests and pastors can be? Is it not wiser to recognize the propensity of all to sin and to trust God’s requirements above man’s controls? Men too often have more confidence in themselves than in God; they find it a pity that God will not take their advice!  (Commentaries on the Pentateuch:  Numbers, pp. 382-383)

But the Levites themselves must now come out of the corner. They must step up even with fear and trembling to occupy their office.  They must trust that the God who calls them to teach and demands more of teachers is the same God who will supply all their needs.  They must also shun the popular prosperity message and resist the temptation to try to get rich in God’s service; the Bible tells us to be rich in good works. The Levites’ inheritance was the LORD Himself.

A willing Levite need not starve as he strives to be a teacher in the Kingdom. Family teaching ministries can survive well enough even in today’s economy; after all, God ordained big families from the beginning. For example, two or three older teenagers or young adults plus either parent could bring in several modest paychecks. As adult children marry and procreate, new Levites come into the fold with soon-to-be growing student bodies.  CCE aims to prepare the willing Levite.

 Our charge to today’s Levites is for teachers and learners both.  Faithful faculty members will not get rich, and aspiring students will not go broke.  CCE’s tuition is tentatively set as follows:

$250 x 1 course      =        250

$225 x 2 courses    =        450

$200 x 4 courses    =        800

Books and materials would be additional expenses for the student.  A student’s congregation could sponsor him, or at least allocate some tithe moneys for tuition of interested church members.

 Of course, a stable and healthy learning environment will not be financed with tuition fees alone. Besides cash support, church leaders can provide CCE and ministries like it with physical plant and other needed facilities, effectively establishing local Levitical cities on their church properties.

 CONCLUSION

 The Roman Empire split at the end of the 4th century.  In the west, Rome accepted the legitimacy of Christianity, “provided that the church [recognize] the superior jurisdiction of the state and the political order as the true and primary manifestation of the divine.” (The Foundations of Social Order, p. 54)

 Rushdoony writes that after Constantine’s conversion and the Christianization of the Empire,

the Roman statist theology reasserted itself.  Indeed Christ was in some form divine, but, more than the Church, the Empire was held to be the voice of God.  The recognition of the Church by the Empire was soon followed by the persecution of orthodoxy, as witness Athanasius, for espousing the divinity and supremacy of Christ.  The problem was God or man, Christ or the state, who is man’s saviour, and how is divinity incarnated? (The Foundations of Social Order, p. 54)

 In 451, the Church Council of Chalcedon declared that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man, simultaneously, one without ceasing to be the other.  Rushdoony says Chalcedon was the “death sentence on the ancient world and…beginning of true liberty,” (Intellectual Schizophrenia, p. 116), a final blow to Caesar.  Within a generation, the Roman Empire had fallen.

 But the Church of the 21st century is experiencing new growing pains and challenges.  With the State regaining much of its cultural power, “the sway of Chalcedon is disappearing, and all the gains it represented ignored, forgotten or despised.” (Intellectual Schizophrenia, p. 117)  At the end of an age in the 400s, Chalcedon stood for God against the gods of the day.  Today Chalcedon College will work to do the same.  We owe it to the next generation.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s