“Teaching is an art, not science”…and is “very dangerous to apply the aims and methods of science to human beings as individuals… ‘Scientific’ relationship between human beings is bound to be inadequate and perhaps distorted.” Lesson planning does not make a teachers teaching scientific. “Teaching involves emotions, which cannot be systematically appraised and employed , and human values, which are quite outside the grasp of science. A ‘scientifically’ brought-up child would be pitable monster… ‘Scientific’ teaching, even of scientific subjects will be inadequate as long as both teachers and pupils are human beings. Teaching is not like inducing a chemical reaction: it is much more like painting a picture or making a piece of music, or on a lower level like planting a garden or writing a friendly letter. You must throw your heart into it, you must realize that it cannot all be done by formulas, or you will spoil your work, and your pupils, and your self.”

Gilbert Highet
The Art of Teaching (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), vii-viii

God’s people could not possibly insult their Maker and Redeemer in any more gruesome fashion than by having anything to do in their educational policies with those who said that God was dead…

…[O]ur first duty as Christian educators is to face this education without antithesis and to take a thoroughly antithetical  attitude toward it. Modern educational philosophy gruesomely insults our God and our Christ. How, then, do you expect to build anything positively Christian or theistic upon a foundation which is the negation of Christianity and theism?

Cornelius Van Til
Foundations of Christian Education: Address to Christina Teachers (Dennis E. Johnson Ed.) (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1991/1953), p. 10

…[N]o “fact” is seen as it really is unless it is seen in its correct relationship to God. Since God has made the space-time facts, their relation to God naturally the most important thing to know about them. But more than that, it is not really enough to say that the most important thing to know about a “fact” is its relationship to God because that very relationship to God exhausts the meaning of the fact. When you have for the first time seen the fact about “facts”; that is, you have for the first time seen the facts in distinction from bare facts.

Cornelius Van Til
Foundations of Christian Education: Address to Christina Teachers (Dennis E. Johnson Ed.) (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1991/1953), p. 16

As the purpose of education we are told that it is to teach the growing personality a method of adjustment to the environment in which it may be placed.1 This purpose is set in opposition to what is said to be the older conception of the purpose of education, namely to give the child a certain informational content. Functional education is substituted for conceptual education. But if we look for a minute at this so-called functional theory of education we notice that it cannot possibly function. The reason for this is that the purpose of education is to teach people adjustment to environment if neither we nor anybody else can have any notion whatever as to what that environment may really be. There can be no preparation for the void. In trying to prepare for the void modern education theory has missed all sense of direction….

It becomes evident how absolutely imperative it is for any teacher who becomes enamored of the modern idea of functional education to ask himself whether such an idea of education is consistent with the Christianity that he professes. All too often Trojan horses come into the Christian camp.

Show 1 footnote

  1. This is what John Dewey referred to as the socializing the child. In his pragmatic language, it was about training up the child to be a worker, vocational training, for the current workforce needs.
Cornelius Van Til
Foundations of Christian Education: Address to Christian Teachers (Dennis E. Johnson Ed.) (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1991/1953), p. 13

Christian teachers know that not a single “fact” can really be known and therefore really be taught unless placed under the light of the revelation of God. Even the laws of arithmetic cannot be known otherwise.

Cornelius Van Til
Foundations of Christian Education: Address to Christina Teachers (Dennis E. Johnson Ed.) (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1990/1953), p. 4

A post-Christian society is not merely a society in which agnosticism or atheism is the prevailing fundamental belief. It is a society rooted in the history, culture, and practices of Christianity but in which the religious beliefs of Christianity have been either rejected or, worse, forgotten…At an emotional level, its Christian character explains why many agnostics and atheists nonetheless find Christian hymns suitable and comforting at occasions such as funerals and weddings. Intellectually, its dormant Christian beliefs—notably those about the nature of Man—underpin our ideas on politics and foreign policy, as for instance on human rights. Even the Enlightenment—which strong secularists like to cite as the foundation of Western liberal polities—is an extension of Christianity as much as a rejection of it. In short, though much of what Christianity taught is forgotten, even unknown, by modern Europeans and Americans, they nonetheless act on its teachings every day.

John O'Sullivan
"Our Post-Christian Society" (National Review Online, December 14, 2013 Accessed on June 14, 2014), from http://www.nationalreview.com/article/366263/our-post-christian-society-john-osullivan.

The battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: A religion of humanity—utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to carry humanist values into wherever they teach. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new— the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.

John J. Dunphy
“A New Religion for the New Age.” (The Humanist, January/February,1983), p. 26

I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living; I believe that education is the regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction … I believe that every teacher is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. I believe that in this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usher in of the true kingdom of God.

John Dewey
The Early Works of John Dewey. Vol. 5: My Pedagogic Creed (Jo Ann Boydston Ed.) (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1972), pp. 84-85

With the exclusion of God and his moral principles, … during the last decades, humanists have been very successful in propagating their beliefs. Their primary approach is to target the youth through the public school system, thus education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?

Charles Francis Potter
Humanism: A New Religion (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1930), p. 128