Proceeding now on the supposition that the aim of those who seek Protestant Reformed education for their children is also to have teachers with Protestant Reformed training, as has been evidenced by the in­terest in and activity toward such a project ever since 1948, we still have several important questions to con­sider.

There is the question: What must be done? And there is the question, closely related: initially what are the minimum requirements of a Protestant Re­formed training course? There is the question: how can this goal be attained? And there is a rather fun­damental and crucial question: whose responsibility is it to establish such a teacher training institution? And because our answer to the last question will de­termine to an extent our answers to the other questions, we chose to treat it first.

Ecclesiastical or Parental Responsibility

These are the alternatives which we face, when we ask the question: by whom must our teacher training facilities be established, controlled, and maintained? The third possibility, namely, state-controlled insti­tutions, I am sure we all rule out from the beginning: state-controlled colleges and parentally controlled grammar and high schools simply do not go hand in hand.

However, history shows that the question which forms our caption is a crucial one. Is it the calling of the church institute to establish, maintain, and con­trol institutions for the training of Christian teachers? Or is it the calling of believing parents to establish, maintain, and control such institutions, and thus to provide the grammar and high schools which they establish for their covenant children with fit teachers? To some of us this matter may be simple. Personally, I have no difficulty at all in concluding that the re­sponsibility is parental, not ecclesiastical. But his­torically the matter has not been so simple. In fact the stream of history has always favored either state controlled or church controlled colleges. And this has been true both within our own Reformed circles and outside of them. In fact, as we pointed out pre­viously, the tendency to look to Mother Church for the establishment of teacher training facilities of our own has not been missing in our own churches.

Hence, it is not amiss to consider this matter care­fully.

Turning the pages of history we find almost in­variably, first of all, that the institutions of higher learning in our country were established initially for the propagation of the faith, specifically for the train­ing of the clergy. In New England, during the years of colonization, schools such as Yale and Harvard were established with this aim. By this time that original aim has long been discarded, and these schools have become gigantic, worldly institutions of learning. In their formative years, however, they were small and struggling and, by modern standards, I suppose rather amateurish schools which were dedicated to the training, of ministerial timber and established by the zealous and pious Puritans. In New Jersey, Prince­ton was conceived and born with the same goal in view. In fact, during the early history of our country when one wanted to train for any secular profession, he had to study in Europe. And it was mainly through the efforts of the patriotic but unbelieving Benjamin Franklin that schools dedicated to training in the arts and sciences had their beginning in this country, about the middle of the eighteenth century.

Especially in New England, of course, the lines be­tween church and state were dimly drawn, so that even where there was a measure of public education, it was not for democratic, but for religious reasons. However, the point we make here is, that from the earliest history of our country the schools of higher learning for the most part had their inception in the desire for a trained clergy, and for a long time ex­isted solely for the purpose of training ministers.

Gradually, through the press of circumstances, when education in the arts and sciences was demanded, these institutions developed into full-fledged colleges and universities. And today in many of them the theological faculty is only one among many and usually, too, thoroughly modern.

In this same way many colleges and universities had their beginning. The Roman Catholics, of course, are known for their theory of church controlled edu­cation, all the way from the kindergarten to the uni­versity. The Lutherans also follow the principle of ecclesiastical responsibility in education, and have not only their own grammar schools, but also maintain many a college, besides, of course, having their own theological schools. But even among those churches which maintain no grammar and high schools of their own, but subscribe to the principle of public education, one will find countless colleges and junior colleges, and even universities that are denominationally es­tablished and maintained, even though any trace or twinge of orthodox Christian religion in those schools is often sought in vain.

So it is evident that the tide of history favors de­nominationally established institutions of higher lear­ning.

And in Reformed circles the same tendency has prevailed. We are, I believe, most familiar with Cal­vin College, established and maintained by the Chris­tian Reformed Church(es). Its history was in the main the same as cited above. Originally it was a the­ological school. From the outset it was devoted sole­ly to the preparation of ministers. In the course of time, as it had expanded to furnish pre-seminary training for future ministers, so it also expanded to furnish normal training for future Christian school teachers. But it continued to develop. And today its facilities are by no means limited to future tea­chers and preachers. College and seminary have been separated. And in the college, besides educational training, one may, for example, take simply a ge­neral college course, a pre-seminary course, a pre-medical course, a pre-dental course, or a pre-engineering course. But,—and this is the point,—Calvin College is still a denominational institution, given, suppos­edly, to Christian Reformed principles, maintained by the Christian Reformed Church(es), and main­tained primarily for Christian Reformed people. Its budget is ecclesiastically determined. Its financial support is from the churches, to the extent that the school is not self-supporting.

Now we, as Protestant Reformed people, will soon, I believe, face this same question very concretely. In fact, the history which we cited in our previous arti­cles shows that we already have faced this question. At least, requests and overtures have been made to our synods to furnish training for our teachers; and these requests have been heeded to an extent. In that respect not only has the question been faced, but an answer has been given.

I believe it is the wrong answer!

To be sure, this question has, to my knowledge, never been faced consciously to any great degree. Certainly there has been no prolonged and basic de­bate on the issue. Synod has not discussed it any length. Synod’s committees have not studied it, as far as the records show. In fact, the only attempt at debate on this score, as I recall it, took place in Classis East, at the time when Randolph’s overture was under discussion; and I believe the debate on this issue of ecclesiastical or parental responsibility for normal training was finally the reason why Randolph’s overture was sent on to synod without classical ap­proval or disapproval.

It is, therefore, time that we give consideration to this question.

And let us decide it, not on the basis of practical considerations, because then, I fear, the outcome will be that we leave it to Mother Church. That is the path of least resistance. It is easy, especially when things can be done by way of synodical assessments, which eventually find their way into congregational budgets, to let the churches establish and maintain a college.

However, it is contrary to Reformed principle.

The calling of the church is to preach the Word. Within the scope of this calling is included, to be sure, the calling to train preachers. The theological train­ing of our ministers, and, to an extent, the pre-theological training of our ministers is the duty of the church institute. , Outside of that the church has no calling to educate, except in the pulpit and in the ca­techism room.

In this connection it has always been Reformed to interpret article 21 of the Church Order in the eth­ical sense. That article reads: “The Consistories shall see to it that there are good Christian schools in which the parents have their children instructed according to the demands of the Covenant.” Now, certainly, that article must be maintained; and every consistory should be faithful to the requirement of Article 21 with fear and trembling, lest the cause of Christian education in our midst go spiritually bankrupt. But as Reformed people we have never lent ourselves to the interpretation that this article calls for parochial schools. We have insisted on parental schools. And the consistory has not a calling to establish Christian schools, but rather by way of admonition and exhor­tation, privately and through the pulpit, as well, per­haps, by way of financial support and aid, to see to it that there are good Christian schools wherein par­ents have their children instructed according to the demands of the Covenant, But by no stretch of the imagination can this article be used to support the principle of a church established college.

Rather should we follow the same principle of par­ental education which we follow in our grammar schools and high schools. Our normal school, even­tually, our college (???), must be parentally estab­lished and controlled. Perhaps we may look to the church institute for help. Perhaps there is room for cooperation between Seminary and Normal School. But we must not have a denominational college. Let the church preach the Word! And let our parents fulfill, to the limit, their calling to train their children “in the doctrine of this Christian church.”

H.C. Hoeksema