In connection with the Common Grace world-and-life view, labeled or unlabeled, on which we commented last time, we want to add a line or two.
We and our people are constantly in contact with this Common Grace world-and-life view. There are areas in which we can work together, and there are areas in which we have to work together, but in practically all areas we meet that same unscriptural world-and-life view. It may not perhaps seem so dangerous, but it nevertheless is. If it is not labeled, we ought to be detective enough to label it, and having labeled it to reject it. Not only ought we to reject it, but we ought also to attempt to persuade others to reject it. If they may have their eyes opened they may be won. But let us be careful that we be not gradually weaned away from the God-and-Word faith, which will surely happen if we be weaned away from the world-and-life view which Scripture gives us and our Confessions present us. It is not merely a doctrinal issue which erupted in 1924, it was an ethical issue no less. Our relation to God and our relation to the world was called into question. It needed definition. In 1924 that definition was given. We were not in nineteen twenty-four arguing about what the other side of the moon looked like. That were a thing so abstract that it meant nothing for our everyday life. But the issue was our relation to the world, determined by our relation to God and God’s relation toward the world. There was defined our world-and-life view to a very great extent. We must never lose that.
And The School….
We mentioned last time how this dangerous world- and-life view glares at us from the pages of the “Course of Study for Christian Schools” (1947). This in itself already presents us a great danger, for our children are exposed to it. The philosophy which this book presents us has been described very pointedly as follows: In this book. . . .“total depravity is denied, the atoning death of Christ is silently ignored and sanctification confused with social betterment. . . . what is plainly evident, is the fact that the whole idea of God’s covenant is sought for in vain. There is not one word in this philosophy that in any way refers to Christian education as covenant training” (Standard Bearer, Vol. 24, page 808). That in itself is a great danger, because our children are exposed to it. But it becomes the more dangerous if the Union of Christian Schools becomes powerful enough to compel this kind of instruction upon the schools which there are. A central board was a fine thing, it one time seemed, for it helped to procure efficiency and unity. But now there is concentration of power, unionization, and what will the local schools do? The philosophy of education is practically dictated to us and who can successfully resist it or propose something in its place? These are very sad things. Sad not only because we can no longer find the reformed heritage here for our children, but sad especially because it is our conviction that our brethren are moving ever further away from the way of the cross and moving ever closer toward the seduction of antichrist.
Here then we deal with world-and-life views which we must detect and label, lest our children receive them.
And Schools Of Our Own….
But we cannot leave it here. On the one hand we hope that the various Christian School Boards throughout our country will take this Course of Study seriously enough to study it in the light of Scripture, and especially in the light of such pertinent issues as: the covenant, regeneration, antithesis, etc. Our schools ought not to teach doctrine but if we will have a philosophy of education, so-called, sound doctrine must underlie it. In due time come the new text books. Will they be an extension of that same dangerous world-and-life view? Our Boards must answer that question and our men in these Boards have great responsibility. We would like to urge all our present school boards to examine these things carefully and our men in these boards to see that this is not left undone. For more light on what this Course of Study includes, I refer you again to Standard Bearer, Vol. 24, pages 307 and 332.
On the other hand, such action naturally is preparation for schools of our own. It moves us in the direction of schools of our own. They are necessary and become more necessary, yea vital, in proportion that the Union becomes more powerful. Nothing can take the place of schools of our own. We already have a few such schools. Many of our churches are small and already heavily burdened. But schools of our own will not come as a luxury. They ought not. They come as a necessity. If there shall be a world-and-life view imposed upon us which has become progressively corrupt, schools of our own become necessary. And they are.
We honestly believe however, that in every community where we leave the present school system and begin schools of our own, we should be able to give an intelligent account of why we do it. We should be able to indicate rather definitely why we leave them. The people, especially the new board, should have a definite and intelligent reason for doing what they do. Especially because this will help us to begin our own schools with a positive world-and-life view. It is not enough to reject the erroneous view, we must put in the place of it the positive, correct view, at least in principle. I have little hope for a distinct world-and-life view in schools of our own, except we develop a Reformed course of study and our teachers be well versed therein. Surely we all, our new boards and especially our teachers must know what Common Grace looks like when it is kneaded into history, geography, science, etc. Not only in order that they will be able to reject it when they run upon it in the text books which we will have to “borrow”, but above all in order that they may positively instruct along Reformed lines.
Certain children come home from school with the information that there could be people living on the planet Mars. The teacher did not say that there WERE people living there, but there COULD BE people living there. The telescope will reveal more about this later. Now, here one deals directly with a world-and-life view. What shall we as reformed people state over against this notion? If we admit that there could be people living there we take position in regard to doctrinal things. But what will we say? We should know what the Word of God says about this. You see therefore how important these things are, and how important that our teachers be well versed in the correct world-and-life view. Or again, when our geography book tells us that coal and oil were formed over hundreds of thousands of years, and the Grand Canyon required millions of years to be cut to its present depth, we need to answer in view of the Word of God and be careful for the philosophy of geologists.
But why cite more examples?
God grant that we may be true to His Word and faithful to the truth which He Himself has delivered unto us.
To make matters worse, all of us are constantly prone to corrupt world-and-life views, and prone to practice them in our daily life. We are by nature self- and material-centered.
A humanist one time wrote that we all spend about ninety five percent of our time and energy defending our own ego. I doubt whether the percentage is quite that high, but I fear he saw something there. To be ego-centered is only a modified form of being world-and material-centered. We must also detect and label this world-and-life view as being carnal and promptly reject it. And who goes about his daily work in the consciousness of being in the service of God as He ought? Do we not all suffer of seeking the things which are below? Also this perversion needs labeling. And when the farmer looks at his crops, his hogs, his cattle, who does not think in terms of $ (dollars), only in dollars? When his cow becomes sick and is going to die, do his thoughts go much further than the consideration of loss to himself in terms of dollars? Isn’t this also a world-and-life view which needs detection and labeling? Paul says “seek not the things which are below,” and again, “seek not each his own”, and, “labor not for the things which pass away,” and, “lay up treasures not on earth, but in heaven”. Does he not mark off definite areas in which our Christian world-and-life view ought to express itself? What is that for instance to be rich toward God? and what is that: to seek the things which are above? and what is that about not giving eye-service as men pleasers?
Paul says: think on these things.