Recently there was sent to me by the Reformed Fellowship of Canada a neatly printed 64-page booklet entitled Five Essays On Christian Education. Along with the booklet came a request for a review—a request I am happy to honor. In fact, I consider this booklet worthy of attention in our editorial columns rather than in our somewhat irregular book review department.
As the title indicates, this book consists of five chapters. The first is written by a Rev. H. van Dyken and is entitled “Covenantally Ours.” The next three are written by Mr. Gerald Bonekamp, a Christian school principal. They are entitled: “The Informal Christian School,” “Authority: Behind the Classroom Door,” and “Response Revealed—In Retrospect.” The last chapter is written by another Christian school principal, Mr. H. Bergsma, and is entitled “Christian Education: What About the Future?” The chapter on “Authority: Behind the Classroom Door” is perhaps already known to some of our readers; it received rather wide distribution in mimeographed form.
Why do I recommend this booklet?
For the most part, the booklet is in the nature of a warning against the attempts of the AACS to infiltrate the Christian schools of the National Union of Christian Schools. Those of our people who still send their children to these schools and participate in the operation of these schools may profit directly from these chapters, especially from those written by Mr. Bonekamp, who does a rather thorough job of exposing the dangerous views of the AACS with respect to Christian education. Also the parents, board members, and teachers of our Protestant Reformed Christian Schools, however, may be instructed by these chapters—not only with respect to the errors of the AACS but also with respect to some important positive aspects of parental education and with respect to the proper place and function of parents, boards, and staff in the operation of the school.
If I may offer some negative criticism, it is this, that the first chapter, which undoubtedly purposes to furnish a covenantal basis for Christian education, is the weakest. It suffers from vagueness, from a lack of proper definition of the covenant and of the place of the children of believers in the covenant, and from some erroneous ideas (such as that of the covenant of works). One more suggestion: the writers of these chapters could have been identified and introduced to the readers. I hardly think they are so well known as to need no introduction.
However, I suggest that you spend 75¢ for a copy of this brochure. It can be obtained for this price from: The Reformed Fellowship of Canada, 242 Elmhurst Drive, Rexdale, Ontario, Canada. Follow up your reading of Prof. Hanko’s “The AACS and the Kingdom” by reading of this worthwhile and well-documented critique.