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The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum

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The Christian School represents a break with humanistic education, but, too often, in leaving the state school, the Christian educator has carried the state s humanism with him. A curriculum is not neutral; it is either a course in humanism or training in a God-centered faith and life. The liberal arts curriculum means literally that course which trains students in the arts The Christian School represents a break with humanistic education, but, too often, in leaving the state school, the Christian educator has carried the state s humanism with him. A curriculum is not neutral; it is either a course in humanism or training in a God-centered faith and life. The liberal arts curriculum means literally that course which trains students in the arts of freedom. This raises the key question: is freedom in and of man or Christ? The Christian art of freedom, that is, the Christian liberal arts curriculum, is emphatically not the same as the humanistic one. It is urgently necessary for Christian educators to rethink the meaning and nature of the curriculum. In this study Rousas John Rushdoony develops the philosophy of the Christian curriculum. It is the pioneering study in this field, and it is important reading for all Christian educators.


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The Christian School represents a break with humanistic education, but, too often, in leaving the state school, the Christian educator has carried the state s humanism with him. A curriculum is not neutral; it is either a course in humanism or training in a God-centered faith and life. The liberal arts curriculum means literally that course which trains students in the arts The Christian School represents a break with humanistic education, but, too often, in leaving the state school, the Christian educator has carried the state s humanism with him. A curriculum is not neutral; it is either a course in humanism or training in a God-centered faith and life. The liberal arts curriculum means literally that course which trains students in the arts of freedom. This raises the key question: is freedom in and of man or Christ? The Christian art of freedom, that is, the Christian liberal arts curriculum, is emphatically not the same as the humanistic one. It is urgently necessary for Christian educators to rethink the meaning and nature of the curriculum. In this study Rousas John Rushdoony develops the philosophy of the Christian curriculum. It is the pioneering study in this field, and it is important reading for all Christian educators.

30 review for The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum

  1. 4 out of 5

    Felipe

    Que livro espetacular! Rushdoony desmascara com mastreia o humanismo por detrás da educação dos nossos dias. A cosmovisão reformada não será resgatada enquanto não dermos a atenção que nossos pais deram a escolas do pacto, escolas cujos currículos não neguem o Senhor Criador e intérprete de todas as coisas.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Of all the Rushdoony books I've read so far, this is probably my favorite. I was actually surprised at how much it addressed worldview and the fight between humanism and Christianity. I expected that it would, but it was a lot more about worldview than I had even anticipated. This is definitely a 5 star book, and one I will be revisiting over and over. It brings together a lot of Rushdoony's teachings in new ways I'd never read in any of his other writings. This is not a book simply about school Of all the Rushdoony books I've read so far, this is probably my favorite. I was actually surprised at how much it addressed worldview and the fight between humanism and Christianity. I expected that it would, but it was a lot more about worldview than I had even anticipated. This is definitely a 5 star book, and one I will be revisiting over and over. It brings together a lot of Rushdoony's teachings in new ways I'd never read in any of his other writings. This is not a book simply about schooling, curriculum, or even the worldviews at play in education. A must read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Slack

    Excellent. Rushdoony provides an overview of the Christian curriculum, and then spends much of the book discussing how Christians should approach various school subjects like math, writing, science, etc. He ends with a detailed look at the ultimate goals of Christian education, written particularly for those involved in Christian schools.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    Excellent.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jake Litwin

    It is urgently necessary for Christian educators to understand the meaning and nature of the curriculum. Rushdoony, a profound scholar in education, history, and philosophy, provides an excellent book on not only how to develop the philosophy of the Christian curriculum but answers the “why” question of so many Christian schools falling into neo-orthodoxy, humanism, and evolutionary thinking. It is hard to believe this book was published in 1981 because so many elements of what he outlines of t It is urgently necessary for Christian educators to understand the meaning and nature of the curriculum. Rushdoony, a profound scholar in education, history, and philosophy, provides an excellent book on not only how to develop the philosophy of the Christian curriculum but answers the “why” question of so many Christian schools falling into neo-orthodoxy, humanism, and evolutionary thinking. It is hard to believe this book was published in 1981 because so many elements of what he outlines of this danger is what I saw in teaching and subbing at evangelical Christian schools. The book is divided into 5 parts, covering a variety of topics including why education isn’t neutral, the government’s religion of humanism influencing Christian education, how to develop a curriculum to teach every subject, who is the primary educator of the student, the government or the family?, the ultimate goal of government education vs. Christian Education and much more. A curriculum cannot be made Christian simply by starting the class with a prayer and sprinkling Bible verses here and there, but only by establishing a biblical foundation that permeates through everything. Quote: “Christian Education is not the curriculum with the Bible added to it, but a curriculum in which the Word of God governs and informs every subject.” I highly recommend this work for anyone involved in Education.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John

    This is the most useful and direct of all Rushdoony's works on education. It is comprehensive in covering the philosophy/theology of education as well as how subjects are to be taught. Of all Rushdoony's works on education, this is the one with which most readers should begin. It is accessible, thorough, and can easily be read in small chunks. The book, like nearly everything Rushdoony has ever written, is a collection of essays organized topically. He establishes early on that the purpose of edu This is the most useful and direct of all Rushdoony's works on education. It is comprehensive in covering the philosophy/theology of education as well as how subjects are to be taught. Of all Rushdoony's works on education, this is the one with which most readers should begin. It is accessible, thorough, and can easily be read in small chunks. The book, like nearly everything Rushdoony has ever written, is a collection of essays organized topically. He establishes early on that the purpose of education is, "to school persons in the ultimate values of a culture. This is inescapably a religious task." p. 3 Rushdoony then establishes the Van Til-inspired antithesis between Christian education and modern education which he declares is an heir of Greek humanism. This antithesis establishes man as law-giver and thus in opposition to God. The consequences of humanism in education is "statism and anarchic individualism." One cannot simply add Bible instruction to the modern curriculum to achieve a Christian education, because "the center of the state" is "man without law". p. 8 Humanism defines liberty as "freedom from law as absolute." With this working definition, teaching means "total relativism, so that no truth exists except man, and man realizes himself in and through the Great Society of Dewey and others, the total state." p. 8-9 But Christian education has the Bible as central, with all subjects "revised in terms of Christian liberty." p. 10 He writes "Christian education must assert at all times the absolute law of God." p. 24 This is so because Christian education is "not academic" but "religious and practical." For, "Man's purpose is to build the Kingdom of God." p. 25 He argues, "the goal of Christian education cannot be exhaustive knowledge but rather principled knowledge." p. 30 The heart of Rushdoony's argument on education is the outworking of Van Til's theology of antithesis. Whatever Rushdoony's failings and shortcomings may be, he is fully committed to the Vantillian project and fully understands its meaning and import. This is Rushdoony's most significant legacy in my estimation. Having established the purpose of Christian education, Rushdoony then examines each subject in explicitly Christian terms. This about fifty pages of the book, with most subjects covering four or five pages each. These sections on subjects are very helpful, despite their lack of specificity in what material is covered. But this is not his purpose. He is chiefly concerned with the manner in which a subject is taught, and less so with what is taught. He writes, "The whole point of Christian education is that it denies the primacy of the subject. Its law is ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness’ (Matt. 6:33). The student in a Christian School is not there to be entertained, to ‘find’ himself, realize himself, or advance himself, but to know, believe in, obey, and better serve the Lord, and to be prepared for his calling in the Lord. As the Lord has dominion over him, so he can have dominion in his calling through Christ." p. 61 Education is critical because it is "The key to a recovery of reformed world and life view is Christian education, and basic to a sound doctrine of Christian education is a Biblical view of creation and the fall." p. 91 He is clear throughout the book, "Christian education, Christian schools, are thus a religious necessity." p. 95 He poses the question that the church is not eager to hear or answer, "can we retain in membership people who affirm Christ as Lord and Savior and yet turn over their children to a godless school?" p.112 He doesn't give a direct yes or no to the question, but he again affirms the only Christian position on education: "The sovereignty of God in education requires us to reorganize all education in terms of Biblical faith and presuppositions, to assert the crown rights of King Jesus in every area of life and thought, and to yield unto our Lord His due obedience in church, state, school, home, vocation, and in all of life. Nothing short of this is Christian. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty requires it." p. 115 Time and again he argues that it is not simply a matter of having Bible classes that makes an education Christian. "A school course which is not systematically Biblical is a hidden enemy to the faith. Humanism has no place in our hearts, churches, homes, or classrooms." p. 131 Yet it is the state schools that most concern Rushdoony, as they are the most influential. The antithesis between the state school and the Christian school is stark: "Everything that the state school teaches is governed by an overriding premise, that man be served, not God. Man can be interpreted collectively or individually, but, in any case, it is humanism. For us, however, in the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’ This must also be the goal of our education." p. 152 This is no small matter, because the future is at stake: "To control the future requires the control of education and of the child. Hence, for Christians to tolerate statist education, or to allow their children to be trained thereby, means to renounce power in society, to renounce their children, and to deny Christ’s lordship over all of life." p. 158 In a moment of prophetic clarity he argues that, "For the Christian to come into power, i.e., to control education and the state, means the dismantling of all the key achievements of humanism and a radical denial of the humanistic plan of salvation. It means the scrapping of the modern humanistic power state and its plan of salvation by law and education. It means the destruction of statist education and its humanism. It means moreover a change from methodology to meaning, from pragmatism to truth." p.161 This is a remarkable work--the best he's done on education. Though the title alludes to "curriculum" the book is far larger than curriculum. This is really "The Christian Philosophy of Education." There are so many good things in this book, to attempt to cover them all would be far too ambitious for a book review. Instead, I'll leave you with Rushdoony's conclusion: "The struggle for Christian Schools is the battle for the survival of Biblical faith." p. 190

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anderson Paz

    Rushdoony defende que os cristãos devem adotar um currículo que considere a soberania de Deus em todas as esferas da realidade e dialogue com os problemas contemporâneos. Com o movimento secular que retira Deus das esferas da sociedade, a educação ocidental se tornou amplamente humanista. É preciso, segundo o autor, que a base curricular seja reformulada para que Deus seja percebido como o ator principal do drama da história e de todas as ciências. A escola cristã não é aquela que apenas ensina Rushdoony defende que os cristãos devem adotar um currículo que considere a soberania de Deus em todas as esferas da realidade e dialogue com os problemas contemporâneos. Com o movimento secular que retira Deus das esferas da sociedade, a educação ocidental se tornou amplamente humanista. É preciso, segundo o autor, que a base curricular seja reformulada para que Deus seja percebido como o ator principal do drama da história e de todas as ciências. A escola cristã não é aquela que apenas ensina a Bíblia, mas a que apresenta Deus como soberano sobre todas as disciplinas, oferecendo uma cosmovisão eminentemente cristocêntrica. Duas ponderações: o autor repete bastante seus argumentos (não neutralidade, autonomia da escola cristã em relação ao Estado, cosmovisão cristã na educação...) e algumas de suas sugestões só podem ser aplicadas em contextos que o Estado não tem ingerência alguma na educação e que famílias e igrejas podem construir e manter escolas, logo é pouco provável que se aplique a maior parte do Brasil. Ainda assim, os princípios que subjazem a educação cristã são muito bem apresentados e defendidos.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Josiah Richardson

    More and more, people are realizing that indoctrination is inevitable for children. One way or the other, they are going to be heavily influenced to believe X over Y. For absolutists, this poses no problem because X is always true and Y isn't. Generally speaking, this indoctrination will occur wherever the child spends the majority of his or her time, whether in learning, observing, or in critical thinking. Usually, this is at school. I'm not a purist. I don't think there is one biblical locatio More and more, people are realizing that indoctrination is inevitable for children. One way or the other, they are going to be heavily influenced to believe X over Y. For absolutists, this poses no problem because X is always true and Y isn't. Generally speaking, this indoctrination will occur wherever the child spends the majority of his or her time, whether in learning, observing, or in critical thinking. Usually, this is at school. I'm not a purist. I don't think there is one biblical location for a child to be reared in an educational system. I personally was homeschooled and that is the preference I take. However, more important than the location of the education is the curriculum of the education. It is counterintuitive to believe in homeschooling your children while simultaneously having curriculum thst destroys the child spiritually and intellectually. Likewise I have no problem with a public school setting, if the curriculum is true and pure. The public school setting has become corrupt because the curriculum was corrupted first.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Towards Glory This was an excellent book, which should be read by churches, Christian schools,school administrators and boards. It will be a challenge to what our presuppositions are when we pick our curriculum. I really enjoyed what he said regarding presuppositions towards language and music specifically. I would of liked him to dialogue on what exactly he was combating when he said that the Christian teacher chief job is instruction, and not regeneration. There was not enough content at that p Towards Glory This was an excellent book, which should be read by churches, Christian schools,school administrators and boards. It will be a challenge to what our presuppositions are when we pick our curriculum. I really enjoyed what he said regarding presuppositions towards language and music specifically. I would of liked him to dialogue on what exactly he was combating when he said that the Christian teacher chief job is instruction, and not regeneration. There was not enough content at that point to say whether I disagree or agree.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Grace Jones

    AMAZING!! Love the approach and genuine real-life advice for Christian curriculum. It was a great read. Convicting and insightful. Recommended for anyone interested in Christian education.

  11. 4 out of 5

    André Mello

    Excelente

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marie De Coster

    The book was insightful illustrating the differences between Christianity and Humanism regarding separate subjects taught within the school. However, the theory behind such arguements were a little thin and didn't fully back his claims regarding why we should not teach maths as it currently stands. Rushdoony carefully selects his biblical quotes to prove his ideas but doesn't state that the bible also says that there is knowledge outside the great book. The bible is a book of theology and not a The book was insightful illustrating the differences between Christianity and Humanism regarding separate subjects taught within the school. However, the theory behind such arguements were a little thin and didn't fully back his claims regarding why we should not teach maths as it currently stands. Rushdoony carefully selects his biblical quotes to prove his ideas but doesn't state that the bible also says that there is knowledge outside the great book. The bible is a book of theology and not a text book how to teach subjects in schools. Even though I did not really like the book I did take a lot from it, but I would not recommend it nor read it again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Comis

    Great and amazing. Only down-side to Rushdooney was his antagonism towards the institutional Church. This comes out in this book as well. It would've been great to get his insights into Church-based schools/education. But aside from this, a great book on the problems of humanistic and statist education versus a thoroughgoing biblical approach. Great and amazing. Only down-side to Rushdooney was his antagonism towards the institutional Church. This comes out in this book as well. It would've been great to get his insights into Church-based schools/education. But aside from this, a great book on the problems of humanistic and statist education versus a thoroughgoing biblical approach.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Kidd

    Prophetic book with insights that (if heeded) would have placed American Christians in a far different situation than that which we are currently experiencing. May this call to distinctly, Christian education finally be followed.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    A more practical application of his earlier works on education, particularly *Intellectual Schizophrenia* and *Messianic Character.* Applies Van Til in an educational context.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Koleesa

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andre DeMoraes

  19. 5 out of 5

    James Tessin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elise Reich

  22. 5 out of 5

    Frank

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  24. 5 out of 5

    Isabel Mavengano

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cory Kierkegaard

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gwen Saunders

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ana Cláudia

  28. 4 out of 5

    Allyson Trevett

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Neese

  30. 5 out of 5

    Darrell Dow

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