And Other Essays on Education
by Douglas Wilson
Paul requires Christian fathers to provide their children with a "paideia of the Lord." What should that look like?
To the ancient world, the boundaries of paideia were much wider than the boundaries of what we understand as education. Far more is involved in paideia than taking the kids to church, having an occasional time of devotions in the home, or even providing the kids with a Christian curriculum.
In the ancient world, the paideia was all-encompassing and involved nothing les than the enculturation of the future citizen. He was enculturated when he was instructed in the classroom, but the process was also occurring when he walked along the streets of his city to and from school. The idea of paideia was central to the ancient classical mind, and Paul's instruction here consequently had profound ramifications for how we in turn educate our children.
In this collection of essays, Douglas Wilson discusses this and other education-related issues."And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
From the Book:
"We have seen in the last generation, with the explosion of Christian academies and the parallel explosion of homeschooling, something which the parents involved thought would be culturally 'neutral.' They thought they were doing nothing more than saying, 'Not with my kid, you don’t.' They thought they were doing little more than simply exercising a personal choice. But these parents were actually setting in motion a series of events that make it absolutely necessary for the Church to address the question of Christian culture. And they did this by establishing (with many variations between homeschools, tutorial services, and Christian schools) at least the faint outlines of a recognizable Christian paideia. And this means the pressure is on.
"What next? Because it is impossible to build a successful system of education that does not require a surrounding culture, the rise of Christian education is creating (whether we want it to or not) a demand for Christian culture. If we do not confront this looming reality and prepare ourselves for it, the time will come when we find ourselves in the midst of a Christian culture, but it will be a bad patch job—a Christian culture because Christians are in positions of influence and power but not Christian in the biblical sense.
"This has happened before, more than once, where the saints found themselves in possession of a culture for which they were not really prepared. The results have included some unhappy consequences. Every thinking Christian ought to be grateful for the settlement of Constantine and for the influence of the Puritans in England. But we would have to be blind not to notice that a premature arrival of Christian culture can easily set us up for a fall. The wheels are coming off our postmodern culture, like it was Pharaoh’s chariot, and we should not be surprised when we finally see the deliverance of the Lord. To alter the picture somewhat, neither should we be surprised when we find ourselves in possession of vineyards we did not plant and wells we did not dig. This is God’s way. But we are supposed to prepare ourselves for that time so that when it arrives we are not astonished—and unprepared." -From the book