Main Page
  About Us
  Glossary of Terms
   
  SECTIONS
  Culture
 
Theology
  Education
  Ecclesiology
  Philosophy
  Reviews
   

A Study of Dispensationalism
by Arthur Pink

"But there is further reason, and a pressing one today, why we should write upon our present subject, and that is to expose the modern and pernicious error of Dispensationalism. This is a device of the Enemy, designed to rob the children of no small part of that bread which their heavenly Father has provided for their souls; a device wherein the wily serpent appears as an angel of light, feigning to "make the Bible a new book" by simplifying much in it which perplexes the spiritually unlearned. It is sad to see how widely successful the devil has been by means of this subtle innovation."

Philosophy

A Christian Philosophy of Education (Part 2)

Gordon H. Clark | The myth of neutrality


There is no neutral ground between the proposition that God created the world out of nothing and the proposition that the universe is an eternal self-existing entity. But though objectors may admit that there is here a philosophic incompatibility, they may at the same time hold that philosophy is so remote from the practical business of teaching children that any concern over anti-religious influence is purely academic. Even the optimism or the pessimism of the teacher does not affect the contents of arithmetic. Philosophically, neutrality is impossible, they grant; but educationally neutrality is a fact.

This seems to be the commonly held opinion about the decisions of the United States Supreme Court banning prayer and Bible reading from public education. Prayer is definitely a religious activity, and the State must not support any kind of religion. Let arithmetic be taught and religion ignored. Now, there is one good point at least in the Court’s decision. The case originated in a school system whose officials had written out a prayer and had required the teachers to pray that prayer. The school officials had supposed their prayer to be innocuous and satisfactory to all religions that prayed at all. It was a "nonsectarian" prayer. Since the decision, various amendments to the Constitution have been proposed that would permit nonsectarian prayer. Presumably this would mean a prayer composed by the school board and imposed by them on the teachers. Insofar as this was and is the case, a Christian must view the Court’s decision with favor. For, in the first place, it forces the teacher to make a prayer with which she disagrees, either because she is irreligious and does not want to pray at all—and compliance makes her a hypocrite, or because she is religious and sees that this nonsectarian prayer is not neutral, but anti-Christian.

The reason these nonsectarian prayers are anti-Christian can very clearly be stated. The Bible teaches that all prayer to God must be based on the merits of Jesus Christ. No one can come to the Father but by Christ. There is no other name by which we can be saved. Hence to pray without including Christ in the prayer is an offense against God. It is far better to have no prayer at all in school than such a nonsectarian prayer. The use of the word sectarian or nonsectarian is itself an offense and insult. Sect has always had a pejorative sense, and to stigmatize a Christian prayer as sectarian is not an exercise in neutrality.

It might seem then that the Supreme Court has maintained neutrality by its prohibition of prayer in the schools, and that only those who want prayer are anti-Christian. Of course, also, any who do not want prayer are anti-Christian; and it was quite a feat for the Court to satisfy devout Christians and loudmouthed atheists by the same decision. But whether the decision and its results can satisfy the Christian, and whether the schools are neutral—now that the school board theologians can no longer impose their prayers—still requires a little more discussion.

That neutrality is impossible becomes clearer and clearer as the system of Christian theism is further understood. Mention has already been made of the fact that Christianity is not to be identified with and restricted to a bare belief in God. For example, Christianity has a theory of evil; it differs from the humanistic theory; and therefore a secular school cannot adopt the same policies a Christian school adopts in dealing with recalcitrant pupils.

That there are recalcitrant pupils hardly needs to be said. But perhaps it does need to be said to those who conveniently forget what is going on. In addition to the material recounted in chapter one, there was the case of subversive, obscene, Black Panther literature sold to high school students in Indianapolis in 1969 with the approval of at least some of the teachers. But it is illegal for the Gideons to distribute New Testaments on school property. In the first two weeks of the 1969-70 school session, fifty robberies and beatings, including stabbings, were reported to the Indianapolis police. The police believed that they were less than half the crimes committed because children who are victimized are often afraid to report the attack for fear of reprisals. Some parents refuse to send their children to school in order to save them from violence at school. In one of the affluent Indianapolis high schools it is estimated that fifty percent of the pupils are drug addicts. Not all heroin addicts, to be sure; but on their way by means of glue, goofballs, LSD, and similar drugs.

These evil conditions have been encouraged by the liberal, humanistic policy of dealing with lesser forms of student misconduct. Liberalism has ridiculed the Christian notion of punishment. From babyhood children must be spoiled, not spanked, or in any way repressed. As early as 1922, John Dewey in Human Nature and Conduct (Part II, Section 2) encouraged youth to rebel against parental discipline. Parents have tamed "the delightful originality of the child"; they instill in him moral habits; and the result is a mass of "irrationalities" and "infantilisms." When Dewey’s philosophy is translated into the penal code, with its emphasis on rehabilitation (for the criminal is sick, not wicked; and the community is guilty, not the criminal), twenty thousand people commit murder in a single year in the United States, and not one of them is executed. The following year, naturally, more people commit murder.

Neither John Dewey, nor the liberal penologists, nor the public schools are to be blamed for the origin of these crimes. Liberal theologians and liberal educators are to be blamed for failing to repress evil. The public schools deserve ridicule when they claim to be the saviors of democracy. By their permissiveness they have encouraged arson, drug addiction, and sexual immorality. Even in strictly curricular affairs their permissiveness and their extension of the concept of democracy beyond its proper political meaning often have resulted in the attempt to make all pupils equal by reducing requirements to the minimum so every- body can pass. In such schools, more often in metropolitan areas, a student must not flunk; he must be promoted. In high schools that have come under the present writer's observation, some juniors (no doubt seniors, too, but the following examples are restricted to personal knowledge) can not read fourth-grade material; in a botany lab a student could not read the instruction sheet, and a twenty-year-old boy "graduated" without being able to read—well, without being able to read two paragraphs of anything. This sort of democracy, this permissiveness, these liberal policies encourage and augment evil; but they do not initiate evil. Evil is initiated in what John Dewey calls the delightful originality of the child.

The present argument aims to show that a school system cannot operate as a neutral between the liberal and the Christian position. A school system must have some policy for delinquent children, or for those who begin to cause trouble, and this policy cannot be both left and right. It cannot be both Christian and humanistic; and there is no middle, neutral ground. The two philosophies and their educational implications differ on what to do, on what evil is, and on how it originates. Something has been said of the prevailing views of public educators; now it is required to show that Christianity has a totally different view of evil and totally different policies for combating it.

This article is excerpted from an essay which originally appeared in the May/June 1988 issue of The Trinity Review. It is reprinted with permission of The Trinity Foundation, P. O. Box 68, Unicoi, TN 37692. Available online under "Review Archives" at www.trinityfoundation.org.

 

  Gordon H. Clark (1902-1985) was one of the twentieth century’s leading Christian philosophers and theologians. During his life he was the author of more than forty books and the Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Butler University.
 

A special thanks goes out to The TRINITY FOUNDATION for permission to reprint this article on our site.

 

ALWAYS BEING READY TO MAKE A DEFENSE

In the first century the axiom of the church was: "Contend for the Faith" (Jude 3), but regrettably that has changed. The Apostle Paul tells the church to: "Refute those who oppose sound doctrine" (Titus 1:9). If Christians do not speak out against false teachings that confuse as well as deny definitive Christian theology; the false teachings will be construed as truth. To be sure, essential substantive Christian doctrine is not the popular message that is pervaded in most mega-Christian revivals. The doctrines that fill the pages of Scripture, however, are: the Tri-Unity of God, the full Deity of Jesus Christ, and Justification through faith alone.
 
CONTRIBUTORS
Rev. Paul Alexander
Rev. Greg Bahnsen
Nat Carswell
Gordon H. Clark
Edward Dalcour
Rev. William Einwechter
J. C. Evans
Kenneth Gentry
Perry A. Hess
Michael S. Horton
Ronald Kirk
Amanda Krystaponis
Rick Martin
Charles A. McIlhenny
Larry J. Michael, PhD.
Wil Pounds
Eunice V. Ray
Colonel Ronald D. Ray
Ernest Reisinger
P.Andrew Sandlin
Steve M. Schlissel
Geoff Thomas
Sarah Thomas
K. Cody Vest
Peter J. Wallace
 
OFFSITE LINKS
A Place for Truth
Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
Association of Classical & Christian Schools (ACCS)
Biblical Horizons

Business Reform

Can a Christian lose his or her Salvation?

Canon Press and Book Service

Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics

Center for Cultural Leadership
Chalcedon
Chasing Hats
Covenant Media Foundation
Credenda Agenda
Dispensationalism: Being Left Behind
Free Books
Historic Creeds
King's Meadow
Ligonier Ministries
Messiah's
ModernReformation.org
Postmillennialism
Razormouth
Reformation Ink
Reformed Web Sites
The Church
SCCCS
Search the Bible
The Department of Christian Defense
The Long List of Reformed Links
The Not So Secret Rapture
The Preterist Archive
The Works of Flavius Josephus
Threshold