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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 4)

Gordon H. Clark | The government schools


The curriculum and the administration of Christian education must be controlled by the Christian view of man. Like the plant, man is a living being, he needs food, he reproduces; but the nature of peculiarity of man is not found in so wide a genus. Like the animals, he has sensations and visual images; but if this were all, he would be merely another animal. Education supposedly deals with man as man; so-called physical education deals with man as a brute. What man is and what education is are questions to be answered by appraising the different levels of human activity. Keen sensation does not mark an educated man, for savages often have keener sensation than the well educated. Carpentry and plumbing are distinctly human activities beyond all animal possibility, and factually beyond the savage; and yet these two useful and honorable trades are not an education. Music and art rank higher than carpentry and plumbing; colloquially we speak of a musical education, but strictly music and art require training. All these are different levels of activity—all honorable but not all equal. Some men are born capable of one but not of the other. The Lord did not berate the man to whom he gave one talent for not being able to earn five; he condemned him for not using the one he had. However there is no denying the fact that it is better to have five. God does not require the unskilled laborer to write the critique of all future metaphysics nor to finish Schubert’s symphony; but I. Q. 150 contains greater possibilities than I. Q. 85.

All phases of life should glorify God, and if a man is a carpenter or a plumber, he should and can glorify God by his trade as well as a student or professor. To serve God acceptably, one does not need to be a monk; neither does he need to be a scholar. God has given some men five talents, some two, and some one. He has given scholastic aptitude to some and to others mechanical ability. What is required is that each should use faithfully what he has received.

In view of this it cannot be said that education is in all respects democratic. In politics, representative democratic government amenable to the will of the people is decidedly preferable to irresponsible totalitarianism and arrogant bureaucracy. All men are created equal—in the sense that political justice should be impartially administered. But economic and mental equality never have existed and never will. The economic handicaps can be equalized to a degree by private aid through scholarships. But there is no cure for mental inequalities. Education, like art, can never be democratic; both are inherently aristocratic. Some students simply cannot learn. Try as they may, they cannot grasp the significance of the material. And instead of benefiting by a college education, their spirit and self-respect may be ruined. As plumbers they could serve a useful purpose, and if they recognize that God is glorified in honest plumbing, they can walk among men with Christian dignity.

A word about art too. Surely a great artist is superior to a great coal miner. Rembrandt's Night Watch is indescribably impressive. Rembrandt knew how to paint. But I am not aware that he knew art. Beethoven knew how to write music, but I doubt that he understood music. Artistic ability is one thing—a precious gift from God. The intellectual understanding of art, of its function in society, of its relation to religion and morality, is another thing—a still more precious gift from God. The latter is a subject of education. The former is skill.

Christianity, however, is intellectualistic. God is truth, and truth is immutable. The humanists, of course, oppose any theistic conception of truth. Immersed in the flux of pragmatism, guided by Nietzsche, James, and Dewey, they hold that truth changes, moral values change, and the only fixed truth is that there is no fixed truth. What works is "true." Skill and success make "truth." Because there is no final truth in humanism, the humanist cannot consistently give adequate recognition to the intellect. If he praises intellectual endowments, he means only the vocational skill to get what you want.

Yet secular humanism is not the only, nor even the most vociferous opponent of intellectualism. If Nietzsche, James, and Dewey have their disciples, including the existentialists, Kierkegaard, with Schleiermacher’s emphasis on emotion, is an even worse enemy of truth. So it happens that large numbers of religious people despise the intellect and exalt the emotions. Brunner says that God speaks falsehoods, that man should believe contradictions, and that God and the intellect are mutually exclusive.

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.

 
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By Nat Carswell

When confronted by the type of inanity which so dominates the Modern Evangelical New Testament American Christian (MENTAC) landscape today, one is tempted to become cynical and angry-sins as grievous as the inanity itself.
 
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Rev. Paul Alexander
Christopher Alexion
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Kenneth Gentry
Perry A. Hess
Michael S. Horton
Ronald Kirk
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