King's Business - 1954-06

T his is a challenge for education under Christian auspices. A chal­ lenge to a field that after long years of recession, one might almost say depression, is once more develop­ ing rapidly because of an acknowl­ edged need. This need is not met by the public schools as they are now conducted and perhaps cannot be met by the public schools even were they to more closely approxi­ mate the Christian ideal in education. In this country we have agreed that church and state are to be sep­ arate; that church is not to interfere with the affairs of the state, that state is not to interfere in the affairs of the church. Implicit in this under­ standing is the corollary that the church shall loyally concede to the state the right of way in all secular matters. The state on its part, while not avowing any religious preference, stands equally obligated to be in no way committed to anti-religion or irreligion. Its very basis of successful operation will disappear at the mo­ ment that any such state suppresses, denies, or belittles the efforts of the chur’ches in its midst. By its very nature, however, when the state enters into the field of edu­ cation, as it has done in this coun­ try, it is committed to a non-sectarian type of training though not neces­ sarily one that is secular. There is nothing in our educational set-up that would forbid much that would encourage Christians of all denomina­ tions to man the teaching positions in all schools under governmental auspices. But if the state must main­ tain itself through a system of non­ sectarian schools, by what process must the church maintain itself? The answer to this question is written large in the church-related schools of this country. Whereas many of the church lead­ ers have had an elementary school training under state auspices and in a large number of cases a secondary education under the same auspices, I think it will be discovered that by far the larger number of denomina­ tional leaders in any denomination The Author Dr. Emerson (see cover) received his bachelors degree from Huron College, his masters degree from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He served in the public schools for 15 years, and taught courses in education and psychology at Occidental College, University of South­ ern California, San Diego State Teachers College, Los Angeles Pacific College, Wheaton College and Houghton College. He was president of Westmont College and is currently head of the Christian Education Department at the Bible In­ stitute of Los Angeles. 12

Education The case against secular The Christian Here are 12 points that are sometimes overlooked when Christians are


that it is a healthy thing for public education to have competition, just as it is also a healthy thing for pri­ vate education to have competition. But I doubt whether any of the groups now responsible for the rapid expansion of the Christian day schools are doing it from a historic perspec­ tive or on philosophical grounds. The cost is too great, and the procedure involves a right about face from pre­ vious policies and commitments. I have gone into the reasons of this more fully in a previous article (K in g ’ s B usiness , October 1952) so that perhaps it is enough to say in summary that Christian parents, while not antagonistic to public schools, feel that the best interests of their children and even their souls’ welfarq cannot be met by public edu­ cation and hence must be carried out by the Christian day school where the so-called secular education sub­ jects may be integrated with the child’s religious and spiritual think­ ing; where he may be taught by teachers who are free to help him in such integration and where he may be watched over by individuals who are committed not only to his intellectual development, but to his moral and spiritual growth as well. The Christian day school today is committed to much the same philos­ ophy that motivated Dr. Arnold at Rugby who not only revolutionized teaching in his own school, but the public schools of Great Britain. He did not express- it quite this way, but the sum total of his educational phi­ losophy was that it was the business of Rugby first of all to make Chris­ tians, secondly, to make gentlemen, and third, to make scholars. Or put­ ting it in another way I suppose that today we would translate it as first, man’s spiritual life, second, his prop­ er and courteous relation to his fel­ low man, third, the field of learning. It would seem that all Christian teachers at heart have something of THE KING'S BUSINESS

have been educated on the higher levels in denominational schools. It is difficult of course to give exact statistics here, but the very large number of schools that are denomina­ tionally related is an indication of denominational feeling that their leadership requires the maintenance of such institutions. Of course this is granted so far as seminaries are concerned, but I think equally so as far as colleges are involved. The fact that private schools were first in the field in this country and have been able to maintain themselves success­ fully in spite of the tremendous re­ sources open to public education is further corroborated by the fact that denominational institutions have con­ tinued to be founded and supported in large numbers after public educa­ tion became available to all. The fact that many of these institutions have lost their "first love and have become more and more secularized- does not in any way negate the point we are making. The rapidly developing Christian day school movement on the second­ ary and elementary levels is there­ fore merely an extension downward of this same denominational attitude and in fact it is merely a return to a state of affairs which existed long before public education became wide­ spread. That the Roman Catholic Church should find it necessary to maintain parochial schools on all lev­ els in order to maintain itself ill a Protestant environment is not at all strange. It is significant however, that Protestant denominations, Luth­ eran, Seventh-Day Adventists, Reform, Baptist, interdenominational churches and other groups, are finding it de­ sirable in spite of the tremendous expenditures involved to maintain Christian day schools on an elemen­ tary and secondary level. I think that most individuals who have a background in history and philosophy of education will grant

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