The importance of theology

Referring to Psalm 8, Michael Horton says:
It is theology that gives meaning to every activity of human existence.

Because we rarely relate theology to life these days (which is to relate the vertical to the horizontal), we rarely are confronted with the psalmist's reflections. We are rarely captivated with a sense of smallness that turns into a sense of significance based on the calling that God has given to us as His special creatures...

When Protestantism was driven by theology (the knowledge, study, contemplation, love, and worship of God in Christ), it provided a genuinely relevant sense of purpose and direction for worldly activity. In other words, once the vertical dimension was clearly corrected and emphasized, the horizontal dimension took its proper shape. ("Where in the World is the Church?" pgs 140, 141)


The Reformation and the Rise of Public Education

I am reading (off and on) Michael Horton’s “Where in the World is the Church”? (© 1995, 2002, Michael Horton, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing), subtitled, “How to Be a Worldly Christian.” A basic theme for the book might be, “As Luther declared, “The devil is God’s devil,” so too Calvin argued that all satanic and demonic influences of evil are under the sovereign command of God and are held in check by the true Ruler of the Universe.” (Pg 17). Later he says, “The sovereignty of God is not only an essential tenet of the Christian faith in particular …, but it is also immensely practical for our confidence that God fights our battles for us.

I am aware of the intense dislike by many Christians in our day for the Public School system. Today it is largely in the hands of those influenced by the pervasive philosophies of today. But Christians need not be afraid of this.
Martin Luther persuaded the government to mandate compulsory universal education for the first time in Western history, for both girls and boys. With associates he created a system of public education for Germany. Christianity was a religion of the word, and those who were dependent on religious images and hearsay were, first of all, spiritually impoverished, but they were also culturally impoverished, and that was an important point as well. To that end, Luther’s sidekick Melanchthon declared, “The ultimate end which confronts us is not private virtue alone but the interest of the public weal,” and he exhorted teachers “to take up a school vocation in the same spirit that you would take up the service of God in the church.” Imagine the freedom that this gave to the average public school teacher! Calvin argued in his 1541 Ordinances, “Since it is necessary to prepare for the coming generations in order not to leave the church a desert for our children, it is imperative that we establish a college to instruct the children to prepare them for both the ministry and civil government.” The Academy, which later became the University of Geneva, became a model for the great universities of Europe and the New World. Many of the names associated with the rebuilding or foundation of great universities were at one time students of this Academy. In 1536, the citizens of Geneva signed a pact to send their children to the recently opened public schools.

John Comenius was a Polish reformer who sought to integrate his Reformation worldview with the vision of universal public education. He is regarded by many as the father of modern education. Advanced for the time, his education philosophy revolutionized entire sections of Europe.

Similarly, The First Book of Discipline, drawn up by John Knox in 1560, called for a national public education system for Scotland. Former monasteries were turned into libraries and schools. As Lewis Spitz states, “It was no accident that universal literacy was first achieved in Scotland and in several German Protestant states.” Far from being anti-intellectual or fearful of secular learning, the Reformers believed that Christianity could only thrive among a literate and educated populace. Their humanistic training had amply prepared them for their task; out of the Reformed tradition alone were born the universities of Zurich, Strasbourg and Geneva, Edinburgh, Leiden, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, and Rutgers. The Puritans restored Oxford and Cambridge, and the German Lutheran and Reformed churches rebuilt the decaying University of Heidelberg…

The Reformers did not merely curse the darkness; they were determined to work positively for the good of their neighbor and the glory of God. They took up the standard and raised the standards for an entire age, beyond simply lamenting conditions and proposing legislation. It was far from perfect, but it was a remarkable experiment in what can be done when God’s people are liberated by the Gospel for their neighbor’s good and their Redeemer’s glory. (Pgs. 29-31)


A really good rejection of the papacy

From James White:
Now, allow me to be perfectly clear. I reject everything the Pope says here as being true. I accept his authority to define these things for those who follow him. I simply reject that he is an authority for Christians, anywhere (including Rome). He is not the Holy Father (a term used by Jesus of God, the Father, alone), he is not the Vicar of Christ (a term describing the Holy Spirit), and he is not the successor of Peter. I reject the Papacy in its entirety and its particulars; I reject Rome's pretensions to define Christ's body, and her wicked usurpation of the ultimate authority of God's Word in matters of faith and morals. I knowingly, purposefully, and with all my heart, reject his teachings and his heresies.