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How the Reformation Transformed Education

 

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The Reformation and Education

The phenomenon of education for the masses has its roots in Christianity. Christianity is a teaching religion. The greatest universities worldwide were started by Christians in fulfillment of the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The Roots of Education for Everyone

The roots of education for the common person goes back to the Reformation, and, especially, to John Calvin. "The modern idea of popular education - that is, education for everyone - first arose in Europe during the Protestant Reformation." (Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld - Is Public Education necessary?)

 

HOW THE REFORMATION CHANGED THE WORLD Part 4 2A Teaching Religion

American educator, Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld, came to Christ through reading Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. As Blumenfeld did his research on education, he found that, when it came to the concept of education for the common man, all roads led to Calvin. It was as he read the primary documents that he came to place his faith in Christ.

 

Intellectual Manhood

"Wherever Calvinism has gone, it has carried the school with it and has given a powerful impulse to popular education. It is a system, which demands intellectual manhood. In fact, we say that its very existence is tied up with education of the people." (Dr. Loraine Boettner - The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination).

 

HOW THE REFORMATION CHANGED THE WORLD Part 4 3The Academy

Calvin's Academy at Geneva was the model for many of the early colleges and universities established by the Puritans and their successors in America.

 

To Know God and to Make Him Known

Calvin advocated that the purpose of education is for people to know God and to glorify Him as God - that in our vocation and in our life we might know "the knowledge of God, the Creator and Redeemer." The content of education must begin with the Scriptures and continue into God's Creation.

 

A School to Bring People to Christ

In Geneva, Calvin promoted education for everyone, which has become the pattern for our day. When John Knox fled from Scotland and sought freedom from persecution, in Geneva, he declared that Geneva had become “the greatest school of Christ since the time of the Apostles.”

 

HOW THE REFORMATION CHANGED THE WORLD Part 4 4The Control of Education Should be in the Hands of Parents

Calvin emphasised the importance of education having moral relevance. Calvin also was insistent that it was the parents' responsibility to educate their children. Therefore the control of education should remain with the parents.

 

One Truth

Of America's first 126 universities, 123 were Christian. This included Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. The very etymology of the word university testifies to its Christian origins: Uni Veritas. One Truth. Humanists do not even believe in one truth, or that it can objectively known. Atheists can open up an Aversity. Pagans can have a Polyversity. Humanists can have a Diversity. But Universities should be Christian. Reclaim your campus for Christ.

 

HOW THE REFORMATION CHANGED THE WORLD Part 4 5Inspiring Literature

The Reformation also produced some of the greatest works of literature. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was one of the world's greatest writers. Scriptural quotes and Biblical images from the Geneva Bible permeate Shakespeare's writings.

 

Pilgrim’s Progress

Similarly, John Bunyan (1628-1688) gave the world one of the greatest novels ever written - Pilgrim's Progress. This parable of the Christian life is one of the all-time most published and widely read books in the history of the world.

 

Paradise Regained

John Milton (1608-1674) author of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained was the secretary to Oliver Cromwell and also a Puritan.

 

HOW THE REFORMATION CHANGED THE WORLD Part 4 6Soli Deo Gloria

Many music critics declare that Bach was the greatest musician that ever lived. J.S. Bach was an unsurpassed genius, and is acknowledged as the father of modern music. He left no musical form as he found it, says one critic. On the other hand, with every form he touched, he seemed to have said the last word. Bach's teaching notebooks and violin books have been the basis for music theory and practice ever since. Johan Sebastian Bach was a Protestant Christian, a Lutheran. Most of his library consisted of Protestant writings, including all of Luther's writings. Bach taught his pupils that music is an act of worship and all musicians need to commit their talents to the Lord Jesus Christ. Bach wrote SDG – Soli Deo Gloria – on every page of music he produced.

 

The Greatest Inspiration for Music and Literature

As one critic said: "Bach is to music what Shakespeare is to literature. They are both the greatest." And they were both Protestant Christians. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” Proverbs 1:7

 

Dr. Peter Hammond

Africa Christian Action

PO Box 23632

Claremont 7735

Cape Town South Africa

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www.ChristianAction.org.za

www.ReformationSA.org

 

See also:

The Greatest Century of Reformation

Practical Steps to Reformation

Are You Praying for Revival?

Reformation Art and Essay Competition 2021

How the Reformation Changed the Church

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