Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Thursday 29 July, 02004

Douglas says…

by Tim @ 12:37 pm

“Love for God that does not result in Christian education for Christian children is not love for Him at all”

– Douglas Wilson, The Case For Classical Christian Education

30 responses to “Douglas says…”

  1. david says:

    I would agree. It’s like what the bible says in Deut 6:6-9
    6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
    7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
    8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
    9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

  2. yvonne says:

    this is very much an issue between the individual and God i feel(we don’t have the right to judge someone else’s servant). also, i don’t think a Christian education necessarily makes a good christian. i think that having faith even in a godless education system is something the lord has empowered us to do if we are put into such a situation. here’s a couple of verses i thought were relevant: “but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:3-4)

  3. I think Love for God that does not result in [X] is not love for Him at all is an almost entirely unhelpful statement. Is he saying ‘if you don’t give your kids a christian education you don’t love God?’ If so, it would be easy to extrapolate [X] to be ‘perfection’ and exclude everyone from loving God.

    In conclusion, Doug Wilson can be a gimp sometimes.

  4. John says:

    Douglas Wilson can be a gimp sometimes. Douglas Wilson can also say some beneficial things sometimes. Encouraging Christian education is a beneficial thing, but probably the quote is too strong. Perhaps “Knowingly depriving your children of Christian education would tend to suggest a lack of love for the Lord” while more tepid and airy fairy is more appropriate.

    Some good Christians send their children to public schools because they are naive/unaware of the fact that a substantial part of that education will be the promotion of anti-christian propaganda. Doesn’t mean that they love the Lord any less, just means that they should be shown / demonstrated the biblical imperative of training up a child in the fear of the Lord. Clearly a parent’s duty, not a Godless state’s. If they don’t send their child to a christian school or christian home school after that, I say hang ’em (or stone them). but maybe I am being too tolerant.

    Big subject, could be posted on forever.

  5. aaron says:

    Richard, in conclusion, so are you.

    Rhetoric is a great thing, and should be read/heard for what it is. Wilson’s pretty clearly saying something using a rhetorical device to make a point. He’s engaging in polemics.

    Long live rhetoric (and people able to percieve it). It makes conversation/communication exciting.

  6. Tim says:

    John: You’re right, this subject could be posted on forever. That’s why I posted the quote.

  7. John, you are cool when you’re trying to be airy fairy and tepid. Word.

  8. Hans says:

    I am very worried, I agree with Richard D Bartlett, about DW being a gimp sometimes.

  9. Tim says:

    Gimp: A physically handicapped or lame person (according to oxford)

  10. I’ll retract it all then Hans, to save face.

  11. Hans says:

    I feel better now. Aaron, where is it clear that DW is using polemic? Also, why is polemic, as you have defined it, useful? If the words used in rhetoric or polemic are not to be believed, how is useful communication achieved? Part of DW gimpiness lies in the overblown and polarizing hyperbole that mars his communication, IMPAO.

    David, I have often felt that we should adopt other parts of the Shema as well, have been tempted to tie things to my clothes and doorpost, what think ye?

  12. Hans says:

    I really like DW’s “Logic 101” post though, some nerd would link it here, in blue, sorry, can’t.

  13. david says:

    I think that tieing up a tie is a good idea, otherwise it won’t really look right.

    I too was not too keen on the quote by DW. I am not too impressed at the moment with ‘polemic’ stuff on blogs because it can be so difficult to see it in it’s context. (e.g. the post from Matt about cars and resthomes). But I did not want to go shooting that non-impressed gun in my first comment.

    I agree with DW in the fact that Love for God should result in Christian education. What type of education that ends up being is where there can be discussion. Regardless of ‘school hour’ education (9am-3pm) the parents should teach their Children through example, discussion, study, prayer, devotions, hospatility… all these things can be used by parents to teach their children in a Christian way. Deut 6:6-9. And that would go a long way to support any other ‘school hour’ education they are to receive.

  14. aaron says:

    Hans: I’m lost. Polemics, hyperbole, exageration etc are all devices for making a point. They have to be used well, of course, as with any other means of making points.

    The answer to your “If the words..” question is (I think) that communication is often about reading between the lines. It’s not always direct-on-the-surface-in-your-face. Polemic, and other devices, get us to see the point behind or between the words, which perhaps we wouldn’t otherwise pick up.

    We seem to suffer an astonishing inability to appreciate and understand rhetoric, and I don’t know why.

    It’s obvious to me that Wilson is engaged in polemic because the words, taken on their surface reading, clearly prove far too much. As John pointed out, it is very obvious that there are many reasons other than a lack of parental love for God why a child may be at a public school. Wilson knows that; he’s not a fool. Can you really imagine Wilson applying this in practice to people standing in front of him? “o, you don’t Christianly educate your children? Right, clearly you don’t love God. Case closed.”

    The idea is absurd. Of course he would not do that. So he’s making a point, polemically.

  15. david says:

    Aaron, I understand your point. I also think I understand Hans’ point.

    But the point is this – you have read DW a fair bit while a number of readers of this post may never have even heard his name. Why should they have all that background info that you apply to his statement? You say “Can you really imagine Wilson applying this in practice to people standing in front of him?”. Well, if we have no knowledge of Wilson and his other writings, then what’s to stop us thinking that? So in that context, this type of polemic point can be very confusing. In a converstaion or an entire writing, it may fit and make sense and be useful for making a point. But just as itself as a post on a blog can leave a little to be desired.

  16. aaron says:

    David: ok, so I understand what you’re saying, but my answer is that a background in Wilson’s writings isn’t required in order to reach the conclusion that he’s being polemical. Why? Because the position of charity, the position that accords Wilson the status of ‘non-lunatic’, REQUIRES that the reader interpret him in a way which makes his point clear without making him an idiot. Thus, my request that you imagine Wilson speaking to real people is meant to work whether you know him or not, precisely because no decent person would ever say that to anyone.

    So, the only conclusion to reach when reading someone who says such things is that they are being polemical, unless you have cause to believe that they mean it straight-out-dead-pan-seriously.

    And this is why the reaction to Wilson bothers me, because it reflects a movement toward ‘un-charity’ when reading people. It’s a preference to take the worst possible reading: just like when Matt spoke of cars and resthomes.

    And it’s not even as if I’m calling us to make gracious concessions when reading people. My point is that if we gave polemics its proper place and allowed it to exist as it should, we would simply have a chuckle at Wilson’s bold statement, and at Matt’s bold statements, and accept them for the point that’s being made.

  17. kate says:

    DW’s statement is too cut and dry. It’s not that simple.

    Also, Christian schools cannot cater for everyone. A good example is a christian school, etc that only offers limited subjects. If a child is gifted in areas that the school cannot cater for, should the parents still send the child there (and deprive them the chance of furthering their studies in a specific field of interest/talent) just because the school is christian?

  18. kate says:

    I noticed that the quote Tim selected does not infact back up the case for CLASSICAL Christian education. Rather, the quote focusses on Christian Education in general.

    I was wondering what people thought about Classical Christian education?

  19. hans says:

    Aaron, why are we arguing on Matt’s blog? Anyway, my point is simply that hyperbole is poor communication. Evidence: Matt irritated and offended a number of people woth his apparently hyperbolic anathematisation of cars and old peoples homes, DW annoys people by making outrageous statement. Net result; pained postings, explanations, defences and little progress. So, as communication, polemic as you define it is not very good.
    Good to hear you advocating charity in reading people though, is needed. I like DW, he annoys me with his smart aleck posturing at times, see G Strauss’s comments on his blog as well. The real culprit in all of this mumbling is Tim, who posted a fragment, perhaps simply as a “stir”

  20. Hi Hans, ye’re welcome to argue here. FWIW, I’m thoroughly unrepentant at this stage w.r.t. the abominations.

  21. harden up guys………this is scary I agree with Aaron (1st time)

  22. Tim says:

    Ha! I admit, I did post the quote to ‘stir’ more than anything else. But then what else is a blog for?

  23. Hans says:

    I recant unreservedly. If hyperbolic drivel being posted here results in my agreeing with Richard D Bartlett AND Dennis Bartlett’s agreeing with Aaron, miracles have been wrought. Tim, post on.

  24. Tim a vote of thanks to you and your dad for the M&D conference we had 6 younguns fair buzzin saying it was the best seminar they had been to because it was so interactive and applicable to their lives.
    Doud Wilson would be proud!

  25. david says:

    if ‘fair buzzin’ is a polemic statement, then I’m offended and don’t see how it helps.


  26. John says:

    Re 28 and 26 – Don’t worry Dennis, when I was going through puberty I also used to make fun of uncool words that my dad used, but you grow out of that.

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