Loving Well: Principled Passion

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“I don’t want to marry a ‘nice’ guy. If by ‘nice,’ it means his eyes are dull to the vision of God, and he is ‘safe,’ but no Holy Spirit fire flames in his bosom. If he is only moral and contents himself with the monotony of the day, unscarred and unaffected by the spiritual warfare surrounding him. If his hands are unshackled and comfortable being “lawful” when principle and His beloved God requires that he be a transgressor of the wicked laws set before him. If his “peaceful” spirit in reality exists as a guise for complacency, if he prefers the shield of pacifism to the spilling of his own blood as the reputation of his Savior, his family are ravaged by the powers of darkness. No, may he rather be God’s warrior who loves with both passion and principle. He knows how to love well, excluding neither.” ~ Whitney Ann Dotson

Precious Memories…

I grew up singing in church as a small girl—most often, in musty-smelling little churches nestled in the mountains. Congregations were always limited, but a beautiful simplicity bound them: simple, country people with simple, heart-felt theology and simple, God-fearing obedience. I was a skinny, tall bean-pole of a girl with straight brown hair and a plain sense of fashion. I gave little thought to those facts. I was a care-free child. Nothing made me happier than my family’s hymn-reading during the week at home, and then resounding those same hymns at church the following Sunday. Worship was gloriously spontaneous, and unfolded as the Spirit led. At a mere 11 years of age, awkward and soft-spoken as I was (as I look back now), no pride prohibited me from stepping up to stage and taking up the microphone when singers were requested.

Fifteen years since those sweet times, there is still nothing that quite stirs my heart as the re-visiting of that cherished memory of my childhood: the remembrance of those old, beloved hymns. Titles like “Victory in Jesus” and “I’ll Fly Away” remind me of how very good my God is, that this life, with its weighty concerns and oppressive trials, pales in comparison to the life to come with Him who is truly “..my Savior forever..”

To this day, especially during those times when a special hungering for the past is keenly felt, a ride through God’s nature, car windows down and open to the incoming breeze and escaping blaring of familiar tunes from the CD player, satisfies my heart’s desire for an assuring of the permanence of the feeling that, though the grass withers and the flowers fall away, God’s Word lasts forever (Isaiah 40:8). However technological advances complicate and stifle simplicity, and humanity builds their lives upon the sand of pursuing the secular definition of success, He is unchanging. He is all-sufficient in life as He is life (John 14:6). Rulers last only for a time, sorrows last for a night, but joy comes in the morning, in the Bright and Morning Star, in surrender to the only One truly needed: Jesus Christ.

I Think I Love Daddy Now

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For the first few years of my life, I was incessantly clingy—at least, that is, to my mother. It was said that while hospitalized and incubated for my first three months, when physical contact was professionally denied me, the mere sound of my mother’s voice excited my heart monitor. When I was finally taken home, I proved to imbibe time and trouble; throughout the night, I would involuntarily cease to breathe. Emergency Room trips kept my parents from boredom. My mother, however, spent the whole of her days with her only child at the time: her little papoose, the exact physical inverse of her. However, this appeared to me the only difference between us. Upon exiting toddler-hood, I ate and listened to what she ate and listened to. I particularly demanded Diet Coke (though given Hi-C instead), and still distinctly remember the record album to one of Amy Grant’s first Christian records, played so often in our first base housing residency. On the whole, I loved everyone that she loved…except, perhaps, for those whom I occasionally felt threatening to this vital relationship. At times, I surmised this “occasional” circumstance to be my dad.  

The truth is, we were two peas and a pod, my father and me. Everyone said we looked alike. Don’t get me wrong, I dearly cherished him, too; just, I didn’t quite always recognize the extent of my affections…until any hint of rivalry was dissolved when, at the age of four, my dad temporarily left the small Dotson clan to fight in the Gulf War. Beside myself, in unwitting humility and vulnerability, I declared, “I think I love Daddy now!” And I did. I hated to see him leave, and honestly cannot recount ever again feeling any formerly tense feelings for him following. Simply, I realized what I could have lost forever: the Gate of our home. When he returned, I was almost a whole year older. By then, Ashley was old enough to join her older sister and father in play-sessions which included two little girls, lovely dolls in hand, and one Marine, Elvis figure in hand. Bonding times for certain.

While the above account might seem humorous, I am still coming to acknowledge how increasingly more I am in need of paternal presence. I appreciate more than ever the protective covering he provides, and the company he affords. He loves my beautiful mother more than can be described (a fact I’ve grown much more accustomed to—in fact, quite fond of), and represents the Gate, the Fortress through which one may enter only in an understood sense of accountability. He is the leader, the patriarch of the family; I am proud of him, and thank God that I am always destined to be his daughter. And yes, I have since that day sincerely voiced that “I KNOW I love Daddy now…and always.”

Memories flood back whenever I see this clip concerning young Susan’s sudden and different reaction when her father leaves for war as it was very similar to the feelings I also experienced as such a young girl:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSWuFvMdDwQ

~~~Whitney Ann

Defying Existentialism for Biblical Education

A most prominently utilized scholastic philosophy in contemporary academia explicitly deems the child the central determiner of actuality. Perception into the classroom of this persuasion would reveal that pupils are encouraged to seek academic and personal liberation through the means of internal discovery, experimentation, and self-reliance—hence resurrecting the supposedly idealistic premise, “Man becomes as he lives.” Accordingly, varying views and perspectives may be presented the youngster; he alone, however—without adult supervision of influence—must conclusively decide for himself whether or not the offered material represents truth harmonious with his personal preference. Based upon the principle that the greatest ambition of humanity is to recognize and cultivate one’s individuality within the world, the theory of existentialism predictably frowns upon methods which seek to frame and mold the child—and which endorse moral absolutism at any level (Clark, p.17). Such is strikingly resonant of some recent attempts professedly intent upon manifesting the “best interests” of national youth. Introduced to America’s Congress in 1989, the UN Convention On the Rights Of the Child seemingly proclaims adolescents’ rights in areas of religion and conscience (Farris, p.489). Planned Parenthood also similarly of late insisted that children “try” varying forms of sexuality in order to decide which is right for them, re-echoing the 60s mentality, “Do what feels good.” What is not usually predicted in adopting the presuppositions of such a theory, however, is the moral anarchy inevitably awaiting its unfolding. Frustration ensues as every man resolves upon a set of facts to himself founded solely upon circumstance, emotional whim, and common agreement; legal chaos is inescapable for the simple fact that man has historically proven himself erroneous, inconsistent, and prone to greed. A less foreseen yet characteristic result of humanism is a consistent disregard for law. An integrated curriculum approach which denies the philosophical goal of existentialism in the biblical denotation of knowledge and divine and parental authority, in contrast, is alone able to effectuate a society of liberation, beginning with moral and spiritual redemption, and concluding in the external permeation of governmental restoration.

The founding thesis of the existentialism movement declares the absence of any fore-present meaning within the universe (Stanford). Accordingly, no certain purpose or significance lies within surrounding matter or order except for that which man imputes it. Resembling the naturalistic autonomy pronounced by prominent philosophers of the age, this mindset denies fixed presuppositions of any kind. Consequently, man himself is understood as retaining little meaning outside of personal progression and development. He is not regarded as he inherently is, but as he may become through exposure to varying influences. Contrary to common perception, philosophical precepts have great influence upon a society’s mindset. It can only be blindly deduced that disclosure of a certain worldview is received in indifference. The child who believes his individual existence is resolved solely by himself will also act accordingly. No authority, hence, will bear application to his circumstance, and no universal coherence will subsist; value will be viewed only in relation to personal gratification. Morality and the concept of life itself will degenerate into insignificancy as every man becomes his own judge. Nothing is consistent or congruous, and original value is refuted.

Regarding the theory as a type of hopeful breakthrough in the history of civil rights, intellectual institutions are progressively incorporating existentialist principles within curricula. Systems of grading are discarded for fear of stereotyping the child. Options of child-centered curriculums are becoming increasingly customary which cater expressly to the desired direction of the student; the end, rather than the means, is accentuated. Stuart Hart, Deputy Director of Canada’s International Institute for Child Rights and Development, proposed a symbiotic connection between the terms “internal voice” and “child’s rights.” The hypothesis followed that true education necessitates the securing of certain freedoms towards the ambition of self-discovery and expression; implied therein is the bereavement of all imposing authorities contrary to the individual will, assuming exclusively the moral ability of man. Hedonism and utilitarianism hence come in to play as a system of ethics is chosen based upon the “greater good” of society, and the pleasure of the individual personality. False democracy surfaces to recognition in a vain attempt to secure equality without responsibility or pronounced absolutes. Rationalism, moreover, is opposed as people consequently embrace a morality through which truth is discerned in accordance to what satisfies them sensually and specially. Resultantly, education is signified by a comprehension of pluralism in which the materialistic and supernatural are simultaneously recognized, but in which the concrete is always exalted as superior. The thorn of man rests therefore not in any internal conflict, but in the failure to expand as a human being whether it be academically, sexually, or psychologically. The relatively correlating end of all instruction is that every youngster seeks to define himself by reducing the reality of his surrounding atmosphere to whatever understanding suits him. Such demands a venture of learning through experience, and as little enforcement or authoritative imposition as possible. Presupposed is an evolutionary view of man; concluded is the usurpation of authority, including that which is most basic and relevant to national prosperity: parenthood.

As is the case with nearly every human deduction, existentialism is an interweaving of truth and falsity. Accordingly, the child is treated as a citizen whose civic expectations signify little more than options, but whose conscientious freedoms are boundless. It emphasizes the responsibility of man, and commendably encourages his betterment most typically through the instruments of moral revival and genuine undertakings; however, a Scriptural understanding of the nature of man and a biblical apprehension of knowledge would reveal that neither of these ambitions can be achieved apart from the acceptance of divine sovereignty and moral objectivity. While child-centered education correctly proposes the little one a moral creature and opposes the blank slate mentality supported by conspicuous thinkers of the recent past, it nevertheless erroneously overestimates the youngster’s ability to discern.

Statistics reveal irrefutable benefits concerning parental involvement and child-welfare. Children who do not experience active participation from parents in their lives later experience emotional, academic, and spiritual imbalance. Clearly, parental authority is a vital and inseparable element to the child’s well-being. Parenthood is a natural right, ordained by God from the institution of the family for one main purpose: to glorify and manifest Him. It was divinely designated in God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, and to assume dominion over the whole created world (Genesis 1:26). It is innately related to the cultural mandate in both verbal text as well as social order. Parentage, the cornerstone of the family and foundation of society, leads the nation as the smallest and most common unit of influential power. The parent incomparably signifies the initial restraining hand of evil in the life of the following generation, and essentially represents the child’s earthly manifestation of God. Subservience and respect for parental authority typifies a responsibility to God from the smallest among us. It is biblically intended that this early training so permeate the child as to secure the proverb of his never “departing” from it (Proverbs 22:6).” Such, in turn, pervades the remainder of the offspring’s subsequent choices as an adolescent and then as an adult.

It is erroneous to restrict knowledge to the devising of man. John 20:31 expresses the fact that it is through the facets of both natural revelation and special revelation by which we know and love Him. Unregenerate man may experience the tangible universe and thereby deduce knowledge, but he is confined to the mere experiential; following is an acceptance of reductionism and utilitarianism in which information is analyzed restrictedly. Knowledge, in truth, constitutes so much more than what is commonly acknowledged; empiricism, reason, and even some amounts of mysticism do not judicially delineate the scope and purpose of factuality. This is partly due to the fact that understanding is not often recognized in its varying forms, and because it is exclusively viewed only temporally. The biblically integrated-curriculum, in contrast, approaches data in the foundational conviction that Scripture is its ultimate Standard; As Creator, God has ultimate authority and patent over all of His creation. While diversities do undoubtedly endure, they do so appropriately united under a common Sovereign for a common purpose. Intellectual studies of the sciences and languages are all observed in subservience to a common hermeneutical presupposition: mainly, that the end of all is to glorify Him, and that all in creation directs explicitly back to Him. History is not a social science beginning with man and determined by him, but is an aspect tied essentially in nature with the studies of mathematics, logic, and even grammar. Data is not discerned by how it may benefit the person, but is rigid and objective. Should one fail to apply certain hermeneutical principles in interpreting it, the fault lies with the interpreter, and not with the interpreted material.

While some of the philosophical goals of existentialism seem beneficial, it is critically important to remember that unless the nature of man is considered within biblical light, every seemingly noble ambition ends consistently in oppression. It is noteworthy to consider that some of the most recognized existentialist advocates were also initially and progressively influenced by the creeds of Karl Marx. In Marx’s perception, the State distinctly possessed the highest potential for providence; not surprisingly, it was also regarded with superior esteem to every life-aspect. State parties correspondingly possessed the greatest potential in improving society, and assumed the authoritative role in moral and social issues. Obviously, existentialism is not without its deifications.

As Dr. Rushdoony and true Biblicists have confirmed, there is no possible state of “neutrality.” Two primary ends of education exist. Every humanistic worldview deems man the originator, furtherer, and consummator of knowledge. A theocratic-dominion worldview conversely perceives God the Derivation of all information. Rather than denying all but that which can be tested or comprehended by the human mind, believers recognize God’s infinite sovereignty and omniscience in the abstract and concrete, the tangible and intangible. Every aspect and nook of actuality subsists to be acknowledged by man in perception of God’s original intention and purpose. Following submission to this view is a sensible perception of the world. Information is scanned inevitably by inherently biased perspectives: humanistic or biblical. Scripture clearly asserts that every man has inherited Adam’s curse, was conceived in original sin—and is fully capable of effectuating his own, as well. Scripture affirms the fact that no one can counter evil in and of himself, for he knows and desires nothing else (Romans 3:23). The biblical doctrine of total depravity teaches the innermost ravishments of sin. Man’s ability to reason logically, morally, and emotionally were all sorely damaged by original sin. Though alone in creation in retaining some sense of rationality, man has nonetheless been impregnated by a spiritual darkness devastating to his formerly perfect ability to reason.

Unity is manifested as God is recognized as Lord and King. Fixed truths and order were manifested the moment He breathed the words “Let there be…” Time and space were effectuated “In the beginning (Genesis 1:1).” All natural laws were suspended as were His ethical expectations, represented first in the Law of Grace and then by the covenantal statutes. No divisive pluralism exists, then, as all is the Lord’s—no dichotomous responsibility to God and to fellow man. As revealed in the Law itself, right conduct towards God signified a similar, balanced consideration for fellow man. In addressing the greatest commandment, love for God preceded yet enabled love for humanity. Though the world may continue to hope in a democratic system of government and ethics, such idealism is simply not possible wherever humanism reigns; an informative inspection would prove that every man-generated regime has succeeded in producing only tyranny and chaotic anarchy.

Every secular government which has in the past arisen and fallen has done so at the hand of pure humanism. Judeo-Christian standards have historically proven to be the primary choice for orderly, liberating governmental principles and structures. Documents such as the Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution all directed to a common Source in reflection: the Bible. Benjamin Franklin has been cited for founding America’s tri-branched governmental structuring upon a Levitical passage. Numerous Founding Fathers unanimously agreed upon biblical virtues as deterrents to moral anarchy. It was once observed that without the existence of government, men would degenerate into brutish behavior; for without accountability, he would exercise his “free will” to the expansion of worldwide transgression. In the same way, a child without some form of authoritative liability will also succumb to lawlessness. To do so would only be an inclination of his nature. The impeding and consistent result of existentialism in both the classroom and the municipal sphere are inescapable legal hostility and moral nihilism.

Discipline initializes with the mind (Romans 12:2). Biblically depicted as the seat of reason and emotion—at times even including reference to the heart—the mind is denoted the seat of spiritual warfare, and the determiner of spiritual growth. It is singularly through the command to dwell upon that which is good and pure—to resist the conformity of the lusts and wiles of this world—by which we are enabled to “put off” the old man and the satanic inclinations of his ways. Contrary to the sensual constitution of the existential philosophy, Scripture exhorts first a wisdom based on trust and internal acceptance. Experience is not precedent to understanding. Action is a natural consequence of knowledge properly imbibed—a response rather than an antecedent. It emphasizes the will over emotions, and logic above passions. Scripture confirms that the heart above all things is desperately wicked, that its discernment alone cannot be trusted. Though God has most certainly inscribed His Word upon the hearts of men and left them without excuse, they are nonetheless crippled by a wicked nature. It is only through a fear of the Lord—a compliant trust and reverence for God as Truth alone (John 14:6)—by which we may attain the smallest glimmer of hope in acquiring an education which not only improves the academic mind, but society, as well.

A definite relation binds true knowledge and morality. Education is, in essence, a discipline surpassing mere factuality. It involves every aspect of the human whole: body, spirit, soul, and mind, and postulates subjugating them to the revealed character and will of God. Accentuated is a restoration and re-training which initializes with spiritual redemption, and proceeds externally. Discipleship is synonymous with learning. Additionally implied is a need for correction or re-channeling from unruly to orderly; presupposed is a natural inclination towards rebelliousness, and a lacking of generally presumed virtues. Human nature evidences a need for authority. God ordained several figures as earthly representatives of His unlimited domain. In the realm of civics, governmental justices and figures of royalty were commissioned; in the religious scope, priests were delegated. Within the family, parents were distinctly designated the roles of “teacher” and “disciplinarian” in which divine obligation consisted of training the offspring dispensed to their care, imparting to them wisdom and correction, and providing them with model examples. Children, in turn, were to respect these figures in the understanding that they were divinely appropriated for the origination of wisdom. Contrary to the dominating opinion of the time, independence is not achieved at the removal of legality of authority. On the contrary, statistics reveal an increase in immorality and crime where legality is not present. The notion of learning “hands on” is simply not applicable nor advisable for every area of life. It is necessary that everyone perceive the significance of impartial standards.

Observing the Grassroots of Public School: Why Mann’s Philosophy Was Not the Answer

Less than a span of two centuries ago, an institution termed the “common school” was introduced with great expectations to Massachusetts soil. Notable schoolmaster and head of state school board Horace Mann deemed the historic landmark the hope of social “improvement,” and the means of producing moral, enlightened citizens of the country’s children (ASSS). By as early as 1860, legislations regarding the length of the school day and year  had been confirmed as nationally binding, and Mr. Mann had earned the title “father” of the nation’s government-funded establishment (Gangel, 277). The briefest glimpse into academic and moral significations within America’s modern school system, however, would certainly disappoint the pedagogue’s aspirations. As a disconcerting forty-three percent of children under the age of twelve leave grade school illiterate and rates of suicide, premarital sex, and pregnancy out of wedlock increasingly incline among the country’s scholars, statistics would appear to disprove Mann’s revelations (Brown). In his zeal, he had erroneously discounted the reality of sin and assumed the perfectibility of man. A basic review of the historical context  and foundational thoughts effectuating the educational philosophy of Horace Mann would disclose that education which is simultaneously redemptive and liberating is found only in a biblical understanding of knowledge and man in their relation to God.

In Colonial America and prior, the majority of children were instructed to an extent domestically through parental instruction or self-schooling—some being so well-prepared as to enter college at age thirteen. When more rigid establishments became prevalent, parents continued to recognize their roles in child-training and understood the warrant of their position in doing so, often over-seeing administrative duties as school board members themselves (Beliles, 104). The esteem placed upon Christian knowledge within these sectors was evidenced in the fact that horn books and slates reflected theological truths (Beliles, 103).  The ecclesiastical field in the pursuit of academics was so revered and closely tied that clergy often advised curriculum choice or served as instructors, and the Bible typically represented the doorway to reading as well as to personal piety and understanding. Universities such as Harvard and Princeton, in addition, were later constructed in hope of propagating the ministry (Beliles, 104). Compulsory restrictions of any kind were hardly considered as teachers and school board alike relied heavily upon the advice and participation of parents (ASSS). Primary schools and universities, also, were tax-exempt and operated without the use of governmental subsidies. Contrary to popular assumption, literacy rates soared within this period, and students capable of independence and trade were produced (ASSS).

The concept of subsidized schooling first gained serious consideration in America with the expansion of religious differences and poverty posed by increased European immigration, and the onset of surrounding national advances (Thattai). Until this time, children were generally sent to private facilities or common schools, locally authorized and supported (Beliles, 103). Denominational groups including Anabaptist and Presbyterian credence were expressly designed so that familial guardians could expose the next generation according to the doctrinal training that they chose. Respected figures, however, had begun to imagine a non-sectarian system as beneficial to the virtuous upbringing of varying social classes (Gangel, 137). William Penn envisioned the establishment as the opportunity of protecting Quaker children from persecution in a largely Calvinistic America; Reformation leaders John Calvin and Martin Luther had years before sanctioned the public school as a potent channel for furthering the Great Commission in which every child could freely learn the Bible (Gangel, 226). Nearly always, the thought of universal education was primarily understood as a crusade against the negative elements of religious persecution or atheism. Such considerations ironically rendered the admiration for an approaching foreign advancement which would succesively contribute to changing the face of American schooling—and eventually serve, in part, as the outline for the philosophical devising of Horace Mann.

Defying common assertion, the conventional form of public education known today began as an attempt to remove what was perceived by radical thinkers to be religious indoctrination in domestic and religious establishments (Carson). At the height of the nineteenth century, the civilized world seemed intent upon change; a determination to right the wrongs of society through an emphasis upon knowledge and governmental regulation had entranced the European realm. Outside nations watched as Germany erected an academic system, contestably the first in its form (Thattai). Distinctly tied to government and presumably theologically neutral, school fused with state in enforcing civic allegiance among youths. Mandatory attendance laws were constructed upon the threat of separating disobedient parents from their children (Thattai). The Prussian creation convinced countless of the merits of humanitarian efforts in social reconstruction, and inspired many with the feeling that advancement could be achieved at the hands and wit of man. The theory that man’s suffering lay in the deterring action of religion impressed the minds of rising American philosophizes and reformers, and eventually succeeded in removing church from state matters. With time and reason, it was perceived, truth could be deduced through the progress of “evolutionary development” in which individuals found ultimate definition in their ability to conform to the design of society (Mann).

Philosophy is an inevitable aspect of any field of knowledge as it determines how and what one perceives to be truth. It is the method of attaining a certain goal, and the worldview of the mind’s eye. The philosophical tenets of Horace Mann were a compilation of the principles of moral perfection and Unitarianism, of natural theology and social progressivism (Badolato). Born in 1796 in Franklin, Massachusetts, Horace was a faithful attendant of a local congregational church from infanthood. Following a tragedic incident involving the accidental death of his brother, however, he abandoned the Calvinistic teachings of Nathaniel Emmons as a youth (Ritchie). Unwilling to face the biblical reality of a judicial God, Mann forsook any concept of a divinity less than his own perception of “kindness and ethical integrity (Ritchie).” Only a few short years following, he transitioned his membership to First Parish Church of Dedham where he accepted the religion of Unitarianism. In contrast to the teachings of Reverend Emmons, the individual was confirmed there a generally good being who could be easily redirected to perfection, and the deity of Christ and the presence of original sin were denied.

Though Mann certainly acknowledged the existence of evil in the world, his insistence upon its domination depicted it a force of mere negativity rather than a grave spiritual hindrance. While biblical reading was integrated into initial classrooms and curricula, doctrine was regulated, and Scripture was esteemed more for Its virtuous, rather than spiritual, character. Mann’s Transcendentalist perspective and enthrallment with the natural encouraged a sensual, experiential pursuit of knowledge which re-popularized the secular classics and fostered a temporal worldview based upon external control. The antidote to the woes besetting mankind, Mann believed, lay in the structure of formal education (Mann). In a perspective not unlike his century colleagues, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, criminology and anti-patriotism could be dissolved if only the arm of governmental supervision was extended. To Mann, salvation lay in the hope of education, and human error resided whenever ignorance prevailed and circumstance failed to offer enlightenment (Mann).

Abandoning the professions of his Protestant background, Horace concluded the value of the individual as dependent upon the intellectual ability. With enlightenment came prosperity and “power”—without which, humanity was indistinguishable from the animal realm (Mann). Mann understood the source of strife as the inequalities plaguing his fellow man. Whether by deliberate or natural circumstances, individuals climbed the social system while others remained unfortunate, even to the point of destitution. He sought to dissolve such barriers through the blending effect of a false “tolerance” regarding issues of contention. A form of academic democracy combining students of varying religious and cultural contexts would allegedly provide everyone the opportunity to prosperity. In reality, however, this philosophy only resulted in expanding moral weakness and a spirit of statism.

Without the certain doctrines of sin and grace, humanism abandons persons to the bondage of fellow men, leaving the weaker vulnerable to the subjection of the elevated. Such a theory assesses the value of humanity as something to be earned, and limits knowledge to a self-centered scope. In his refusal to recognize man biblically, Mann misplaced his trust in human authority. In his refutation of the Trinity, he denied the liberating views of individual government and Christian conversion. As Christ was perceived as neither God nor sovereign and man was neither spiritually void nor innately depraved, the value of the Cross was negated. Inevitable was the gradual impingement of freedom in the forms of governmental intrusion and moral autonomy. Intruth, Mann failed to recognize the grave consequence of ignoring the biblical format for authority, and the demand and purpose for cultural dominion. Typified in the Garden and re-instated in the Great Commission, God’s intention for mankind in general was to utilize all in available power to exalt Him; from cultivating the ground to becoming spiritual fishermen, humanity was designed to discover and emit His character as ambassadors and according to appointed roles. Civic and governmental duties, while to be revered and honored, were in reality only earthly reminders of His justice and intolerance towards sin. Familial roles such as parental instruction and discipline revealed His character of righteousness and love. Such earthly representatives were situated not to replace divine authority, but to represent His hand and character in His hatred for the transgression of law, and the innate value of life. Unless man  is internally governed by the Holy Spirit, he cannot and will not cease from tyrannizing others or transgressing society.

Affirmed in numerous biblical passages is the principle of personhood or individuality (Jeremiah 1:5)—the belief that every man was knit specially and uniquely by the Creator, and for His will (Jeremiah 29:11). Scripture recounts the simultaneous presence of a sinful nature and divine resemblance imbedded in every soul (Romans 3:23; Genesis 1:27). Despite maintaining the image of God and a spirit distinct from the created world, man’s ability to reason and will have been hindered by natural and deliberate wickedness (Romans 3:23). According to the inspired author James, evil is neither aroused by any force or form of determinism, but comes solely from the desire of man’s heart (James 1:27). It is imperative, then, that the student receive knowledge competent in offering the wholeness of his being to original purpose and function. True knowledge is found first in the “fear” of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). It is centralized upon and measured in the recognition of God’s omniscience and revealed Word. Within Scripture, information is determined as profitable only according to its supporting object and motive. Proverbs denotes that knowledge can abase with foolish pride or establish one with earthly riches, yet is of little consequence outside the favor of the Lord.  In an ever-eternal view, knowledge is depicted as supremely significant when ascribing to the intimacy of fathoming the Savior (John 20:31). Though including intellectual assent, this understanding surpasses the mind, and grasps the spirit, gradually sanctifying the whole person. It is only in this instruction and hope that a genuine hope for world-reaching reconstruction can be imagined, and in which the testimony for which Christ died can be manifested (John 3:16).

A biblical education presupposes a need for correction. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary specifically denotes education as a means of reforming the “temper” and general unruliness in personality and thought of the child. Implied is the act of training, molding, and improving from darkness to enlightenment, from unruly to tame. Such a theory initializes with the imperfect state of natural man, and seeks to edify him. In a Scriptural knowledge of the doctrine of total depravity (Romans 3:23), instructors gain insight as to what they may reap from their students. The realization that sin has fogged man’s wholeness—mind, spirit, and soul—and that only the Holy Spirit can shed light upon any misunderstanding, encourages the teacher who may have otherwise apprehended a performance of perfection from either herself or her pupils. Such an understanding decries any hope of improvement outside a biblical conversion, and concentrates upon the inner condition and needs of each classmate. Implied in such foresight is the total sovereignty of God—His domain and right over every facet of the universe, and the responsibility of each man to submit to His government. Inconceivable in this recognition is any form of human dominance or totalitarian authority which trespasses upon the natural rights of His children, or the order which He has revealed!

—Whitney Ann Dotson

Badolato, Robert. “The Educational theory of Horace Mann.” January, 4, 2008. [available online] at:http://www.newfoundations.com/GALLERY/Mann.html.

Beliles, Mark A. and McDowell, Stephen K. America’s Providential History. Providence Foundation. Charlottesville, Virginia. Eight Edition. 1989.

Brown, Martha C. “Poor Reading-Instruction Methods Keep Many Students Illiterate.” January 31, 2001. [available online] at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_4_16/ai_59187721/

Carson, Clarence. B. “The Dilemmas of Public Education.” The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. Volume 33, Issue 9. September 1983. [available online] at: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/the-dilemmas-of-public-education/

Gangel, Kenneth O. and Benson, Warren S. Christian Education: Its History and Philosophy. Wipf and Stock Publishers. Eugene, Oregon. 1983.

The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishers.1984

Mann, Horace. “Horace Mann Quotes.” Homepage. [available online] at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/horace_mann.html

Ritchie, Susan. “Horace Mann.” [available online] at: http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/horacemann.html

Thattai, Deeptha. “A History of Public Education in the United States.” [available online] at: http://www.servintfree.net/~aidmn-ejournal/publications/2001-11/PublicEducationInTheUnitedStates.html