Devotion for the Week of February 18, 2013 - GOD GAVE AMERICA THE GIFT OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

God Gave America the Gift of Christian Education

Exodus 18:20, “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”   

Psalm 25:5, “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Psalm 34:11, “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”   

Psalm 71:17, “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.” 

“It being one chief project of that old deluder Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scripture, as in former times by keeping the Scriptures in an unknown tongue,… it is therefore ordered that every township, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty householders, shall appoint one within their town to teach all such children to write and read.”

This law was known as the Old Deluder Satan Act.  In the year 1647, Massachusetts Bay established mandatory Christian education.  The whole purpose of education was to teach children to read and write in order to develop a Christian world view.

Nine years earlier God had allowed Massachusetts to begin a college called Harvard.  The college was founded by Puritans for the express purpose of training men for the ministry.  In fact, of the first ten colleges founded in America, nine were founded by Religious groups. 

This emphasis on Christian education continued throughout the Colonial period.  After the Revolutionary war, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 stated that “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”  In other words, the purpose of education was to teach the Christian religion, Christian morality and knowledge.

Just five years prior to this document, Noah Webster published his famous Blue-backed speller.  This textbook taught Biblical truths and morality based on the Bible.  The tradition of Godly textbooks continued in 1836 with the McGuffey readers.  Once again the Bible and morality were emphasized in this series of textbooks.  For hundreds of years, America had a rich history of teaching young minds the truth as seen in the Word of God. 

One of the major reasons America has experienced God’s hand of blessing is due to an educational system centered on God’s Word.  Martin Luther had this to say about education; “I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.  I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount.  Every institution in which men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.”  Luther understood the power of the classroom to mold young minds to God’s will or man’s will.

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