This is the second in a series of posts about formulating a biblical mindset when establishing a Christian curriculum. Today's educational institutions downplay the importance of language and the precise meaning of words. It is basic to humanism to deny God and affirm the relativity of all things. For the Christian, thinking is revelational of God who made us in His image, and teaching composition is an important aspect of education.
The following excerpts from (pp 51-54) of RJ Rushdoony's book The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum outlines a biblical view of teaching composition. In it, Rushdoony develops the concept that the goal is not creative writing but good writing.
Teaching composition means, first, teaching good writing. Its purpose is not to produce professional writers but to enable every person to write clearly and intelligibly. Second, good writing is clear thinking. Muddled thinking and writing is a headache in every area of life. The Christian School [and Christian homeschool by implication -- AS] in particular should be most productive of good writing and clear thinking if it is intelligently faithful to its Biblical foundations. Third, the purpose of punctuation and good grammar is to further clear thinking, and hence there is a necessity for an increased emphasis here.
Thought without words is impossible for man. Thought implies structure, order, and words. Words give expression to ideas, abstractions, collective things, and constituent aspects, so that thinking is a verbal skill. Grammar then gives structure, intelligent sequence, and temporal order to work assignments. The word grammar comes from the Greek graphein, to write. Thought means words, and words mean ideas, structure. One of the names of Jesus Christ is the Word or Logos, meaning the structure or work of life....
If we deny meaning, truth, propositional truth, at any one point in the universe, we then deny it at all, and we deny God as Creator. Language is not only basic to our creation as God's image bearers, but as the medium of God's revealed word to us. Language is thus very important in the sight of God. Hence, the abuse of language to blaspheme rather than to serve the Lord is a very serious offense. To abuse language is to mistrust an instrument given by God, used by Him to communicate with us to reveal Himself, and ordained to be our most conspicuous and central aspect in the growth and development of godly culture...
Listen here as RJ Rushdoony develops this idea further.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.