The Gospel and Classical Christian Education by Patch Blakey
I am both humbled and thankful to our heavenly Father for the opportunity to serve you in the capacity of Executive Director. I am keenly aware that I am here by the providence of God and not by my own effort or merit. I also recognize that you, the members of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, are the point of the spear in this historically momentous effort, while I will be the logistician, working behind the front to ensure you are adequately supported to accomplish the mission. It will not be a short, easily won engagement. It will take the rest of our lives, and our children’s’ lives, and their children’s’ lives until the last generation when our Lord returns again. May we be found faithful in our generation.
All of you have been working hard to make Classical and Christian education a reality in your own cities and towns, to help raise up godly offspring to the glory of God. This is very good. I salute you and am deeply thankful to each of you for all that you have done by God’s grace. The growth that has transpired in so few years is truly amazing. Let us constantly remind ourselves that what has come to pass is not just another educational fact skipping down the pedagogical corridors of modern history only to be brushed aside by the next fad to come skipping along. You are part of an effort that is of truly historical consequence and proportion. Because of the magnitude and importance of the task you have undertaken, I feel all the more inadequate to stand here before you. Yet while I must confess that I’m the new kid in town, I’m no Johnny-Come-Lately. I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. I have a concern.
Whereas by God’s grace we have recovered the lost tools of learning, let us not forget that in Classical and Christian education, that which is Classical is the servant to that which is Christian. They are not both evenly mixed in some sort of egalitarian educational stew, three. parts Christian, three parts Classical Jesus Christ is LORD of all, hence the Classical must be, and. most assuredly is, subject to Christ’s universally extensive headship.
You may be agreeing with me, but wondering, “What’s the point?” My point is this. The gospel is the power of God to salvation to everyone, that believes. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the message that is preached by which Christ is proclaimed Savior. In I Corinthians 15: 3, 4, Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,… ” This is the gospel, plain and simple. And it ends with a period, not a question mark. What I mean by this is that the gospel is a statement of fact, a statement of truth. It is not an invitation, not an option for men to consider. It is a statement of what God alone has done. It is a statement of God’s mercy to a sinful, fallen, incapable, spiritually dead mankind. ‘Those who respond in faith to this message are justified. But that faith is not from their sinful, fallen, incapable, spiritually dead nature. No! It is the gift of God by His grace. alone. My confident hope is that each of us at. some time prior to today has heard this gospel preached and has responded to it with saving faith. By saving faith, I do not mean the faith that we generate ourselves everyday when we start our car or turn on the lights or eat our breakfast in a restaurant. The former is God given and saves; the latter is man–generated and condemns.
But it is at just this point that my concern begins. If we have imported any human agency, no mater how slight, into our understanding of the gospel, we have leavened the very heart of our Christianity with the seeds of humanism. Human agency is as foreign to the gospel as Kermit the Frog with a set of dentures. They are both totally incongruent.
It is possible that someone may protest that I go too far. After all, isn’t it a matter of personal preference how one believes on this issue? No! The Scriptures are the standard for what is true, not man. We are not allowed to pick and chose what we want to believe. God has decreed the gospel and we must believe it as He has decreed it.
Since we are the teachers and the administrators of the Classical and Christian schools, it is ourunderstanding of the gospel foremost that is essential to the longevity of Classical and Christian education. If we allow human agency, no matter how slight, a place in our understanding of the gospel, then we have suppressed the truth of the gospel. We have become guilty of supplanting God’s agency alone in salvation with the agency of man. In Paul’s epistle to the Romans, he severely warned against the Suppression of the truth since those who do so meet with the wrath of God in time and on earth, in other words, in history. The future of Classical and Christian education is in the balance.
I can imagine how easy it would be for some to think that I’m being an alarmist, that I’m overstating the matter. But look at the Scriptures. Paul admonished us not to be deceived, “. — God is not mocked, for whatever (I emphasize, whatever) a man sows, that he will also reap.” If we have sown human agency in our understanding of the gospel, Should we not expect that it will affect the rest of our Christianity as well, just as a little leaven leavens the whole lump? And if our Christianity is leavened, how is it that that which is Classical will escape since we have already determined that the Classical is the servant to Christianity?
The latter part of the first chapter of Romans 1 describes the sure but steady descent into reprobate thinking that follows when human agency has been superimposed over the truth of the gospel. Isn’t that just where we find ourselves in this country today? Isn’t that why you have all been working so hard to establish Classical and Christian schools? Isn’t this why we are united together in the Association of Classical and Christian Schools? If we don’t get it right, possibly our grandchildren, but most certainly our great grandchildren, will be shoveling dirt on the coffin of Classical and Christian education, and it will be at least another century after that before someone again recovers the lost tools of learning and starts to rebuild the ruins that used to be the educational edifice that we are now eagerly seeking to establish.
May we each seriously consider our calling as teachers and administrators within the Association of Classical and Christian Schools and thank God for it. But at the same time, let’s be humble and noble enough to reevaluate our understanding of the gospel message in light of Scripture. The gospel is God’s power of salvation. Let us add nothing to it in any degree, including human agency.