Five Ingredients of Home Education Michael and Marnie Goheen Vancouver, B.C.
Five Ingredients of Our Home Education The Bible tells the true story of the world Threefold lens for looking at world: Creational design, sin’s distorting power, and God’s renewing power Rich doctrine of creation Idolatrous shape of Western culture Goal of education is witness to Lordship of Christ over all
Faithful Home Education Requires: • Understanding the Bible as the true story of the world
Living in a Story • Embracing the gospel in faith means accepting an invitation to live in the biblical story • Our whole lives are shaped by some story
Fox and the Crow A fox compliments a crow: “My you have a lovely voice; won’t you sing me a song?” What is the meaning of this event?
Fox and the Crow The crow sits perched high in a tree with a piece of meat. There is a famine in the forest and all the animals use different strategies in an attempt to get the meat. The fox compliments the crow. It opens its mouth; the meat falls out and the fox runs away with it. Don’t be deceived by flattery!
Story xxxxxxxxxxxxx Beginning Theme End Conflict/Resolution
Of what story am I a part? “I can only answer the question “What am I to do?” if I can answer the prior question “Of what story do I find myself a part?” -Alasdair MacIntyre
Is there a real story, a true story? “The way we understand human life depends on what conception we have of the human story. What is the real story of which my life story is a part?” -Lesslie Newbigin
The way the world is “. . . a story is the best way of talking about the way the world actually is.” - N.T. Wright
In our contemporary culture . . . two quite different stories are told. One is the story of evolution, of the development of the species through the survival of the strong, and the story of the rise of civilization, our type of civilization, and its success in giving humankind mastery of nature. The other story is the one embodied in the Bible, the story of creation and fall, of God’s election of a people to be the bearers of his purpose for humankind, and of the coming of the one in whom that purpose is to be fulfilled. These are two different and incompatible stories (Lesslie Newbigin).
Both stories . . . • . . . claim to be true for all • . . . claim comprehensive authority over all of life • . . . are religious: they are centred in ultimate commitments
Living in the real story To accept the authority of this story is to enter it and to inhabit it. It is to live in the world as the world is portrayed in this story. - Richard Bauckham
The Bible as one story . . . the whole point of Christianity is that it offers a story which is the story of the whole world. It is public truth. (N.T. Wright)
A Hindu’s observation! I can’t understand why you missionaries present the Bible to us in India as another book of religion. It is not a book of religion—and anyway we have plenty of books of religion in India already. We don’t need any more! I find in your Bible a unique interpretation of universal history, the history of the whole creation and the history of the human race. And therefore a unique interpretation of the human person as a responsible actor in history. That is unique. There is nothing else in the whole religious literature of the world to put alongside of it (Badrinath, Hindu scholar).
A word from an unbelieving literary critic! Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own reality for a few hours, it seeks to overcome our reality: we are to fit our own life into its world, feel ourselves to be elements in its structure of universal history . . . Everything else that happens in the world can only be conceived as an element in this sequence; into it everything that is known about the world . . . must be fitted as an ingredient of the divine plan. (Erich Auerbach)
Why is it important to understand the Bible as one story? • Way Bible’s authority is known • Way we understand who we are as God’s people • Only way we can resist being “conformed to the world” (Rom. 12.2)
Danger of being conformed to world • Breaking up the Bible into little bits—moral, sermon, theological, historical-critical, devotional “If we allow the Bible to become fragmented, it is in danger of being absorbed into whatever other story is shaping our culture, and it will thus cease to shape our lives as it should. Idolatry has twisted the dominant cultural story of the secular Western world. If as believers we allow this story (rather than the Bible) to become the foundation of our thought and action, then our lives will manifest not the truths of Scripture, but the lies of an idolatrous culture. Hence, the unity of Scripture is no minor matter: a fragmented Bible may actually produce theologically orthodox, morally upright, warmly pious idol worshippers!” (Drama, 12)
Living at the Crossroads Creation, fall, redemption Western story Biblical story Humanism
Absorption of Biblical story Western story (Bible bits) Modern & Postmodern Humanism
Drama of Scripture • ACT ONE: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation • ACT TWO: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall • ACT THREE: The King Chooses Israel: Redemption Initiated • ACT FOUR: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished • ACT FIVE: Making Known the Good News of the King: The Mission of the Church • ACT SIX: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed
Faithful Home Education Requires: • Understanding the Bible as the true story of the world • Seeing the world through threefold lens of God’s creational design, sin’s distorting power, God’s renewing power
Basic storyline of Bible • Story of restoration of whole creation and whole of human life from sin • Creation: God creates a good world giving humanity a special place • Sin: The creation is polluted and twisted by human rebellion • Restoration: God sets out on the long road of redemption to restore the creation back to its original goodness.
‘Long Road of Redemption’ • Israel chosen to model restoration of human life vs. idolatry of nations • Jesus reveals in his life, deeds, and words God’s restoration • Cross: Battle and victory for creation • Resurrection: Beginning of renewal • Church called to make known God’s restoration • Christ’s return: Restoration complete!
Three lenses for true image Creation Sin Restoration
Healthy child Deformed by disease Process of healing Struggle between disease and healing power Good creation Deformed by human sin Restoration Struggle between evil and God’s healing power Illustration
Religious Antithesis Battle of Kingdoms for Domain of Creation Kingdom Kingdom of of God Darkness One Domain Creation
Claimed and Counterclaimed There is not a square inch on the whole plane of human existence over which Christ, who is Lord over all, does not proclaim: “This is Mine!” - Abraham Kuyper There is no neutral ground in the universe every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan. - C.S. Lewis
Three lenses for academic work • Creation order: What is creational order for this area of life? • Idolatrous twisting: How has this area of life been twisted by idolatry and sin? • Restoration: What healing paths are open for this area of life?
Faithful Home Education Requires: • Understanding the Bible as the true story of the world • Seeing the world through threefold lens of God’s creational design, sin’s distorting power, God’s renewing power • Understanding the world as God’s creation
Creation: How was it meant to be? • Creation ordered by God’s word • All of human life • All of non-human creation • Humanity as image of God • Made to know and love God • Made to serve and reflect God • Cultural and historical development • Very good • Symphony: Unity in diversity
Credal/Faith • Ethical • Political • Aesthetic • Economic • Social • Lingual • Historical/Culture formation • Rational • Emotional • Biotic/Life • Physical/Energy & Matter • Motion • Spatial • Numerical H u m a n B e i n g s A n i m a l s P l a n t s T h i n g s
Faithful Home Education Requires: • Understanding the Bible as the true story of the world • Seeing the world through threefold lens of God’s creational design, sin’s distorting power, God’s renewing power • Understanding the world as God’s creation • Understanding the idolatrous shape of our cultural story
God or an idol Human beings are inherently religious creatures. We cannot live without a god, even if it is one of our own making. We need a center, an ultimate focus, a point of orientation for our lives. We have in fact two alternatives. Either we serve the Lord and obey his will, or we practice idolatry and disobedience (Walsh and Middleton).
Romans 1.18-32: Pauline analysis of Roman culture • Not simply individual but communal • “Worshiped and served created things”: Cultural idolatry • “God gave them over”: God gives over culture to its idolatry
CULTURE (patterns of life together) Family Economic Political Educational Media Sport Technology Entertainment Art Architecture Scholarship Shapes Gives meaning Orients Integrates IDOLATROUS RELIGIOUS BELIEFS (Credo)
Western cultural credo? Incomparably the most urgent missionary task for the next few decades is the mission to ‘modernity’... It calls for the use of sharp intellectual tools, to probe behind the unquestioned assumptions of modernity and uncover the hidden credo which supports them. (Lesslie Newbigin)
Dangerous Illusions Myth of a Christian culture Myth of a former Christian culture Myth of a secular, neutral culture
Our cultural story • Modern humanist story: Faith in science and technology to enable us to progress toward a better world • Three mutually reinforcing trends: • Globalisation: Global spread of an economic form of modern humanist story around world • Postmodernity: Challenge to the modern humanist story in West • Growth of consumerism
Where do these terms come from? Renaissance Enlightenment Middle Ages Who is the hero of this story?
1350 1750 Enlightenment Renaissance Middle Ages something becomes light of the world something born again something suppressed What? Rationalistic humanism
Eras of Western History Classical Modern Postmodern Mediæval
Neutral labels? Classic: of the highest class; most representative of the excellence of its kind; having recognized worth. (Websters) Modern: up-to-date; not old-fashioned, antiquated or obsolete. (Websters) Mediæval: middle (medius) age (ævum); outdated
Another way to designate eras:Gospel as hero of story Pagan Synthesis Antithesis Neo-pagan Classical Medieval Modern Postmodern
Faithful home education requires: • Understanding the Bible as the true story of the world • Seeing the world through threefold lens of God’s creational design, sin’s distorting power, God’s renewing power • Understanding the world as God’s creation • Understanding the idolatrous shape of our cultural story • Understanding the centrality of mission to the biblical story and thus education