Old School, New Clothes: The Cultural Blindness of Christian Education

Bibliographic information:

Ronald E. Hoch and David P. Smith. Old School, New Clothes: The Cultural Blindness of Christian Education. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011.



Is much of Christian education in America distinctly Christian? Ron Hoch and David Smith say: “No.” Instead it is guilty of having adopted an ideology and methodology that strips it of the right to call itself Christian and the ability to fulfill a truly Christian mission. The authors claim that the fundamentally humanistic ideology of the West conditions and controls much of what is labeled “Christian” education. By talking about the need to integrate faith and learning, focusing on teaching methodology, and operating schools in virtually the same way as government-run schools, many Christian academics betray captivity to the dogma that humans are the measure of all things and need to do what God has already done. As a result, much of what controls the conversation and practices in Christian academia echoes the humanistic arrogance of the West, and offers no substantive alternative to it. The authors call for Christian academics to own-up to their own confession—that all reality was created and integrated by God, damaged by sin, and has already been re-integrated in and by Jesus. Thus the emphasis in Christian education ought not to be what Christian educators are doing to redeem the culture, but on what God is bringing to the Church in order to redeem sinners. Only by recognizing that all human knowledge claims in every sphere are inherently theological and that God is truly seen in and experienced through knowledge of all things, will a distinctly Christian education be forged. Christian education must primarily emphasize the re-integration or redemption of teachers brought through right knowledge of Jesus that comes through every subject discipline and expressed in a life balanced on Sabbath, work and family


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