I am definitely interested in educational theory. Even back in my days of college, I was always immersed in the study of how effective education takes place. If the goal of education is a definite change of behavior, attitude, or position… how are we doing?
The most damaging idea inherited in the wake of the Enlightenment is this… man is good. In this course of thinking, it only takes education to rid the heart of the evils it possesses. The teacher entrapped by this philosophy believes that, deep down, the child wants to learn and wants to get better. The administrator believes if they can create the perfect learning environment, the correct strategies, and differentiated instruction… the student will soar.
This is nowhere near what the Bible teaches.
Dr. Archibald Alexander of Princeton in 1844 wrote very clearly:
The education of children should proceed on the principle that they are in an unregenerate state, until evidences of piety clearly appear, in which case they should be sedulously cherished and nurtured. These are Christ's lambs—"little ones, who believe in Him" (Matt 18:6; Mark 9:42)—whom none should offend or mislead upon the peril of a terrible punishment. But though the religious education of children should proceed on the ground that they are destitute of grace, it ought ever to be used as a means of grace. Every lesson, therefore, should be accompanied with the lifting up of the heart of the instructor to God for a blessing on the means. "Sanctify them through your truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17)
I challenge all of us to continue to search and test whether these evidences of grace are visible.
Again I admire Dr. Alexander’s questions:
Let the most moral and amiable of mankind, who are in this natural state, be asked such questions as these: Do you take real pleasure in perusing the sacred Scriptures, especially those parts which are most spiritual? Do you take delight in secret prayer, and find your heart drawn out to God in strong desires? Do you spend much time in contemplating the divine attributes? Are you in the habit of communing with your own hearts, and examining the true temper of your souls? No unregenerate people can truly answer these, and suchlike questions, in the affirmative.
Test us O Lord and see where we are. May all of our efforts be in praying the Holy Spirit in to do what no educational theory can.