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What will be the Future Challenge of Christian schooling?

  • April 16, 2019
  • By Ben van Noort
What will be the Future Challenge of Christian schooling?

What will be the Future Challenge of Christian schooling?


Is it reasonable to suppose that the younger Christian generations will swallow “Christian” ideas which are only given by the leadership to keep the people sweet, and because they don’t have the solutions?

Schooling is Meaningful

(A study from the Barna Group partnered with a religious think tank named Cardus.)
“Our findings show strong effects of EP [Evangelical Protestant] schooling on various religious and spiritual outcomes in young adulthood, and these effects hold up after controlling for family-background and demographic variables, including religion of parents,” noted the study from last year.
Source: “Most Protestant pastors see school as ‘negative influence’ on spiritual formation” (Christian Post, March 22, 2019)

“Nones” equal than Evangelicals

“The number of religious “nones” in the United States are now statistically equal than the number of evangelicals, according to a political scientist who analyzed data from the recently released 2018 General Social Survey (GSS).”
Source: “Religious ‘nones’ now as big as evangelicals in the US, new data shows” (Christian Post, March 20, 2019)

Deeper Level of Conflict

The articles mentioned above are detailed, but neither says a word about the deeper level of conflict which intensely affect the growing Christian youth. It’s the same pattern in the American society as well as all over the world.

Youngsters have to study to make progressions in their lives, already when they are young. From their youth they learn to use their brains, daily. There is nothing wrong with that. How many missionary schools are at work all over the world?

No, there is a different problem. And no one seems to be able to put one’s finger on the spot, to put the problem into words. In my view Christianity is pushed back in western society as it has still to invent what schooling really is. Since the middle ages the Christian leadership has focused on belief, without giving the serious answers for the mind. Of old, too many real questions are swept under the carpet of faith. And nobody dares to react, as it is said so piously. Everybody becomes frozen.

Belief Needs Facts

And yet, agreement is based on factual information and not on the presentation of belief only. Factual information is a must in current society, and also in matters of faith. Questions nor facts should be swept under the carpet but placed on the carpet. Yes, it is about unsolved theological questions laying at the roots of our Christian doctrines. What about the reliability of the words of Jesus … and of the prophets of old. Are they really their words?

A Desperately Hidden Problem

And now we are entering a category which is unreachable for secular researchers as the Barna Group or Cardus (first quote). They lack the power to penetrate the realm of pious theological statements that cover the truth. And  thinking that we are all very scholarly, we are all unscholarly as possible. Barna and Cardus are preoccupied, they have already accepted the strange theological theory of the oral tradition that dominates Old and New Testament theology in a way that is far beyond their imagination.

“Nones” versus Christians

And the Nones see the intellectual problems of the Christians. The Nones know that the Christians suppose how the words of Jesus were written late. They know that some Christians believe in a late inspiration by the Holy Spirit to guarantee that the final text is inspired. Mmm, strange! A holy text with all those copyist errors. No, the original text was not with errors, but is lost. Mmm, strange! If it is that way with Jesus’ words, it will be the same with the Old Testament prophets and their words. Mmm, strange! And then these convictions of Christians, so harsh that there seems no compassion among them.

Young Generations, will they swallow everything?

It is not reasonable that the younger generations will swallow “Christian” ideas which are only given by the leadership to keep the people sweet, and because they don’t have the solutions. Isn’t it time to read the Bible which they all see as the reliable word of God, and to forget what has been said about these things all over the ages? Let’s make a fresh start with the beginning of the first two clauses of the Gospel of Luke:

1Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as delivered to us the eyewitnesses from the beginning also (being) ministers of the (spoken) word,”
(Elaborated on RSV, the active form has been presented in v. 2 as in the Greek original, instead of the passive form in current translations.)

What do we read?

  • ‘The things which have been accomplished among us,’ are the deeds of Jesus, the events of Jesus. Luke wanted to tell something about that in the introduction of his Gospel.
  • The word ‘us’ in the former expression refers to the bystanders of the events.
  • This ‘us’ is repeated in v. 2. To them the eyewitnesses delivered, to the bystanders.
  • As good eyewitnesses they delivered two things: not only what they had seen, but also what they had heard.
  • Also being servants of the spoken word, they delivered (v. 2). This excludes oral tradition, as it was not possible to deliver orally during the events of Jesus. This includes note taking,  as they could only deliver in writing during the spoken word of the events of Jesus.
  • The service to the spoken word included the writing of the actual words of Jesus.

The Actual Words of Jesus?
This seems impossible. Can it be true that in six simple statements can be proven that we possess the actual words of Jesus?
Of course not, one may say, no one has said that earlier! And so, it cannot be true, it’s better to stick to what Christians have always believed. That is persistence of the saints, isn’t it? No, it is not our duty to analyze the grammatical structure of the word of God. It cannot be true that God has led his people astray all those centuries of the past.

Spoken to my flesh, I must agree. Nevertheless, my mind says it is the grammatical truth that we possess the very words of Jesus, which were written down by his hearers under a mighty anointing and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, whatever any theologian might say differently. Our youth are in need of the truth; we have a duty not only to ourselves, but also to them. Moreover, God did not lead his people astray! Bishop Papias did with his introduction of the oral tradition prior to the Gospels, nineteen centuries ago—and he is still cited in the 21th century.

And the Words of the Prophets?
The six statements above open a new view on the Gospels and of course many new views on more subjects of New Testament theology. In my book “Jesus’s Stenographers” I have made a start discussing them. In my future blogs I will also come to new amazing insights about the transmission of the words of the Old Testament prophets.

By Ben van Noort, April 16, 2019