Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Education as a Means of Grace?

At a conference I attended last month, the Lutheran speaker told us that a classical education will better prepare the heart to receive Christ (or to be open to the gospel, or something on that order). Maybe EC has the exact quote jotted down somewhere?

So when Kerry commented here the other day, pointing out the CiRCE site on classical education, I was surprised to see a related statement there:
The classical Christian teacher asks God to use his teaching, dispositions, and actions as an instrument in His hand to cultivate the students' souls toward holiness. In this sense, learning can be a means of grace.
Thing is, the CiRCE site looks very Reformed.

If it is true that holiness is promoted by classical education, then classical education must not be about teaching Latin, or about grammar, logic, and rhetoric, or about a particular core curriculum, or about critical thinking, or about rigorous academics. Surely we would not say those things (good though they may be) are tools of the Holy Spirit to create and sustain faith.

So which is it? Is it wrong to say that classical education inculcates holiness and/or helps draw a person to Christ? Or is it that classical education isn't really about the things we usually speak of when we discuss the topic?


  1. The quote, as it's written down in my notes from the day was that Classical Education is better able to "prepare the soil of hearts to hear the Word of God."

    Underneath that, I had jotted, "But isn't that the Holy Spirit's job?" Anytime I hear comments about US PEOPLE, HERE, doing much of anything to cultivate holiness, I start twitching. But that may be my own personal baggage; I'm not sure.

  2. I don't think CiRCE could be described as reformed. In fact, Andrew Kern is Orthodox (big O - as in Orthodox Church in America). They regularly have big-O Orthodox and Catholic contributors (Vigen Guorian, Laura Berquist).

    I think Andrew would agree with you that when you say Classical Education is something else besides the tools (grammar, rhetoric, etc) that are often associated with it.