Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Educating to Wisdom

Monday, January 1, 2018, 22:09
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By Dr. Joe Renfro

Billy Graham said that “Knowledge is horizontal.  Wisdom is vertical—it comes down from above.”  Our society is very much caught up in the process of educating us on our way to destruction, for there are forces at work very much from our educational establishment to lead our land away from the wisdom of balancing out the vertical with the horizontal.  Progressive thinking, riding under the banner of diversity in our land, promotes learning and behavior that is very unwise.  We are in the name of diversity neglecting the wisdom that is essential for true education.

Learning can puff some people up, and this is characteristic of many progressive elites. II Timothy 3:1-7 points to the results of the progressive education of our times as it says:  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

The progressive thinking which has become central in secular schooling very much utilizes the tool of behaviorism as the key to direct their understanding of education.  Behaviorism is regarded as “ a scientific approach to psychology in which the study is based on observable, quantifiable facts and not on what they call subjective thoughts and emotions. In order to be objective and verifiable, the stimuli and responses have to be investigated further under controlled conditions. Most behaviorists agree that much of behavior is acquired through conditioning, and it is changed as an adaptive function. It was formulated by John Watson in 1913. (Psychology Dictionary).

There is too much conditioning and too little actual learning.  Many of us who are or have been educators can affirm that the education in our public school has very much degenerated into what can be called “conditioning.”  It is not teaching all together, but in many ways much of it has become a programming of the students unto certain accepted secular responses to various social goals.

John Watson (1878-1958) was the founder of behavioral psychology, which ruled out of learning such things as “consciousness, purpose, and the concept of mind”.  (Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, p. 619)   Watson said, “The Behaviorist … wants to control man’s reactions, as physical scientist want to control and manipulate other national phenomena.  It is the business of Behavioristic psychology …to control human activity.”  (Quote from The Works of Gordon Haddon Clark, Vol. 5, p. 96).  There are forces in our schools using the thinking Watson pioneered to implant totally secularist’s world views in their pupils.

Watson said that: “I would like to point out here that some time we will have a behavioristic ethics, experimental in type, which will tell us whether it is advisable from the standpoint of present and future adjustments of the individual to have one wife or many wives, to have capital punishment or punishment of any kind…whether many of our other prescribed courses of conduct make for adjustment of the individual or on the contrary, such for example as having a family life or even knowing our own fathers or mothers.” (Clark, p. 96).  Much of the progressive ethics and morality pushed by the progressive thinking is not really progress but actually is a descent into the projection and applause of negative behavior, promoting indolence and gross immorality under the canopy of diversity!

The amoral and/or immoral behavior that is the product of progressive thinking is not wise at all, for ultimately it brings destruction not only to individuals, but to the society and to the state.

Proverbs 2 gives positive direction for the best guideline for education.  Proverbs 2:1 says:  “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee.”  Solomon has taken God’s law and made it his own by faith and obedience, as well as teaching. The wisdom of these words is available to those who, first of all, understand the rich value (treasure), that wisdom from God’s guidance possesses. Here is true TEACHING CONNECTING with true LEARNING.

Proverbs 2:2 says, “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding.”   Once wisdom is properly valued, both the ear and mind can be captivated by it. “Apply thine heart”: The “heart” commonly refers to the mind as the center of thinking and reason, but also includes the emotions, the will and thus, the whole inner being. The heart is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever effects speech, sight and conduct. Here is WISDOM OPENING UP INTO UNDERSTANDING.

Proverbs 2:3 says, “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding.” “Criest after knowledge” shows the passionate pleading on one who is desperate to know and apply the truth of God in all of life. Here is THE MOTIVATION OF THE QUEST FOR THE UNDERSTANDING OF KNOWLEDGE.

Proverbs 2:4 says, “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures.” “Seekest … Searchest” point to a desiring quest, the call to see the great value of being in tune with God’s wisdom. It points to DEVOTED EFFORT TO GROW IN KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING.

Proverbs 2:5 says, “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”     Here is RECEIVING REVERANCE IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. Reverence amplifies all of life.

Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”   Here is LEARNING WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING AS GIFTS FROM GOD.  Yes, “Wisdom” is a gift from God, as it says in James 1:5 that, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

The great Christian thinker and philosopher, Gordon Haddon Clark (1902-1985) observed that secular and state-controlled universities propagate non-Christian and Antichristian philosophies, and one of these is the Behaviorism of John Watson .(Gordon Clark, The Works of Gordon Haddon Clark., Vol 5).  He wrote, “As we look back at the quotes from Watson that I’ve observed and then apply it to what is happening in American education at this time, it is most evident that this scientific conditioning is the route to much of the breakdowns in our families and the gender confusion so rampant in contemporary America” (Clark, p.93).  Things have gotten much worse since Clark’s day.

The 2003 Charles Fowler Colloquium on Innovation in Arts Education University of Maryland, College Park met to develop the teaching for Multicultural Literacy, Global Citizenship, and Social Justice in the United States.  They stated that a major problem was to address in the problem of educating students as they saw it was how to address what they called “the mythical Anglo-Saxon Protestant conception of the ‘good citizen” into education.  The Colloquium determined the Anglo conformity had traditionally been the goal of citizenship education, and they felt this had to be changed. They concluded that “The world’s greatest problems do not result from people being unable to read and write. They result from people in the world—from different cultures, races, religious and nations—being unable to get along and to work together to solve the world’s intractable problems such as global warming, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, poverty, racism, sexism, and war.’  Thus a great deal of education should become what many of us would call “social manipulation,” many of us would say.

In American the progressive understanding of education is to no longer just teach reading, writing and arithmetic, but it is to mold the attitudes of the students to live in a multicultural world of the 21st century.  Academics in this thinking was not just teaching basic knowledge, but to teach the truths, as they defined them and to program future generations with the world views to overcome what they esteem the to be.  There were a number of them, but the two of the greatest villains, “sexism” and “racism”.

In respect to overcoming “sexism,” whatever they might mean by that.  We are bombarded with all kinds of claims of sexism.  However, it is distressing that at least at one school, Swarthmore College will be teaching, beginning in the fall of 2018 a course called, “Queering the Bible,” which is a one-credit course is being offered.  The course is to survey “queer and “trans” reading of the biblical texts. It is to examine the bible through “queer lens”.  The other course offered in the department called “Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology”, which is an attempt is made to argue that God is a female.  One of the central focuses of this complaint of “sexism” is the homosexual agenda and the trans-sexual agenda.

The biblical references to God are only in the masculine.  He is not a sex. The Westminster Standards define God as “infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will.  God is not a sex but is a Spirit, but the Scripture uses the masculine to refer to him.  What right do we have to change this?

In the creation story the male, Adam, was first created, and the woman taken from Adam.  I think it is of interest that in conception of a child that the baby’s gender is determined by the male sperm cell that fertilizes a woman’s egg.  But the bible never presents God as the mother of Israel, but he is presented in the context of his fatherhood, and the same is manifest in the New Testament, when we come to know Christ, we realize God as our Heavenly Father, not as our Heavenly Mother.

Proverbs 2:7 says, “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.”   Here is the call to see that God gives true CHARACTER CAN AND WILL DEVELOP IN US THE WISDOM OF WALKING IN THE WAYS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Proverbs 2:8 says, “He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.”  Here is the call to JUDGMENT AND PRESERVATION, and gender confusion is certainly not wise judgment, nor it it a way to preserve the mental health of individuals, the health of family life and society, as well as the state, and certainly not the church.  This confusing the genders of God and/or the sex of people is not the directive from such Scriptures as Proverbs 2:8, but here is the call to follow the paths of judgment, the right kind of judgment.

Another villain as defined by the progressive and under attack from the progressive thinking is what they call “racism”.  The Scriptures well refute racism, if it means treating people wrongly because of their race for the message of the Bible makes the color of one’s skin irrelevant in the Christian context. It says in Galatians 3:28 it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”  The Jew and the Gentile were to be on equal ground!

It is distressing that the media is all obsessed about racism, and what they call “racism” is basically that one race has more wealth than others. In fact, most all people are in degrees blended from multiple races.  Some races in general are not financially as well off as others, but this is not “racism”. In America the whites are presented by groups like the Black Muslims and various progressive groups as being racist because in general the whites make more money that the Hispanics, American Indians, or Blacks. But that is not a logical argument, or is it an empirical truth to call whites racists.

The acquisition of wealth is not necessarily dependent on education, but in general the more highly educated end up higher on the economic scale. It has been observed that “According to the report, taken from the Pew’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study of more than 35,000 U.S. adults, Hindus (77 percent) and Unitarian Universalists (67 percent) have the highest percentage of those with college degrees, compared to the 27 percent of the surveyed sample of U.S. adults who have a college degree. However, about half of Hindus (48 percent) and one-third of Jews (31 percent) have a post-graduate degree. These two groups also have high household incomes, a case in point for the link between a college degree and economic achievement, with 44 percent of Jews and 36 percent of Hindus living in households with annual incomes of at least $100,000.” (Educational Achievement Varies by Religion, according to Pew survey – by Christine Kim, “Christianity Daily,” November 6, 2016).  It is of interest that of these groups making high salaries, such as the Hindus who are Asian and the Jews who are Semitic, are not of white Anglo-Saxon heritage.

We need to get beyond all this talk about “racism” for it is having a negative, divisive effect over our entire land. Even reverse discrimination can very easily turn into adverse discrimination, creating attitudes that actually hurt their cause rather than helping, not just in the school setting, but in the society as a whole.  It is judging people by the color of skin which really impossible for we are all varying colors, instead of the content of their character.  The best way to overcome racism is to get off the color of the skin and to focus on the cognitive development of the character, which can most fully be done by the new life in Christ.  

Proverbs 2:9 says, “Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; [yea], every good path.”    Here is the ROUTE TO EQUITY THROUGH LEARNING THE TRUTH OF KEEPING GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HIS JUDGMENTS AS BASIC.  

Proverbs 2:9 connects very much with Proverbs 1:2-4 that calls us, “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.” It is the call to see and participate in the unity of this ethical directive that should be basic to kind of education we need in our land. 

The Hebrew word that is translated “Equity” in the King James Version of the Bible in Proverbs 2:9 can be translated “right, just, fair, and upright.”  Equity does not mean to equally divide the wealth of each equally, but it is basically as the Lord Jesus taught to “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”

Knowledge is seemingly unlimited, but what is the key to understanding knowledge.  The key is wisdom.  Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” which means you cannot really understand knowledge rightly without that wisdom of vertical relatedness to God. It is sad that our society is very much caught up in the process of educating our society in a way to destruction.  It is becoming very much evident from much of the radical thinking emerging from our universities.  But there is a solution, and it is found the great statement given by Jesus Christ when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me.’  The progressives seek a revolution, but the God fearing a revival. Getting educated to God’s wisdom is the route to this revival, not just morally but intellectually.

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