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Thursday, June 23, 2011

David McCullough

 

Mike Ripperton passed along an excellent article out of the Wall Street Journal, an interview Brian Bolduc had with my favorite secular author, David McCullough. Mr. McCullough has long bemoaned the state of historical illiteracy in our society. That is, so many of our children are fed so much political correctness while receiving little to no education on important historical facts and their significance in the development of our nation. The latest release from the Department of Education's 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress estimates "only 12% of high school seniors have a firm grip on our nation's history." McCullough lists the culprits. One is a personnel problem, with history teachers often not in possession of a specific degree in history and not lovers of history themselves. As he put it, "You can't love something you don't know anymore than you can love someone you don't know." Another is a method problem, as history is often taught categorically rather than chronologically. Another is an agenda problem, where political correctness trumps historical accuracy. The last problem he specifies is a curriculum problem. In essence, the history books are boring! It is of no small concern to me how ignorant we are of our own national history! (cf. http://online.wsj.com, 6/18/11).

 

The spiritual parallel is striking, at least to me. The home is the frontline of defense and offense in the spiritual equipping of our children. Their knowledge, or lack thereof, is foremost the responsibility of the home. The church's Bible School program is to be a dependable supplement and reinforcement of the home's biblical education of its children. How are we doing? Are we giving our children what they need to function in today's world. Knowledge and application are both vital. As teachers, we need to know the Book. As we do, we will come to love it and the One it proclaims. We need to be wise when it comes to the methods we use, not relying solely on topical studies to the neglect of covering all the Bible's material. Certainly, we should avoid an eisegetical approach to scripture, reading into the Scripture what we already believe. Any agenda must be checked at the door when teaching God's Word, with an honest desire to glean from it God intended to say.

Biblical ignorance could not be more costly (Hos. 4:6)! Let us return to placing such a premium on knowing God's Word that we once again earn the reputation of being people of the book, those who know and cite "book, chapter, and verse." McCullough's reaction to historical ignorance was to simply say, "It's shocking." To fail to know the Bible is more than that. It's tragic! Let us be like the blessed man, whose "delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Ps. 1:2).  --Neal Pollard

 

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