Pastor Roger Anghis
October 31, 2010
Discovering America’s Christian Heritage
Part 18 400 Years of Education (Pt 2)
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children
We discovered in the last chapter that our schools originally were in the churches and that religion, morals and knowledge were the three main requirements for education established by the Founders. The book used most in our public elementary education aside from the Bible was a book called the New England Primer. All of our Founding Fathers used this book to learn to read, learn the principles of Christianity, morality and prayers. It was used in public elementary education from 1690 until 1930, 240 years. This book integrated the Bible in virtually every area of teaching.
In learning the alphabet it used Bible stories: A: In Adams fall we sinned all. B: Heaven to find the Bible mind. C: Christ crucified for sinners died. Every letter in the alphabet dealt with a Bible story. In another section for learning the alphabet with each letter in a Bible verse: A: A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother (Proverbs 15:20). E: Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3). O; Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Like 6:45).
This book contains lessons on the Ten Commandments, salvation, creation, sin, morality, i.e. all areas of mans existence. It is easy to understand why religion was such a large part of their lives privately as well as publically.
Since 1962 when the Supreme Court decided that the public school system was supposed to be secularized the SAT scores have declined dramatically. In international testing for math and science American students have fallen from the top to the last or in the bottom half. Overall teats have shown American elementary students above average, junior high students average, but high school students are at the bottom.
In illiteracy America ranks 65th out of 200 nations when we used to be at the top. Several third-world nations rank higher than America. It has gotten so bad in America that among recent high school graduates 700,000 were unable to read their own diplomas.
This is why we are seeing a drastic rise in the demand for school choice. Almost 24 states have laws allowing some form of school choice. These laws have all been opposed by the NEA claiming that only they can provide a proper education. In recent years when homeschool students are put up against public educated students, the homeschooled students excel far and above the public educated students.
The ‘old’ way we used to educate students created exceptionally smart students. Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, entered college at the age of 10, Fisher Ames, author of the First Amendment, entered Harvard at the age of 12, Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, graduated from Princeton at 14, John Trumbull, law student under John Adams, Justice on the Connecticut Supreme Court had already read through the Bible by the age of 4, at 6 he won a Greek contest against his local minister and passed the Yale exam at 7 ½. John Quincy Adams performed drill with the Massachusetts Minute men at the age of 8 and at 14 he received a Congressional appointment to be secretary to Ambassador to Court of Catherine the Great in Russia. James Iredell, Supreme Court Justice, was appointed to public office in North Carolina to oversee finances at 17.
All this seems impossible today, but was very common under the education system that our Founders were educated in and was supported by them after the Revolution. Their philosophy of religion, morality and knowledge compared to what is used today of knowledge only, and very little of that, both show results. Theirs produce college graduates at 14, ours produces high school graduates that cannot read their own diploma. There is no contest here. The system we use today needs to be abandoned and we need to reestablish what our Founders used.
looking at the foundation of what was the greatest educational system
in the world we have seen what was involved in the elementary level.
Let’s look at the higher education of the founding era. Harvard
was founded by the Congregationalists for the training of ministers.
It produced signers of the Declaration of Independence such as John
Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, William Ellery, William Hooper, Robert
Treat Paine, William Williams, and Elbridge Gerry.
Harvard also produced signers of the Constitution such as William Samuel Johnson and Rufus King. Other prominent leaders from Harvard were Fisher Ames, a framer of the Bill of Rights and author of the 1st Amendment, William Cushing, original justice of the Supreme Court and Timothy Pickering a Revolutionary War General and Secretary of War under Presidents Washington and Adams.
What was the philosophy of this college that produced so many of our Founding Fathers? That can be easily understood when you look at Harvard’s two mottos. “For Christ and the Church” and “For the Glory of Christ”. Harvard’s Directive to Students reads: “Let every student be plainly instructed and . . . consider well [that] the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus, which is eternal life (John 17:3), and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.” This directive continued saying, “Everyone shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein.” Academic endeavors were based on the foundation of Biblical principles. It was this philosophy that produced the significant numbers of Founding Fathers that formed our unique, yet most successful form of government.
university that was founded by Congregationalists was Yale and it too
was founded to train ministers of the gospel. It produced signers of
the Declaration of Independence such as Lyman Hall, Philip Livingston,
Lewis Morris, and Oliver Wolcott. Yale also produced signers of the
Constitution such as Abraham Baldwin, Jared Ingersoll and William Livingston.
Other prominent Yale graduates are Noah Webster, a famous educator and
author of Webster’s Dictionary which in writing it he learned
twenty different languages, Zephaniah swift, author of America’s
first law book and James Kent, considered the Father of American Jurisprudence.
Yale also encouraged its students to practice Christianity; “Above
all, have an eye to the great end of all your studies, which is to obtain
the clearest conceptions of divine things and to lead you to a saving
knowledge of God in His Son, Jesus Christ.” Yale also required
all students to live their life as directed by God’s Word.
“All Scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures. . .and constantly attending all the duties of religion.”
One school that raised up more public leaders than any other was Princeton which was started by Presbyterians for the purpose of training ministers. This school also had signers of the Declaration of Independence such as Richard Stockton and Benjamin Rush. Graduates that were signers of the Constitution are Gunning Bedford, Jonathan Dayton, James Madison, and William Patterson. Other prominent leaders from Princeton are Oliver Ellsworth, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Henry Lee, General in the Revolution and William Bradford, George Washington’s Attorney General. The President of Princeton was John Witherspoon who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Witherspoon required of each student: “Every student shall attend worship in the college hall morning and evening. . . and shall attend public worship on the Sabbath. . . [T]here shall be assigned to each class certain exercises for their religious instruction. . . and no student belonging to any class shall neglect them.” Witherspoon personally taught some of his students and in his lectures he taught: “He is the best friend to American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind.
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Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I [hesitate not] to call him an enemy to his country.” His teaching of this philosophy was because he believed, rightfully so, that if the people became immoral and profane then the government would become immoral and profane. We have seen our nation become more and more immoral over the last 40 years and it is showing up in our government. (Bill Clinton and the Blue dress.) Several members of congress and a few governors in the last few years have admitted adulterous affairs. There are openly homosexuals in Congress and they are bound and determined to force America to accept that lifestyle. History has proven that a government that becomes immoral and profane does not last long once they embrace that immorality.
© 2010 Roger Anghis - All Rights Reserved
Pastor Roger Anghis is the Founder of RestoreFreeSpeech.org, an organization designed to draw attention to the need of returning free speech rights to churches that was restricted in 1954.
President of The Damascus Project, TheDamascusProject.org, which has a stated purpose of teaching pastors and lay people the need of the churches involvement in the political arena and to teach the historical role of Christianity in the politics of the United States. Married-37 years, 3 children, three grandchildren.
Web site: RestoreFreeSpeech.org