Friday, November 21, 2014

The wrong way to insert faith in education

Bethany Jenkins is the "Director of The Gospel Coalition's Every Square Inch" program. She is also the one who wrote this article on supplementing a student's education. In it, she claimed that she found what she learned in organic chemistry irrelevant to normal life. The whole article was basically on how we can tie the secular subjects we learn into everyday life.

Now, that God created all the elements of the Periodic Table is indeed true. However, I remain puzzled why Jenkins think that inorganic chemistry was "irrelevant" before supplementation by faith. Must something be seen and touched in "everyday life" to be considered relevant? Doesn't truth and knowledge has its own inherent virtue, without the need to be shown to be "relevant"? In fact, relevance is what we make of what we know. If something does not seem to be relevant, perhaps it is because you the knower does not know enough of the topic to see its relevance.

Be that as it may, my main contention is that the "relevance" of God and the Christian faith is not something that we try to find; it comes with the claims of the Christian faith itself. Jenkins seem to operate in some sense on the notion of a dichotomy between faith and fact, and then posit a way to overcome the distance so that one's faith becomes relevant to life (fact). But if we follow the Bible's cosmology and cosmogony, then Christianity is already relevant for all of life. One does not have to invent artificially contrived ways to try to make the faith relevant, for God, being the Creator who in real history makes the world as the Scriptures portray His acts to be, is true and real and relevant. Of course, if one in some way undermine or deny the cosmology or cosmogony of Scripture, then one is left with a faith without roots. If God is not the God of history and reality, actually creating the matter we see all around us, then of course the gap between faith and fact will be hard to bridge.

Jenkins came up with 3 practical suggestions. May I suggest instead that one stops trying to put faith everywhere but rather to receive everything, including "secular things," as the general common grace gifts from God? Away with all this hyper-spirituality, and just enjoy what God has given, thanking God for these good gifts without feeling the need to "Christianize" them. Creation is just fine; it does not need supplementation with redemption.

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