Teaching Bible - RR148C5

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Teaching Bible
Course: Course - Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools
Subject: Subject:Education
Lesson#: 5
Length: 1:19:08
TapeCode: RR148C5
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Philosophy of Christian Eduction in Christian Schools.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


This morning we begin analyses of various practical subjects and their teaching, and properly, we begin with teaching Bible, which, in a Christian school, must be basic. Moreover, the teaching of the Bible must not only be basic to the Christian school, but to every subject therein. The Bible is a book for all of life and for all the world. It is a serious mistake to think of the Bible as a church book. The Bible is a book for school, for home, for vocations, for the state, for the sciences, for every area of life. It is important for us, therefore, to know the Bible. To teach the Bible, of course, we must first of all read it, and we must read it intelligently.

Now before I say what I’m about to say, let me add, first of all, that I had quite a sizable section in my library of twenty thousand volumes of Bible helps, commentaries, and the like. Thus, I’m not trying to tell you not to have commentaries, Bible notes, and helps, or whatever. But I am saying that we must learn to read the Bible directly and intelligently through our own eyes and not through the eyes of notes and commentaries. To often, we are Protestants, take the road to Rome. We assume that no one, neither ourselves nor any convert, can read the Bible unless they have all kinds of helps. I have increasingly made it a process{?{ to tell any converts that, when they ask for what should I get to help me with the Bible, first of all, read the Bible, read it yourself. Then, as you want to go onto an advanced study, I can make suggestions as to various study guides, but we cannot hold to our faith in the priesthood of all believers if we continually foist something as a mediator between the reader and the Bible. [00:04:00]

Because we do not read intelligently and directly,...[edit]

Because we do not read intelligently and directly, we tend so often to miss a great deal of what scripture is saying. I’m going to illustrate with a couple of simple facts, one of which is, of course, very obvious to you. How many wise men went to Bethlehem? We don’t know, of course. That’s obvious to all of you. The song says “We Three Kings of Orient Are,” and the idea of three has been derived from the fact that there were three types of gifts, not three gifts, but three types of gifts. Now let me give you a more difficult question. On what day of the week did the Sabbath fall in the Old Testament? Not Saturday, not Saturday, and you see what’s happened? It’s because you have just assumed that and imbibed a current process of Judaism and read the Bible in terms of that that you’ve given 50% of the argument to the Seventh Day Adventists and the Seventh Day Baptists. Judaism, somewhere around the fourth century, because of the prevailing practice, gave up on its Sabbath and simply took Saturday, as a fixed Sabbath.

Now to demonstrate what the Bible tells us, and I’m sure it’s a passage you’ve read again and again, let’s look at Leviticus 23:4-6, and there are many such passages. “These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's Passover. Now, according to the Hebrew calendar, each day begins at sundown of the night before and extends to sundown of the following day, so the Hebrew Sabbath began the night before a sundown and extended to sundown {?}. Every day was a twenty-four hour day from sundown to sundown, except the Hebrew Sabbath, and the Hebrew Sabbath was from sundown of the night before to dawn of the day after, so it was really a day and a half long. [00:07:30]

Now, “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even...[edit]

Now, “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.” Now, as you go through the various Sabbaths that the law describes, you again and again find what? That is does not say what day of the week it is, but what date of the month it is. Your birthday does not fall on a day of the week, but on a date of the month. Thus, the Hebrew Sabbath in the month was on the first, the eighth, the fifteenth, and so on, so that the Hebrew Sabbaths fell on days of the month rather than days of the week, and that’s a simple fact. It’s there very, very plainly once you see it. It’s not original with me. There’ve been, in the last century for example, there was a large two-volume study made on the history of the biblical Sabbath and its practice in Old Testament times, but we’re so used to reading things superficially that we miss so obvious a point, that just as your birthday falls on a date of the month, so the Hebrew Sabbaths fell on a date of the month and therefore, they would fall on every day of the week, just as your birthday one year is on Sunday, another year on Monday, and so on, and ultimately makes the rounds to every day of the week. Now I cite this in order to make clear to you how prone we are to reading superficially.

Now, let’s go a little further. A British sociologist, Dr. Basil Bernstein, has said, and I quote, “If you change the culture, you change the language,” and the reverse is also true. If you change the language, you change the culture. Now, this has very, very extensive implications for Bible translations. Do you know that the King James Version, when it was translated, was more out of date than it is now. If you question that, remember it was translated during the time of James I of England. Go to a library and get out the works of John Lily, and Johnson, and others of the contemporary writers, and also James I, who wrote a number of books. Compare them to the King James Version. It’s a different kind of language. The King James translators went deliberately to an out of date language, but what they felt represented a basic English, which they hoped would fix a {?} in English, a simplicity, so that in any and every generation, the use of this language would speak to the heart of the common man. [00:11:46]

Now every great translation has done the same thing...[edit]

Now every great translation has done the same thing; Luther’s German translation. Others in other countries. What has happening today is we get ostensibly better modern versions. People are being cut off from the roots of their language and their culture. Today, because in so many cases, children are never exposed the King James Version but get various modern versions. When they go to school they cannot understand Shakespeare, or Milton, or anyone else. Now the Soviet Union has recognized the importance of this fact. It is working deliberately and systematically to alter the languages in all the existing countries within the Soviet Union so that, whether it is Russian or Ukrainian, or Georgian or Armenian, or any other language, it is so rapidly altering these languages that, it trusts, that within another generation or so, no matter how many underground Bibles are circulating and how often they are copied and re-copied, no child will be able to understand it. It thereby hopes, you see, to separate all those people from the word of God and from the Christian culture and literature that is in their background, so that though they may have the books, and though they may be on library shelves, only the expert may go back and touch it, and with that simple, fact, they will separate the generations to come from the entire past of Christian civilization, and of course, that is what modern translators are doing whether they realize it or not.

Let me add, too, that the greatest value of these modern translations is not that they are better, but that they’re copywrited. Think of the enormous profit that’s in a copywrited Bible. It’s the best seller, but if you bring our a King James, you’re competing with anybody that wants to publish it because it’s in the public domain and therefore, it is the most carefully printed book, the most carefully proofread. It costs enormously to bring out a Bible. Your margin of profit is very slim, if it is King James, but if it’s a modern translation, the profit is enormous. A number of groups are being kept alive by being able to bring out modern translations and there aren’t many biblical scholars in the world today who don’t hope they’ll be out to be in on a translation because the gravy is there for all of them. [00:15:23]

Now I said earlier that the Bible must govern every...[edit]

Now I said earlier that the Bible must govern every subject. The presupposition in every subject must be scriptural. Consider science courses. Too often in a Christian school, science is taught as though the universe were not God’s universe, God’s creation, but the universe presupposed by evolutionary science. The teacher may believe in six-day creation as I do, but if you assume as you teach that that universe is in an impersonal, material realm, you will then teach with all the implications of a materialistic philosophy. But the universe is an impersonal, material universe. It is a God-created universe. Every thought in the universe is a personal thought. Behind it has a very personal will and purpose of Almighty God. Not a hair of your head that is not number known to Almighty God. That’s very personal. My personal knowledge of myself doesn’t extend to that. All I can say in a general way is that my hairs are fewer than they were thirty years ago, but their number? I have no idea, but the Lord knows the every hair of my head. Not a sparrow falls but your Father in heaven knows it. You cannot teach an impersonal mechanical or materialistic idea of the universe with that kind of theology. If you do, you’re implanting a conflict in the mind of the child. He does not see it then as his Father’s world.

Moreover, the Bible is the basic history book that the world has. Historians do not like to admit this fact, but there would be no possible chronology of ancient history apart from the Bible. They don’t believe the Bible, but when they come to working out a chronology of ancient history, they keep a hand on the Bible as it were in biblical chronology because, apart from it, they have no framework. [00:18:31]

Moreover, if we look at many of our subjects, we must...[edit]

Moreover, if we look at many of our subjects, we must recognize that they are escapees as it were, from theology, and should be returned to theology. Psychology. What is it? Well, very literally it is the word concerning the soul. It was originally a branch of theology and should be again. Anthropology, the word concerning man. Again, once a branch of theology, and again it should be, and what are the social studies today? I will be dealing with that separately, but very briefly, the whole purpose of social studies teaching is predestination by man, rather than by God. It must be man’s law and plan, you see, that governs and controls man and society rather than God’s plan.

Now, the Bible does not give us all the facts about science, for example, but it does give us, as Dr. Cornelius Van Til has said so often, the truth about all facts, so that you cannot know the truth about any fact apart from the scripture. On the truth about all facts is, first of all that they are God created, that they are God-created and God-ordained from God’s purpose. Thus, the Bible is basic, basic to all of education because, first of all, it gives us the meaning of all facts. Without the bible, no fact has any meaning.

The humanists are not too ready to recognize this fact, or to admit it rather. Robert Camus, the French existentialist who’s among the few who’s ready to face up to the implications of this, and he said, speaking as an anti-Christian, an existentialist humanist, he said, “If we could establish the meaning of one fact in the universe, we would be saved,” but as a humanist, he could not. I spoke two or three years ago as a part of a forum. Scholars from Europe and American, there were about ten or twelve of us, at an American college, secular. An outstanding professor of a graduate school in a major university was very upset when I said that we live in a universe of total rationality, because behind every fact stands the absolute rationality of the sovereign and absolutely rational God, so that there is not one single irrational meaningless fact in the universe, and he was vehement that there was only a thin edge of rationality in the universe, otherwise, we’d destroy knowledge, he said. Most of all the universe, he said, was totally irrational and it’s this thin edge which is the mind of man, which is the only rationality in the universe. Why then do we destroy all knowledge? Because, for him, the only kind of knowledge that he would allow and the only kind of science that he would allow was an anti-Christian one, and to say that there was an absolute rationality behind all things it was God-given, would mean that there could not be a man-given meaning, an imposed meaning. Man trying to say, “I will say it means thus and so, and therefore, it is so for me today. Tomorrow, I may change the meaning.” You see, the universe apart from God is meaningless. Then the only meaning is what man chooses to say it is today, and he can revise the meaning at will, or as Dr. Coon, the professor of chemistry and a philosopher of science says, “We create paradigms, whereby we interpret reality. We do not say that our paradigms represent the truth about reality but for us today, they are the truth, the handle with which we will use reality.” [00:24:43]

Moreover, not only does the Bible give us the meaning...[edit]

Moreover, not only does the Bible give us the meaning of all facts, but the purpose of education. We find this very clearly stated in Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 9:10. Proverbs 1:7 declares, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Now over and over again, Proverbs uses these two words as it speaks of instruction, and as it speaks of schooling, educating, knowledge, or learning, and wisdom.

Knowledge, in itself, of course, is what we have in abundance today, but without wisdom. Any library that you go to will give you shelf after shelf of accumulated knowledge, of data. But in itself, data, knowledge of things, is meaningless. It can lead to the kind of thing that in the ancient world characterized Alexandria, the great center of learning in those days. We are told by humanists, what a tremendous loss the destruction of Alexandria was, and of course, the Christians were blamed for it. Actually, it was pagans and Mohamedens who, in the main, destroyed it. But it was no real loss, because the kind of information that was there was Alexandrian, masses of details without focus. I once knew of a man who got a doctorate for studying the use of commas in the first folio of Shakespeare. That made him, of course, a very wise man. He had a PhD. A great deal of the kind of dissertation and thesis written in graduate schools today is simply on that level. Meaningless knowledge. Meaningless knowledge. Knowledge has focus only when it begins in the fear and the awe of the Lord, and is governed by wisdom which comes from the Lord. [00:28:08]

You know, there is one thing that we are told when...[edit]

You know, there is one thing that we are told when the Bible speaks about prayer that we can have, and the bible imposes no conditions, no wherefores, ifs, ands, or buts. Everything else is subject to our Father’s will, “If it be thy will.” There is one thing God gives, scripture tells us, and you can read about it in the epistle of James, without any qualifications, and it’s the one thing probably most of us rarely, if ever, bother the pray for, and that’s wisdom. But the purpose of education is not only knowledge, but wisdom, and this is where the Christian school excels because it can give knowledge with wisdom. When Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15-16, he declares, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” Vain and futile babblings, or curious or futile speculations. I’m always urked by people who want to find out more about heaven and more about angels, and more about demons and that sort of thing. That’s not a desire for wisdom, or for knowledge, but it’s merely curiosity, idle curiosity. The Bible tells us nothing to satisfy our curiosity, only what we need for our salvation and to better serve the Lord. This is why the Bible is silent on so many things that would only satisfy our curiosity, and this is what the cults specialize in, in satisfying our curiosity. The Bible should be taught with wisdom, and too often, biblical study is not governed by wisdom. [00:31:24]

Not too very many years ago, just in this past century...[edit]

Not too very many years ago, just in this past century, there was a European scholar who had an endowed chair in biblical studies. He had tenure, there was nothing that could be done with him, and he decided he was going to be the great scholar of all time (this is a true story), in the field of angelology. He would write, he felt, the most massive work ever written on the subject and when it was through, it would remain forever the landmark study. So, he began to specialize on angelology, to study angels in every other religion of which there was any written record, then to study everything on apocryphal literature, everything in petrology, in the writings of the church fathers, heretical or orthodox, everything said by any theologians, and he began to write extensively, and as he continued working, year in and year out, he reached the point where he would schedule no other course, but a course on angelology; Persian angelology, or some such subject, and finally he had no students which didn’t hurt him. He was drawing his salary. He’d list the courses every year, and he had all that much more time to continue his research. It became such a monomania with him, that in the final years of his research, his wife would no longer endure it and left, and moved in with one of her daughters, so he was all alone. Finally, he completed the seventh and last of the massive manuscripts on the subject, he was going to send to the publisher the next day. This huge seven-volume study on angels, and that night the Lord spoke. The house burned down and with it, his manuscript. I think that was a fitting judgment on that type of false concept of biblical study. The Bible should be taught with wisdom.

Now, as we teach scripture, it is important that we stress the unity of the Bible. One of the unhappy effects of Sunday School teaching is that there is a hit-and-miss teaching. One semester you have something on Israel in the wilderness, and the next quarter you have something on Paul’s missionary journeys, and it has been shown by various tests and surveys that too often, a child can go through Sunday School and not know whether Moses or David came first, and as a result, he has no intelligible perspective on scripture. It is important for us, therefore, to give an overview of Bible history, of the development of doctrine, of chronology, of the fact that the Bible is one word, one word. This is why we are told very early in scripture, I believe it’s in Deuteronomy 4:2, if my memory serves me correctly. Yes. Deuteronomy 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Here, Moses sees all of scripture is given to that point as one word. It’s a unity. “Ye shall not add to the word.” Later on, at the end of Revelation, there must be no any adding of words, because the canon is closed, nor subtracting of words, but it remains one word. It should be taught as such. [00:36:33]

Then it cannot be abstract teaching...[edit]

Then it cannot be abstract teaching. Now I come from the reformed tradition. I’m very much devoted to the confessions and catechisms of my traditions: The Westminster Standard. I delight in the Westminster catechism and its beauty, and I taught my children the whole of the catechism from one end to the other and, while they cannot recite it verbatim now a days, they know the system of doctrine therein, but all the while, I also was going through the Bible with them, because the danger is that as we rely too much, or emphasize more the standards or the creeds, we abstract the Bible, but for us, abstraction is denaturing the word of God. Factuality for us can never be abstract, and the word of God for us cannot ever be abstract because it is a concrete and a personal word. The Bible never gives us doctrine per se, or theology per se. It gives it to us in the context of life, so that St. Paul enunciates the doctrine of salvation or of sanctification in the context of particular situations and problems. A case of incest at Corinth and a fornication. A case of Judaism and its legalism among the Galatians, and so on. It is always in the context of the concrete and of the personal. Now, we need, of course, to sum up these things, but we also need to see that it comes to us as a revelation in the context of life, and is therefore totally personal. It is a personal word that spoke to man in his need, and in his development in history in terms of his sins and problems, and it speaks to us the same way. This is why I dislike books with title like Nuggets From the Book of Joshua. I suggest the idea that here is a mass of, or out of which of all its waste material a few nuggets are going to be extracted. No, every word thereof is the word of God, and we cannot go and abstract something and say, “Now here we have the heart of it,” or “Here, this is what’s important.” God speaks to us in all of it, and God says something to someone everywhere in terms of every word of it. [00:40:15]

I was very intensely moved once when I was working...[edit]

I was very intensely moved once when I was working among Chinese to find out that one of the most important means of reaching the Chinese was to begin with Matthew 1 and read the genealogy. Why? Well, of course there’s a great deal that can be taught right out of that genealogy, and I once spent several months on the genealogies at the beginning of Chronicles. It was a very exciting time for me, and everyone enjoyed it because there was a purpose in every one of those, but the thing that startled me, and impressed me was the Chinese with their ancestor worship, and their belief that anybody important knows his genealogy immediately concluded, “Oh, this man Jesus must have been important. Here he comes from another civilization where they don’t think things like that are important, and here this book has his genealogy, and this book has his genealogy right back to the first man. I better find out something about this man. Comes from a very important family.” Very effective in reaching the Chinese, and also in teaching them that we do not believe in ancestor worship but what God has in mind, and what He teaches about the family. You see, the Bible is never abstract. It is always direct and personal.

Then, we must remember further that the Bible is the most exciting book ever written. Please don’t teach it as though it were as dry as cornflakes, and very often it is taught as though, “Well, here it is, you’ve got to learn it.” If the Bible excites you, it will excite those who are listening to you, those whom you are teaching. I know that it always thrills me as I read it, and very happy that I’m going to have an opportunity to preach Sunday morning and Sunday evening, because to me, preaching is exciting because the word of God is exciting. [00:43:10]

When I was a student, I read an account by a man who...[edit]

When I was a student, I read an account by a man who was present when it happened, that I think states the entire thing very well. It was in a school in England, a private school, Episcopal, where they had daily chapel. They followed the lectionary, that is, the prescribed readings from scripture which had to be read in every service, from the Old Testament, the gospels and the epistles, and each day they had a different boy as the reader. On this particular day, a boy with no Christian background was the reader. It was the lectionary, I think it’s for some time in April or May, for Acts 27:1-27 which deals with the shipwreck of Paul. The boy read. He reached the twenty-sixth verse and he went right on reading, and the rector tried to whisper to him that the reading was over. The boy went right on reading. He reached over and tugged at the boy’s jacket. The boy went right on reading. Reading to the entire assembled chapel, and finally he not only tugged, but he said in a somewhat louder voice, “The day’s lectionary reading is ended, sit down,” and the boy turned with a sense of urgency and he said, “Help! I’ve got to see what happens!” That boy knew how to read the Bible. Now don’t ever dull that kind of interest. It is an exciting book, and it should be taught as such, and you will never convey that sense of excitement and delight with it unless you do feel it.

Also, the delight in the language of scripture. It is magnificent. It rolls on your tongue. Have you ever eaten a particular flavor of ice cream that was so delicious that before you swallowed you rolled your tongue around it and enjoyed it, and savored it before you swallowed it? Well, that’s the way scripture reads. The language is magnificent, and if you enjoy reading it that way, your children will come to enjoy it. [00:46:44]

Thus, you are the key in the teaching of scripture...[edit]

Thus, you are the key in the teaching of scripture, and what I try to convey is not methods in particular, but more the {?} with which it is taught, because this is {?} point. If it is not the word of the living God to you, an exciting word, it will not be to your pupils by and large. Read it, study it, and teach it as the word of the living God, a personal word. Read it and teach it also as a binding word. It is all law, every word of it, from cover to cover, because when God says something, it is so and it is binding, and it is all grace because when God deigns to speak a single word to man, it is all of grace.

Moreover, as you teach it, I began by telling you avoid all the helps in your reading and to read directly but when you read and learn to read directly, word for word, then the helps can be valuable. Then it is helpful to go to what scholars have to say, what archeologists have to say, what Christian men of science have to say. It helps bring a freshness to the word at times to bring in various things from scholarly research that throw a light on what scripture teaches.

I shall never forget the joy of a woman who had long been under teaching that was vague, that was equivocal which believed the Bible but “Well, we mustn’t be dogmatic about the date of creation, and pay no attention to Usher’s chronology. It could have been 4000, 5000, or 6000 BC, or it could have been 100,000 BC. We mustn’t be dogmatic,” and with this kind of talk, it so fuzzed up things, that her faith was largely about something that was a blur. She believed but she was hesitant to say, “This I believe.” And at my urging, she went to hear Dr. Henry Morris and a group of other men, and I was one of the speakers at the same creation conference, and she was so excited. She said, “You know, when they said God created the world in six days, and but it wasn’t but a few thousand years ago at most, it suddenly made God so close to me that I felt almost as though I could reach out and touch Him, and then when I turned to the Bible, I realized I could.” Now the teaching she had had was supposedly good Bible teaching, but it had blurred everything and so God was very remote to her, though she believed, and suddenly, because it had been told to her very clearly, Genesis 1 says, {?} Suddenly, her whole life was made richer. Tragically she died not too long after, and she was not an older woman, and she died a very radiant and happy woman. God had become very close to her because the blurred teaching had been eliminated. Be careful lest you blur the teaching by trying to be pseudo-scholarly. Genuine scholarship is faithful to the word. It lets it speak with all its sharp clarity. Thus saith the Lord. Never dim that clarity. Are there any questions now? Yes? [00:52:38]

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] The question is if we understand the original languages, will we improve our knowledge of scripture? Of course, but when I say that I want to qualify it seriously. The key is not the languages, but the word of God and the Holy Spirit, and we can never say that a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, and of Aramaic can replace the simply word of God and the Holy Spirit. Now, I believe the time will come when Christian schools will begin to teach Greek and Hebrew, and that the better students will take them, but our basic knowledge of scripture as believers comes from the direct, simple reading of the word. So, it can be dangerous to stress the languages to the point where we neglect the fact that the spirit is basic. Then we would say that those experts in Greek and Hebrew who teach at seminaries and universities are the only possible interpreters of the word and we are dependent on them, and I don’t believe that. Does that help answer your question?

[Audience] {?} other point of view {?} This is what he meant {?} everybody’s interpretation rather than this is what is in the original, now it’s {?} what I interpret {?} what I feel the Lord, what I think it means to me. [00:55:26]

[Rushdoony] Of course, let me say at one point I must...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Of course, let me say at one point I must differ. When you say this is the exact meaning in Greek, or this is the exact meaning in Hebrew, there is never, in either language or in English, a single meaning to any word. So the context of the usage will determine the meaning, whether it’s in Greek or Hebrew, and in English, and scripture is always it’s own best interpreter. So that while at times in the English, a translation may not be altogether faithful to the original, still the context plus other scriptures gives us a clear perspective on it. Any other questions? Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] Well, {?} a child should be limited to the King James Version. Yes. Yes. But one thing, memorization needs to be stressed. You cannot memorize if you know several versions. This is why, for me, seminary was devastating. I used to be able to, before I went to seminary, recite whole chapters of scriptures by heart. Well, after I was exposed to the languages and to a variety of versions, and every commentary almost having its own version, it fogged and blurred my ability to recite by heart, and it does have that effect. Now the child, in particular, is better able to memorize than an adult, and so I think it’s wise to consign a child to one translation, the King James, and then that will be riveted in the mind of a child. Incidentally, if you’re interested in a book that deals with the King James, it’s actually the best translation there is, let me recommend to you a book by Dr. Edward S. Hills, The King James Version Defended. I cannot give you the address or the publisher, but if you drop me a note and include a self-addressed postcard, I’ll jot it down, the price, it’s in paperback now, and return it to you. My address is: P.O. Box 158, Vallecito, CA 95251. It’s a tremendous book. Dr. Hills has the qualifications that make him one of the most brilliant textural scholars of our time. Yes? [00:59:24]

[Audience {?} New American Standard {?}

[Rushdoony] The New American Standard is better than almost any other contemporary translation. I don’t want to get into technical questions, but basically all the modern translation rely on Westcott & Hort and their work, and what I’m saying, let me add in all fairness, goes against practically everything that is taught in virtually every seminary today, but the basic thesis of Westcott & Hort is that we did not have a reliable manuscript and so the work of scholars is as they find manuscripts to try to arrive at what might have been the original and authentic versions. I believe, as the translators of the King James Versions did, that the received text is the authentic version, that God not only gave the word, He preserved it. Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] No, I haven’t.

[Audience] He believed {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, at that point he is right. You see, since Westcott & Hort, we’ve had in effect, a Roman Catholic version of scripture. In other words, the church is the conservator and it is to be trusted rather than the manuscripts. As a result, we deal with a continually fluid word, and it’s only the original autographs, which nobody has, which were infallible, so you can never put your finger on any part of scripture and say, “Here is the infallible word.” Thus, the impact of all the {?} translations. Some of them are quite good, but they have this presupposition that there is no received text that is the authentic text. Yes?

[Audience] {?} 1:02:17.9</audiopointer>

[Rushdoony] What is my opinion of teaching children...[edit]

[Rushdoony] What is my opinion of teaching children just parts of verses? I think that’s entirely legitimate if small children, in particular, if it doesn’t distort the meaning. {?} because it reminded me suddenly of a very famous episode from revival history in this country. I’m suddenly reminded of the fact that one of the great-great-granddaughters of the person involved is sitting here. Lorenzo Dow was one of the great revivalists of Methodist history. He was quite a remarkable character, delightful, flamboyant. In his day, the most commanding figure on the religious scene in this country. For shear {?} his life story is almost without equal, but Lorenzo Dow could be a bit crotchety at times when things displeased him, as things where women were concerned often did, and on one occasion, a new hairdo came in, was very popular at the time. Women would braid their long hair and then roll it and create a huge topknot, and Lorenzo Dow thought that was very vain, and decided he didn’t like to see, in the camp meetings, row after row of these women and the men trying to peer behind them one way or another to look at him, so he preached quite a rousing sermon against these topknots, and he said that Jesus Christ had condemned them. He had declared, and he said, “Hear of the word of the Lord. Topknot come down!” Well, women are taking out their hairpins all over the place and letting their braids down, except for a handful of strong-willed women who cornered him afterwards and demanded to know where in the Bible our Lord said that. They’d never encountered it. And he said, “Well, you don’t read your Bible carefully, it’s in Matthew 24. Find the verse yourself.” With that, he turned around, jumped on his horse, and took off for another meeting.” Well, of course they found it there. “Let him who is on the house top not come down.” [laughter] Now that’s the kind of preaching to stay away from. Lorenzo Dow was not usually like that. Any other questions? Yes? [01:05:25]

[Audience] Two questions...[edit]

[Audience] Two questions. {?}

[Rushdoony] I think perhaps you could comment on it better, but let me just say this in a general way. The whole idea of testing and measurement is a Christian concept. Why? Because in a world without God, there is no standard, you see, and therefore, the idea of testing and measurement is ridiculous. This is why, as education becomes more and more humanistic it begins to militate against the idea of grading, testing, measuring. Now granted testing and measuring are not infallible. God only is. All the same, we as Christians move in terms of a faith in God, and a faith in right and wrong, a faith in standards, we are the only people really who, in the long run, can do justice by testing and measurement. This is why the study that you will have in the next hour is important, because apart from testing and measurement, the Christian school goes in the wrong direction, and ultimately we will develop our own tests and measurements, I believe, because the tests and the measurements of humanists represent a false standard and a warped. I mentioned at dinner last night, a test put out I believe by Stanford, an achievement test in history and social studies, sixty questions of which one asked a particular question about the Mayflower Compact and it was a nonsensical, easy question, an obvious answer, and all other fifty-nine questions dealt with their attitude on things like busing and equality and so on, which any child who knew what the contemporary point of view was, could answer and show a remarkable achievement, you see, in history and social studies. Now that’s not testing. So, testing and measurement begin to collapse when you don’t have a Christian faith. When we come to science, I’m going to deal with what is being discovered lately with regard to scientific experimentation, the tremendous amount of fraud that’s going on there. Science Digest, in June, had an article on it. It will again shortly have another article on it, on how high a percentage of all the experiments reported today are pure fiction. [01:09:41]

Now, this means thus that testing is basic and important...[edit]

Now, this means thus that testing is basic and important to our Christian perspective. After all, we are the ones who believe in the biggest examination of all, the last judgment. Now, let me say something about testing with relationship to the Bible. The Bible has a different place in the Christian school and in the church. The school is not a church. IN the church, the goal is to teach for conviction. In the school, it is to teach for knowledge. In a church you might say the grading would be, if the person converted by the preaching and teaching of the word. Now I’m not saying that question is irrelevant to the school, but the grading in the school is in terms of the knowledge they have of the word when the course is over. You can’t confuse the two, you see? The pastor, the evangelist does not give a written test or examination to the people assembled, or the children assembled after a meeting. The teacher must examine them, and therefore, the criterion for the teacher is knowledge. Thus, you must keep the two functions distinct. Yes?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] What was that again?

[Audience] {?}

[Rushdoony] The question is what would I think of assigning, as a disciplinary measure, writing so many Bible verses. I’ve never thought about that before. I’d hate to see that turned into a chore. I think it is a privilege. I think it might be a good thing to assign them to study the meaning of the passage and to write an essay on that. Something that relates to their misbehavior, to analyze the implications of it. That’s a little different. It puts the emphasis on what they have done in the life of the word. I would prefer to do that than to turn the Bible into an ugly chore. Yes?

[Audience] {?} [01:13:28]

[Rushdoony] Yes, very good question...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes, very good question. In case you didn’t hear it, in our plan’s courses, we teach facts which are really tentative observations of reality. How then do we tell them these facts are God-created? Well, first of all, we start with the fundamental fact that all reality is God-created. Now man’s awareness of that reality is tentative, apprehensive, and growing. Therefore, we cannot ascribe {?} to our {?} of it, but what is there. So that, little by little, we increase, we revise, we adapt because we’re trying to approximate in our grasp, our apprehension, our laying hold of that reality which is God-given. Now you see the difference between this and the modern perspective which says there is no meaning out there to anything, so we create a paradigm which will make this reality usable to us, and when it ceases to work very well for us, we will then drop it. Thus, those who go along with {?} will tell us how effective these paradigms are. For example, blood letting is a paradigm of medicine. As long as people believe that blood letting would heal them, it did perform a remarkable cure. But, they tell us, when people began to feel that blood letting no longer was a valid paradigm, it’s operative power began to wane rapidly, and new paradigms were then applied to the realities of medical practice. Now you see what’s involved there, one of the radical relativism, which practically puts you next door to Christian Science. So much so that some of the philosophers of science have had to face that question: “Where are we in relation to Christian Science?” Well, they have to say, “Well, we’re skeptical,” because Christian Science says there is universal mind and they say there is universal meaningless. So, all that we have is what the mind projects onto it. Well, that we cannot believe, but we do have an apprehension of something. We see in a glass now darkly, but then face to face, and so we see the universe, the facts of chemistry and of physics and a glass darkly now, but there is a God-given reality now. Does that help? Yes?

[Audience] {?} [01:16:51]

[Rushdoony] Not a thing...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Not a thing. We have just about one minute left and I brought something with me that I wanted to share with you because I was so delighted with it. This is a school I had not visited but it is the North Valley Independence Christian School in Chico, California, and they had an ad that created quite a sensation and had all the state school teachers in that area furious. It shows an elephant and across the top, “Go ahead, give your six year old this test. One, print your complete name; two, do these problems: two plus two equals blank, seven minus three equals blank, eight plus two equals blank, four minus one equals blank. Sound these words: noise, cool, quick; write the alphabet; read this poem aloud,” and then concludes, “If your child has completed kindergarten and cannot score 100, if you would like your preschool child to do this and more, you should contact North Valley Independence Christian School.” Well, you can see why parents were startled by it and the state school teachers were up in arms. That’s good advertising. Thank you. [01:18:30]

End of tape.