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FRONT PAGE  |  1/25/2020
FRIDAY, SEP 6, 2019  |  20 comments
The Rise of the Bible-Teaching, Plato-Loving, Homeschool Elitists
So what caused conservative evangelicals to reverse themselves on the classics?

It started seven decades ago when, in 1947, Dorothy Sayers presented an essay at Oxford titled “The Lost Tools of Learning.” Sayers, a friend of C.S. Lewis and translator of Dante’s Divine Comedy, was a lover of all things classical and medieval. In her essay, she offered her own psychological-pedagogical spin on an older method of education that was grounded in Latin, the classics, and the formation of reason and discernment. That method, the trivium, offered what Sayers labeled a “coherent scheme of mental training,” one suitable to arm citizens against the “massed propaganda” of the modern world.

Latin for “three paths,” the steps of the trivium—grammar, dialectic (or logic), and rhetoric—were used primarily as a method of language acquisition. Sayers’ savvy move was to link those three ancient steps to the three ...

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· Page 1 ·  Found: 20 user comment(s)
News Item9/8/19 5:31 PM
Douglas Fir | Zones Four to Six  Find all comments by Douglas Fir
OF course, I assume everyone knows about as a website to find books to read, especially classics that might not be in your local public library. Another one I just found is '' where I am reading 'The 39 Steps' by John Buchan.

News Item9/8/19 1:26 PM
Douglas Fir | Zones Four to Six  Find all comments by Douglas Fir
I forgot to mention another book that may help you read the classics, "Great Books of the Christian Tradition" by Terry Glaspey.

Another guidebook, "Good Reading" by J. Sherwood Weber, is more of a secular view.

You may find it in your public library, and even the first one I mentioned, "Invitation to the Classics."

Another book I happened to find in the public library, '1000 Books You Should Read Before You Grow Up' is more about children's books, but I went through it and then read a few of them. I really felt sorry I did not read them as a kid, like Rudyard Kipling's "Kim" or "Captains Courageous."

And we can remember what Mark Twain said about the classics--books that everyone say are great but no one reads.
Add to that remark the survey results that show college graduates read only a few books after they graduate, and high school graduates even less, makes you wonder about reading books at all. You are not likely to find anyone around you to talk about the books.

In addition, there is a new podcast about the Great Books that the National Review is producing. I just listened to the episode about Walker Percy's book, "The Moviegoer" which I liked.


News Item9/8/19 1:14 PM
Stevenr | Missouri  Find all comments by Stevenr
It went alright. He’s recovering slowly. Thanks for the prayers.

News Item9/7/19 7:27 PM
Uncle Sam | North Central Texas  Find all comments by Uncle Sam
No Apologies, No Thank Yous, I'll Stick With Proverbs.

News Item9/7/19 12:27 PM
The Quiet Christian  Find all comments by The Quiet Christian
Thanks, Stever. How'd your dad's surgery go? My apologies, just getting back to SA.

That is the key, in my opinion - a firm grounding in the Bible (Amen, Brother Tim) and then a view of these works, as appropriate, through that lens rather than letting the classic work be the lens.

Great resource, DF, Not an endorsement for Calvin College as CCEL is an equipping ministry of their library. But the resource is good so long as the user knows what he is using.


News Item9/7/19 11:24 AM
Douglas Fir | Zones Four to Six  Find all comments by Douglas Fir
Check out the book, "Invitation to the Classics" that was written from a Christian perspective.
And, the website (see house symbol above this message) for the Christian Classics Ethereal Library,

News Item9/6/19 5:39 PM
Herbal Mama  Find all comments by Herbal Mama
Dr Tim,

News Item9/6/19 3:28 PM
Douglas Fir | Zones Four to Six  Find all comments by Douglas Fir
It looks like some of that pagan thinking invaded the Bible:
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring

Another issue not addressed so far is this idea of transmission--do we really retain anything of what we read?
i have seen studies that show only ten percent of what we studied in college is retained.
i was actually wondering today about why we teach people to read, since most people will not read a book after they leave high school or even college.
all they need to know is on their smartphones. in china they now use them for making purchases, got away with those nasty dirty filthy germ-carrying bills and coins. you can see that in good ol' USA too; how many retail stores are closing due to amazon giving better cheaper choices.


News Item9/6/19 2:39 PM
Jim Lincoln | Nebraska  Find all comments by Jim Lincoln
The article put too much stress on Church fathers. (Theology Adrift: The Early Church Fathers and Their Views of Eschatology)

Christianity Today has some good articles, but one shouldn't forget it has roots in, (Neo-Evangelism) ❗ 👎

Homeschoolers should at least be taught enough, to get into a good trade school, if nothing else.


News Item9/6/19 2:08 PM
Carol  Find all comments by Carol
Agree Dr. Tim.
Some Christian classics that are quite beneficial.
Pilgrims Progress.
The Holy War.
The Sovereignty of God.

News Item9/6/19 1:06 PM
Dr. Tim | Way Down Yonder  Find all comments by Dr. Tim
There are many great books that are worth reading. Among many other books,I enjoyed the Harvard Classics in my youth. However, there is only one book that is miraculous in its origin and in its preservation. It were better to read the Holy Bible to the exclusion of all other books than to read all other books to the exclusion of the Bible.

News Item9/6/19 12:20 PM
Neil | Tucson  Find all comments by Neil
The conservative fixation on pagan classics dates to the Florentine Renaissance, which "rediscovered" Greco-Roman liberal arts. It coincided with the Reformation but was of an entirely different spirit.

Greek philosophy may be worth studying as "opposition research." People often fall into one of the "schools" without realizing it, the Apostle Paul encountered it in Athens, and the RCC is Aristotelian.

The Reformation still gets short shrift because of Catholic influence and mistrust (at best) by most "evangelicals" and Fundies today. It is still too controversial and "sectarian" although there is plenty of material worth studying.


News Item9/6/19 11:51 AM
Just a Guy | Mississippi  Find all comments by Just a Guy
Studying the classics is a very broad statement.

What is considered the classics?

I think we should be very careful when it comes to studying the world's "philosophers". Just because they are the Dawkins, Darwins, and Mark Twain's of the past, doesn't make them any less wicked...

These great literary and
philosophical giants, are very good at tricking the mind by using grand and intelligent writings styles. I personally don't see any use in reading "Romeo and Juliet", or studying Plato's flawed veiw of the innate goodness of man...

They used their amazing skills at writing to create mind worlds where God is not wanted or needed. All of which is so incredibly flawed it makes me not want read them just because of that...


News Item9/6/19 11:17 AM
Stevenr | Missouri  Find all comments by Stevenr
Oops, cut and pasted the wrong message.
Quiet—That is the crux of the problem. Too many Christians are looking at the world through the lens of humanism instead of the Bible. They are Scripturally illiterate and have more interest in understanding the world than God.

News Item9/6/19 11:09 AM
Herbal Mama  Find all comments by Herbal Mama
Paul was well versed in secular philosophy (Acts 17). Studying with a biblical worldview makes Romans 1:19,20 come to life. To shun classics, whether Christian or secular, is foolish. What's there to fear if you know the truth? Read your bible, pick up a copy of Shakespeare, and keep your nose ground level.

News Item9/6/19 11:09 AM
Herbal Mama  Find all comments by Herbal Mama
Paul was well versed in secular philosophy (Acts 17). Studying with a biblical worldview makes Romans 1:19,20 come to life. To shun classics, whether Christian or secular, is foolish. What's there to fear if you know the truth? Read your bible, pick up a copy of Shakespeare, and keep your nose ground level.

News Item9/6/19 10:33 AM
Stevenr | Missouri  Find all comments by Stevenr
Quiet—Well, dad's surgery is scheduled for noonish. They are going to take him to prep by 10. We're heading up there in a few.

News Item9/6/19 10:10 AM
Dr. Tim | Way Down Yonder  Find all comments by Dr. Tim
I like Plato—and Mickey, Goofy and Donald, too.

News Item9/6/19 7:28 AM
The Quiet Christian  Find all comments by The Quiet Christian
If one doesn't know where he came from, he cannot understand where he is, much less where he is going.

The US is a nation built on Biblical principles that flowed through Western civilization thought. That culture was built on Rome and Greece if one goes back far enough. Good education does not just indoctrinate thought and culture but teaches about how to think. Good Christian education, including good Classical Christian education, does not blindly follow the "classics" but looks at them through the lens of Scripture to find the good and the bad.

At the same time, there is a moral danger in exposing children to some of the content. Augustine in his "City of God" lamblasted Romans for teaching what must have been pornographic play scripts to their young men as those plays were what Rome's gods demanded.


News Item9/6/19 6:53 AM
Jim Lincoln | Nebraska  Find all comments by Jim Lincoln
John MacArthur wrote:
When I was in college I...I took advanced European philosophy and studied the flow of philosophy. It didn't matter what the philosophy was and you could go through the whole thing starting in the pre-modern area with Socrates and Plato and Aristotle, and Phaeles(???) And you can march your way through the whole deal and you can come all the way to Descartes and flow through Hegel And Kant and Kierkegaard and all that kind of stuff, it was all wrong. It was always wrong and it kept being wrong and even though it kept building on itself and altering and shifting and moving, it was all was all error. And post-modernism is just another form of human error, another way to wrongly understand the universe, to wrongly understand reality....
from "What's So Dangerous About the Emerging Church?"

A couple names of the modern philosophers, I think we're misspelled, i.e., Descartes and Hegel. So I did change the spelling from the original transcript.

This was taken from a discussion the John MacArthur had with Phil Johnson.

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