In the recent issue of Credo Magazine, “The Reformation of the Family,” David Murray has contributed an article titled, “The Reformation of Education and the Christian Family.”
Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He is also pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church. He was a pastor in Scotland for 12 years before accepting a call to teach at Puritan Reformed Seminary in 2007. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Reformation International Theological Seminary for his work relating Old Testament Introduction studies to the pastoral ministry. You can read his blog at www.HeadHeartHand.org/blog or follow him on Twitter @davidpmurray. David is married to Shona and they have five children ranging from 3 to 20 years old, and they love camping, fishing, boating, and skiing in the Lake Michigan area. His most recent book is Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids (Crossway, 2017).
Murray begins his article…
Calvin reformed not only the church, but also the family, especially in the area of education. Although his views about education were shaped by his classical schooling and mainstream humanism, he also introduced a number of changes that impacted education in many countries for many years. Four of his major emphases in family education that we would do well to reframe for our own generation are as follows.
Education is for all, irrespective of age, gender, or wealth
Despite Calvin’s view that original sin affected every faculty from conception, he was optimistic about the educational potential of children. Each child was a gift from God that was to be developed and stewarded for God’s glory. Joel Beeke observed that Calvin “opened the way for people to raise themselves by education and by the diligent use of their knowledge and abilities.”
One of the first things that Calvin did in Geneva was to reform the public schools. He broke with a medieval pedagogy that limited education primarily to aristocratic and Roman Catholic elites, and rejected the Catholic church’s view that ignorance was the mother of piety.
He also made public education available to all children from a young age without respect to gender or wealth. He was one of the fathers of free public education, being one of the first to promote the education of girls. …