The Beginning of Wisdom
Anybody who investigates the origins of the colonies of British North America will see that the Christian faith played a major role in why these colonists came over to America in the first place. Education was front and center primarily for one reason which was so that men and women, boys and girls could read the Bible for themselves.
At one time, America was among the best-educated nations in the world. James Madison of Virginia, a key architect of the Constitution, said, “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”
William J. Federer:
Anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss said ancient writing’s main function was to facilitate the enslavement of other human beings. In other words, it was the deep state communication only the upper-class and the elites and the kings and the pharaohs could read. The common people were kept ignorant on purpose. Well when the Pilgrims and the Puritans founded New England, they flipped it and they wanted an educated populace. This goes back to ancient Israel when Moses comes down the mountain. He does not just have the law. He has the law in 22 characters. So easy to learn, kids could learn it.
In New England after generations of Puritan influence, John Adams remarked around 1800 that to find an illiterate man in New England was as rare as a comet. (silence)
The early settlers envisioned America as a city on a hill in the words of Reverend John Winthrop, the Puritan leader who founded Boston. To maintain that city, a solid education became a prerequisite in early America. The Puritans drew a lot from the Judeo-Christian tradition. They drew heavily from the Bible, including its first five books, the Torah.
Dr. Os Guiness:
If we go back to the Torah, you can see that what’s critical to faith and [covenantalism 00:02:42] is schooling. Why did the Jews have universal education 2000 years almost before the Europeans? By AD 70, the Jews had universal education in every Jewish community. It was originally fathers teaching their children. England was one of the first countries in Europe to have universal education, 1870, 1800 years after. To hand on faith, it’s got to go down transmitted from father to son and so on down the generations. So schooling is at the heart of both freedom and faith. Now, of course the Puritans understood that because it’s in the Torah.
90% of the Europeans, they couldn’t read. Those that founded America were direct descendants of the Reformation and the reason they became so successful in their colonial endeavor of building a civilization is directly tied to their educational ability which is directly tied to their love of scripture. Without knowledge base, you can never have a republic.
The early colonists’ goal of reading the Bible for themselves gave rise to the birth of education for the masses in America. The Bible was the number one book and literacy, along with all of its concomitant blessings, was incredibly widespread. They were putting into practice what the scripture says. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. For Providence Forum, I’m Jerry Newcombe.