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Restoration, Antithesis, and Education. Michael Goheen Trinity Western University. God’s Response. While justly angry God did not turn his back on a world bent on destruction; he turned his face to it in love. With patience and tender care he set out

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Restoration antithesis and education l.jpg

Restoration, Antithesis, and Education

Michael Goheen

Trinity Western University


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God’s Response

While justly angry

God did not turn his back

on a world bent on destruction;

he turned his face to it in love.

With patience and tender care he set out

on the long road of redemption

to reclaim the lost as his people

and the world as his kingdom (CT, 19).


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Genesis 3:15: Mother Promise

Although Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden and their work was burdened by sin’s effects, God held on to them in love. He promised to crush the evil forces they unleashed. (CT, par. 20)


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Genesis 3.15

  • Promise of battle

  • Promise of a Champion

  • Promise of victory


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Observations on redemption

  • Redemption is progressive in its outworking

  • Redemption is restorative in its nature

  • Redemption is comprehensive in scope


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Progressive in Outworking

Act One: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation

Act Two: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall

Act Three: The King Chooses Israel: Redemption Initiated

Scene One: A People for the King

Scene Two: A Land for the People

Interlude: A Kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending: The Intertestamental Period

Act Four: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished

Act Five: Spreading the News of the King: The Church’s Mission

Scene One: From Jerusalem to Rome

Scene Two: To the Ends of the Earth

Act Six: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed


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Story of God’s Mission

“The Bible renders to us the story of God’s mission through God’s people in their engagement with God’s world for the sake of the whole of God’s creation.” (Chris Wright)


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Story of mission

  • God’s mission: Long term purpose to restore the whole creation and all of human life

  • Israel’s mission: Embody God’s original creational purposes for the sake of the world

  • Jesus mission: Reveal and accomplish God’s final redemptive purpose for the creation

  • Church’s mission: Continue Jesus’ mission to make known the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth in life, word and deed


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Mistaken Notion

Very often people have come to the New Testament with the presumption that ‘going to heaven when you die’ is the implicit point of it all. . . . They acquire that viewpoint from somewhere, but not from the New Testament. (N. T. Wright)


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Restoration of this life

. . . it is precisely ordinary earthly existence that is redeemed (G.C. Berkouwer).


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Redemption is restorative

  • The creation is very good, the way God intended it

  • Human beings are created to live a bodily life in the context of creation.

  • Sin is the problem not materiality.

  • Old Testament views future kingdom as restored life on new creation.

  • Jesus proclaims the gospel of the kingdom.

  • Jesus’ resurrection is a preview.

  • The biblical language of redemption, restoration, renewal all point to the return of the good creation to what it was meant to be.

  • Destruction of the creation would mean a Satanic victory.


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Restoration is comprehensive

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10).


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As Far as the Curse is Found

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)


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Mission of Israel: Embody a Comprehensive Restoration

  • Israel called to embody a comprehensive salvation for the sake of the nations

  • OT Story: Formation of people and placed on land to be light to nations

  • Law: Orders whole life of Israel

  • Wisdom: Orders whole life of Israel

  • Prophets confront Israel for not embodying God’s salvation in whole of their lives


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Comprehensive restoration made known in Jesus

Everything he said and did was directly related to the coming of the kingdom. He reversed all the consequences of evil in the world: disease, possession by inhuman spirits, guilt, ritualistic and empty religion, a caste system of purity and impurity, scarcity of food, a hostile nature, commercial exploitation and death (Andrew Kirk).


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Comprehensive restoration accomplished in crucifixion

  • Gustav Aulén: “The work of Christ is first and foremost a victory over the powers which hold mankind in bondage: sin, death, and the devil.”

  • John 12.31-33; Col. 2.15; Rev.12.7-12

  • Public battle and victory for the whole creation

  • Lesslie Newbigin: We “privatize this mighty work of grace and talk as if the whole cosmic drama of salvation culminates in the words ‘For me; for me.’”


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Comprehensive restoration inaugurated in the resurrection

  • Resurrection in Jewish thought: Arrival of life of new creation

  • Jesus: Dawning of new creation

    • Firstborn from the dead (Rev.1:5)

    • Firstfruits (I Cor. 15:20)


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Prophetic Expectation

Spirit Messiah

Knowledge

of God

Love

Joy

Justice

Sin

Death

Evil

Satan

OLD AGE

AGE TO COME


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New Testament Fulfillment

Powers of

sin

death

evil

Satan

Power of

Spirit’s

renewing

work

OLD AGE

AGE TO COME


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Mission as meaning of overlap

The meaning of this ‘overlap of the ages’ in which we live, the time between the coming of Christ and His coming again, is that it is the time given for the witness of the apostolic Church to the ends of the earth. The end of all things, which has been revealed in Christ, is—so to say—held back until the witness has been borne to the whole world concerning the judgment and salvation revealed in Christ. The implication of a true eschatological perspective will be missionary obedience, and the eschatology which does not issue in such obedience is a false eschatology


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Comprehensive salvation given by Spirit

  • Spirit is deposit of kingdom

    • Real money now

    • Promise of more in the future

  • Spirit is firstfruits of kingdom

    • First part of crop now

    • Points to the rest of the harvest in future


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Foretaste and Preview

  • We have a foretaste of the Kingdom

    • Actual taste now

    • Complete meal in future

  • We are previews of the Kingdom

    • Actual footage of movie/kingdom

    • Designed to interest viewer in future movie/kingdom so they will want to participate


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Church’s mission to make known a comprehensive restoration

The Spirit thrusts God’s people into worldwide mission.

He impels young and old, men and women,

to go next door and far away

into science and art, media and marketplace

with the good news of God’s grace. . . .

Following the apostles, the church is sent—

sent with the gospel of the kingdom . . .

In a world estranged from God,

where millions face confusing choices,

this mission is central to our being . . .

The rule of Jesus Christ covers the whole world.

To follow this Lord is to serve him everywhere,

without fitting in, as light in the darkness, as salt in a spoiling world.


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Acts 1.1-8

  • Acts 1.6: Question about the kingdom

  • Receive Spirit (firstfruits, deposit)

  • ‘You will be my witnesses.’


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Battle for creation


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Antithetical encounter

  • Israel’s battle with idolatry

  • Church takes up Israel’s mission (Ex.19.3-6; cf. 1 Pet. 2.9-10)

  • Very different situation:

    • Part of another culture based on different faith commitments


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Dilemma of the Believing Community

  • Part of western culture

    • Creational mandate: responsible for cultural development

    • Christ’s redemption is comprehensive

  • Whole of western culture distorted by sinful idolatry

    • Incompatibility between Scriptural and western story


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In the world but not of it

Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

- John 17:14-18


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I didn’t realize until I took INT, and now this course how much I try to make Western culture and the Biblical worldview fit together. I realize more and more that they are actually opposite and against each other. Yet I must live in this culture because I am a part of it. Many times I struggle with how to do it.

- Redeemer Student


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Conflict Between Stories

  • Dominant story in culture seeks to become exclusive story (e.g. European vs. Native)

  • Minority communities

    • Faithfulness and conflict

      OR

    • Accommodation and peace

  • Yes Biblical story is translatable


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Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing: Christ or Idols

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.

- Jesus, in Matthew 6:24


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Unbearable Tension ofLiving at the Crossroads


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Unbearable Tension

Christians are:

  • Members of western community

    Shaped by cultural story

  • Members of covenant community

    Shaped by Biblical story


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Do western Christians feel this unbearable tension?

“Why did I not hear about modernity and its affect on me before? I really never knew how much modernity shapes my life until I came to Redeemer. It was always called ‘worldly’ but I never knew what that meant. Modernity affects all of my life and I wish I had known.”

-Redeemer student


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Tension BetweenGospel and Culture

The deeper the consciousness of the tension and the urge to take this yoke upon itself are felt, the healthier the Church is. The more oblivious of this tension the Church is, the more well established and at home in this world it feels, the more it is in deadly danger of being the salt that has lost its savour.

- Hendrik Kraemer


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Tension: Healthy in Early Church

It is worthwhile to have a look at the struggle with adaptation by paying attention for a moment to the conflicts of Christians in their professions. The great question was, How far is a Christian allowed to enter into the professional jobs of those days with their mores and customs, without denying Christ and without becoming polluted by participation in idolatry?

- Hendrik Kraemer


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Suffering as normal badge of discipleship

No human societies cohere except on the basis of some kind of common beliefs and customs. No society can permit these beliefs and practices to be threatened beyond a certain point without reacting in self-defense. The idea that we ought to be able to expect some kind of neutral secular political order, which presupposes no religious or ideological beliefs, and which holds the ring impartially for a plurality of religions to compete with one another, has no adequate foundation. The New Testament makes it plain that Christ's followers must expect suffering as the normal badge of their discipleship, and also as one of the characteristic forms of their witness (Lesslie Newbigin).


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The Gospel speaks:

  • Word of grace… culture is good creation

  • Word of judgement… culture is idolatrously twisted and sinfully distorted

Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil (I Thess. 5:21f).


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Biblical Position: Affirmative/AntitheticalApproach to Culture

  • Affirm

  • Gospel/Yes

  • At home

  • Good creation

  • May not withdraw

  • Reject

  • Gospel/No

  • At odds

  • Sinful distortion

  • May not accept status quo


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Faithful Cultural Strategy

  • Faithfulness and relevance

  • Avoids withdrawal, absorption, common ground

  • Affirms both responsibility for cultural development and antithetical challenge to idolatrous development

  • Subversion: Affirmation and rejection


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What do we do with non- Christian education?

  • What is creational insight/structure?

  • How has that insight been twisted by idolatrous direction?


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What do we do with this idolatrous institution called the ‘school’?

  • Subversive fulfillment!

  • Creational structure

  • Idolatrous twisting and misdirection


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Another Biblical Example: Household

OIKOS: extended family in Roman empire

structured hierarchically and oppressively

  • Fundamental social building block of Roman empire

  • Undifferentiated institution made up of marital, family, economic, political relationships

  • Oppressive and hierarchical distortion


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Response of the early church

  • Reject?

  • Affirm?

  • Subvert!


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Subversive Fulfillment

  • Discerned creational relationships

  • Subverted relationships creating new institution recognizable as good news to culture


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School?

  • How can we participate in broader tradition of humanistic education, be at home, offer relevant witness (much creational good)

  • Where has purpose, structure, curriculum, pedagogy, etc. been twisted by idolatry (rationalism, consumerism, etc)?


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Aiming for Christian Education

  • Alternative kind of education to public school system

  • Rejects cultural idolatry that shapes these schools

  • Based on distinctive and comprehensive philosophy of education

  • Christian approach transforms the whole enterprise: goals, curriculum, pedagogy, evaluation, structure, etc.


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Settling for Christians Educating

  • Christianity-enhanced public school education

  • Adds moral integrity, devotional piety, and biblical insight to select topics

  • Maintains status quo about education


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Christian Perspectiveon Education

  • Efforts at worldview and Christian educational philosophy sharpened vision for Christian education

  • Language of Christian perspective: Christ-centred curriculum, inner reformation of the sciences, biblical perspective on all areas of learning, or Christian world-and-life-view

  • Kuyper’s vision of comprehensive scope of gospel challenges assumptions:

    • Reality is segregated into two realms, sacred and secular, and gospel belongs only to the sacred

    • Gospel transforms only individuals but not society

    • Enlightenment notion that public life, including education is religiously neutral


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Does Christian perspective transform school?

  • Perception: Christian education will result from Christian perspective

  • Gap between rhetoric of Christian education and reality of Christian schools

  • Gap produces:

    • Vague sense of task

    • False sense of security

  • Connection between perspective and implementation:

    • Persuasive: Biblical

    • Elusive: “As far as I can tell, Christian schools do not provide an alternative Christian education, if by that term we mean that our biblical perspective on life leads to a biblical model of education.”


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Gap Challenge and Gap Problem

  • Gap challenge: Rhetoric proclaims ideal toward which reality is moving--not there yet! (positive)

  • Gap problem: Rhetoric and reality utterly inconsistent (negative)

  • Majority problem in Christian education is gap problem

  • "When confronted by all this evidence, my own allegiance to the ideal of Christian education sometimes wavers. The challenge of implementing a different, biblical model of schooling appears so far out of reach that I am tempted to think the whole idea might be wrong-headed. At times I wonder if there really is such a thing as a Christian model of education."


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Educational Faithfulness

  • Christian education: difference

  • Christian educating: enriching additions

  • Third way: educational faithfulness

    • Difference may be consequence

    • More emphasis on common task with different faith

  • Questions:

    • What does faithful education look like?

    • What obstacles hinder us from implementing faithful education?

    • What can we do to remove these obstacles?


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Understanding the Reigning Educational Paradigm

  • Need to understand reigning secular paradigm in education

  • To enable Christian school to encounter this paradigm


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Missionary Encounter in Education

  • Normal position of Christian school in cultural context if it is faithful

  • Clash of ultimate and comprehensive stories

  • Spiritual battle

  • Requires Christian school community that believes gospel (true, story, comprehensive, power)

  • Committed to living out of it and shaping whole life by it

  • Requires a school that knows idolatrous story of culture

  • School that wrestles with dominant education paradigm

  • Encounter takes place in all areas of education

  • Embraces insights; rejects idolatry


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Faithful Christian Education?

  • Purpose of education: First battle?

  • Then: What needs to be taught to equip children for that purpose? (Curriculum)

  • Then: How can this be achieved? (Pedagogy, structures, evaluation)


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Purpose:Why do we educate anyway?

  • Traditional African education:

    • Teach traditional life values

    • Goal of integration into tribal community

  • Muslim education:

    • Teach universal shariah law

    • Goal of integration in theocratic community

Teach certain things so that children will be

socialized into a certain kind of community.

Purpose governs educational activity.


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Modernity and thePurpose of Education

  • Pass on a unified body of universal scientific knowledge

  • Equip a world of rational citizens

  • Build a more rational world leading to freedom, justice, truth, and material prosperity


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Postmodern Challenge to Modern Education

  • If (in modernity) education was guided by the story of progress towards a better society by science and technology but we no longer believe that story...

  • If (in modernity) education was to pass along a unified body of universal knowledge but we no longer believe that exists...

  • Then what is the purpose of education?


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Postmodernity andPurpose of Education

  • Postman’s trinity: economic utility, consumerism, technology

  • Vendor of useful information and marketable skills

  • Enables student to compete or survive in the jungle of the market


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Biblical Story andPurpose of Education

  • “Serviceable insight”

  • Education for witness

  • Education as witness


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Questions: Curriculum

  • What needs to be taught to equip students for witness?

  • How does this differ from state requirements?

  • Are there any specific omissions?

  • How does modern and postmodern worldview affect curriculum?


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What now?

  • Size, complexity, and difficulty of task can lead to discouragement

  • Need to return to gospel for forgiveness and renewal

  • Need for ongoing study (individual, community)

  • Continuing baby steps in joy

    • As individuals

    • As community


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