Frank’s quick-and-dirty chronology of education and the church
Christ and the Apostles – rabbinical teaching: Christ walked, his disciples followed and committed to memory what he spoke. The disciples relied upon verbal tradition and communication, as well as miraculous gifts in prophecy to speak forth and write God’s inspired word.
The Apostles into early Christendom – the Apostles spoke, their traditions were committed to memory, and wrote in Greek to communicate their message. Common people relied wholly upon verbal tradition and the letters of the Apostles (which few could read for themselves).
Early Christendom – devout Christian followers who had the advantage of a noble education would begin to write regarding what they had heard or read. Common people relied almost wholly upon verbal tradition.
Early Medieval Christendom – Monasteries began to take converts who would be willing to devote all of their time to religious study (and, in many cases, contemplation) for the purpose of spreading Christianity. Common people relied upon verbal tradition mixed with educated biblical exegetes (monks).
Mid-to-Late Medieval Christendom – Monasteries saw that many would attend who merely wanted an education in liberal arts in order to give them a better understanding of language, logic, philosophy, etc. Common people relied upon verbal tradition mixed with educated biblical exegetes (monks).
Late Medieval (Western) Christendom – Universities began to arise (or amalgamate from combined religious monasteries) which would provide a broader education in liberal arts for many doctoral goals (law, theology, philosophy, etc.). Common people relied upon verbal tradition mixed with educated biblical theologians, who began to separate into theologians and biblical exegetes.
Late Medieval into (Western) Reformation Christendom – The Roman Catholic Church provided all guidance on scripture, as it was only available, primarily, in Latin (and some in Greek and Hebrew), and common people still did not know these languages.
Reformation Christendom – Universities thrive, and teach broadly. The bible begins to make its way to common languages, and splinters of different traditions became strong due—in part—to the availability of written resources (Lutheranism, early Presbyterianism, early Baptist, etc.).
Post-Reformation Christendom – Universities thrive, but stay within a philosophical and religious bent due to the demand (people want to better understand the bible now in their language). Local, smaller schools spring up to begin teaching the common people academically where possible, in order to understand what the bible says and what it means. Undergraduate schools are focused almost entirely upon teaching language for the purpose of knowledge of the bible.
European Christendom – Having interpreted many, deep, theological truths from the bible, several groups combine their resources and settle on the lot of confessions that we know even today. These confessions helped to show the differences in how biblical truth was understood and applied to the common man between different denominations of Christendom, and were very carefully crafted by numerous people over many years to reflect as accurately what the biblical text teaches as possible. Grammar schools spring up in more locations to help teach Christianity to the youngest of our generations.
18th—19th Century Christendom – Universities start to depart from religious focuses and become increasingly more liberal, especially aiding in the introduction of modernism. Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and the like spring up churches all over the West (even into America), helping to establish a strong educational system in numerous regions as well as a strong, Christian foundations in local schools.
Modern Day Christendom – In an incredibly short period of time, the massive education system and Christian foundation established over the previous 500+ years begins to be taken for granted as postmodernism enters the scene. Technology provides both (positively) an almost-infinite variety of educational methods and access to primary sources as well as (negatively) the most popular distractions and pastimes ever known. In a society where knowledge is literally at our fingertips—where we can accumulate massive amounts of data without leaving our homes, look up nearly any bit of information, and interact with scholars from almost anywhere in the world—we neglect our education more than ever in the history of Western civilization. In tandem, churches begin to depend not on education, theology, or biblical exegesis, but, instead, on entertainment and ways in which they can amass followings.
What was once the primary, motivating factor for *gaining* an education becomes the primary, motivating factor for the rise of education’s kitsch step-cousin: anti-intellectualism.
Churches have stopped helping the common man rise to an education at which point he can discern biblical truth and gain his own theological understanding of God’s Word, and have started to pander to his mostly-distracted apathy by finding ways of entertaining him enough to assent his allegiance to a particular brand so that the brand can claim a (most-likely false) conversion.
Open trashcan. Insert brain. Boot up computer. Surf Internet for entertainment. God who?