Richard Baxter and Education

Richard Baxter

Richard Baxter eloquently showed that education must be saturated with Christianity.


“Your study of physics and other sciences is not worth a rush, if it be not God that you seek after in them. To see and admire, to reverence and adore, to love and delight in God, as exhibited in his works – this is the true and only philosophy; the contrary is mere foolery, and is so called again and again by God himself. This is the sanctification of your studies, when they are devoted to God, and when he is the end, the object, and the life of them all. And, therefore, I shall presume to tell you, by the way, that it is a grand error, and of dangerous consequence in Christian academies,…that they study the creature before the Redeemer, and set themselves to physics, and metaphysics, and mathematics, before they set themselves to theology; whereas, no man that hath not the vitals of theology, is capable of going beyond a fool in philosophy. Theology must lay the foundation, and lead the way of all our studies. If God must be searched after, in our search of the creature, (and we must affect no separated knowledge of them) then tutors must read God to their pupils in all; and divinity must be the beginning, the middle, the end, the life, the all, of their studies. Our physics and metaphysics must be reduced to theology; and nature must be read as one of God’s books, which is purposely written for the revelation of himself”1

A Gospel centred, Trinitarian, Christ honouring education cannot involve Christian children spending the majority of their day under the tutelage of the ungodly. Christianity is not merely head knowledge. It involves changing one's life to faithful obedience to the reigning Jesus and subjecting all of one's thoughts under His sovereignty; period. You cannot be trusting in Christ and consciously sending your children to be trained in the art of secular humanism. The two don’t comport. Bowing the knee to Caesar as sovereign in education or any other area of life has always been fought to the death by Christians in history. Our education (curriculum et al) must declare boldly, excitedly and unashamedly that there is a king above Caesar, Jesus Christ in whom are deposited all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Fathers, it is up to you. It is your responsibility to ensure that every inch of your children’s education acknowledges and bows the knee to your saviour, or you may drive your children to wrath and cause them to stumble. Your children's education is either faithful or idolatrous. There is no neutral ground. If you want the Gospel to impact your community, your town, your state then start with providing a Gospel centred education to your children.

In times like ours we need faithful men who will risk all for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. 

End notes

1. Quoted from The Reformed Pastor, Richard Baxter, you can download the book in PDF for free here, the quote is from p. 26.


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