A hundred years ago G.K. Chesterton wrote that scholarly advancement which was grounded in worldly reason alone had wrongly created an inverse juxtaposition of cognitive humility and individual dogmatism. The world says truth must be held with loose hands because it can never fully be known, but the individual should stand firm as his own moral authority. As Chesterton said “Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.” Indeed, Humanism has cast doubt on moral authority and has by definition removed God from its tenants.Untethered from the anchor of truth, education is at best reduced to the margins of guidance, but at worst it is destructive in its august but empty rhetoric.
The Bible presents a God wanting to be known, reaching out to man in darkness to present His Son, the embodiment of light and life (John 1:1-5). All Biblically based education acknowledges both the glorified Father and the obedient Son. We who are participants in this high calling stand humbly as teachers and students in the privileged mandate of sovereign God. We stand firm on the Word of God rather than imperfect reason with the doubtful Humanist, because, as Chesterton has it “The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt—the Divine Reason.” Our purposeful God is trustworthy, therefore we teach.
Knight’s book is an outstanding text for bringing education into a thoughtful Christian context.