God is the Issue

“Some see it as a new Reformation. straining to meet its Luther at a yet undiscovered cathedral door. Some hail it as an evolutionary crisis, with the cells of the old humanity fairly bursting to reassemble into some more spiritual new being. To others it may be a more prosaic phenomenon, the inevitable swing of the pendulum, the return to some forgotten truths—or to dangerous superstitions. By whatever name, there is an impending sense of change in the world of ideas. The reigning wisdom that informed and compelled the past few decodes is under attack—or, at the very least, under cross· examination.” (Time, April 2, 1973.)

Man’s confidence to control his own world is now at a low ebb. Old certainties are under attack and optimism is no longer supreme. Everything is being reexamined. Just consider the field of education. In this area there is an obvious brcakdown or, at any rate, inadequacy of the various proffered remedies. So much has been hoped for from secular education, and from the numerous cultural agencies that have developed particularly in this century. We would all agree abou t that. Enormous sums of money have been spent on educational plants and libraries. But the educational system has not proVided the solutions hoped for. Uncertainty abounds. Critics are plentiful and so arc the solutions offered. As Time magazine states, “Indeed, there are almost as many notions about what education‘s future shape should be as there are school critics.”

A cartoon in the Los Angeles Times showed a bound and gagged Statue of Liberty with a professor leaning over her saying, “Look, all I want is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—as I see it.” Much of secular education we have today is a product of “the truth—as I see it.” No wonder that there is so much confusion and unrest.

There is again a search for root meaning. Joyce Maynard, a nineteen-year-old girl , writes in her book, Looking Back: A Chronicle of Crowing Up Old in the Sixties: “We’re all in the search of sages. What’s really going on is our search for a prophet, for someone who can, for a change, tell us the answers.” It would not hurt to admit that “rationalism” is not able to provide all the answers for man’s quest for truth. Let me say it with the words spoken by Blaise Pascal, one of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever known, a real genius and thinker. He said, “The supreme achievement of reason is to bring us to see that there is a limit to reason.” Shakespeare said it before Pascal when he wrote: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” In these words are the essence of wisdom.

Many issues are pointed at as the underlying fault for the problems with the present secular school system and the lack of direction and purpose. But one of the major issues you don’t hear mentioned. It is the God lssue. One of the major difficulties with modem education is that it docs not consider God an issue of consequence. A professor tells of a university student who finally exclaimed near the end of a “Great Issues Conference,” “In the course of all these meetings, I have never heard anyone mention the word God. Isnt that a great issue?” God is the issue. And because God has been excluded from the field of learning we are faced with confusion and a host of problems.

Isn’t there a way out of the dilemma? There is. The message of the gospel is for all of life. Therefore, the healing message of the gospel is also for the field of learning. The Christian message concerning· Christ and the world implies that there is no field of human learning that in any way can be carried on in isolation from Him. This means that at every point in education this great and mighty Jesus Christ must so influence students that they learn to relate the enterprise of learning to Jesus Christ, the Creator, Redeemer, and coming Judge. Christian educators, who base their approach on the Lordship of Jesus Christ, can meet the challenge of the times. Why? Because they are seeking their answer in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the Lord Almighty.

I believe that we can he optimistic. If we work hard at bringing every thought into captivity to Jesus Christ, there is hope, not a hope based on man‘s own insight, but a hope rooted in the rich mercy of God.

Rev. Johan D. Tangelder is pastor of the Riverside Christian Reformed Church of Wellandport, Ontario.