Friday, July 06, 2012

trained to discern

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. ~Hebrews 5:12-14.
In the introduction of Charlotte Mason's A Philosophy of Education in the Original Homeschooling Series, she writes the following describing what we usually mean when we say someone is educated:
that is, they can read and write, think perversely, and follow an argument, though they are unable to detect a fallacy. (Volume 6. page 1)
As soon as I read that, a bright and luminous light bulb went on in my head.  This is exactly why I do not feel like I was truly educated because I had no training in how to detect a fallacy. Thinking through what has been put before you as a true answer or understanding of a particular issue takes discernment.  And according to the verse in Hebrews quoted above, you must train your senses or your mind to discern good and evil, including thoughts and deeds.  And the one who has practiced training their senses is said to be mature in their faith.
So it appears that as we are educating our children, nurturing them from infants into mature adults, we must be training their senses, their minds, to discern fallacious thinking and conduct. They must be able to properly discern good and evil and the very best way I can think of accomplishing this with God's grace, is to be consistently and intentionally exposing them to the very best in Christian thought and study.  Once you've had a taste of solid, well-reasoned thinking, you acquire a desire for it and become accustomed to only accepting the best as that worthy of meat for your soul.

Feast on the writings of any of these men and you will find plenty of good nourishment to teach to your children.  I only listed those I have actually read myself.  There are many others that these will lead you to and many more that I myself have yet to read. 

Matthew Henry
John Calvin
Jonathan Edwards
J.C. Ryle
Gordon Clark
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Francis Shaeffer
Greg Bahnsen
Robert Reymond
D.A. Carson
Douglas Wilson

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