from the headmaster


“Good Soil” for our Children to Grow In

Regents Academy is a member school, and is accredited by, the Association of Classical and Christian Schools, a network of some 300 schools nationwide committed to recovering the classical Christian model of education.

A significant moment has come for the ACCS and its member schools, including Regents. The ACCS has released the results of a major study conducted by the University of Notre Dame that looked at the life outcomes of adults aged 24-42 who were educated in one of 6 school types:

  • public
  • private secular preparatory schools
  • Catholic schools
  • evangelical protestant Christian schools
  • religious homeschools
  • classical Christian schools.

The study is called “Good Soil: A Comparative Study of ACCS Alumni Life Outcomes.”

The results of the study are nothing short of astounding.

Here is the way ACCS describes the study:

During the 1990s, families in about 100 communities across the United States started classical Christian schools with the hope of offering an education that would assist parents in raising their children in the paideia of the Lord. The question almost thirty years later is: “To what extent have the goals of classical Christian education been realized?” To that end, the ACCS commissioned a study by the University of Notre Dame’s Sociology Department.

Understandably, some will view the results of this survey skeptically because of the significant differences between classical Christian schools and the others surveyed. These results can be understood more fully by visiting the ACCS schools themselves. Arguably, the greatest distinctive is integration—the intentional way that the subjects and Christian truth are interwoven. Every class and every school activity has one purpose: to see God’s world rightly and to glorify Him. These communities are tight-knit, serious but joyful, and eminently curious. And, there is room for improvement.

And so the study conducted by Notre Dame compares the life outcomes of adults aged 24-42 in 7 indexes. The indexes “reflect survey answers about a healthy spiritual life, better life satisfaction, an independence of mind, a commitment to conserving the Western tradition, and the potential to influence culture.”

What is the key takeaway? According to ACCS President David Goodwin, 

the story of hundreds of data points becomes more clear: ACCS schools make a difference in these seven areas. While ACCS alumni shared some common traits with alumni from other sectors, the most significant takeaway is the magnitude of the differences. The differences seen for some of the profiles are an order of magnitude higher for the ACCS segment than for the differences between the other segments.

I am excited and incredibly heartened by these results, and I want to share them with you. 

Here is the link to ACCS’s homepage for the study:

https://classicaldifference.com/good-soil/

I encourage you to read and study the report. My hope is that what it shows will bolster and spark your own commitment to providing your children with a classical Christian education all the way through graduation. Remember, we are not raising children; we are raising adults. Our vision for our children is for them to lead lives of virtue, display mature character, love learning, and serve the Triune God. This study confirms that finishing the course at Regents Academy launches them on a lifelong journey toward fulfilling these great aims.

Please spend time digging around in “Good Soil” – you won’t regret it!

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Surrounded by His Words

The Bible tells us plainly to give our children a distinctively Christian education at all times.  In a glorious passage, God declares, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up . . . You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut. 6:4-9).  

God teaches Christian parents six truths in Deuteronomy 6.  

First, God Himself speaks directly to us—“I command you today.”  This passage is not someone’s opinion but rather comes to us directly from the very mouth of God.

Second, God speaks to us as parents—“And these words that I command you today.”  He speaks to all believing parents who love Him, to those Stephen called “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38).    

Third, God directs us to place His words in our hearts—“And these words . . . shall be in your heart.”  He promises to write His Word on our hearts and gives us His Spirit to guide us by His Word of truth (Ezek. 36:26-27).

Fourth, God tells us to surround our children with His words—“You shall teach them . . . to your children” because our children matter to Him (Matt. 19:14).  Our children belong to Him, and He gives them to us and tells us to raise them for Him and His glory.

Fifth, God encourages us to teach His Word to our children in a certain kind of way—diligently— “You shall teach them diligently to your children.”  We are to teach our children His words intentionally and purposefully. 

Sixth, God helps us see that we are to surround our children with His words everywhere and at all times—“You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. . . You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

So God commands us as Christian parents to surround our children diligently with His loving and joyful words from the time they get up until they go to sleep at night, whether they are walking or sitting.  Simply put, our children belong to God all the time, including the hours from 8:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, August through May.  

At Regents Academy, we serve Christian parents by helping parents to diligently surround their children with God’s words everywhere and at all times.  In every class, at every place on our campus, we strive to teach our students to think like Christians, to apply God’s Word to every area of their lives, to see through the lens of God’s story of the world, to worship and serve their Creator and Savior. Together we are obeying God’s words in Deuteronomy 6, and we trust Him to add His blessing and favor so that our obedience is fruitful in our children’s lives. To Him be the glory!

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A Mission in Submission

One of the foundations of our school is commitment to the absolute supremacy and Lordship of Jesus Christ. Having been raised from the dead in power, He is now seated at His Father’s right hand, so He is “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet (Eph 1:21-23). Our job is to love, serve, imitate, and follow Him, and, further, to teach our children to do so also. This is our purpose as a school. Our school’s mission is in submission to the Lordship of Christ. 

So we can have smart kids who excel academically with curve-busting SAT scores, eye-popping scholarships, and mind-blowing vocational success, but if we’ve not cultivated in them a desire for His kingdom, then we’re in danger of gaining the whole world and losing their souls. 

Lord, deliver us.

Consider the words of the Apostle Paul: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:4-5).

Jesus is Lord of all. He is Lord over civilizations and cultures, kings and rulers, peoples and powers, both visible and invisible things. He is Lord over thoughts and worldviews, philosophies and loyalties, both those things that are devoted to Him and those things that are not. So we must line up “every thought,” every loyalty, everything in our lives with Him and His will. And God has given us mighty weapons to use when we enter into the combat it takes to do this. Our little ones – the children God gives us – are the key weapons God has prepared for us. Education is our work of arming, sharpening, and training our children for battle in the service of Christ and His kingdom. We are always in battle, and we are always called to be faithful to the One who is Lord of all.

As Dutch theologian and journalist Abraham Kuyper wrote, “No single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”

Let me urge you to stay true to the classical Christian vision because Christ is Lord of all.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Col 1:15-18).

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Let’s Celebrate Books

Books are a big part of what makes Regents Academy the school it is. In a digital world that seems to be making books obsolete, we persist with a love for good books – paper, glue, ink, and all.

C.S. Lewis famously wrote, “Literature exists to teach what is useful, to honour what deserves honour, to appreciate what is delightful.” Reading shapes students’ loves, character, and imagination, and this is a big part of why Regents students read so much, both in and out of class.

One of our goals as a school is to graduate students who are literate, with broad exposure to books. As our Vision for a Graduate observes, “Educated people are well-read and able to discuss and relate to central works of literature.”

And then, books are powerful. When a book opens, children enter other worlds. Poet David McCord said it best:

Books fall open,

you fall in,

delighted where

you’ve never been.

Hear voices

not once heard before,

Reach world through world,

through door on door.

Find unexpected

keys to things,

locked up beyond

imaginings….

True books will venture,

Dare you out,

Whisper secrets,

Maybe shout,

across the gloom,

to you in need

Who hanker for

a book to read.

This week we are celebrating books. Our library is sponsoring two big happenings:

  • The Book Fair. A wide variety of Usborne books will be available Monday through Wednesday of this week (just in time for Christmas). Students and parents alike can come find a treasured book that will spark imagination and learning.
  • Favorite Fictional Character Day is Wednesday. Students and teachers will come to school dressed as their favorite character from literature. What a delightful way to experience the characters we love in the books we read.

Let me encourage you, parents, to nurture a love for books in your children. Turn off the screens as often as you can and read with your children. Read the books they are reading and read aloud from books you love. Talk at dinner about the books your children are reading.

What a great gift books are!

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Thanking God the Creator, Father and Redeemer

It’s Thanksgiving season!

Mr. V has been reminding the Grammar School students all week that we should give thanks always for all things, and this means thanksgiving is not just for one day or one week of the year. For Christians giving thanks is both a discipline to be practiced each day – indeed, at all times – and a beautiful virtue with which to adorn our lives. This morning in Morning Assembly here is what I shared with the students and teachers.

It’s sad that at Thanksgiving each year there are many people who give thanks but don’t know to whom or to what they are returning thanks. But it’s not so for us. As children of God we know that when we give thanks, we are thanking God Almighty, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Triune God who has revealed Himself in His Word.

So when we give thanks, we thank God the Creator. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge,” declares Psalm 19:1-2. Consider how perfectly God created the earth. The earth is about 93 million miles from the sun, but if it were slightly closer or slightly further our planet would be too cold or too hot to support life. The earth’s axis tilts at 23.5 degrees, but if it were only slightly different the seasons would freeze out or burn up all life. Liquid water, tides, magnetic field, chlorophyll, gravity – it’s all a miracle! Every day and night, every changing leaf, every vibrant sunset, every sublime mountain vista, every insect (well, most insects), we should be thanking God for the wonder of His amazing creation that shows forth the power and wisdom and glory of His handiwork.

When we give thanks, we thank God the Father. Jesus taught us in the Gospel of Matthew, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (7:7-11). God’s Fatherly care surrounds us. When we eat at our feasts, enjoy the company of family and friends, worship without fear of enemies arresting us, receive answers to prayer, rest in comfortable homes, and take advantage of technological wonders of which previous generations could not have even dreamed, we should direct our constant thanks to God, who in His Fatherly care gives boundlessly – simply because He is good and delights in giving
good gifts to His children.

And finally, when we give thanks, we give thanks to God the Redeemer. St. Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). All of God’s gifts are yes and amen in Christ Jesus, whose life, death, and resurrection is the true gift that secures all good things for us, His children. He is the One who redeems our lives from the pit and crowns us with love and compassion (Ps 103:4).

It is indeed the season of thanks. Thank you, parents, for your commitment to Regents Academy. Thank you for the trust you invest in us with the precious gift of your children. I thank God for the mission and the people of Regents Academy.

Give thanks … always for all things!

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The Grace of the Cross

We are utterly reliant on the grace of God in Christ, from when we wake up in the morning till when we lay our heads on the pillow and at all points in between. Please join me in this prayer called “The Grace of the Cross” from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers.

The radical grace given through the cross of Christ is truly our only help.

O My Saviour,

I thank thee from the depths of my being

    for thy wondrous grace and love

  in bearing my sin in thine own body on the tree.

May thy cross be to me

  as the tree that sweetens my bitter Marahs,

  as the rod that blossoms with life and beauty,

  as the brazen serpent that calls forth

    the look of faith.

By thy cross crucify my every sin;

Use it to increase my intimacy with thyself;

Make it the ground of all my comfort,

  the liveliness of all my duties,

  the sum of all thy gospel promises,

  the comfort of all my afflictions,

  the vigour of my love, thankfulness, graces,

  the very essence of my religion;

And by it give me that rest without rest,

    the rest of ceaseless praise.

O my Lord and Saviour,

Thou hast also appointed a cross for me

    to take up and carry,

  a cross before thou givest me a crown.

Thou hast appointed it to be my portion,

  but self-love hates it,

    carnal reason is unreconciled to it;

  without the grace of patience I cannot bear it,

    walk with it, profit by it.

O blessed cross, what mercies dost thou bring

    with thee!

Thou art only esteemed hateful by my rebel will,

  heavy because I shirk thy load.

Teach me, gracious Lord and Saviour,

  that with my cross thou sendest promised grace

    so that I may bear it patiently,

  that my cross is thy yoke which is easy,

    and thy burden which is light.

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How to Shut Down Gossip

I want to take a moment and remind you, parents, of something that, all too often, we need reminders about: if an issue comes up between you and a teacher or another parent, the right thing to do is either to cover it in love or else go to the person directly and deal with it. The option that we too often take is to carry the issue to a third party who can’t do anything about it and air it out, complain about it, and stir the pot. I’m talking about gossip, and I want to urge you to resist the temptation to engage in it. Instead, let’s follow God’s Word and be peacemakers.

Here is an outstanding article called “How to Shut Down Gossip” by Erik Raymond from the Gospel Coalition website. It is excellent counsel for us all.

————————-

How to Shut Down Gossip

by Erik Raymond

It seems that sometimes we deal with sin in the church with the same approach that the government deals with terrorism: It is impossible to remove it completely so we just kind of have to accept it and do our best to keep people safe.

Buttressed up against this common practice is the biblical teaching that sin is devastating. Let’s not forget that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), the price paid for redemption from sin is death (Rom. 5:6), the reality for the a believer is that they are dead to sin (Rom. 6:11), and the ongoing priority for Christians is to put sin to death (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5; Heb. 12:1-2). This includes all sin. Every. Single. One.

Gossip in Spiritual No Man’s Land

Gossip is one sin that seems to fall in the spiritual “No-Man’s Land” between passivity and vigilance. But this should not be. Gossip is the RPG that blasts holes in the fabric of the church. The way I see it every time someone gossips they injure at least 3 people: the one speaking, the one hearing, and the one being gossiped about. Add to this that gossip is usually not a one time deal but rather involves multiple conversations, we can quickly see how this is the Devil’s Ponzi scheme for getting rich on disunity and providing quick returns to those seeking to gratify the flesh.

Gossip is Bad, and Deep Down We Know It

Let’s be honest; we know what gossip is. It is speaking about someone in a way that defames, dishonors or otherwise hurts their character. Sometimes it is subtle, like grumbling about someone, and other times it is loud, like ranting about someone. Further, sometimes the content of what is said is true other times it is not. Either way, the person hearing does not need to know the information, they don’t benefit from it. And, most times it is not actionable; they are are not going to go and help the person, instead they are just going to tuck away the information for selfish use.

Gossip, and its cousins: slander, divisive speech, and deceitful speech are roundly rebuked in the Scriptures (Ps. 101:5; Prov. 6:16-19, 11.13, 20:19; Titus 3:2). Instead of cutting people down with verbal assassinations we are to give words of life and grace (Eph. 4:29).

I don’t think we need to convince people what it is, but, we can bring an awareness of how God feels about it and how destructive it is in the life of the church. We need to know what to do about it. We need to know, how to shut it down.

How To Shut Down Gossip

(1) Refuse it.

The obvious first step to shutting down gossip would have to be to convince people of how God views gossip. We can do this by intentionally putting it before people. We can remind people in sermons, conversations, and prayer of the destructiveness of gossip. This is simply calling attention to it. Instead of being passive (not talking about it) we need to be active, without becoming preoccupied by it.

If this is done faithfully then people will become aware of gossip when it comes to them or perhaps when they find themselves scratching the seemingly insatiable itch to dish up a little sumthin on someone. They will also think twice about vocalizing their grumbling about another person to someone else. If convinced of the vileness of the practice in God’s eyes then they will carefully avoid “gossip-baiting” people. This is the practice when someone thinks that someone else may have some intel on another person or situation. Then they subtly begin talking about it, gently massaging the perimeter of the topic, while waiting to see if the person will take the bait and give up the goods.

What if the church could spot gossip a mile away? What if they hated it? What if they believed the Bible and were convinced that to gossip was to display hatred for God and others? What if they believed that it served to fracture the unity that Jesus bought and the Spirit created? Then they would react like an NBA big man and reject the gossip by swatting it into the 3rd row.

For example, as a pastor someone might come to me and say, ”I need to talk to you about something.” I usually reply, “Something or someone?” If they “someone.” then I say, “Did you talk to ‘someone’ yet?” I redirect them back. I don’t want to hear about someone if that someone hasn’t heard about it first.

This may be different for a laymen. Perhaps someone will come up to you and say, “I am really frustrated with ______ ‘s attitude. They walk around like they own the place. She never says ‘hi’ or even looks at me. What is her deal?” You may be tempted to say, “Yeah. You’re right. I’ve never noticed it but she ignores me too!” But, let me encourage you to think God’s thoughts after him. Reject the gossip. Instead, something like, “Have you talked to her about this? Please don’t drag me into your issues with her. You need to work this out–whatever it is–for the sake of Christ.” This rejects the bait of the complaint and sheds light on the issue.

(2) Rebuke it.

Let’s say someone is talking about another person. They may get started slowly but soon enough they carving up their character like a Thanksgiving turkey. As you get your bearings and manage to interrupt the onslaught, you should says something like, “Brother/sister, you are really speaking negatively about ____ is this even true? This is gossip. Have you even spoken to them about this?”

Go on to show them what the Bible says and how destructive this is. Show them that they are defaming their brother/sister, a child of God. Explain how this assaults God’s plan and harms God’s people. Call the sin of gossip what it is and tell them that they should in fact repent and bear fruit in repentance by controlling their tongue and speaking words of grace. Once we understand the damage of gossip we will become vigilant to ensure that it is expunged from our churches. This means that we will be compelled to have the difficult conversations that call it what it is and demand that our brothers and sisters think God’s thoughts after him, even about gossip.

(3) Redirect it.

There are three aspects of this: first to Christ, second back to the person, and third to others they have gossiped to.

First, redirect people back to Christ. The reason for gossip is because they are believing a lie about God and themselves. Remember, Satan was the first gossiper when he talked trash about God. Show them how Jesus died for their sins, even the sins committed post-conversion. This sin should be a magnet to draw them back to the person and work of Christ for repentance, forgiveness, and refreshing. (In this it should be noted that their issue is not just with another person but Christ. Jesus is Lord of the church; and so they are sinning against him.)

Second, redirect people back to the person. If they have an issue with someone they should go and talk to them. If they have done some damage to the person’s character then they should go and tell the person in humility and ask for their forgiveness. I will often tell the person that I will follow up with them in a week or so to see how the conversation went.

Third, they should also go in humility to the other people they have gossiped to. This closes the loop and reinforces the need to reject the sin of gossip. It reminds, or perhaps educates, those who have been exposed to this sin, of the nature and danger of it.

Conclusion

Gossip is nasty. It is never good and should be despised by all who love Christ and his church. Instead of being passive and tolerating something that is widespread we should be vigilant to remove something that is destructive and vile. Let’s step our game up and, starting with ourselves, work to shut down gossip.

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Ending the Homework Hassle

This week we asked many of you to fill out a homework survey, and we received quite a few responses. Thank you, parents, for your feedback. We are working through these responses now so we can use them to improve our academic program. Teachers plan assignments in order to accomplish curricular goals as effectively and efficiently as possible, but we often need input to get it right. 

The school has to do its part to get homework right, but parents have to work hard to get it right, too. Homework for many families is a struggle and a source of conflict and aggravation. I have a suggestion for you, parents. 

The best advice I have seen about how to help your children become independent learners who manage their assignments and homework for themselves is the book Ending the Homework Hassle by psychologist John Rosemond. Please read it!

If our school had the resources, I’d order a copy for every Regents family and send it to you today. 

Rosemond describes the nightly homework hassle for many families: it’s “The Great Homework Hunt” followed by “Parenting by Helicopter” and the child’s act of “Duh, I’m Dumb,” culminating in “The Homework Marathon” and ultimately “We’re a Bunch of Bananas,” during which both parents and child have meltdowns and wail in frustration and fury. What can end the frustration and put a stop to the hassle? It’s up to the parents, writes Rosemond, to “stop being responsible for Billy’s homework and let Billy be responsible for it on his lonesome,” to go from being a “parent-participant” to being a “parent-consultant.” In fact, the child’s responsibility is the first of the Seven Hidden Values of Homework. The others include autonomyperseverancetime managementinitiativeself-reliance, and resourcefulness. Don’t you want your children to embody these values as personal virtues?

With humor, insight, and realism, Rosemond helps parents think through both how to put an end to homework as a titanic struggle, a “never-ending, self-defeating, viciously circular trap,” and also to instill in your children the virtues needed to grow into independent learners.

But the author makes one thing quite clear: it’s up to parents to make the changes that are needed and to set the priorities in the home. Every parent can gain wisdom from John Rosemond’s book, and it’s well worth the time and effort to read it and put its principles into practice. I highly recommend it.

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Rigorous Training of the Mind

I want to share with you an eloquent article by Pastor John Piper in which he argues for the rigorous training of the mind in our children so that they will be able to read the Bible with understanding. Pastor Piper does not mention classical Christian education directly, but he doesn’t have to. 


A Compelling Reason for Rigorous Training of the Mind:
Thoughts on the Significance of Reading

by John Piper

I was reading and meditating on the book of Hebrews recently, when it hit me forcefully that a basic and compelling reason for education—the rigorous training of the mind—is so that a person can read the Bible with understanding.

This sounds too obvious to be useful or compelling. But that’s just because we take the preciousness of reading so for granted; or, even more, because we appreciate so little the kind of thinking that a complex Bible passage requires of us.

The book of Hebrews, for example, is an intellectually challenging argument from Old Testament texts. The points that the author makes hang on biblical observations that come only from rigorous reading, not light skimming. And the understanding of these Old Testament interpretations in the text of Hebrews requires rigorous thought and mental effort. The same could be said for the extended argumentation of Romans and Galatians and the other books of the Bible.

This is an overwhelming argument for giving our children a disciplined and rigorous training in how to think an author’s thoughts after him from a text—especially a biblical text. An alphabet must be learned, as well as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, the rudiments of logic, and the way meaning is imparted through sustained connections of sentences and paragraphs.

The reason Christians have always planted schools where they have planted churches is because we are a people of THE BOOK. It is true that THE BOOK will never have its proper effect without prayer and the Holy Spirit. It is not a textbook to be debated; it is a fountain for spiritual thirst, and food for the soul, and a revelation of God, and a living power, and a two-edged sword. But none of this changes the fact: apart from the discipline of reading, the Bible is as powerless as paper. Someone might have to read it for you; but without reading, the meaning and the power of it are locked up.

Is it not remarkable how often Jesus settled great issues with a reference to reading? For example, in the issue of the Sabbath he said, “Have you not read what David did?” (Matthew 12:3). In the issue of divorce and remarriage he said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?” (Matthew 19:4). In the issue of true worship and praise he said, “Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes you have prepared praise for yourself’?” (Matthew 21:16). In the issue of the resurrection he said, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’?” (Matthew 21:42). And to the lawyer who queried him about eternal life he said, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” (Luke 10:26).

The apostle Paul also gave reading a great place in the life of the church. For example, he said to the Corinthians, “We write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end” (2 Corinthians 1:13). To the Ephesians he said, “When you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3). To the Colossians he said, “When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea” (Colossians 4:16). Reading the letters of Paul was so important that he commands it with an oath: “I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren” (1 Thessalonians 5:27).

The ability to read does not come intuitively. It must be taught. And learning to read with understanding is a life-long labor. The implications for Christians are immense. Education of the mind in the rigorous discipline of thoughtful reading is a primary goal of school. The church of Jesus is debilitated when his people are lulled into thinking that it is humble or democratic or relevant to give a merely practical education that does not involve the rigorous training of the mind to think hard and to construe meaning from difficult texts.

The issue of earning a living is not nearly so important as whether the next generation has direct access to the meaning of the Word of God. We need an education that puts the highest premium under God on knowing the meaning of God’s Book, and growing in the abilities that will unlock its riches for a lifetime. It would be better to starve for lack of food than to fail to grasp the meaning of the book of Romans. Lord, let us not fail the next generation!

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The Value of Memorizing Scripture

Each month at Regents Academy students memorize passages from the Bible and then recite them before their classmates. Why are we using valuable time and effort to memorize Scripture? Here are some thoughts (and these are things that I have shared in the past – but I thought that they are worth putting before us again).

First, we memorize Scripture because we are a Christian school. A school can, of course, be a Christian school without a Bible memorization program, but on the other hand, would you expect a school that is not Christian to memorize God’s Word? Psalm 1 teaches us that God blesses the man who does not “walk in the counsel of the ungodly” but instead delights in His law and “in His law he meditates day and night.” The psalmist said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Ps 119:11). St. Paul reminded Timothy that he had known the Holy Scriptures since his childhood, and he had grown wise in salvation as a result (2 Tim 3:15). In the early centuries of the church, prospective church leaders were often required to memorize all 150 psalms. There are tremendous spiritual benefits to hiding God’s Word in our minds and hearts. We are better able to listen to God and trust in Him while meditating on His promises and commands that have been hidden away in our minds and hearts.

Memorizing Scripture accords well with the methodology of classical education. In the grammar phase of the Trivium students memorize large volumes of information: spelling rules, history facts, multiplication tables, as well as lots of names, dates, and places. Young children, of course, don’t understand the significance of all that they are memorizing, but we teach it to them over and over again until it is rote, and then later that knowledge will be developed as their ability to understand grows. Likewise, children may not understand all that they are called upon to memorize when they learn Bible passages. But as we place God’s words in their hearts and minds, it affects them nonetheless and is tucked away safely for later days when it will be understood better. Older students in the logic and rhetoric schools, with their greater capacity for understanding, receive great benefit from memorizing the Bible as they consider what it means and how it connects to their lives.

The Bible is a basic text required for cultural fluency. In fact, we might say that it is THE text for cultural fluency. Not only is it impossible to read and understand Shakespeare or Milton or Austen or Eliot without knowing the Bible. It is also impossible to understand our times without knowing the Bible. Students are given instant access to the language, ideas, and doctrines of the Bible when they memorize it – and that is invaluable for students to make a difference in our culture for Christ.

Bible memorization also helps develop recitation skills. Students at Regents Academy recite a lot: Latin conjugations, poems, prayers, memorized pieces, history facts. As students grow up through the Trivium, they are trained to recite and speak to audiences with confidence and poise, with a strong voice, and with rhetorical skill. Memorized Bible passages, then, are another training tool in preparing students to be persuasive, winsome public speakers. Francis Bacon famously asserted that “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” We might add that recitation maketh an eloquent man.

Finally, I can say from my own experience that a school-sponsored Scripture memorization program provides accountability. Busyness, distractions, and laziness keep me from making Bible memorization a priority. But with the Bible being consistently placed in my mind at school, I can call on that knowledge and be better equipped to trust Christ.

I encourage us all to see the value of memorizing the Bible, to memorize the Bible along with our children, and to thank the Lord for yet another gift He has given us through classical Christian education at Regents Academy.

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