TC ERT Apr 2015 Vol 39 No 2


Now available
Paternoster Periodicals, c/- 8-9 Vanguard Court, Preston Farm, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 3TR, UK

Theme: Education, Culture and Faith


  1. Editorial – Education, Culture and Faith
  2. Education and Learning in Christian Perspective by Thomas Schirrmacher
  3. Jan Amos Comenius and his ‘Forging Place of Humanity’ by Jan Hábl
  4. Proposal for a Theological Prolegomena of Education: Lessons from Herman Bavinck’s Legacy by Hanniel Strebel
  5. What is ‘Perichoresis’ and Why Does It Matter? by John Jefferson Davis
  6. Sin v. Taboo Compatibility in Africa and the West: Implications for inter-cultural Mission, Church, and Majority World Development by Jim Harries
  7. The Catholicity of the Church: Reconciling the call for Exclusive Doctrine and Inclusive Community by Jonathan Cole
  8. Review Article: God’s Mission through Suffering and Martyrdom by Roy Stults
  9. Reviews

Editorial: Education, culture and faith

Education remains a key issue for Christians today, just as in the past. The opening article, a speech given at a secondary school jubilee by our General Editor, Dr Thomas Schirrmacher, presents a forceful argument for a biblically based but fully comprehensive educational philosophy with the aim of providing a school where Christian values and content are taught, exemplified and practiced with full awareness of the cultural context.

It is appropriate to move on to a study by Jan Hábl (Czech Republic) of one of the most influential educators of the modern era, Jan Amos Comenius (1592-1670). It focuses on the anthropological assumptions of his educational project, which is to be humanitatis officinae, ie., a ‘forging-place of humanity. Pointing to the significance of Comenius, Hábl states, ‘In the context of the dehumanising tendencies of current society, pedagogical humanisation seems to be an urgent issue in contemporary education.’

Theological issues lie at the heart of this topic as much as they do with any other, so we present the proposal of Hanniel Strebel (Switzerland) for a ‘Theological Prolegomena of Education’ - an exposition of the thinking of Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). This paper deals with the aims of education, the nature of humanity and certain areas of methodology as advanced by this famous Dutch Neo-Calvinist who was thoroughly immersed in educational matters and public life in a time of great turmoil. He had a comprehensive world-view energised by a profound theology which can still be of assistance today.

Although the exposition by John J. Davis (USA) of the meaning and significance of perichoresis (the relations within the godhead) may at first appear unrelated to our theme, it does show that in the broadest of ways the very nature of God is a crucial factor in our humanity, not least in regard to the notion of person. The author’s list of practical implications could easily have been expanded to cover the topic of education and culture.

Jim Harries (Kenya) returns to our pages to explain how the categories of sin and taboo have become so confused as cause both to disappear from view in the West.’ While taboo might be strange to western ears, Harries concludes it is ‘a necessary category’ and one ‘that needs to be clearly recognized for the sake of the healthy functioning of non-western communities.’ So we have moved into a non-formal area of learning and development, but one that it is just as important in its own context as the thought provoking material presented in the other articles

We round off this issue with a practical article by Jonathan Cole (Australia) which sets out ways in which the dis-unity of the church in relation to doctrine and fellowship can be better understand and thereby overcome. Unless this problem can be tackled with integrity, any efforts to advance our thinking and practice in the area of education, culture and faith will be limited.

Thomas Schirrmacher, General Editor
David Parker, Executive Editor