Christian worship: an examination of its place in a theory of Christian nurture, in the light of the Christian doctrine of man
Guthrie, James R.
Educational theory cannot escape the problem of man. As soon as the attempt is made to discover what are the determinants of education, one is confronted by Augustine's question: "Quis ergo sum, Deus meus. Quae natura mea?" - the same question as was asked by Job, and by the Psalmist. This is inevitable, since education, being concerned with changes in the self, must inquire into the nature of the material with which it deals. At the core of the entire educational process there is presumed the question: In the interest of what view of the person do I, the teacher, engage in this work of interference with the spontaneity of growth?It follows that the ontological question has priority over the empirological in education. To have an understanding of the psychological dimension, dealing as it does with partial aspects of human nature, is not sufficient, nor is it the primary concern. It Is necessary first, with the the help of those studies which deal with the structure and the character of being, to view man's individual life in its wholeness, and as participating in a totality. This the various forms of eraoirical enquiry, relevant though they are to a total view of man, are incapable of doing, giving us, rather, "excerpts from a larger whole.The various expressions of contemporary existentialism draw attention to the limited usefulness of objectification as a means of reaching the centre of the mystery of man's nature. They have also pointed out that significant and valid knowledge about man is derived from within his own moral and spiritual experience. "I know reality in and through myself, as man".The importance of establishing the primacy of the philosophical and theological disciplines as normative sources of educational theory has to be recognized, if only because educational writing has sometimes appeared to be over-determined by psychological considerations. It is not accidental that many of the major figures in philosophy, from Plato and Aristotle, to Locke, Rousseau, and, In our own day, Dewey, Bertrand Russell and Whitehead, have occupied themselves with the subject of education; since the fundamental questions regarding the nature of personal existence and the purpose of life are common both to philosophy and education. And it may be argued that where there is a lack of a clear directive sense in education, as has been noted by some writers, it springs either from the fact that empirological insights have usurped the place of a clear and regulative doctrine of man, or that where education has not lacked a philosophical foundation, it, like western culture as a whole, has been offered an interpretation of man that does less than justice to his full stature. Perhaps no single element in the thought of leading exponents of education more sensitively exposes the strength and weakness of their system than its implied or explicit anthropology; since this is, in fact, the crux of educational theory.