John Wesley on the Education of Children (Sermon 95)

Life-size statue of John Wesley on the campus ...
Life-size statue of John Wesley on the campus of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“And education under Pythagoras or Socrates had no other end, but to teach children to think and act as Pythagoras and Socrates did.

“And is it not reasonable to suppose that a Christian education should have no other end but to teach them how to think, and judge, and act according to the strictest rules of Christianity?”

via Sermon 95 – On the Education of Children – General Board of Global Ministries.

Wesley goes on, after quoting Mr. Law, to speak to the natural state of the person. We are prideful atheists who love injustice and pleasing the world. So, how do we fix such things in our children? Education of course. Education to the doctrines of the Christian church.

As I noted on Facebook, it is very interesting to note John Wesley’s insistence that our natural state is one of atheism and his decision to believe certain doctrines (he forced himself to believe). Thus, his reliance on sound theological education of children. It would seem Wesley was ahead of his time, answering the results of the polls conducted by Barna and Pew regarding why people leave the Church.

Do you want to keep people from leaving the Church?


(i say this with the intention that you teach them equally to think as much as what we believe).

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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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