by Jerry Newcombe
With school back in full session around the country, it’s interesting to think about how the Bible is often banned directly or indirectly in schools. The 2016 PureFlix movie, “God’s Not Dead 2,” dealt with that issue so well.
Yet the Bible gave birth to schools for the masses. There would be no public schools without the sacred book.
The first law to mandate compulsory education for children in British North America was passed in Puritan Boston. It was called “the Old Deluder Satan Act.” It was written first in 1642 and adopted in 1647.
It states, “It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue…and to the end that learning may not be buried in the grave of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors.” They were saying, in other words: The devil has kept us from the Bible long enough. And we do not want Bible-knowledge to die off when our church leaders do.
Therefore, let schools be established to promote knowledge of God’s Word. The act continues, “It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read…”
For the first 200 years or so after the settling of America, education at all levels was explicitly Christian — so that people could read the Bible for themselves. The original colleges and universities were explicitly Christian to train ministers.
In 1692, the Puritans produced a short little book, of which there eventually millions of copies published. It was called The New England Primer, and it went through multiple editions.
David Barton of WallBuilders has reproduced the short primer, and he once gave me a copy of the 1777 version.
The New England Primer taught American children the alphabet using biblical truths. For example, “A — in Adam’s Fall, We sinned all.” “B — thy life to mend, the Bible tend.” “C — Christ crucified, for sinners died.”
The primer contained all 107 questions and answers of the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), which includes this famous question and answer:
“Quest. WHAT is the chief end of man?
“Ans. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
The New England Primer also contained the Apostles’ Creed, the centuries-old summation of the Christian faith which is recited in churches all over the world to this day.
The primer was quite influential, and all the founding fathers from New England (and beyond) were weaned on Biblical principles, in part through this little book. This would include Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Sam Adams, John Hancock, and so on.
SOURCE: Christian Post
Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is an on-air host/senior producer for D. James Kennedy Ministries. He has written/co-written 26 books, including The Book That Made America, Doubting Thomas (w/ Mark Beliles, on Jefferson), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (w/ D. James Kennedy) & George Washington’s Sacred Fire (w/ Peter Lillback). djameskennedy.org@newcombejerry