Reformed Thinkers on Education: Henry Schultze, Or the Integrated Personality

Dear Reader,

This post is part of an ongoing series in search of a reformed Christian philosophy theology of education. Find all the posts here.

I am returning today to my a series-within-a-series on reformed thinkers on education, The introductory post to this mini-series is here.

Today’s thinker is Henry Schultze who is featured, briefly, in Fundamentals in Christian Education by Cornelius Jaarsma (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1953). A quick Google search tells me that Schultze was a professor of Greek and education who served as president of Calvin College and who was a minister in the Christian Reformed Church. 

In his article, “The Man of God Thoroughly Furnished,” Schultze combines some of the ideas of Van Til and Lockerbie, both of whom I rather liked. (He would have been a contemporary of Van Til but came well before Lockerbie. I say “combined” from my perspective. He certainly didn’t know Lockerbie and I don’t know if he was writing before or after Van Til who outlived him by decades.)

When speaking of education, D. Bruce Lockerbie uses the word integration. Our original state was one of integration, the Fall brought disintegration, and our goal is now re-integration. For Lockerbie this integration, as we have seen, is on two levels. We, as people, contain various parts — minds, hearts, bodies, and souls — which must be integrated. Our subject matter must also be integrated. As it all comes from One Source — Lockerbie like his mentor Gaebelein often quotes “All truth is God’s truth” — there is unity to knowledge because it all comes from One Source. 

For Cornelius Van Til the goal of education, the goal of human life, is to develop the personality. This goal is rooted not in the Fall but in Creation. Our purpose was also to become more and more distinct personalities. The Fall has perhaps gotten us farther from that goal and made it harder to achieve but it has not fundamentally changed our purpose.   Van Til sees our personalities as refelctions of God. As we develop them, we more fully reflect Him and thereby give Him glory.

While Lockerbie speaks of integration and Van Til of personality, Schultze speaks of integrated personalities. He begins by discussing various possible goals for education. It is not, he says, to pour facts into the child. Facts, even facts about the Bible itself are not our goal:

“But at best the memorization of Biblical material can be but a means to an end. Some of the cleverest atheists have an enviable knowledge of the Bible . . . We little realized that individuals that know the Scriptures well can blaspheme a bit more heinously because they have at their disposal Biblical material, and for the same reason thet can mock a bit more effectively.” (p. 177)

Nor is the goal to teach the student to think. It is not even to teach him values or to give him “character education.” The real goal of education, Schultze says, should be “the restoration of the image bearer of God” (p. 179). As for Lockerbie, for Schultze sin is disintegration and restoration is equated with integration.

But what do we mean by integration? We have already seen that Lockerbie and Gaebelein do not define it the same way. When Gaebelein uses the term, he seems to be thinking of what we mgiht call the integration of faith and life, of the bringing our faith to bear on every area of life. Lockerbie uses integration to refer to the interrelatedness of all subjects. Schultze here uses it in yet another way, in two ways actually, though I believe they are related. For him integration has to do with seeing God in all areas of life and with having a unified heart.

“Thinking the thoughts after God was and should be the great educational objective. Pupils should be trained so that they cannot look at anything without seeing God, nor hear, touch, or taste anything without coming into vital connection with God.” (p. 179)

There is somewhat of a chicken-and-egg problem here, and I am not sure which Schultze would say comes first, but this integrated view of life is closely tied to what Schultze calls an integrated personality:

“One cannot be integrated until he has learned to regard all that he has and is and knows in the light of God’s will . . .  I know of no higher objective than that of developing integrated personalities. The purpose is then to promote lives entirely free of duplicity, minds free of confusion, and desires free of contrary directions. An integrated personality is one which finds all things centered in God, coming from God, evaluated by God, existing for God. It is a matter of making Christlike individuals. And Christ was a fully integrated person.” (pp. 182-83)

I have read no better statement of the goal of education and of life than this (and, believe me, I have read a lot of them).

The doctrine of total depravity tells us that we do not have it in us to will or do good. When we, by the grace of God, come to faith, we begin to be renewed. We now, again through God’s power alone, have some desire and ability to do good. But the sin nature is still there, leaving us in conflict. As the Apostle Paul said, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:15; ESV). This is disintegration. We are split against ourselves. Christ, though He had human and divine natures, did not have this. We strive to the same ideal, to be conformed more and more into His image, to unite our hearts (Ps. 86:11). The Scriptures urge us repeatedly to be whole-hearted in our faith (2 Kgs. 20:3; 1 Chr. 28:9; 29:19; 2 Chr. 19:9; Ps. 9:1; 86:12; 119:2; Jer. 3:10; 24:7). It is the unity of our wills in the will of God which we seek. It is to see everything in the light of His goodness and grace.

Our goal in education (and in life) is this unity which the Bible calls whole-heartedness. The way we get there is by “surround[ing] that child with a spiritual atmosphere so that he cannot reach out without touching God from some angle” so that “all the branches of learning bring God into the life of the child” (p. 183).

It has been my contention that in education we bring before the child the things of God. Though he does not say so in as many words, I feel that Schultze would agree. The things we teach, the math and science and history and so on, are God’s general revelation, His revealing of Himself to us in His Creation and in His Providence. Though this alone can be powerful, we frame this knowledge for children through our attitudes and expectations, by creating an atmosphere in which God is honored and in which He is the touchstone for all things. Schultze speaks of  “the attitudes, the words, the discussions, the spirit, the placards on the wall and so on” (p. 183; I am less convinced of the power of placards).  It is not necessary for us to do this perfectly —

“One will not have to change the world to effect this controlled atmosphere. They need not be in a sinless place. Proper reaction to sin brings God immediately into the situation.” (p. 183)

Schultze, like Van Til, speaks of personality. For Van Til, the development of the personality is supreme and is rooted in Creation. Schultze, so far as I can tell, roots his philosophy on the Fall; it is the effects of the Fall which are undone in education. I think there is perhaps some middle ground here. As we seek the unity, the whole-heartedness, Schultze describes that the unique personality is developed. This is at times hard for us to believe; too often we identify ourselves more by our sins than by our positive traits. But as we are sanctified, we should only become more of the persons we were meant to be. Sin is de-humanizing; undoing the effects of sin is humanizing. I agree with Van Til, however, that man before the Fall had some purpose. Though sin had not yet entered the world, life was not static. There was some goal that he was meant to be working towards. The Fall made this goal farther away and harder to achieve.

This short essay by Schultze is my new favorite. It sums up much of what I had been thinking, some of which I had not quite put into words. It brings in Van Til’s idea of the personality but shows us that, since the Fall, that personality but be re-united. It has been fragmented by sin and to be whole-hearted, we need to purge ourselves of those sinful desires so that our wills will be united with God’s will. Education (which is not just for children) serves a role in this process because it brings us in contact with the things of God and frames them in a way that shows us how they relate to one another and how they all point back to their Creator.

Nebby

4 responses to this post.

  1. […] be thus transformed is to become more and more conformed to the image of Christ.  It is to become more and more “whole-hearted.” The effect of sin is to divide us, to make us double-minded beings. Our hearts and minds are […]

    Reply

  2. […] less and they more and more are united to a single purpose which aligns with the will of God. (Henry Schultze on the Integrated Personality; Lockerbie on Christian […]

    Reply

  3. […] in the air what is so pervasive that we take it in with every breath. It is what we live in. Henry Schultze uses the same word when he speaks of “a spiritual atmosphere so that he cannot reach out […]

    Reply

  4. […] example, Lockerbie and Gaebelein). My favorite definition of what this integration is comes from Henry Schultze who connects it with the biblical idea of being whole-hearted, that is, having an undivided heart […]

    Reply

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