- Friday, December 15, 2023

There is an antidote to the madness of what Harvard University has become, found in the teaching line of Luke and fully revealed in the first Christmas, the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

In December, we celebrate the holiest Christian observance, the Advent season. During this time, the beauty of the Christmas story and the truth and coherence of the gospel of Jesus Christ take center stage. At one time called by American media, “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” the story of Jesus and the Church delivered from Luke to Theophilus in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, gives great confidence that the tragedy that has befallen Harvard University is not the story of American education.

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Harvard, America’s first college, founded by a vote of the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on September 8, 1636, is no more. The school, whose original motto was adopted in 1692 as “veritas Christo et Ecclesiae” (Truth for Christ and the Church), has long since abandoned both. Their motto is notably absent from the school’s historical timeline but, like an archeological relic, can still be found on the information page for their journal of Christian thought, the Harvard Ichthus.

Harvard’s academic reputation was already tottering by ranking dead last in measures of free speech, but the events of this last week leave any credibility in that previously great institution in tatters. Their last chance to reverse course was lost when the Harvard Corporation unanimously backed their plagiarizing president, who could not bring herself to condemn the endemic antisemitism that now characterizes the Harvard student body. More than 700 Harvard faculty members chimed in to support this decision.

In the short space of only a few months, the three elements that make up a great school, administration, faculty, and students, have all demonstrated an unhinged ideology detached from the “Truth for Christ and the Church” that once was.

There is a better way, found in the first few verses of Luke.

The Christmas Story is famously contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and is a primary focus of families, churches, faith organizations, and Christian schools during December, the Season of Advent. In these celebrations, Luke 1:1-4 is sometimes passed over to get to the narrative of the Christmas story, starting in Luke 1:5. But these first few verses are critically important when considering the state of American education. Luke says:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)

In this incredible introduction, we see the first known example of the transmission of the story of Jesus Christ from teacher to one specific, identifiable student.

Who is Theophilus? There is no solid answer to that question, but he was important enough for Doctor Luke to write him two significant works of Biblical and academic truth, the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. Luke’s introduction in the Gospel named after him gives a perfect example of the exchange of knowledge between teacher and learner. First, a credentialing of his subject matter experience and enthusiasm to teach. Next, an orderly teaching method that is based on truth. Finally, mutual respect between the instructor and student.

Luke’s words to Theophilus in Luke and Acts work symbiotically to teach the story of Jesus Christ and the spread of Christianity. These two critical elements were bequeathed through a long line of teachers to September 8, 1636, when Harvard was founded, and their 1692 motto, “Truth for Christ and the Church.” The book of Luke gives us Christ, and book of Acts gives us the church.

The teachers who deliver the “greatest story ever told” are still found all across America but are few and far between in the DEI-infested halls of modern Ivy League schools. Instead, they are found in rocking chairs, around kitchen tables, in front of Sunday School classes, preaching from Church pulpits, and notably for this story, in the halls and classrooms of great homeschools, elementary and high schools, and Christian universities.

A biblically based, liberal arts curriculum starts in a rocking chair. It is ongoing throughout America this Christmas season as mothers rock sleepless babies, speaking and singing the hope of Jesus Christ into their lives, even before they can understand her words.

Fathers open the Bible or an Advent book and teach their families the truth and beauty of Matthew and Luke’s gospels.

In churches across America, pastors teach the Word of God and clearly, authoritatively, and lovingly deliver the truth of Christ that brings hope and restores the broken souls of their congregation.

Christian schools and homeschools at all levels teach a Biblically based curriculum that emphasizes the central truth of Christ and the Church once acknowledged but now lost at Harvard.

This is a Christian worldview that brings hope and joy, truth and light, with confidence and skills to live and flourish in a broken world. Angry demands for Jewish genocide founded in the neo-Marxist race essentialism taught at Ivy League schools can never offer the same.

This is the great teaching line of Luke, given to Theophilus and passed down through countless generations and endless sacrifices by families, pastors, and teachers across the years of Anno Domini. It is the teaching line we embrace at Colorado Christian University, bequeathed to us by rocking chairs, kitchen tables, school classrooms, and Church pews across America. “Truth for Christ and the Church,” the ideology relayed by Luke to his student Theophilus, still speaks life and hope into a broken world, the very meaning of Christmas.

Dr. David Murphy is a Faculty Fellow at the Centennial Institute and Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Adult and Graduate Studies at Colorado Christian University. He served 25 years as an Air Force fighter pilot and Group Commander before retiring in 2014. He writes extensively on national strategy, security policy, leadership, education, military history, and Just War. The views expressed by the author are his own and do not represent the views of Centennial Institute or Colorado Christian University.

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