Posted: September 23rd, 2022


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The lessons have explained many important reasons for Christians to study secular literature.
Below are included the lecture notes
ENGL 102
LECTURE NOTES: A Christian Holistic Approach to the Study of Literature
I. There are three primary considerations to keep before us regarding the nature of
this course.
A. God has constructed the mind in such a way that it controls what comes in as well
as what goes out.
B. While learning is a result of good study, it is more a result of good thought
C. The job of the Christian educator is not to force the student into the assimilation
of x amount of sterile facts; rather, the teacher should stimulate thinking—
thinking that is designed for life.
II. Much of the emphasis in education now, however, is upon the parts that make up
A. Within these fragments of history, the humanities, the sciences, etc., the emphasis
is upon quantity: the number of pages covered and the amount of facts
B. When life is dissected into sterile components, it dies.
III. History does provide examples of education which were holistic, interdisciplinary,
and designed for life.
A. One clear example is Jewish education under the Old Testament economy:
1. In Jewish education, a twelve- or thirteen-year-old boy was considered a
2. His school was conducted six days a week, twelve hours per day, and
about one half of the day was spent in practical application of the
3. The overall purpose and objective of this school was life as a whole with
an emphasis upon character building.
B. Another clear example is found in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
ENGL 102
LECTURE NOTES: A Balanced Use of Educational Media
I. The medium of television has inundated American culture.
A. From age five to age eighteen, an American child has viewed over 15,000 hours
of television.
B. Once movie attendance and listening to radios and stereos is factored in, the
exposure hours to electronic media easily reaches 20,000 hours.
C. This is at least double the amount of time which a child spends with school and
II. There are some important differences between electronic curriculum and
traditional classroom/printed curriculum.
A. The most obvious differences involve setting:
1. In a classroom, content is more important than attention via entertainment;
with television, the converse is true.
2. A classroom, mirroring life itself, is a “penalty-laden curriculum”;
television is not.
3. Television has the advantage of continuousness and imminence.
4. Commercial television’s learning modules are extremely short.
5. Classroom curriculum is community centered; television curriculum tends
to reinforce what Christopher Lasch has labeled “cultural narcissism.”
B. The most important difference is that the two curricula use different alphabets.
1. The traditional classroom uses language—a “digital” code of information.
2. Television uses pictures—an “analogic” code of information.
C. The traditional curriculum stresses cause-and-effect, linear history; television
curriculum stresses the non sequitur.
D. Traditional and television curricula also present differing templates of
authority/authoritarian structures.
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ENGL 102
Page 1 of 2
LECTURE NOTES: The Importance of the Study of Literature to the Christian
I. Church history provides much evidence for an antipathy and hostility on the
part of Christians toward literature.
A. The early Church
1. Tertullian
2. Augustine
B. The Puritans
1. Richard Baxter
2. Cotton Mather
3. Charles Spurgeon
C. Contemporary examples:
1. Bible institutes
2. Drug rehabilitation centers
II. Secular antipathy is also now growing against the study of literature.
A. The apotheosis (i.e., raising to the level of a god) of technology
B. The drift of liberal arts institutions toward vocational education
C. Economic pressures on the humanities (i.e., the argument of utilitarianism)
D. The drift toward an illiterate society
III. Arguments can be raised, however, in favor of the study of literature as a legitimate
Christian pursuit.
A. A rescue from the trap of mindless amusement
B. A wealth of insight into the plight of our world and the needs of our
C. A hermeneutic aid to Bible study (N.B.—Christianity is a book religion. The
Bible is a work of literature, and an understanding of literature increases our
understanding of Scripture.)
ENGL 102
Page 2 of 2
D. A sharpening of our own theological focus
1. F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. D. H. Lawrence
3. G. B. Shaw

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