Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Couple of Books and Learning Together

At present I am now reading AW Tozer's The Pursuit of God (online, since I haven't been able to find a used copy in print so far) and also reading a book that until recently I had never heard of, The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory. It turns out that these two books go hand in hand, each augmenting my appreciation of the other. The pastor is presenting Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy during second service, as well. (This is no coincidence; it was in searching for it online that I discovered The Pursuit of God available there.)
Even though The Seven Laws is written for teachers, whether secular or Christian and is also pertinent for homeschool parents' use, generally for application in teaching children, it illustrates in depth the orderliness required in the learning process at any age. A person can't make the leap in learning to a previously unexplored realm until a realm similar and adjacent has been met. On page 68 of The Seven Laws, Gregory points out that "New elements of knowledge must be brought into relation with other facts and truths already known before they themselves can be fully revealed and take their place in the widening circle of the experience of the learner. Thus the very nature of knowledge compels us to seek the new through the aid of the old." In fact, I understand the concepts that this book presents all the better because I have observed many of them firsthand in the process of homeschooling, and yet I wish I had read the book thirteen years ago, when we started; I think it would have improved my approach.
This need for what I might refer to as a progressive revelation is true enough of all realms of life, and for all ages, but of course can be applied to learning about and knowing God--we can't know Him well instantaneously; we can't immediately learn of Him a leap beyond our previous learning of Him; He is so infinite that our earthly understanding will never encompass even all of what He has revealed to mankind; and we can't of course make the leap to know of Him what He does not reveal anywhere on earth to man, so we can't yet fully know Him at all. Also, I believe there is no learning of Him that He does not initiate.
These books help me appreciate the way our church is promoting Ephesians beginning this fall: We don't have the church divided in learning about different books of the Bible or different aspects of faith all separately, further individualizing our walks. We learn them church-wide at the same time. For the coming season, our sermons will be on Ephesians. We will have Tuesday night Bible studies on Ephesians (which Tim and I work on together during the week as part of his homeschooling). Tim's Sunday School class will study Ephesians. The pastor said that the benefit of all this is that it increases and enables fellowship that actually focuses on God's word--and it is easy to imagine how this might help everyone in the church advance in their learning about God's Word, and therefore in our better knowledge of Him and ability to glorify Him. We can more readily speak to one another in something like "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" as His word describes.
I am struck by the fact that even Tim, age 9, sees the benefit in it. He already feels more closely intertwined with the adults in the church because of it. He repeatedly expresses how he loves this church, and while we were doing our study the other night he just sighed and said how great it is that we're all studying Ephesians together. I agree.

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