Training for Our Finest Hour
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Dear Providential History Families,
As I sat down to write this post, I noticed on my shelf two books, both written about World War II in England and sitting side-by-side. One, concerning Winston Churchill’s actions in the early days of the war is called Darkest Hour. The other, written by Churchill himself is called Their Finest Hour.
I’m reminded that perspective is everything.
How could Churchill see this devastating time as England’s “finest” hour? Because he was convinced that they were engaged in a struggle against true forces of evil, that he had been born “for such a time as this” and that the ideas that Hitler and the authoritarian Axis powers sought to destroy were worth fighting (and even dying) for.
We too find ourselves in a battle today….a battle against deadly ideas, a battle to preserve our Judeo-Christian heritage, a battle to defend traditional Creator-granted liberties and the rule of law. There's never been a time when it's more crucial to know our own history, to understand the biblical roots of liberty, law, representation, property and self-government . . . and to understand God's sovereignty over it all. It's His- Story! . . . and His-Story is captivating.
It's full of heroes and villains, valor in defeat, sin and suffering, pivotal battles, miraculous providences and amazing stories of how God has been accomplishing His plan through men and nations since the beginning of time. . . and we’re commanded to both remember and teach these things to our children:
“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done...so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God . . . that they should not be like their fathers, (who) armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle. . . . they forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them.” Psalm 78: 4-11
Did you catch that? We “remember” so that we might “stand firm in the day of battle,” trusting God. We recount his faithfulness over the centuries to remind ourselves that He is the same God yesterday, today and forever. The study of these subjects is vital preparation for the cultural revolution that faces us today.
However, what appears to be a “dark” hour may yet be our “finest” hour as we are humbled, learning more and more to trust God and to be obedient to what He shows us. It is not lost on me…..and I trust not lost on you that right now, it’s critical to:
1. know our history and the “mighty works of God” throughout the centuries, building strong
confidence in Him
2. be encouraged by seeing God’s faithfulness from generation to generation
3. understand that “government” doesn’t just mean “civil” and that the individual, the family and the
church are all legitimate, biblical “spheres” of government with vital jurisdictions and authority that
must be protected
4. affirm that the Bible really does have truths that apply to every area of life, including civil
5. learn the “big ideas” of civil government like “the king is under the law,” “legitimate governments
are formed by voluntary consent,” “liberty requires self-government” and “what biblical resistance
to tyranny looks like.”
6. differentiate between various systems of government and recognize that they reflect a worldview
7. be convinced and encouraged to defend the principles of liberty by tracing those ideas in historical
covenants and other documents, uncovering the original philosophies that undergird our Declaration
of Independence, our Constitution and the constitutional republic designed at our founding.
Of course there’s more. . . but I’ll stop there : )
To meet these needs, I offer academically challenging, engaging and, most importantly, providence-focused and principle-based CLASSES for high school students in World and American History, Government and Economics. I also lead Field Study TOURS for on-site learning and adventure.
One of the distinctives of the classes is that while you are provided with everything (and more) that your student will need to be successful, these are parent-directed classes, designed to be overseen by you! The primary tool is a user-friendly website with a full page devoted to each week. That weekly webpage contains:
· the recorded video lecture
· lecture notesheets for the student to fill in and use in building the notebook
· homework assignment sheet
· downloadable resources (like primary documents) needed for homework
· Extras! Related video clips, news items, and some book and movie recommendations for those who
want to dig deeper or consume something edifying!
Parents receive detailed rubrics for grading assignments, along with completed “sample” assignments to help in evaluating and encouraging their student.
Each year, I choose one course to really focus on and to “track with” weekly. In God’s providence, this year it will be American Government and Economics. There could be no better moment. In the midst of what is sure to be an eventful pre- and post-election period with plenty of real-world application, I’m SO looking forward to recording lectures each week and teaching the class “live” in Orlando once a month. What a vital time to help your young people understand just what’s in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution (HINT: it’s mostly NOT about taxes) and where those ideas came from or even the importance of the Electoral College. Only policy geeks talked about it ten years ago, but it’s now under constant attack. We’ll study how it works to actually protect American liberty.
Because American Government and Economics are the classes I’ll “track with” this year, there will be a couple of special opportunities attached. I’ll be offering a live but optional WEEKLY homework help session and discussion as well as the option to attend a live lecture ONCE MONTHLY in Orlando. We’ll do American Government as a half-credit course in the Fall and Economics as a half-credit course in the Spring. For those who are not part of a co-op, you are welcome to pace the class as you see fit, starting anytime after August 7th. I’ll be producing and posting video lectures along with all the ancillary materials weekly from that point forward.
If you don’t need American Government and Economics or would just prefer another class, both American History and World History are fully uploaded as online courses NOW. You are welcome to register and begin at any time. Both of those courses contain significant Humanities elements and are designed as 1.5 credit classes (Full credit of History and half credit of Humanities). I LOVE teaching them and believe you’ll find the stories and the ideas unforgettable and worldview changing. You can find more information in the syllabi uploaded on my website.
All the class information is available on my website and as always, classes are $200 per semester. You’re welcome to contact me with questions and to register at any time. However, in celebration of America’s birthday, I’m offering a $25 discount per semester on all classes if you register before July 4th. Just enter the code LIBERTY25 at checkout if you’re registering for Government or Economics or LIBERTY50 if you register for American or World History.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to be “salt and light” amongst a perishing people, to be able to engage the wider world with the gospel and to teach people about the blessings that come when we live all of life in the light of God’s truth, conforming every “sphere” of government- from our own hearts to our families, churches and the civil realm- to the unchanging higher standard of God. I’m here to help equip you and your students to do just that.
Churchill was a committed student of history. As it turned out, this was part of the providential preparation that shaped his ability to see the true threats that faced England, that made him willing to defend a unique legacy of liberty rooted in biblical principle that had flowed through Britain, that made him able to declare in their darkest days that the English people would persevere in defending what was good and true and right. He said: “We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” In God's providence, the British people suffered much but fulfilled that promise, defended their nation, and helped defeat evil leaders bent on subjugating Europe and Asia. It was indeed their "finest hour."
My prayer is that through our studies of history, government and economics we too will appreciate the incredible gift of liberty granted by God to this country, an understanding that while America has in many ways destroyed her own foundations, the biblical ideas upon which she was established are worth defending and restoring. That not to do so would, in the words of the Winston Churchill of 1775, make one “guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.” That was Patrick Henry . . . who inspired American colonists to take courage in the face of adversity and to persevere in defending what was good and true and right…and they did….it was “their finest hour.” Today, it’s our turn.
I very much look forward to teaching and learning with you next year!