For two millenia, classical Christian education quietly and instrumentally laid the foundations for Christian culture and the West. Then, a century ago, that all changed. Progressive educators repurposed American education to meet national goals, not Christian ones. By the 1980’s, the loss was profound. It spurred the founding of one of the first classical Christian schools in over two generations. Twelve years after Douglas Wilson founded Logos School in Moscow, Idaho, he published Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (1992). The book’s title was taken from a 1940’s essay written by Dorothy Sayers while at Oxford, which decried the loss of the classical tradition and asked the question
By 1994, the Association of Classical Christian Schools (The ACCS) was founded to help meet the overwhelming demand for training and information on classical Christian education. By the 2000’s, hundreds of classical Christian schools were serving tens of thousands of students. This unprecedented restoration changed the landscape of Christian education in the U.S.
We’ve mentioned G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers, but add to these countless voices like those of C.S. Lewis, Mortimer Adler, Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose—and the list goes on—all advocating for classical Christian tradition in education. Why was this now rare form of education so universally appreciated as recently as 100 years ago?
The answer lies in its outcome… in what students become.