Corruption in the church is not new. I think of the priests who operated houses of prostitution in Geneva, in the 1500's.

The people ran the bishop out of town in 1530. William Farel, a French evangelist, came in 1531. His co-worker, Antoine Froment cried in the markeplace, "We must reform the church in order to reform the nation!"

Farel sought John Calvin, demanding he come to Geneva to apply the theology he was writing about. Calvin came at the age of 27, and rebuilt this broken city on three essentials:

  1. Preaching the Gospel: "…so that people would be saved and start to be transformed and the church would be restored to biblical purity."
  2. Teaching: "…so that people would know how to live, the authorities would know how to govern, and all would know how to work in their different spheres."
  3. Accountability: "…so that the teaching would not just be theoretical but applied in all areas of life."

Calvin had no room for a Sacred-Secular Divide. He believed "holy vocations" included the work of the banker as well as the pastor, and advised bankers to not charge high interest rates, identifying this as the sin of "usury" in the Bible. Calvin understood that Jesus is the Lord of all banks.

Geneva became "a city on a hill," where a healthy church of transformed people engaging in God-glorifying work throughout every sphere of life in the city brought righteous commerce and just governance to the public square from the inside out, not the outside in.

John Knox came to Geneva and took what he learned to Scotland. English believers were influenced by Geneva, and later brought the so-called "Protestant Work Ethic" to North America.

See Thomas Bloomer's, "Calvin and Geneva: Nation-Building Missions." Click here.

Exploring or learning about anything in God’s world without considering God’s revelation of His plans and purposes for His creation is foolishness. But of course, you know that the Bible, God’s word, is important. Obviously, anything that claims to be Christ-centered must be Bible-based or it is merely the figment of our imagination. But what exactly is the role of the Bible in education? Why do many students struggle to see the relevance of the Bible? Why do many teachers find transformational interactions with their students so much easier outside the classroom, rather than in the midst of studying the details of what God has made, where Romans 1:19-20 says His power and nature are clearly seen?

By Rev. Dr. Ed Hird in Light Magazine, July 2017

David Thompson represents the best of the early Canadian explorers. A strong Christian, he remained faithful to his wife and never sold alcohol to First Nations people. Thompson had seen so many First Nations people harmed by the liquor trade that he had acquired a strong aversion to such profiteering. When once forced to carry alcohol on his donkeys, he tied the ropes so loose that the barrels were smashed on the mountain rocks.

Born April 30, 1770 in Westminster, Middlesex England to Welsh parents, Thompson's father died when he was only two years old. His mother moved the family to London, changing their Welsh name ApThomas to the more easily spoken Thompson. When Thompson moved to Canada, he never again saw either his family or London. In his journal, he wrote of a "long and sad farewell to my noble, my sacred country, an exile for ever."

Thompson grew to love "the forest and the white water, the shadow and the silence, the evening fire, the stories and the singing and a high heart." He was modest, talented and deeply spiritual. The First Nations people gave him the name Koo-Koo-Sint, which means 'Star-Gazer', in recognition of his star-based map work. A dedicated scientist using the best mapping technology of his day, Thompson had learned about map-making during a year-long recovery after badly breaking his leg, and nearly dying.

Thompson apprenticed with the Hudson's Bay Company, but later switched to their competitors, the North West Company, because the Hudson's Bay Company wanted him to focus on furs, not map-making. The North West Company appointed Thompson their official Surveyor and Map Maker, and proudly displayed his finished map of Canada on their boardroom wall. early 19th Century map of Western Canada was essentially blank until Thompson filled it in. Thompson has been described as a great surveyor disguised as a fur trader, and a marvelous scientist with the sensitive soul of a prophet.

He explored and surveyed more than a million and a half square kilometres of wilderness, accomplishing the staggering feat of mapping half a continent. Renowned explorer Alexander Mackenzie was astounded, and remarked Thompson had performed more in 10 months than could have been done in two years. Thompson's map, his greatest achievement, was so accurate that 100 years later it remained the basis for many of the maps issued by the Canadian government and railway companies. We can even credit him with the exacting survey of much of the Canadian/US boundary along the 49th Parallel.

Thompson's travel journal (Columbia Journals) shows his multifaceted gifts as scientific explorer, geographer, cartographer, and naturalist. Some scholars have described Thompson's Journal as one of the finest works in Canadian literature. His directness in prose, his modesty and ability to see himself and others, his sharp powers of observation and intense practicality all contribute to a vivid glimpse of early Canadian pioneering.

Unlike many 'Nor-Westers', Thompson did not abandon his Metis wife Charlotte and his family when he finally became wealthy. David and Charlotte Thompson, who had seven sons and six daughters, were only parted by his death 58 years after their marriage.

Thompson tried in vain for years to find a profitable trade route to the Pacific. Upon hearing that American Jacob Astor had sent out his sea and land expedition to the Oregon country, the Canadians sent Thompson to fry once again. Thompson and his voyageurs bravely made their way down the Columbia River. They were continually wet up to the middle, and exposed to cold high winds. The glacier water deprived them of all feeling in their limbs. Despite such hardships, Thompson never gave up, instead writing in his journal that they "continued under the mercy of the Almighty and at sunset put up, each of us thankful for our preservation."

When they finally reached the Pacific watershed, Thompson knelt on the banks of the Blueberry Creek and prayed aloud: "May God in his mercy give me to see where these waters flow into the ocean, and let us return in safety." He and his voyageurs eventually did make it to the mouth of the Columbia River, but unfortunately arrived there after Jacob Astor. Despite Thompson's great success in canoeing to the mouth of the Columbia and in mapping most of Western Canada, he died in extreme poverty and obscurity, even having to pawn his beloved surveying equipment and his overcoat to buy food for his family. Yet throughout the hardships, Thompson never stopped gazing at the Morning Star, Jesus Christ.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, conference speaker and author of Battle for the Soul of CanadaRestoring Health: Body, Mind and Spirit, and For Better, For Worse: Discovering the keys to a lasting relationship.

VV200A simple, memorable diagram like the Visual Valet - Personal assistant for Christian thinkers and teachers, may be worth more than thousands of words about Biblical integration and Christian philosophy of education. A single page summary of three major ways this visual organizer can be used, is available in multiple languages.

Swiss army knifeChristian thinking involves everything in creation as well as the infinite Creator. Busy teachers and maturing students need something to help them. The Visual Valet is just such a personal assistant. Though it may not be sophisticated enough for philosophers and educational theoreticians, it can assist you in becoming a distinctively Christian thinker and teacher. Like a Swiss army knife, it may be incomplete and unsuitable for large projects, but extremely valuable for many daily tasks.

Take out a clean sheet of paper, and write the following at the top: My Personal Board of Directors. 

In the middle of the page, draw an oval to represent a large conference room table. Print your own name at one end of the table. Around this table, print the names of six or seven others who currently influence you the most—in a positive way. They may be living or deceased. They may be people you have not met, such as authors, media personalities, sports figures, or musicians. They may be people you've known for decades. These are the voices you turn to, listen to, and learn the most from. These are the voices you take seriously when you want counsel, ideas, motivation, companionship, guidance, or a boost of confidence. 

"Thinking skills are like chewing. Knowledge is like food. Neither one makes sense without the other."

Scott Hayden