Educating for Life

Reflections on Christian Teaching and Learning

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"[These] essays are not only profoundly beneficial, but also a delight to read. Because they were written over a period of three decades, and are presented in chronological order within each section, it is possible to detect the development of Wolterstorff's thinking in numerous areas. . . . Reading this book is a wonderful educational experience."--Michael Hill, Reformed Theological Review

Few people have influenced the development of Christian schools in the Reformed tradition in North America and around the world as much as Nicholas Wolterstorff. This book draws together the world-renowned Christian philosopher's thoughts and reflections on Christian education over the last three decades. As a tribute to Wolterstorff's contributions, Calvin College education professors Gloria Goris Stronks and Clarence Joldersma have organized a broad array of writings and unpublished speeches into a cohesive volume. The guiding principle in making selections was the inclusion of pieces that speak to people who struggle with what makes education truly Christian.



Wolterstorff's writings on education are divided into four sections. In the first section, he discusses the nature of Christian education. The second section finds Wolterstorff examining criticisms of Christian education. The third section offers his observations on Christian learning within a pluralistic society. Finally, in the fourth section, he looks at some of the goals of Christian education. Of interest to many as a significant development in his maturing thought is the ever increasing role that justice should play in Christian education.


Educating for Life portrays Wolterstorff's evolving thinking on education while paying tribute to him as one of the premier Christian philosophers of our day.




The Authors

  1. Nicholas P. Wolterstorff

    Nicholas P. Wolterstorff

    Nicholas P. Wolterstorff (PhD, Harvard University) is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University and senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous books,...

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  2. Gloria Goris Stronks

    Gloria Goris Stronks

    Gloria Goris Stronks is a scholar in residence at Whitworth University and the author of several books. She previously served as professor of education at Calvin University. She is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including A Vision with a...

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  3. Clarence W. Joldersma

    Clarence W. Joldersma

    Clarence W. Joldersma (PhD, University of Toronto) is professor of education at Calvin College.

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"Stronks and Joldersma have gathered nearly a score of [Wolterstorff's] groundbreaking speeches so the reader is able to see the broader panorama of his version for Christian education. . . . This present volume fleshes out and expands in a cogent way his Reformed philosophy of education. . . . Because many of the essays originated as public addresses, they are highly readable and even entertaining. A comprehensive index makes the volume useful for the researcher. Wolterstorff's connection to Calvin College and Seminary remains strong and vital. This book pays tribute to Wolterstorff as one of the premier Christian philosophers of our day."--Robert C. DeVries, Calvin Theological Journal

"Nicholas Wolterstorff has been a leading proponent of and educational philosopher for the Christian schools movement in the USA in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Educating for Life is an edited collection of his writings, as a compendium of his most important thought. . . . In the midst of current debates about evangelical Christian schools and Muslim schools, the issue of discrimination is a vital one. Those deeply involved in such debates will find some nuggets of wisdom and some encouragement in this book."--David Muir, Anvil

"Wolterstorff's latest book broadens and deepens conversation about Christian education on several levels. . . . Educating for Life offers a stimulating array of Wolterstorff's long reflection about Christian education."--Douglas V. Henry, Perspectives in Religious Studies

"[Wolterstorff] is known for mastering various fields of philosophy in a relatively short period of time, and then making a significant contribution. He has done so in epistemology, aesthetics, and philosophy of religion, and he has done so again with this collection of essays concerning the philosophy of education. . . . The essays in Educating for Life are argued aggressively and perceptively from Wolterstorff's thoughtful Christian perspective, and will be quite helpful to anyone interested in Christian schooling or higher education."--Bruce Riley Ashford, Faith & Mission

"Wolterstorff is an accomplished philosopher with a good knowledge of Christian theology and it is rare to find these skills applied so boldly to the field of education. . . . This is an interesting book which, despite its North American orientation, has much to teach those who wish to examine the rationale for faith-based schools in Europe."--Marcus C. Felderhof, Journal of Beliefs & Values

"In this well-written and accessible collection of essays and speeches, Nicholas Wolterstorff addresses a number of topics related to Christian day schooling."--Raymond R. Roberts, IRT Bulletin

"The high aspirations that Wolterstorff has for Christian primary and secondary education put the overly modest goals of most Christian colleges to shame. . . .The importance of what Wolterstorff has to say makes this essential reading for anyone interested in Christian education."--Todd Lake, Perspectives in Religious Studies

"Wolterstorff surely ranks among the foremost Christian education thinkers in the world today. His thinking is deserving of the attention of anybody concerned to develop a Christian perspective on education, and I know of no better way to access it than through [this book]."--John Shortt, Journal of Education and Christian Belief

"Important issues for the whole of American culture today quickly emerge and make the book well worth reading for those in higher education thinking about the place of religion in our own institutions or in the wider society. . . . Wolterstorff offers a powerful vision: countercultural Christian schools that educate for a distinctively Christian way of being in the world, that integrate Christian faith with every aspect of learning, and that, because they are Christian, value justice and peace."--William C. Placher, Teaching Theology and Religion