The Biblical Structure of History (16): Chapter 11, Stories

Gary North – November 12, 2021

And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped (Exodus 12:24–27).

A. Covenantal Model, Part 1

Point 1 of the biblical covenant model is God’s transcendence, which also includes His presence. Point 1 of biblical social theory is sovereignty.

Point 1 of biblical historiography is the telling of stories about the past that manifest God’s sovereignty in history.B. The Limits of Memory

Memory is basic to success in life. For most people, it is a weak link. Most people have poor memories. They recall bits and pieces of the past. Neither they nor psychologists understand how memory works. Specialists can train their memories to accomplish prodigious feats, but these feats are more in the nature of competitive games than aids to help the performers perform their jobs and callings more efficiently. The main mental technique tool of these specialists for millennia has been to imagine a room in which the performer has placed mental images of a series of items that he then links to a series of facts he is trying to recall—facts that are normally unrelated to the images. He places these items is in a particular order. (Frances Yates wrote a 1966 book on the history of this ancient technique: The Art of Memory.) This is not how most people recall the past.

A Christian historian’s most important task is to help God’s people recognize and then trust the sovereignty of God in history. This sovereignty is manifested in His deliverance of His people, individually and corporately, out of the pretended sovereignty of Satan. Satan’s sovereignty is manifested in history by means of the authority of the kingdom of man. Covenantal warfare is primarily an ethical struggle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. Bible stories are tools to help God’s people understand the nature of this struggle. The Bible is mostly a series of stories about struggles between representatives of God’s kingdom and the rival kingdoms. God’s covenant people learn about His sovereignty in history through Bible stories.

Stories are easier to remember than long chains of reasoning. The Bible offers no long chains of reasoning. It offers epistles: theological commentaries on the Bible’s stories and also on the Bible’s revealed laws. These commentaries have been used by theologians to produce books filled with long chains of reasoning, but most Christians do not read these books. Before there were printed books, most Christians did not know about the discipline of theology. That intellectual discipline was the responsibility of bishops and literate bureaucrats under their authority, plus—after 1100—university professors. Even today, when Christians read a book on theology, a month later (or less), they do not remember the book’s long chains of reasoning. At best, they remember a few points, but they cannot explain how they are connected.

In contrast is the Bible. The Bible offers long lists of laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. It offers this message: the centrality of ethics in history. Ethics is built on the authority of these laws, which in turn are enforced by God’s sanctions, positive and negative, in response to people’s obedience or disobedience to these laws (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28). Biblical history is structured in terms of this pattern: the transition from grace to wrath, followed by the transition from wrath to grace. My book offers this thesis: the transition from wrath to grace applies to all history, not just Bible history.

If my thesis is correct, then a Christian historian has this three-part task. First, he reads other historians’ publications in search of stories that reveal this pattern in a specific narrative. Because most historians have been humanists, they did not see this pattern, but their narratives may reveal traces of it. Second, he does detailed research to identify or disprove the pattern. He examines primary source documents for evidence of the pattern. He also examines additional historians’ accounts. Third, he rewrites the humanists’ narratives to make clear what the covenantal issues were, and how they affected the outcome of the story.C. The Five-Point Structure of History’s Pattern: Genesis 1–3

1. Capital

Genesis 1:1–25 is the story of God’s creation of the world prior to mankind. Because God is personal, the world reflects this. God was purposeful. He had a plan. The plan had standards. God repeatedly announced that His work had been good. The story of this creation day sequence affirms cosmic personalism. This is the context of God’s creation of man.

God provided enormous capital for mankind. This was evidence of His grace. What is grace? It is a gift undeserved by the recipient. This gift included laws governing nature. These laws were tools of dominion for anyone who understood them. They provided cosmic regularity, which was part of a system of cause and effect.

This grant of capital would soon serve mankind as an inheritance from God. It was inheritance to mankind. Inheritance is always twofold: inheritance from and inheritance to. Inheritance from begins with life: life itself. Inheritance to extends after death. The Bible’s phrase for this process is this: the death of the testator. “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Hebrews 9:16–17).

How is this a model for Christian historiography? A Christian historian should begin his narrative with background information that provides the context of the covenantal conflict of his narrative. This is the historical context. It is the context for individuals and institutions.

2. Assignment

God had a plan: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (v. 26). The plan was two-fold. First, He would grant mankind life. Second, He would give mankind an assignment: exercise dominion. The whole world would be men’s realm of authority. It would be their inheritance.

Next, God implemented His plan. He provided the next gift to mankind: life. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (v. 27). Covenantally, this was given to both Adam and Eve. Chronologically, it was given first to Adam, but before the day was over, God had given him Eve.

Next, they had to develop the capital. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (v. 28). This defined mankind: exercising dominion. This required labor. Labor was not cursed.

Next, God gave them the right to the fruits of their labor. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (vv. 29–30). This provided economic motivation for them to exercise dominion. This was a positive sanction. Conclusion: Capital/inheritance must be developed. God expects humanity to increase its dominion. The value of the capital/inheritance is supposed to increase over time. Men are stewards for God.

How is this a model for Christian historiography? It offers a theory of progress. (See Chapter 5) It is mandatory for mankind to increase the value of God’s domain. Mankind has the ability to do this. A Christian historian should identify those areas of life in any historical era and geographical region that experienced advancement. Then he should look for explanations for this advancement. Advancement is normative morally. History is not cyclical. It is linear. It is also progressive. The mark of history’s progressive structure is the increased value of the inheritance over time: point 1 (grace) to point 5 (inheritance).

3. Boundaries

God announced a boundary in Genesis 2: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (vv. 15–17). Adam and Eve had almost the whole world as their inheritance. Only one small portion of the garden was not theirs. They were obligated to respect this boundary.

This was a matter of property rights. They were not to steal (commandment 8). In the Decalogue, this was the third law in the second, kingly, series of five. (The first five commandments are priestly.) This indicates that this tree was marked off by God’s name, which was sacred (commandment 3). This was the third law in the first, priestly, series of five. The priestly status of the tree indicated that it had a special legal status. It was the place for a covenantal meal. Access was closed to all humans who did not have the mark of saving grace: immunity from death. Immunity from death was available to mankind only through a communion meal at the tree of life.

This boundary was the first covenantal law governing mankind. To it was attached a negative sanction: death. This is why the dominion covenant was a covenant. It had positive sanctions associated with one boundary: almost the whole earth. It had a negative sanction associated with the other boundary: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tree was sacred: separated by God by law. This boundary was holy space: separated by God for covenantal purposes. To violate this space was to commit sacrilege — a profane act.

How is this a model for Christian historiography? A Christian historian should look for major ethical issues that are associated with sacred space or sacred office. Who violated them? What were the consequences? Who honored them? What were the consequences? In this sense, Christian history is covenantal.

In a broader sense, all of man’s history is covenantal because of ethics. Most laws in the Bible are not associated with holy space. The same is true of all history. But all biblical laws are covenantal. They impose boundaries. To them are attached sanctions. If covenantal authorities—individuals, family heads, church officers, and civil magistrates—do not impose negative sanctions on individuals who break the laws, then God will impose negative sanctiolns on individuals and the derelict institutions. A Christian historian should look for this pattern of covenantal sanctions.

Genesis 1 (capital) and 2:15–17 (law) are the theological foundation for this theological principle: grace precedes law. The first story in the Bible provides information regarding this theological principle. This story is not part of a long chain of reasoning. This is why you may remember it.

4. Performance

Genesis 2 is the story of Adam’s apprenticeship in the garden. God guided him in naming the animals. Adam performed well. God gave Eve to him. This established the family, as Adam announced on his authority: “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (vv. 23–24). Adam had begun to speak as a law-giver. He did not violate God’s authority in making this announcement. He was learning how to do applied theology.

Genesis 3 is the story of Adam’s journeyman status as a guardian of Eve and the garden. It was also the story of Eve’s obedience as a wife and as a guardian of the garden. (If Eve was alone with the serpent, she was acting as a journeyman. If Adam was present, she was an apprentice.) They both had greater authority than they had in Genesis 2. God was physically absent.

They violated God’s law by eating from the forbidden tree. Then their eyes were opened regarding their nakedness. This was their first experience of knowing good and evil. They sewed together fig leaves to make aprons to cover their nakedness. This was their first response to sin: self-salvation. They did not eat from the tree of life, although it was available to them. They were still not afraid of God’s promised negative sanction: death.

God returned. He first observed the setting: missing journeymen. He then conducted an investigation. He conducted a trial. He interrogated them in order to learn the truth. He asked: what, where, when, who, why, and how? Then He promised further negative sanctions: for Eve (childbearing), for Adam (thorns), and for both of them: death (dust to dust).

How is this a model for Christian historiography? A Christian historian should look for anomalies in the accepted historiography. As with Adam’s absence, something will be missing. He must then conduct an investigation. He must ask questions: what, where, when, who, why, and how? He must seek answers from the primary source documents, but also from other historians’ narratives. What are their explanations?

5. Inheritance

God did not execute them that day. Instead, he showed grace to them. First, He promised them descendants: Eve’s childbearing. Second, He promised them meaningful work: Adam’s work in the fields. Adam would have to subdue thorns. Third, He began to fulfill these promises by providing animal skins to protect them (v. 21). This was grace: gifts unmerited by the recipients. Because of the negative sanctions, they would have to work harder to pass on a greater inheritance to their descendants. As an economist would say, there would be less output per unit of resource input. (Economists use strange phrases to describe simple relationships.) Dominion would be more difficult. This would be a feature of the transition from wrath to grace. To put it theologically, it would take common grace (life and productivity) to provide the context of special grace (eternal life). But this was also true in Genesis 1. What was different after Genesis 3 was that eternal life required special grace. Prior to Genesis 3, eternal life required only a covenant meal at the tree of life.

How is this a model for Christian historiography? A Christian historian should investigate any increase of capital in a society during one historical period. He should ask these questions. To what extent was this increase the result of covenant-breakers applying their main ethical principles? What were these principles? To what extent was this increase the result of covenant-keepers applying their main ethical principles? What were these principles? To what extent did covenant-breakers and covenant-keepers share the same ethical principles? Here are underlying questions. First, to what extent did common grace preserve a society or even allow it to increase its influence? Second, to what extent was this common grace the result of either covenant-breakers or covenant-keepers? Third, did the society maintain its commitment to the shared ethical principles that maintained common grace? If so, why? If not, why not? If it abandoned these common ethical principles, what happened in the next chronological period?D. Constructing the Story

1. Theme

Every story needs a theme. The theme provides a message. This message requires a chronological structure. The story has a beginning and an end. The end is consistent with the system of causation that undergirds the theme. This system of causation is the essence of the theme. Without it, there can be no theme.

The Bible’s theme is simple: the transition from grace to wrath, followed by the transition from wrath to grace. This theme is conveyed by a series of personal stories. At the heart of the theme is a series of trials: God’s trial of Adam and Eve, His trial of Cain, the Sanhedrin’s trial of Jesus, Pilate’s trial of Jesus, the Sanhedrin’s trial of the apostles, the Sanhedrin’s trial of Stephen, the Roman court’s trial of Paul, and God’s trial of humanity at the last judgment. We should also add covenant-keepers’ trial of fallen angels, but there are no details.

Time is scarce. Do not waste the listeners’ time. Therefore, a story should be memorable. Its theme should be memorable, and several of the theme’s illustrating characters and incidents should be memorable.

A Christian historian should not waste his time investigating any events that are unlikely to lend themselves to the narration of a story with at least one major theme. Some trends are general, and can be used to establish context. There may be causation, but if this causation is not visibly covenantal, then the Christian historian should select a different topic. Life is short, and the number of stories revealing covenantal causation is huge.

2. Questions

I have described these six questions in terms of God’s trial of Adam, Eve, and the serpent. They are questions regarding personal responsibility. I have summarized these six questions: what, where, when, who, why, and how? Any historian who provides plausible answers to all six has done yeoman service. If he can tell this story accurately, clearly, and persuasively in the time that an audience will grant him to tell the story, he has done well. It is far easier to answer questions about deceased historical figures than it is to answer questions about seemingly impersonal trends. I regard the most important historical question over the last two millennia is this: “What produced the Industrial Revolution, with its per capita economic growth of 2% per annum for over two centuries?” The Industrial Revolution changed the world more than anything else in recorded history, and it did so in just three generations—if you pick the right family. That family is the family of John Tyler, who became President of the United States in 1841. He was born in 1790, the first full year of President George Washington’s first term as the first President. His grandson Lyon Tyler died in October 2020. His other grandson, Harrison Tyler (b. 1928), is still alive as I write this (October 2021). There are at least three dozen explanations that economic historians have offered to explain this. Each of them is refuted by Prof. Dierdre McCloskey in Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (2010).

3. Structure

Telling a story requires structure: words put together in a specialized way. The words must hold the attention of a listener or a reader. To do this, the narrator must provide markers that convey to the reader that the story is progressing in a coherent way. A disjointed structure produces confusion. Listeners’ attention will drift. The narrator faces boundaries. The main one is the boundary of time that the targeted listener or reader is willing to donate to the narrator. The second is the boundary of memory. People have weak memories. Most of what they hear in a lecture is forgotten within 48 hours. About 95% is forgotten in a week. So, the story’s markers must serve the purpose of providing hooks onto which the listener can “hang” his memory. This is a variation of what Yates described as the art of memory: a mental room wherein memory-triggering items are placed sequentially. The narrative must substitute for the room.

4. Lesson

A Christian storyteller’s goal should be to convey an ethical lesson. This lesson should serve as a model for judging people and events. The standards of judgment are mainly ethical. There are other standards, such as aesthetic standards. But there is no formula for aesthetic standards. There is no known biblical formula. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This does not mean that beholders cannot accurately judge beauty. There are beauty contests in many nations. The finalists in any nation would find widespread agreement from men in other nations. Men know which women are beautiful, and women also know. But they cannot explain this in agreed-upon ways, other than a few characteristics, such as weight. Stories in the Bible are structured ethically. They provide lessons regarding right and wrong. They have a judicial function. They were designed by God to train covenant-keepers in the principles of justice, climaxing in their judging of fallen angels after the final judgment of humanity.

5. Vision

The listeners should gain a renewed vision of victory after hearing a story. The story should supplement stories of successes by Christians in extending the kingdom of God. The models for such stories are stories about foreign missionaries. These stories contain sub-themes of the organizations they set up, or their successors set up. These stories include discussions of life-and-death decisions, cultural conflicts, worldview conflicts, educational programs, fund-raising, getting out the story of the missions to supporters, past successes, new challenges, and plausible prospects for further success. Histories of foreign missions are not taken seriously by most academic historians, who see them as recruiting and fund-raising tools. I take them seriously because they are recruiting and fund-raising tools. A history presentation whose ultimate goal is not successful evangelism is a waste of time. The goal should be to persuade covenant-breakers to switch confessions. To do this, an army of evangelists who believe in comprehensive redemption must be recruited and trained. The Bible proclaims such a vision. (See Kenneth L. Gentry, The Greatness of the Great Commission, 1992.) So should Christian histories.E. Historiography and Discipleship

1. Mission

This is a common feature of leadership in all areas of Christian dominion. Every Christian has been given a commission by Christ: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19–20).

In my book, The Five Pillars of Biblical Leadership (2021), I identify point 1 as mission. The four other points are these: service, teamwork, mastery, and inheritance. All of these apply to the Christian historian.

A Christian historian’s mission is to explain the details of the biblical framework of history: the transition from wrath to grace. Christian historiography must reflect and represent the five points of the biblical structure of history: the providence of God, the image of God in men, biblical ethics, God’s imputation of meaning to all facts, and progressive cultural inheritance. Progressive cultural inheritance is the parallel development of the two kingdoms, God’s and man’s (Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43).

I have argued that people remember stories better than they remember long chains of reasoning. Therefore, a Christian historian serves as a practical theologian. He has a prophetic function. (See Chapter 12B). He brings his theology to his research. His historiography should reflect this theology. There is no theological neutrality. There is therefore no historiographical neutrality.

His initial mission is to teach Christians what Christ told the disciples. This must include the Old Testament, as interpreted by the New Testament’s epistles. The Old Testament is mainly stories. This is how he should teach. He should recognize that historians are in a better position to teach Christians how to apply Christ’s principles than any other profession, except for pastors. They teach this by showing how Christians in the past applied them, or failed to apply them, with what results.

2. Audiences

A Christian historian must first decide who his audiences will be. He should tailor his presentations in terms of specific audiences. He represents God to these audiences. This is an aspect of point 2 of biblical leadership: service. He should research each topic comprehensively. He should over-research the topic in terms of the needs of multiple audiences. His goal should be to present his findings to more than one audience. Not to do this is to waste research time. The most difficult part of the historian’s task is to identify the applications of the five principles of biblical history to a specific society or person. This takes creativity. Then he must do the research necessary to draw conclusions. This takes time. The product of this mixture of asking questions and getting answers is a body of conclusions. He must then package these conclusions for separate audiences.

He must recognize the limits of knowledge in each group. Overcoming these limits in most groups is challenging. This is the context of his task. This is the capital he must work with. His God-given task is to increase the value of this capital for use in the kingdom of God. This is human capital. He must make covenant-keepers more productive. Above all, he must help them become better judges. (See Chapter 14.)

He must decide how he will get his lessons to members of each audience. This is the question of media. He must estimate how much time they will give him for each lesson. This varies in terms of media: viewing time vs. reading time. Then he must estimate the size of his budget for marketing. He has to have a marketing plan. On this point, I quote Mac Ross, a marketing genius in the late twentieth century. “If you build a better mousetrap, but you do not set aside money for marketing, you will die alone and broke with a garage full of mousetraps.” If you have no money for marketing, then invest more time in marketing strategies that do not require up-front money: YouTube, Kindle Direct books, social media, and a blog.

3. Message

For a Christian historian, the message of each lesson must be this: the effects of covenant-keeping in history, compared to the effects of covenant-breaking. He identifies a historical story as an example of this message. This story illustrates and reinforces the message. The story is designed to help Christians understand God’s providence in history: the transition from wrath to grace. His story has boundaries. It has chronological boundaries. It has boundaries of responsibility: individual and institutional. Specific individuals and organizations represent movements. (See Chapter 12.) A handful of movements shape history. A handful of trends shape history. A Christian historian should identify the importance of various trends by means of the covenantal structure of history. The key issue is ethics: point 3 of the biblical covenant.

4. Commitment

A Christian historian, because he is an evangelist with a prophetic function, must design his presentation to persuade listeners of the truth regarding the providential nature of past. He uses stories to persuade people.

Accurate knowledge is necessary but not sufficient in the Christian life. Accurate knowledge must shape action. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22–25). This rule applies to the results of historiography. It is not sufficient to teach people about God’s providential control in the past. They must also believe that God’s providence applies to their circumstances.

This narration requires persuasion. This is not just persuasion that God’s providence shapes history by means of Christians’ faithfulness to His laws. It is persuasion regarding the requirement of each hearer of the historical stories to obey God in order to exercise dominion.

5. Hope

The stories should persuade listeners of the reliability of God’s covenant in providing the basis of progress in history. (See Chapter 15.) They should offer hope. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). So, this should be the motivation of a Christian historian: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus announced that He was the fulfilment of this verse. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).

If a story ends in defeat for covenant-keepers, a Christian historian’s work is not complete. He should continue to write until the defeat is visible as a victory. Some stories in the Old Testament reveal defeats for covenant-keepers. The story of Joseph is such a story. Joseph announced the biblical principle of interpretation: a hermeneutic. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). The story of Job also reflects this. “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses” (Job 42:12).

There is also another consideration. In a war, there are necessary casualties. “And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water” (Joshua 7:3–5). The New Testament model for this is the crucifixion of Jesus. Then came the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7). The theme of temporary defeat is basic to the story of the transition from wrath to grace.Conclusion

If Christian historians follow these procedures, they will produce stories that replace the prevailing humanistic stories. Humanists have no self-conscious theory of history. It is not taught in humanist institutions. They have no theory of the structure of Christian historiography. They are not good at persuading the general public. The sanctions within history departments militate against persuading the public. The sanctions favor persuading editors of peer-reviewed journals, meaning committees.

Until Christian historians regard their callings as God-given, they will not be successful in competing against an army of humanists in tax-funded schools. They will not persuade Christians in churches. Academic Christian historians are not ready for covenantal warfare. They have been in retreat since 1500.

The five-point model for historiography provides the structure for writing historical stories: capital, assignment, boundaries, performance, and inheritance. It offers a theory of telling a story: theme, questions, structure, lesson, and vision. It is a tool of discipleship: mission, audiences, message, commitment, and hope. None of this is taught in Christian schools. Christian historians are unaware of it. They also have no Bible-based theory of the structure of history to rival the assumed but unspoken structure that govern humanists. I surveyed the correct theory in Part 1. So, they lose by default.

Meanwhile, the competing historical narratives presented by humanists are increasingly divided. They have no agreed-on theory of world history. They have no agreed-on theory of how to interpret documents. They have no theory of how the autonomous historian can make sense of the past. There is no agreement on the existence of an objective past.

The humanists are vulnerable. The problem is this: Christian historians are not ready to replace the humanists. They are not self-confident. They do not have an alternative agenda. They cannot beat something with nothing. In the next four chapters, I hope to provide them with four more stones. David picked up five stones to do battle with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40). I think the first stone, which you have just read, would be sufficient. But historians must know how to use a sling to make the stone deadly to the enemy. That sling is Christian education.

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