The New England Primer
More people are getting college degrees than ever before, yet we have the most poorly educated society in many generations. How is that possible? It is because the educational system has forgotten that the ultimate source of all knowledge is God Himself. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov 1:7)." Without a basis in the Biblical worldview, all attempts at knowledge become foolish. When the Bible speaks of a fool, it is not just hurling an empty insult. Here are some qualities of fools as described in the book of Proverbs:
1. Anger (Prov 12:16, Prov 27:3)
2. Sin (Ps 107:17)
3. Despising wisdom and instruction (Prov 1:7, Prov 10:21, Prov 11:29, Prov 15:5)
4. Chasing immoral women (Prov 7:22)
5. Running the mouth (Prov 10:8, 10, 14)
6. Self-confidence without good advice (Prov 12:15)
7. Pride (Prov 14:3)
8. Mocking sin (Prov 14:9)
9. Following bad advice (Prov 16:22)
10. Meddling (Prov 20:3)
11. Unresponsive to correction (Prov 27:22)
The greatest indictment against the fool is found in Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God". That is the underlying problem. it is not that unbelievers have no intellect. It is that they reject the basis for all knowledge. Common attributes of their worldview are the universe has no first cause (especially the Biblical Creator of Genesis 1), it came into existence randomly and spontaneously without any design or order, it somehow maintains itself, and it has no immaterial components. It evolves on its own. This belief violates many known and accepted laws:
1. The law of cause and effect. Every effect must have a cause. If we go back to the
beginning, there must have been a first cause. That was God.
2. The first law of thermodynamics. It is called the law of conservation of energy. There is
no new energy, only energy that changes forms. Where did energy come from?
3. The second law of thermodynamics. It is also called the law of entropy. This states that
all things tend toward decay and disorder. This is the opposite of evolution.
4. The law of biogenesis. All life only comes from other life. How did the jump from non-
living to living happen?
5. Laws of information. Information can only come from an intelligent source. It must be
encoded and transmitted in a language so that an intelligent recipient can understand
and use it.
6. Along with laws of information goes laws of genetics. Evolution requires the increase of
genetic information with no explanation of where the information came from or how it got
7. Laws of mathematics and probability. The odds of the universe and all it contains coming
to be randomly are statistically impossible.
8. Laws of observation. The scientific method requires observation. Evolution is not
observed today. It can only be allegedly observed by interpreting evidence of the past.
Creation scientists interpret the same evidence differently.
9. The law of irreducable complexity. Irreducably complex interdependent systems exist
which shows they must have existed together from the beginning.
10. Natural selection. Natural selection is not evolution. In fact, it is the opposite of
evolution. Evolution requires many mutations. Mutations are a loss of genetic
information, not an increase. Mutations almost always result in less fit creatures which
would be eliminated by natural selection which is also called survival of the fittest.
Mutations also result in sterility, so the mutant cannot reproduce and pass on its genes.
11. Laws in general. If the universe is self-causing, random and unguided, has no intelligent
designer, and is material only, then how do we explain the existence of any laws. Laws
indicate intelligence, order, and design, and are immaterial. An atheist/evolutionist can
believe in morals, but they have no basis for them. Utilitarian arguments of convention
are illogical, inconsistent, and self-refuting.
The educational system does not fail because all teachers are incompetent or uncaring. It
does not fail because not enough tax money is spent on it. In fact, the more tax mony is spent on it, the worse it does. It does not fail because of unfair skewing of outcomes. It fails because it ignores the foundation of all learning - the Biblical worldview. It is neither unconstitutional nor illegal to talk about God and the Bible in public schools. The first amendment was written to protect the church from the state, not to prevent public displays or discussion of faith and the Bible. If that was the case, the framers violated their own rule. Believe it or not, President Clinton ordered the U.S. Dept. of Education to issue legal statement papers affirming this, which they did in 1995, 1997, and 1999. They are available on the Dept. of Education website. The Supreme Court also ruled in 2014 in Greece vs. Galloway that public prayer in governmental settings is legal. The Supreme Court rulings in 1962 in Engel v. Vitale about prayer in public schools, and in 1963 in Abington School District v. Schempp about the Bible in public schools, only ruled against state-mandated participation. These rulings have been grossly misapplied by atheists and the ACLU.
The New England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies. It became the most successful educational textbook published in 17th century colonial United
States and it became the foundation of most schooling before the 1790s. It was first published between 1687 and 1690 by printer Benjamin Harris, who had come to Boston in 1686 to
escape the brief Catholic ascendancy under James II. It was based largely upon The Protestant Tutor, which he had published in England, and was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies. The primer remained in print well into the 19th century and was even used until the 20th century. A reported 2 million copies were sold in the 18th century.
The Primer shows us 3 things:
1. The Bible was the basis for knowledge in colonial America.
2. The Bible was the foundation of “public” education as it was then.
3. Children were expected to know the Bible and its doctrines at a level many adults today
do not have. This reflects Prov 1:7. The Primer was a tool to teach children how to read.
How are the mighty fallen (2Sam 1:19-27)! We have lowered the bar way too low in an
effort to “accommodate” people. We need to realize the lack of knowledge but not accept
it. We need a revival of Biblical teaching.
The following is Biblical information in the Primer:
1. Pg. 9
a. Good children must fear God, love Christ, pray
b. “Now I lay me down…”
2. Pg. 10 - “In Adam’s fall we sinned all”
3. Pg. 11
a. “Job feels the rod and blesses God”
b. “Proud Korah’s troops were swallowed up”
4. Pg. 12 – Peter, Esther, Rachel, Samuel
5. Pg. 13 – Uriah, Xerxes, Zaccheus
6. Pg. 14 - the Lord’ prayer and a creed
7. Pg 15 – Agur’s prayer, the golden rule
8. Pg. 23-24 – the alphabet by Bible verses
9. Pg. 29 – questions on people in the Bible
10. Pg. 30-57 - the shorter catechism (notice “shorter”). While not every answer conforms to
Apostolic Pentecostal doctrine in every aspect, most do. The point here is that children
just learning to read were expected to be able to answer these questions. Can you?
There listed here by number as they were in the Primer.
1. What is the chief end of man?
2. What rule hath God given us to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him?
3. What do the scriptures principally teach?
4. What is God?
5. Are there more Gods than one?
6. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
7. What are the decrees of God?
8. How doth God execute His decrees?
9. What is the work of creation?
10. How did God create man?
11. What are God’s works of providence?
12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he
13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
14. What is sin?
15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were
16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
17. Into what estate did the fall bring all mankind?
18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate into which man fell?
19. What is the misery of that estate into which man fell?
20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
21. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
23. What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
24. How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
25. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
27. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?
28. Wherein consists Christ’s exaltation?
29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
31. What is the effectual calling?
32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
33. What is justification?
34. What is adoption?
35. What is sanctification?
36. What are the benefits which in this life accompany or flow from justification, adoption,
37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at their death?
38. What benefits to believer receive from Christ at the resurrection?
39. What is the duty which God requires of man?
40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
41. Wherein is the moral law summarily comprehended?
42. What is the sum of the ten commandments?
43. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
44. What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
45. Which is the first commandment?
46. What is required in the first commandment?
47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
48. What are we especially taught by the word, before me, in the first commandment?
49. Which is the second commandment?
50. What is required in the second commandment?
51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
53. Which is the third commandment?
54. What is required in the third commandment?
55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?
56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
57. What is the fourth commandment?
58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?
60. How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?
61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
63. What is the fifth commandment?
64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
65. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
67. Which is the sixth commandment?
68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
70. Which is the seventh commandment?
71. What is required in the seventh commandment?
72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
73. What is the eighth commandment?
74. What is required in the eighth commandment?
75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
76. What is the ninth commandment?
77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
79. What is the tenth commandment?
80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
82. is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
84. What doth every sin deserve?
85. What doth God require of us that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for
86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
87. What is repentance unto life?
88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the
benefits of redemption?
89. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
90. How is the word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
92. What is a sacrament?
93. What are the sacraments of the New Testament?
94. What is baptism?
95. To whom is baptism to be administered?
96. What is the Lord’s supper?
97. What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord’s supper?
98. What is prayer?
99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
100. What doth the preface to the Lord’s prayer teach us?
101. What do we pray for in the first petition?
102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
103. What do we pray for in the third petition?
104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
105. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
107. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
11. Pg. 57-58 – Sum of the ten commandments
12. Pg. 58 – duty to God and our neighbor
The lyrics to the song "The Basics of Life" by Donald A. Koch and , Mark R. Harris are a relevant message to us today:
We've turned the page, for a new day has dawned. We've re-arranged what is right and
what's wrong. Somehow we've drifted so far from the truth that we can't get back home.
Where are the virtues that once gave us light? Where are the morals that governed our lives?
Someday we all will awake and look back just to find what we've lost.
We need to get back to the basics of life: a heart that is pure and a love that is blind, a faith that is fervently grounded in Christ, the hope that endures for all times. These are the basics, we need
to get back to the basics of life.
The newest rage is to reason it out. Just meditate And you can overcome every doubt. After all
man is a God, they say God is no longer alive. But I still believe in the old rugged cross. And I still believe there is hope for the lost. And I know the rock of all ages will stand through changes of
BRIDGE: We've let the darkness invade us too long. We've got to turn the tide. Oh and we need the passion that burned long ago to come and open our eyes. There's no room for compromise. [Chorus]