All truth is God's truth: the life and ideas of Frank E. Gaebelein.
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Beck, Albert R.
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Frank Gaebelein (1899-1983) was a key figure in the twentieth-century evangelical movement. His greatest impact was felt in the area of Christian education, but he was active in many other issues of concern to evangelicals, particularly matters of social justice and the arts. “Truth” was the animating concept behind Gaebelein’s work; his goal was to attempt to connect whatever subject he addressed with a biblical concept of the truth. Gaebelein’s life paralleled and helped define the transition of fundamentalism to evangelicalism. The son of a noted fundamentalist, his early years centered around his work at The Stony Brook School, an evangelical boarding school on Long Island, New York. It was here that Gaebelein developed his ideas on the philosophy of Christian education. “The integration of faith and learning” under the pattern of God’s overarching truth was the defining characteristic of his writing and practice in education. In his later years, Gaebelein devoted attention to matters of social justice and the arts. He was a theological conservative, but Gaebelein also believed that evangelical orthodoxy led him to take more moderate stances on social and cultural issues. He was a supporter of racial integration and an advocate for simple living, and he insisted that evangelicals had to engage the arts if they were to have lasting social impact. Gaebelein believed that all truth was God’s truth, and it was the duty of the Christian to relate every personal and corporate action to truth rooted in God. This commitment to truth proved to be a dynamic factor, allowing for an expansive application of Christian interest and ministry to all walks of life. At the same time, traditional evangelical notions of truth, rooted in a Common Sense Realist philosophy stemming from the Enlightenment, often lacked critical self awareness that limited the application and understanding of truth in an age that would soon came to deny the very existence of truth.