Gerhard Groote, Founder of The Christian Education Movement That Taught the Reformers

The lure of celebrity has infiltrated the modern cathedral. The purpose of many congregations is to grow into a mega-church, making the guía a celebrity within the Christian community in particular. Celebrities created by the media, through sports, television set, movies, or other take culture outlets are often promptly paraded before the public to show how cool it is to be a “Christian”. The result of the dependence on celebrity is at best a shallow transformation, and, tragically frequently, dissatisfaction, when the celebrity comes back to a life of depravity after his brief experiment in “Christian living”. Project AWOL

There may be nothing inherently incorrect with celebrity. Billy Graham achieved celebrity status by maintaining his integrity, and remaining steadfast in his service as an evangelist. The pastor who accomplishes celebrity status through chapel growth may in truth build a deep psychic strength into the users of his church. The singer, actor or athletics phenom may have a deep understanding of the truths of scripture, and he may live the Christian life since it is portrayed in bible verses. Celebrity is not the necessary ingredient to altering the culture for the kingdom of God. 

Circumstance in point; how many of you have ever before heard of the 14th century character Gerhard Groote? The son of riches in Deventer, in the Netherlands, Gerhard Groote turned down the corruption in the church and spent his youth on the naughtiness of the world. That wasn’t until he was restored to health after a serious illness at the age of thirty four that he started out to pay his life for Christ. In the ten years from his conversion to his death Gerhard Groote built a foundation that shook the earth and afflicted all of American civilization.

Groote emphasized such subject areas as penance, disregard for this world, the final judgment and love for heaven. Though affected by Christian mysticism, Groote followed an even more practical route in his teaching. Along with his emphasis on Bible study and relaxation, Groote taught the need of confessing Christ prior to the world in word and deed. It is through conformity to the life of Christ that Biblical doctrine would change the world. While rejecting the medieval doctrine of validation by works, he educated that works were an essential outcome of regeneration.

It had been not sufficient for Groote to invest his life in teaching the laity of his time to live a reformed life. Groote taught leaders to teach leaders. After his death Houses of the Brotherhood, and houses for The Sisters of the Common Life were started out by Groote’s followers to show the principles of imitating the life span of Christ by all believers, whatever their calling in life might be; farmer, merchant, churchman, or any other goal. Dozens of these residences were founded throughout netherlands and Germany. Luther and Calvin both received some early education in the homes of Brotherhood traditions because second, third and fourth generation followers of the Brotherhood continued to build schools for the training of youth in practical Christian living.

The modern day Christian institution and homeschooling movements are heir to the custom of Gerhard Groote. You might have a deep and long-term effect on your culture by instilling into your children and the children of the church the idea of imitating Christ in every area of life. This generational procedure to Christian education is the best way to fulfill the mandate of the great commission to teach all nations.