An Individual’s Journey with the Principle Approach, Part V

An Individual’s Journey with the Principle Approach
Fifth in a Series
Ruth J. Smith

This is the fifth in a series. To read the earlier sections, check here for Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

Over a period of several years, God had impressed upon our hearts a desire to present to others the life-changing truths of America’s Providential history and the Biblical principles of our nation’s founding.

In the 1970’s, homeschooling was just beginning to gain interest, so our thoughts turned to Christian schools. Christian school conferences were being held around the nation, and it seemed that this venue would be a great opportunity for sharing the ideas of American Christian education.

We sought the opportunity to teach workshops at these conferences. The first opportunity that was opened for me was in Chicago. Although I was enjoying the teaching of students, from elementary to high school, I had no desire to teach adults. But we never know what God’s plan is for our lives. I prepared for that first workshop with great trepidation. Perhaps there would be only a few at the workshop, which would be great. But, to my surprise, the workshop room was packed, with people standing at the back and some even sitting on the floor at the front of the room. I am not certain how effective that workshop was, but I listened to that tape many times to determine how I could improve my presentation.

A number of opportunities opened for workshops at various Christian school conferences. However, we soon concluded that this did not appear to be the best use of our energy, resources, and time. As we were teaching the idea that you should be teaching to the heart of the student, dealing from the internal to the external, our sense was that we were just dropping little ideas in the midst of many other approaches to Christian education.

After much reflection, discussion and prayer, we concluded that we could better use our resources through offering training through a separate ministry.


Birth of a Ministry

An Individual’s Journey with the Principle Approach

 In December of 1979, the Pilgrim Institute ministry was born, through the efforts of three families living in central Iowa – Allen and Ruth Smith, Glen and Mary Jaspers, and Pete and JoNete Hall. The Pilgrim Institute was formally established to preserve America’s Providential history and restore American Christian education.

 The joy of remembering our nation’s miraculous beginnings and rich Biblical heritage has always been the focus of the ministry efforts.  Consider these statements from a 1980 newsletter:

            “Biblical self-government views each individual as God’s property.  A Biblical form of civil government should insure that that individual enjoy the opportunity to practice everything required of him by the Word of God…

            “To save a nation, then, we must restore those institutions ordained of God: the home, the church, and civil government.  By the Word of God, the citizens of that nation must be taught the sovereignty of God over man and nations, the providence of God as nations rise and fall, and  finally, Christian character exemplified through self-government…”


Training Institutes

 In the summer of 1980, the first  week-long training Institute took place, drawing 27 students from 10 states.  The following participant comments reflect the life-changing nature of  that first Institute:

            “This comprehensive in-depth training institute has revealed to me the precious need to return to the Rudiments of our American Christian History and Government…”

            “This Institute has totally changed my view of education and government…”

 Since the first training Institute in 1980, introductory and advanced courses have been offered to introduce parents, concerned citizens, pastors, Christian leaders, and educators to the challenge of restoring Biblical principles in every sphere of society.  These conferences have been offered in over 40 states, reaching individuals from across the nation and from other countries.

 Have you participated in one of these training institutes?  We would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below. What course did you attend? How has it affected your life?

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Where to Begin with Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History and the Principle Approach

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What it Has Meant to Know and Teach America’s Christian History


    • Carol Pierson
    • June 10, 2017

    You have been such an impact to Christian education! I can’t believe it has almost been 40 years! Thank you so much for you and Allen and the others who believed in the vision! It has been a joy to know you! God will say to you as you enter Heaven, “Well done, thy faithful servant.”

    1. Reply

      Thank you for your kind words. Whatever has been done, to God be the glory.

    • Wanda Fisher
    • March 26, 2020

    I started attending Principle Approach conferences in 1992 at Calvary Assembly in Orlando, Florida. We heard the gifted speakers such as Katherine Dang, Paul Jehle and of course, Ruth Smith. How blessed we are, in the midst of a National crisis in March of 2020, to remember what we were taught: that the Providence of God reminds us that there is nothing outside of his control and command. Thank you for the wisdom that you imparted in those early years. May the seeds that you planted so diligently grow into maturity, as we seek God in this time of trial. God bless!

  1. Reply

    Thank you, Wanda, to hear what this has meant in your life. May the Lord bless you and your family.

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