Part 1 appeared in last week’s blog and can be found here.
By Jim Drexler
The basics of Christian education
A genuine Christian education provides a quality liberal arts education that glorifies Jesus Christ and prepares students for lives of faithful and obedient service to Him. The Bible is the integrative force, and all administrators, faculty, and staff personally know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Specifically, Christian education is an acknowledgement, an attitude, and an ambition:
- Christian education is an acknowledgement about God’s world. He created it, He holds it together, He rules it, and we have an obligation to learn all that we can about it. We aren’t simply learning about math, science, and history; we are learning about God’s world. Christian education seeks to produce competent graduates who know the world as well as the One who created it.
- Christian education is an attitude related to God’s Word; therefore, studying God’s world from the perspective of the Word is critical. We can understand life only as we view it through the “spectacles of Scripture.” “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9). Seeking to bring all thought and activity under the lordship of Christ, we want our students to be passionate about their God, their lives, and their call to service.
- Christian education is an ambition to do God’s will. Because it is a lifelong process of transforming our minds, Christian education spans “the cradle to the grave.” We want our students to be “mal-adjusted” to this world, to see the sin in themselves and in the world, and to commit their lives to the pursuit of justice, compassion, and integrity.
As students study God’s world from the perspective of the Word, it will enable them to do God’s service. “We want to serve our culture,” writes Harry Blamires in The Secularist Heresy,” we want our culture to work—not because it is the only good we can conceive, and not because we are finally and securely at home in it—but because it is a great drama that we have been staged in, and it is good that we should play our parts well.”
There are those who object to Christian schools saying:
- “We want our children to be in the ‘real’ world.” What is the “real” world for Christians? Is it a world informed by secularism, or one dominated by the love, reconciliation, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ?
- “We don’t want to abandon the public schools. We want our children to be a witness there.” Should the youngest members of God’s kingdom be on the front lines, or is it wiser first to train and prepare them much like we would care for young plants in the garden?
- “We would like to have our children in the Christian school, but we can’t afford it.” What better stewardship of personal and church finances than to use them for the education of covenant children? “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).
- “The Christian school is hypocritical.” Christian schools do not claim to be perfect or without their share of sinners any more than churches do. The difference with the Christian school is the way in which it deals with the sin, how it models restitution and accountability, and how it encourages repentance and restoration.
The mission of the Christian school
The psalmist, writing to God’s people, summarizes the mission of Christian education:
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep His commands” (Psalm 78:4–8, NIV).
The Christian school, working together with the Christian home and the church, exists to fulfill these scriptural promises. The Christian school longs to introduce its students to the source of all truth. Therefore, the decision for a Christian education is the best choice a family can make.
More than 450 years ago, Martin Luther preached a powerful sermon encouraging his listeners to stand firm in their faith and reminding them of the nature of the conflict:
“Christendom must have people who can beat down their adversaries and opponents and tear off the devil’s equipment and armor, that he may be brought into disgrace. But for this work, powerful warriors are needed, who are thoroughly familiar with the Scriptures and can contradict all false interpretations and take the sword from false teachers. … Each Christian should be so armed that he himself is sure of his belief and of the doctrine and is so equipped with the sayings from the Word of God that he can stand up against the devil and defend himself, when men seek to lead him astray.”
This is the mission of the Christian school.
Jim Drexler is Dean of Social Sciences and the Graduate School of Education at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga.
This essay was posted Sept. 13, 2014 on worldmag.com and reprinted with permission of the author.
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