Purpose of Christian Education
BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
Christian education rests solidly on important biblical foundations or principles, each of which has profound educational implications.
God reveals Himself to us (Psalms 19:1). God reveals Himself through His Word, both the written Word (Bible)
(2 Timothy 3:16-17) and the incarnate Word (Jesus), through creation (Romans 1:19, 20), and through His continuing activity in history and among people.
Educational Implications of #1:
The curriculum in a Christian school must include:
.....Biblical studies as well as studies of Christian and non-Christian responses to God's revelation.
.....Studies of God's creation which stress its beauty and intricacy, the laws which govern it, humankind's use and response to creation, and the Christian's responsibility to preserve and protect God's handiwork.
.....Studies of the social, intellectual, political, and artistic history of people, including their accomplishments and failures.
.....In each course, teachers emphasize that these studies are fundamentally studies of God's revelation.
Humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). As image-bearers of God, humans are rational, emotional, and moral creatures capable of perceiving truth, making choices, and exercising creativity. In addition, as image-bearers of God, humans are to be treated with respect and dignity (Genesis 9:6). As human beings mature, they grow in their ability to perceive truth and make choices based on it.
Educational Implications of #2:
The Christian school curriculum is designed to enable each student to reach his/her maximum potential and an image-bearer of God.
.....The school promotes intellectual growth, helping students to master facts and grow in the ability to understand, analyze, synthesize, find information for themselves, and make responsible judgments.
.....The school assists students in learning to control their emotional life, teaching them to respond appropriately to events, people, and things.
.....The school cultivates students' ability to make responsible choices.
.....The school instills in students a respect for their own bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. As such, students learn to keep their bodies physically and mentally fit.
.....The school impresses upon students the need to respond to God out of gratitude for how He has made them and what He has done for them.
.....Students in a Christian school learn to respect others as God's image-bearers.
.....The school respects the learning style and abilities of all students, assisting each one to develop his/her full potential.
.....An atmosphere of mutual respect and concern exists in the school among students and staff.
.....The Christian school is a community of caring where students and staff share joys and burdens and where they feel support and encouragement.
Christianity impacts all of life and learning (1 Corinthians 10:31, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Because religion penetrates all aspects of life, including education, Christian schools help students see and understand all of life through the eyes of God's Word.
Educational Implications of #3:
Christian schools help students learn that studying/learning is a religious response to God. No part of life is secular.
.....A biblical perspective is included in all courses.
.....Teachers convey and model a world and life view which holds that all of one's life is a response to God, that all of one's life is religious.
Educational Implications of #4:
Teachers lead students to see the pervasiveness of sin throughout history on humans, culture, and all human institutions. Students learn the impact of sin on their own lives and their need for salvation.
.....Teachers help students learn to avoid sin and make responsible choices as children of God.
Christ died to redeem the world from sin (Romans 5:8) and His death on the cross in our place provides salvation for those who believe in Him. (John 3:16). Christ's redemptive work has enabled those who believe on Him to experience new life. As new creatures in Christ, redeemed believers become God's agents for restoring the fallen world and bringing harmony where sin brought disharmony.
Educational Implications of #5:
Teachers and coursework foster in students a realization that in Jesus Christ harmony replaces disharmony in human relationships to God, to others, to the world, and to one's self.
.....Teachers, through their teaching and modeling, lead students to a personal and ever growing commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
.....Every course and activity in a Christian school is Christ-centered because in Christ all things have meaning and purpose.
.....Teachers guide students to an understanding that in Christ all human activities and professions rise above the level of toil or duty to thankful service.
.....Teachers encourage students to be life-long disciples of Jesus' love and healing.
.....The Christian school encourages students to seek God's redeeming grace to flow through them into all their relationships.
All of life should be a loving, grateful response for redeemed people (2 Corinthians 5:17). As new creatures in Christ, redeemed people live transformed lives (Romans 12:1,2) that focus on gratefully living for the Master (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Redeemed people fulfill God's commands to make stewardly use of all God's gifts, to share the good news of salvation, and to live lives of service.
Educational Implications of #6:
Teachers help students learn that their studies constitute a loving response to God.
.....Students learn to respect God's created world and to appropriately subdue it, sustaining its beauty and maintaining natural resources for future generations.
.....Teachers lead students to the realization all that we are and possess are gifts from God and that Christian stewardship must be exercised in using those gifts. Students who learn that everything comes from God will use (and not abuse) those gifts in a way that brings glory to God, the Giver.
.....The Christian school helps students discover and unwrap their God-given gifts so they can use those gifts to serve God and others.
.....Teachers enable students to understand that every aspect of a person's life should reflect a redeemed person's desire to serve and glorify God, in motivation, thoughts, speech, and actions.
.....Students learn that service to God includes service to others.
.....The Christian school teaches the importance of Christian service and provides opportunities for students to serve.
.....Because every part of a person's being should be involved in grateful response to God, Christian schools address every aspect of a student's needs; spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, and emotional, and in a way that respects their level of development.
.....The Christian school equips students to become builders of God's kingdom on earth and encourages them to use their talents in that kingdom-building role.
Foundation #7: The Concept of the Covenant
God embraces His children in a covenant relationship. (Genesis 17:8,9 - Psalms 103:17,18) As part of that covenant, parents who believe in Jesus Christ promise to nurture their children in the Christian faith and in godliness (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Ephesians 6:4). When Christian parents present their children to God in Christ's church, the Christian community promises to support Christian parents in that covenant responsibility.
Educational Implications of#7:
Christian schools acknowledge that parents hold the primary responsibility for educating their children.
.....Christian schools can serve parents in carrying out their covenant responsibilities.
.....Christian schools reinforce the teaching of both the Christian home and the Christian church.
.....The curriculum gives priority to areas of education that parents and the church have difficulty carrying out effectively.
IMPACT OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION ON STUDENTS
When Christian education is properly carried out, students...
from a partnership between parents, church, and school that arises out of a deep understanding of the covenant and its implications for Christian education.
in their understanding of the creative power of God the Father, the redemptive work of Christ the Son, and the renewing and sustaining power of the Holy Spirit and develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
that a Christian applies his/her faith in all areas of life and learning. They discover the full impact of sin on creation and society.
that they are God's agents for reconciliation in the world.
the ability to apply their faith to real-life problems and develop discernment in addressing those problems.
the impact of Christian faith at work in the lives of teachers, administrators, and other staff.
a sense of stewardship that encourages the use of time, talents, and treasure to serve God and others.
a diverse, caring, Christian community that shares joys and sorrows.
AFFIRMATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
1. The biblically-based mission of Christian schools shapes goals and day-to-day practices.
2. Christian schools stress the power of God's grace to restore lives and transform the world.
3. Christian schools prepare students to make informed, Christian choices, and to exercise discernment.
4. Christian schools encourage love for and joy in God's creation.
5. Christian schools equip students to live in the world as Christians and to make a difference in it.
6. Christian schools encourage students to use their knowledge and talents as change agents in the world,
redeeming it for Christ.
7. Christian schools help students develop essential life skills and help them become life-long learners.
8. Christian schools respect all students as image-bearers of God and encourage students to develop their full
9. Christian schools see parents as shareholders not simply as customers.
10. Christian schools see Christ as the teacher and the Bible as an important textbook.
11. Christian schools develop a moral sensitivity in students based on biblical foundations.