Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Spring Arbor Concept

2008 continues to remain interesting with yet another new and exciting opportunity: Beginning Thursday, February 14, I will be teaching a College Algebra class at the Kalamazoo satellite campus of Spring Arbor University.

Spring Arbor University is located near Jackson, MI, in the south-central part of the state. (The school's website is here.) It has been around since 1873, founded by members of the Free Methodist Church, and its website tells us that "Spring Arbor University was founded as an outgrowth of the Wesleyan movement in American Christianity." The school also heavily promotes an idea called the Spring Arbor Concept, which says:

"Spring Arbor University is a community of learners distinguished by our lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts, total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning, and critical participation in the contemporary world."
I like this concept. The school's own analysis of it is here, but I would like to make a few comments of my own, that should apply to all Christians:
  1. The phrase "community of learners" should remind all of us that every Christian is to be a "learner." God has not created us to remain static, but to become more and more like Himself—a process that should strongly motivate us to learn more daily about Him and about our world...and to share what we have learned with others.
  2. "Lifelong involvement in the study and application of the liberal arts" may strike some Christians as an odd statement, but all of us need to remember that we are to study both God's Word and His world. The phrase does not (in my opinion) supplant the "study and application of God's Word," but merely complements it.
  3. "Total commitment to Jesus Christ as the perspective for learning" is one of the hallmarks of all true Christian education. All that we are and can be—educationally and otherwise—is due to Jesus Christ. He is the Creator, the Author of the Scriptures, and the ever-present God of this universe. He must be the center of all learning, both biblical and otherwise.
  4. "Critical participation in the contemporary world," in my mind, reminds us that we are to be "salt and light" (Matthew 5:13-16) in this present evil world. We are to make a difference by our faith, our witness, our actions, and our demeanor. Not only should the world see us as different, it should be affected by the differences, and also be changed as a result of God's working through us in them. Only God's Spirit can change the heart and save a sinner from hell...but every one of us who are Christians should do our part to point souls to Him.
I look forward to beginning the class on Thursday evening.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Good thoughts and a great reminder about keeping our focus and purpose with Christ as preeminent!