Friday, July 13, 2007

Christian Education: The Students

Once again, here is my operative one-sentence philosophy of Christian Education:

Christian Education exists to provide a quality Bible-based education that is Christ-centered, academically excellent, and well-rounded, enabling the student to daily serve Christ and become more like Him.
The student is a creation of God, created for God's specific purpose. The student has a will and a personality. How, then, can he be best taught?

The students must be obedient children of God. This means that, first and foremost, the students need to be saved. Certainly, if a Christian classroom has unsaved students, efforts should be made to bring the Gospel message to those children. The unsaved, "natural" man (1 Cor. 2:14) cannot understand spiritual things—and that is the most essential part of Christian education. Not only does the student need to be regenerate, he must also be willing to learn. The student, ultimately, is responsible for having "a pure heart and a willing mind" to learn [See Christian Education: Its Mandate and Mission, p. 5]. Only an obedient child of God can do that.

All students, because each human being has a sin nature, are naturally disobedient and rebellious, making it difficult to teach them biblical truth, because Satan has somehow convinced them that their own decisions and perspectives are superior to God's. This is not limited to Bible class; it could just as easily apply to math, history, or literature. Students who refuse to be submissive, obedient, and honoring to their authority figures not only harm themselves academically, but also forfeit the blessings God has promised to those who submit, obey, and honor. Could those blessings extend to a fuller understanding of the subject matter? As a teacher, I believe that is so. I also know that a student can learn and understand academic information without salvation or without a submissive spirit...but that is not an ideal outcome. The student needs to learn academic information within a biblical worldview, and must also grow spiritually, which requires salvation.

Parents, the primary educators of their children, must therefore seek not only to lead their children to the Saviour, but also to train them to be submissive, obedient, and respectful of authority figures. To the extent that they can help them with phonics or algebra, that is helpful; but Christian teachers teaching saved, submissive students can bring about not only academic understanding, but also cultivate great spiritual growth and maturity.

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