Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Basics of Christian Education

True Christian Education, regardless of where it takes place, must have these two basic characteristics pervading it:

1. It must be thoroughly Christian. It must exalt all three members of the Trinity. It must follow the Word of God at all times and in all things. It must encourage and edify—and when needed, rebuke—believers to serve God with every part of their lives. It must point the non-Christians in its midst toward God as Savior and King. Rules under which it operates encourage godly, biblical living.

As a consequence, it will not be happily received by most non-Christians; many Christians will likewise chafe at times.

2. The quality of education must be excellent. The teacher must be well-prepared, diligent, and surrendered to God; the teacher must also love the students. The curricula must be chosen on the basis of both academic soundness and ability to point its users toward Truth.

These two characteristics must be found for education to be "Christian," whether that education takes place in a school building, a church, or a home.

Ideally, there will be other characteristics found in the classroom. Students need to be desirous to learn; if they are without salvation, spiritual things will not make much sense to them. Logistical matters from attendance taking to restroom usage must be efficiently planned. Technological innovations, while not always essential, should be employed in ways subservient to education goals, not as the educational goals.

Christian education suffers today because it succumbs too much to pressure to de-prioritize its two primary characteristics.

On the one hand, there are those who do not thirst for doctrinal purity or biblical standards. They would rather see an "openness" to other points of view, or more practically, would prefer to avoid the issues which cause divisiveness when those who hold the Bible as truth disagree with those who don't. "Standards" arguments are a way this often manifests itself.

On the other hand (and remembering that many people have two hands), there are those who do not feel that academic excellence is either necessary or even practical. They prefer not to "push" students to learn, fearing the "pushback" of students and parents. In K-12, they may feel content merely to outperform the public schools, while further potential for excellence is allowed to waste away.

For those of you in Christian education—at school, church, or home—remember the basics!

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