Philosophy of Christian Education
- Parents have primary responsibility for educating their children (Deut. 4:9; 6:7-9; 11-19), therefore, a Christian school must be actively involved with and have the cooperation of parents.
- Teachers in a Christian school are responsible for being skilled in their profession, to integrate Biblical truth into their curriculum, and to have a relationship with Christ that exemplifies Christ-like character. (Luke 6: 40)
- All of us are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), but differ in how we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14). Therefore, instruction must be differentiated to bring out the talents, gifts, and callings in each child. (Prov. 22:6)
- The primary goal of Christian education is to bring a child to the knowledge of God, leading to saving faith and helping them grow in their trust in Christ. Character and moral development is an important part of a Christian education, but it is not the means by which one is made righteous. With full trust that the righteousness of Jesus is sufficient to save and transform us, we seek to provide an environment of grace and acceptance that allows for imperfection and struggles.
(Rom. 3: 21-26; Gal. 3:24; Col 2:20)
- True education is teaching about God's creation and His providence. God has given man an ability to gain knowledge and a general revelation of Him. When brought into the light of God's special revelation, the Bible, we see that all truth points to the Lord Jesus Christ. To be fully and truly educated, a person must come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, who is ultimate truth. (Rom. 1: 19,20; Col. 2: 3)
- A Christian education teaches a worldview that includes God in everything with no divide between secular and spiritual. Christ is all in all. (Jn. 1: 3; Eph. 1: 22,23; Col. 1: 15-18)
To educate literally means "to rear or to lead out" (Webster, 1928) and is related to the Latin word educere, meaning "to bring out or lead forth". The concept of rearing, along with the scriptural mandates of Deut. 4:9; 6:7-9; and 11:19, indicate that it is parents who have primary responsibility for educating their children, not the state, society, or even the church. Therefore, as a Christian school, we see ourselves as partners with parents in assisting them to fulfill their Biblical responsibilities. This requires school personnel to be actively involved and working in conjunction with parents in the education of their children.
The meaning of "to lead out" implies a leader and one being led, i.e. a teacher and a student. A Christian school teacher, therefore, is responsible for knowing where and how a student is to be led. Recognizing that a student when fully trained will become like his teacher (Luke 6:40) makes it imperative that a teacher in a Christian school not only be skilled in teaching methods and knowledgeable in his or her subject area, but he or she must also have a relationship with Jesus Christ, be able to integrate Biblical truth in his or her subject area, and exemplify Christ-like character.
The meaning of "to bring out" may imply to bring out of ignorance, but when the phrase is seen as to bring out the God-given gifting or inclinations of a child, it corresponds more closely with the Proverb, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6) Many commentators interpret "in the way he should go" not just as doing things God's way, but also as training in accordance to a child's nature and temperament. When we recognize that children differ in how they are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14), we see that teachers must differentiate their instruction so that they can "bring out" the talents, gifts, and callings in each child.
In Christian education, our primary goal is to bring a child to the knowledge of God, leading to saving faith and then to help them grow in their trust in Christ and His good news. The teaching of good character qualities and moral principles provide a framework for successful life skills, social wellbeing, and protection from certain behavioral consequences, however, we are intentional in clearly proclaiming that righteousness, that is right relationship with God, comes not by our conduct or morals, but by our trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We, therefore, seek to create an environment of grace and acceptance that allows for imperfection and struggles with full trust that the righteousness of Jesus is sufficient to save us and transform us. (Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 3:24; Col. 2:20)
True education, most simply stated, is teaching about God's creation and His providence. Each area of study: science, math, literature, history, etc. leads us to a greater understanding of God's creative power, order, providential work in man and nations, man's nature, and God's attributes. Woven within the truths of each area of study is God's general revelation of Himself. God has given man the ability to gain knowledge through empirical observation, critical reason, intuitive insight, and scientific observation. When these truths, however they are gained, are brought into the light of God's special revelation, the Bible, by the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to see that all truth points to and brings glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimate truth is a person. And, our response to Him is the ultimate test of whether or not we are aligned with truth or error. God is referred to as the God of truth, Jesus spoke of Himself as the Truth, and the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. The word of God is true and the church is to be the pillar of truth. Therefore to be fully and truly educated, a person must come into a living, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. (Rom. 1:19, 20; Col. 2:3)
If we educate students to the exclusion of Biblical truth, we have failed in true education. We educate not only to impart skills and information about how our world and culture works, but to also teach a worldview that includes God in everything with no divide between secular and spiritual. Christ is all in all. (Jn. 1:3; Eph. 1: 22, 23; Col. 1: 15-18) As students recognize this truth, they will also recognize the worth God has placed on them and how they can live in a manner worthy of the gospel. As Christian educators, we desire to be faithful in our generation to communicate a Godly vision that inspires our children to walk in the freedom and openness of the gospel, and in so doing, influence their world for Christ.
Reviewed, revised and approved by the CFS School Board on January 16, 2014.