Christianity and the Academy (2)

Education: a Vital Part of the Great Commission

Because this is a battle for the minds of men, it involves every aspect of life. There is no neutrality. Each man has to pick sides. Jesus warned: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt.12:30). Christians often are confused about this. They have been sold a bill of goods by the enemies of God, namely, that there are zones of neutrality scattered throughout the creation, and that some sort of common natural law rules these neutral zones. This is a myth. Either God’s law rules everything, and promises to bring all things under His righteous judgment, or else God’s claim of being God is a lie.[1]

David Hocking has written an excellent set of principles which serve us well in terms of forming a basis for a Christian philosophy of education. These are applicable for the homeschooling family, the Christian school, the Christian university, or any other institution naming the Name of Christ.

1. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the authority, authenticity, and reliability of the Bible as the complete and final revelation of God concerning all matters of faith, truth and practice.

2. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the centrality and authority of Jesus Christ in all that is believed, said, or done.

3. The Christian philosophy of education is based on clearly defined goals and objectives that are found in the Bible:

a) The glory of God.
b) The salvation of non-believers.
c) The maturity of believers in doctrine and practice.
d) The training of believers for Christian service and ministry.

4. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the conviction that knowledge of the Bible and of Jesus Christ is essential to the development and growth of the individual in matters physical, mental, social, and spiritual.

5. The Christian philosophy of education is based on a personal commitment to Jesus Christ on the part of all who are involved in the educational process.

a) The “blind” cannot lead the “blind.”
b) Nothing can control the natural desires of the uncommitted teacher.
c) Without Christ, the instructor is impotent (there is a weakness) in his ability                         to teach due to the absence of the Holy Spirit in his life.
d) Commitment to Christ is fundamental to having commitment toward proper goals.

6. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

a) The inspiration of the Bible.
b) The illumination of the individual.
c) The involvement of spiritual gifts.
d) The inability of those involved to understand the “deep things” of God apart from              the Holy Spirit.

7. The Christian philosophy of education is based on a proper relationship between the family, the church, and the educational process.

8. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the establishment of proper priorities in an individual’s life.

a) Commitment to Christ Himself.
b) Commitment to the family.
c) Commitment to other believers.
d) Commitment to non-believers.
e) Commitment to a job.

9. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the sovereignty of God in all the affairs of men and throughout all history.

10. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the creation of man in the image of God apart from any so-called evolutionary process.

11. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the moral principles of the Bible.

a) Distinctions between right and wrong are stated in the Scriptures (I Jn.3:4).
b) Man possesses a sin nature which forms the root of all sinful actions and                               thoughts (James 1:13-15).
c) The environment is not to be blamed for man’s sin (Mk.7:14-23).
d) Man is not morally good (Ro.3:10-12).
e) The ethical precepts which govern human actions not specifically covered                             by Biblical teaching firmly rest upon the law of love and the principle of Christian             liberty (Ro.14).

12. The Christian philosophy of education is based on Christian teachers who understand these basic principles of Christian education, who are personally committed to them, and who demonstrate effectiveness in their ability to communicate them.[2]

The Great Commission is certainly a command to evangelise: but its implications are significant indeed; they require over time that social, cultural and legal changes must take place in every nation. This is the normal Biblical procedure (Acts 8:5-8; 19:17-19, 23-27). The Christian educator has a profound challenge, to identify with God’s purpose in Christ. The goals of education will include indoctrination in the truth, training of students and completeness in Christ. Education is a vital part of occupancy. Believers are required to be full-orbed cultural creatures, going forth to develop the earth,[3] and the purpose of education is thus to enlarge the scope and extent of man’s power under God.[4]

Christian education is not a flight from reality, avoiding the truth about man and the world we live in. Rather, it is a requirement to face the truth, from the one individual in history who could legitimately claim to be “the Truth” (Jn.14:6). Sartre, the existentialist was wrong: man is not “a useless passion,” without meaning, but a creation of God with dignity, responsibility and power.

True education relates firstly to God and His kingdom, to the knowledge and implementation of God’s truth in a time-space world. It has as its function, the task of introducing people to Christ’s liberating, refreshing teaching in all its perspectives, which will enable them to enter into the occupying and controlling activities that were the substance of the creation commandment (Gen.1:26-28).[5]

 

 

 [1]Gary North, “Liberating Planet Earth,” 1987, p.21.

 [2] David Hocking, “The Theological Basis for the Philosophy of Christian School Education,” in Paul Kienel (Ed.)       “The Philosophy of Christian School Education,” 1986, p.12-27.

[3] B. Walsh & R. Middleton, “The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview,” 1984, p.56.

[4] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum,”1985, p.33.

[5] Jay Adams, “Back to the Blackboard,” 1982, p.38-9.

 

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