Christianity and the Academy (5)

Education Must Have Legitimate Goals
Education without the Bible is useless- (Noah Webster, 1758-1843)

All Christian education, regardless of the age of the student, should have goals. These goals must be in harmony with scripture, and be achievable. Goals should be both general and specific. The general ones should be those that should be applicable to any course, whilst the specific ones should be specifically oriented, around a course of study. Ideally, a student should have general and specific goals, that he is working to attain. The general goals are our focus here.

1. Growth in godliness: this should be the object of every Christian person, but especially the student. The Bible says that “godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment” (I Tim.6:6). Furthermore, “the real measure of godliness is how well we control our tongue” (Derek Prince).

2. Conformity to the image of Christ: the Bible says that “it is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master” (Mat.10:25a). The Christian person seeks to live out the character of Christ, through his individual personality. We can trust, that this is what God is developing in our lives too. In this, we are co-operating with the Holy Spirit (II Cor.3:18), as He develops the fruit of the Spirit in us (Gal.5:22-23).

3. “That I may know Him” (Phil.3:10): this was one of Paul’s goals, and it should be ours too. Everything for the believer, comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Jer.9:24; 22:15-16.

4. Growth in accountability (Luke 16:1-2): Any supervisor wants to be able to leave his premises, and be confident that when he returns (in hours or weeks), his staff will have been diligently applying themselves to their tasks, in his absence. This is exactly what Jesus wants of His people, too (Luke 19:11-27). If we believe we have been “bought with a price” (I Cor.6:20), this should be evident in all of work, as we show that our time belongs to the Lord, not ourselves. Punctuality is an aspect of accountability.

5. Diligence (II Thess.3:8, 10; II Tim.2:15): The Puritan Benjamin Wadsworth, advised parents that in relation to their children, “if you’re careful to bring them up diligently in proper business, you take a good method for their comfortable subsistence in the World (and for their being serviceable to their Generation) you do better for them, than if you should bring them up idly, and yet leave them great Estates.”

6. Competency and professionalism in all things: It is no disgrace to not know how to do something, but something that is an aspect of a professional’s work needs to be mastered. “The man who knows how will always be at the mercy of the man who knows why.”

7. Growth in Christian service: the individual should hope that he is doing a better job for his supervisor, his other staff-members, and his customers that he was last year. Why? Because he is growing, in terms of his attitude and experience. He should be able to function more independently, and at the same time appreciate what others are able to do, in making his organisation more effective for the customer. This point is a summation of the previous six.

8. The dominion of Jesus Christ in the earth (Ps.110:1-3): this should be the ultimate goal of all education. This is what He has placed us in the world for; not merely to have pleasant children, a nice house, riches or a good retirement. The education of every person, whether it be the mechanic, the professor, or the housewife, is to be with this in mind.

Christians are to become the predominant people in the world, in terms of their influence; this is how everyone is to be educated, so that this can take place, and the gospel can be proclaimed both by word and deed. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). A godly education is a huge component of the Great Commission (Mat.28:18-20).

Christians in the context of education, regardless of what level, are obligated to consider carefully the challenge posed by Elijah to the people on Mount Carmel: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” (I Kings 18:21). The Lordship of Jesus Christ applies to every area of life, including the intellectual area. Our negligence in the area of the intellectual education has cost us greatly now for generations, and we have lost a lot of ground.

Thus our stewardship in this regard is vital, if we are to give a good account, that we did in fact “love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your might” (Deut.6:5).

How are you and the children God has given you, being educated?

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