Why Christian Education?

Jonathan Ekeland: "Effective Christian Schooling - A Mission to Forge a New Mind" (www.discoverchristianschools.com)

Effective Christian schooling is not simply a process of adding chapel and Bible class to a traditional academic curriculum, but rather, its mission is to forge a new mind – a transformation that begins through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and is then nurtured and developed by deliberate and strategic integration of biblical truth into every curricular area. Christian schooling, then, confronts and challenges the fragmented secular worldview.

But what does that really mean? Many people, adults and teenagers alike, don’t know what “worldview” means, even though they hear about it or see it in print. It’s easy and difficult at the same time. For instance, you may hear the name Cape Cod dozens of times, but have you ever stopped to think that a cape is a point of land that projects into the sea and a cod is a North Atlantic fish. But we usually don’t dissect things like that all the time. Well, worldview maybe that simple; it’s a set of presuppositions (which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold about the basic make-up of our world. A Christian worldview would be to look at everything through the eyeglasses of Scripture.

So getting back to the main premise – a Christian education does include Bible classes, chapels, Christian faculty, and a host of other “Christian things,” but if students are not learning how to assimilate and putting into practice what they are learning then they are as James describes in chapter 1, verse 22. “But prove to yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

When a student studies Shakespeare they should ask themselves, “What worldview does he speak from?” Then the student should compare their own worldview and Shakespeare’s to see the differences and maybe some similarities. What about in Science class, what worldview is given? Or in World History and American Literature, what views are impressed upon the student? If the student has not begun to formulate in their own mind what worldview they hold to, then most everything they absorb and consider will be acceptable (tolerable).

All Christian schools cannot certainly be lumped together, but I would be willing to assume that most value the opportunity to provide their students to develop a Christ-centered worldview. From as early as kindergarten, Christian schools are teaching and modeling a Godly perspective regarding every aspect of their education; from math all the way down to PE class. By the way, if Christ is not the center of PE class, what does competition look like? If Christ is not the center of history, where does God fit into the history of mankind? Does He, or doesn't’t He? These are just two of dozens of perspectives that children are taught every day for 30 hours a week. Do the math! 30 hours a week times 36 weeks of school equals 1,080 hours in the class. Now multiply that by 13 years. It equals 14,040 hours that children are absorbing worldviews. The question raised to parents is, “What kind of worldview do you want your child to have when they graduate high school?”

A catechism question that some kindergarten students respond to is “Why did God make all things?” The little ones answer correctly, “God made all things for His own glory (Rom 11:36).” Our worldview, even at the age of five, should start with God at the center of our lives with everything revolving around Him. As the initial premise mentions, our society’s secular worldview is fragmented. In other words, it’s broken and sinful. We as parents and educators need to have a plan -- a plan to instruct our children to compare everything to God’s Word. His Word is our lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. That path that our children tread upon is full of rocks and holes and other obstacles. They need God’s Word and its perspective to keep from falling. They need a bright and true light.

Where Christian Education is Priceless (November 1, 2008: World Magazine)

If you want a classic example of how fast a whole culture can be turned on a dime, redirected by 180 degrees, try this: Just when it seemed, through the 1980s, 1990s, and even well into the past decade, that a socialist mindset had been successfully put down in the United States, back it comes—with a vengeance.

"Free markets are better for everybody," Ronald Reagan had taught us. So we deregulated. We reformed welfare. We defeated Hillary's nationalized health care. We popularized tax cuts. We watched the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics collapse, and we applauded the market economy in Europe. Talk radio exploded.

And, as fallen humans are wont to do, we also abused our freedom.

Which always provides an excuse to those with socialist inclinations to argue that we need to be regulated again, that we need stacks of new rules to curb our excesses, and that government needs to be called in to make everyone behave. And that's why you find a newly muscled Uncle Sam these days shutting down big investment brokers, buying huge equity clout in traditional banks, and rumored to be ready to buy similar shares of Ford, Chrysler, and GM.

All that under a supposed pro-free market Republican administration! So nobody's going to be very surprised if under an Obama presidency there will be a redoubling of Sarbanes-Oxley, re-regulation of the airlines (and just about everyone else), universal health care, a new budget line for carbon and energy, restrictions on talk radio, and increased taxes to pay the staggeringly higher bills.

Much of that has happened, may I suggest, because we also long ago conceded the most critical territory of all. While strenuously wrestling over business and banking and health care and energy and a dozen other issues, we cavalierly handed over to the state a perpetual 90 percent share of the nation's educational interests. America regularly has about 50 million children enrolled in K-12 schools, and about 20 million more in colleges and universities—and while the pattern fluctuates a little, 90 percent of those 70 million young people regularly get a state-flavored view of reality.

Socialized medicine? Most of us recoil at the idea. Socialized airlines? Reminds us of Aeroflot. Socialized banks? When it happened last month, it terrified us.

But socialized schools? Nine out of ten of us patronize them regularly.

And we do so with na'ry a thought or concern about how such an arrangement affects next week's election, or the election after that, or the lifetime of elections to come.

I am blessed to have had parents who did look ahead. Half a century ago, my father said often: "If I fail to feed my children, the government will step in. If I don't house them, the government has programs to help. Of course, I don't intend to turn those duties over to the government. But I would much rather have the government feed and house my children than to have the government shape their minds."

That's why, if I were ever forced to become a one-issue person on the political front, my single issue would be freedom of choice in education. With a nine-to-one edge in value-shaping influence, why shouldn't the government be producing products who think government-sponsored-everything is best?

When I enthusiastically endorse the Christian school and home school alternatives, I don't do so primarily because of their effect on the electoral process. Christian education isn't about filling the registration rolls of the Republican party.

But it is about producing thoughtful and earnest citizens. The bells of freedom on every front traditionally ring more clearly where a biblical value system has been inculcated. No one should expect anything resembling such a result from secularist state-sponsored schools, which will naturally glorify the state. No one should be surprised when that's what happens.

So I say: Go get educated about what Christians are doing these days in education. Go online to discoverchristianschools.com, a notable effort to help parents discover the good things happening on the school front. Go to hslda.org to learn about the growing impact of home schooling families throughout the nation.

It's too late, to be sure, to have much impact on next week's election. But so long as there are more kids and future generations, and so long as they have minds and hearts to shape with God's great truth, it's not too late at all to make a difference for elections yet to come.

Nancy Huckaby: Christian Education: An Investment in the Future (The Star - Telegram; Fort Worth, TX)

Christian parents understand well the responsibility they have to not only love their children, but to educate them in an environment that embraces Christ’s fundamental truths.

Many find the answer in home schooling, but for countless others, Christian schools provide the perfect answer. Christian education facilities – both elementary, secondary and higher learning – can help parents make sure their children receive a quality education, taught by dedicated and knowledgeable teachers.

Christian education is not without its critics. Some say it insulates children from the real world, or shelters them from many of the negative influences they’will have to face in the future. On its Web site, cornerstonekingman.ca, Cornerstone Christian Academy in Kingman, Alberta, Canada, offers this view:

"The Christian school works somewhat like a greenhouse which is designed to provide optimum conditions for growth while a plant is young. Young children are protected and carefully nurtured to help them mature properly. When the time comes for them to be 'transplanted’ into a more hostile environment, they are more likely to endure difficulties and continue to thrive because they have been trained well and have developed a discerning heart."

Christian educators want to help students recognize the hostility and injustice in today’s world while giving them the tools – critical thinking skills, a core value system and a strong foundation of faith – to apply Christ’s truth to solving those problems.

Administrators know that the academic standards at a Christian school must be strong if parents are asked to make what, for many, is a significant sacrifice for the cost of attending a private school. College bound students face their own brand of challenges and for many (and their parents) knowing that the college or university they select is based on Christian principles is paramount.

Gary Ledbetter, communications director for the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention in Grapevine, offered this advice on the CollegeView Web site:

"A final benefit of Christian higher education is perhaps the most significant. The quality of a Christian college experience is higher than any other. Christian educators have an additional motivation to do their work with excellence – the call of Christ on their lives to do just that (I Corinthians. 10:31). Quality may also be enhanced by the emphasis on subjects and teaching deemed by God to be the first importance. A biblical focus will inform the manner, content, and even the scope of an educational experience, and Christian schools may be less influenced by cultural (or educational) fads."

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22.6

John Fedele: The Ultimate Reason for a Christian School Education (www.discoverchristianschool.com)

In these ever changing times I find it interesting to read the variety of “reasons” given to parents in considering a Christian School education. The fact that Christian schools have weekly chapels, memorize Scripture, study the Bible, or that our schools are safe places for kids, or that there is a positive learning atmosphere, those things are all important, but they are not the essence of a Christian school education. They are good, things, but they do not fully represent in my opinion what a Christian school education is really about.

The first and most important thing that you’re going to find in a Christian school is an education that is presented from an eternal perspective, meaning, students are taught about the reality that there is a God, and His will for each young person is to know him personally as Savior and then, to begin learning how they can become totally devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • It’s an education about having children understand the need for a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe, and how that Creator can profoundly impact and interact with their lives right here, right now as well as for the rest of their lives.
  • It’s not just about the sweet bye and bye or punching a ticket for heaven, but it’s coming to a deep awareness and a knowledge that a student’s life can make a difference right here, right now and that they are being equipped to impact God’s kingdom and ultimately, to influence the world in which they live.
  • It’s not about students learning to adjust or adapt to the culture, but rather having students learn how they can change the culture and ultimately the world wherever they go.
  • It is not about getting an education that prepares students to get into the best college, to get the best job, to make lots of money, so they can buy “stuff” and be happy. Getting a good education is important, don’t get me wrong, but if that is the end goal and the only goal, and our children are not equipped or prepared to live lives of meaning and service, to live lives that make a difference in the lives of others, then we have failed in our mission to truly educate them.

James Braley, noted Christian educator said it best, “It’s changed lives, changing lives!” It’s the impact of a teacher’s changed life, changing the individual lives of his or her students. And those students going out and doing the same.

Christian parents, isn’t that what you really want for your son or daughter? To have them grow in relationship with their Creator and live a life of purpose and meaning, having them being able to discern and discover God’s will for their lives and to have access to His blessings, goodness and favor, and not just simply “grab the gusto?” That’s what students will receive at a Christian school, an education that is from an eternal perspective based on a personal relationship with God that will be lived out in some kind of service to the kingdom of God and to others. It is an education not only of the mind, but of the heart as well, to love God, and to love and serve others.

An education for an eternity! The ultimate reason to consider a Christian school education!