Saturday, June 26, 2010

Heart of Christian Education

What is the difference between Christian education and what children receive through the public system? The argument is that both venues may have Christian teachers who love their students and the subjects are pretty much the same, so what is the big deal? Perhaps one of the key points is that Christian education integrates the Bible into our subjects in a way that shows how this subject relates to Scriptural truth. This article considers a more complete picture of the role that revealed Biblical truth provides in genuine Christian education.

Bible integration is a well-meaning term used to show how the Word of God is brought into every discipline. However, on a practical level that term is often a euphemism for a frantic search to find Scriptures that fit into various aspects of our curriculum, similar to the student who has finished a science project but needs to have a Scripture on it to make the presentation complete. The question is, does finding an appropriate Bible verse do anything constructive for developing a Christian worldview?

Developing a Christian worldview requires something so much more pervasive. The solution is not finding the right verses, but rather having a paradigm shift in what is reality. Consider this truth: Jesus reveals Himself as the way, the truth, and the life. He further points out that eternal life is to know Him and the One who sent Him. The goal of our life and teaching likewise must be to know Him. We are not teachers that happen to be Christian, we are Christians, people who know Jesus Christ personally, that have been entrusted the gift of teaching. In other words, we are to teach Jesus, His ways, His life, and His truth in order to let the Holy Spirit reveal the nature of God to each student. We teach Him through our subjects.

Reality is that all subjects are the reflections and handiwork of God and thereby demonstrate various aspects of His character, nature, and life. John Dewey deliberately established religion as separate from other subjects in the Dewey Decimal System. God didn’t. All creation demonstrates God eternal and invisible attributes according to Romans 1. Indeed the whole process of life shows God’s patience in desiring all people to understand their need for and come to know God. Therefore, genuine teaching is about God, who He is, what He is like, and how great is His mercy and goodness. Subjects just happen to be the physical examples and illustrations that allow human nature to grasp some understanding of the infinite, all wise, almighty, personal God.

For example, mathematics helps us perceive the three in one, the strength of unity, the ability to calculate and multiply, and a system that can evaluate the incredible order and vastness of all creation. Math further provides a method for man to marvel and to understand the greatness of the indescribable God who designed such an awesome precise universe in which each part has its exact place and value. Not one hair on our head is unaccounted for nor is one jot of the law left unfulfilled. Mathematics falls short in its ability to approximate or even define infinity but God rests eternally knowing the number of the stars and the thoughts and intents of the heart. The “teaching the greatness of God” point of view is infinitely greater than just finding a Scripture where David numbers his army to identify Biblical integration in math.

Unless we as Christian educators understand this perspective we will always be falling short trying to discover a verse or principle that might apply to what we want to teach. However, if we marvel at who He is and what He has done and how incredible His creation reflects His glory, then our history, literature, science, and even music or art lessons will naturally point to the greatness of the One who authored it all. Learning will be an opportunity for Holy Spirit revelation and the process will be life-giving in its perspective. Jesus will be the all in all.

No comments:

Post a Comment