4 Distinctives of Christian Education

I am currently reading and studying textbooks for a Graduate Diploma of Education at a Christian University. There are some very worthwhile textbooks and others which perhaps I’m not ready to appreciate fully yet. However, I do appreciate the book “Steppingstones to Curriculum” by Harro van Brummelen. In this book he touches on many key concepts.

True Christian education should begin with an understanding that the Lordship of Jesus Christ applies to every area of life. This means that every area of human knowledge is informed by Christ and by a Biblical perspective – even areas such as Mathematics. It is also important to note that educators of whatever stripe bring with them different kinds of presuppositions about the value of different kinds of knowledge. Their presuppositions also inform the kind of methods they think are appropriate for education of children and adolescents. For a long time, many Christians have trusted the State with the education of their children; and in the process their children have been subtly or not so subtly indoctrinated with the ungodly worldview and priorities of teachers who don’t know God. Of course, these teachers might be well-intentioned and they may even have some very good and useful values that would assist in the smooth running of society. However, I think a case can be made that such teachers can never give the same benefit that a well-informed Christian teacher who takes his or her profession seriously as a committed follower of Christ can.

There are 4 major imperatives of God that Christian educators should be aware of:

  1. The Cultural Mandate given to Adam and Eve at the beginning.
  2. The Great Commission to make disciples and preach the gospel given by Jesus.
  3. The Great Commandment to love God with everything and to love one’s neighbour as oneself.
  4. The Great Community – to be part of the community of God’s people living and serving one another and the world in a way that glorifies God.

Readers of this site would be familiar with many aspects of part 2 and 3. I think the Cultural Mandate is something we also need to look at.

Not every person is called to be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or Bible teacher full time. Even those who are may well be called upon to serve others through a profession or a business of some kind. The way we do these professions, the way we run our businesses, all need to be considered through the lens of Scripture. This means that the values we have and show need to be shaped by our knowledge of God. The way we treat people needs to be shaped by the commandment of God to love our neighbor as ourselves. We cannot take selfish hedonism as our goal; rather, we need a practical concern for the poor. Our ethical system needs to have godly foundations so that we can live and uphold justice in our society, or at least be a strong influence for justice.

Surely modern Christian education should address these kinds of concerns. It is not something that is just tacked on in a chapel class, as important as chapel classes are – but I believe all Christian teachers should be empowered to show how God’s creation and God’s word impacts upon the areas of curriculum that they are bringing the students into.

I invite you to build a faith community together with me. Join my social media channels and let’s connect, especially if you want freedom or fullness in Christ.

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