Why Christian Education?
Schools are social institutions in which students learn about the world and their roles therein. According to author Richard Edlin in The Cause of Christian Education, "Christian schools are uniquely positioned to join with Christian parents in preparing and challenging young people to be Christ's ambassadors within a culture fixated on self-centered consumerism, bewildered cynicism and heart-wrenching despair."
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Job 28:28
Believing that Christian schools serve an increasingly vital purpose, he recommends parents "seriously consider the religious environment of the school in which they wish to immerse their children and from which they will absorb their values and views of life." He adds, "The Christian ethic is incompatible with secular humanism which underlies modern education."
The goals of a Christian education are not shared by the secular world. When parents enroll their children in Christian school, they are demonstrating their commitment to have their children learn about art, mathematics, social studies, music and other subjects in a way that helps them to see God at work in His world, and a way that will ideally lead youngsters to respond in obedient service to God through these subjects.
- Students learn a pattern for life built on the certainty of the Word of God
- The Christian world view is reflected in every activity of the school
- Teachers are bonded through a common purpose and a strong spirit of support and sharing
- Students discover their glorious potential as part of God's creation; they are encouraged to develop all of their abilities in response to the Lord
- Teachers model Christian behavior
- Students learn that conservation is about much more than a scarcity of resources; it has to do with good stewardship and accountability to the Creator
- Graduates have a positive sense of destiny
According to Edlin, the fallen nature of this world reinforces the necessity for Christian schools. "Hothouses are to nurture plants while they are young so that when they are removed from there they are strong and more (not less) able to stand against the ferocity of the elements."
Technically, all schools are hothouses in that they assist growing, developing youngsters and give them direction and help as they learn about the world and prepare for their role in it. The question then becomes: What environment is most desirable for that early training?
Edlin feels school discipline is an interesting example of how the Christian can suggest positive remedial action for the increasingly violent nature of schools. Although corporal punishment is biblically sanctioned and can be appropriate in the right circumstances, it was deemed to be politically incorrect by the educational establishment years ago. However, he says, this change "has not led to a reduction in youth violence. Instead, youth violence has increased to alarming levels."
Much of what is recorded in the four gospels shows Jesus educating His apostles in what was involved in the ministry of the kingdom of God.
As he taught them, Jesus adapted His "curriculum" so that it reflected who His students were, where they were from, and where they were going. Like our students today, the disciples needed a strong refuge and role model during their time of training.
"The calling to be a Christian teacher in any school setting is a noble and responsible calling," he writes. "They hold the future in their hands. May God bless and encourage them in this unique and blessed discipling task."
According to Edlin, Christians need not be apologetic about Christian schools. By sending their students to Christian schools, parents are bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as commanded in Ephesians 6:4.