What Makes an Education "Christian"?
Home and classroom schools are rethinking Christian education... Whatever its setting, what are the central concerns of a Christian education?
Making Christian schools available to more families is good, but education must be strengthened at its philosophic core. A good Christian education must entail more than learning job skills, Bible verses, church traditions, and becoming fluent in “Christianese”. These may be good starting points, but the “school day” provides greater opportunities.
Education must be meaningful (superficial or material meaning is the greatest fault I find with secular education). Knowledge and skills may be tools, but the meaning that under-girds those tools determines how they will be used, the degree to which they will be used, and the overall educational goals for the child. The core meaning of a good education is that is should help children to know and love God!
Relational EducationThe school day is not just for the assimilation of knowledge; it is for the holistic nurture of children. Children need not only grow in knowledge, but grow as relational individuals who look at the world through a "relational" lens rather than just a materialistic lens. Knowledge should be associated with knowing and loving God and other people.
Faith & Culture
- Cultures grow from beliefs and values. As a scholar, I find a growing body of research to support this conclusion (see the works of Rodney Stark and others) - a conclusion that largely contradicts the scholarship of the past century.
- Beliefs and values are most effectively nurtured in children and young adults.
If both these conclusions are true, then secular education not only fails to support the spiritual and intellectual health of our children, but it undermines our national health by avoiding the ideological questions that establish the foundations for civic and cultural life.
Ask yourself these questions. How can Christian schools help children to:
✓ Learn about God so as to fall in greater love with him through the content of each subject area?
✓ Grow to actively trust God?
✓ Develop Christ-like characters?
✓ Wrestle to understand God’s concerns and goals associated with each curricular subject?
✓ Coherently integrate their foundational beliefs and values into their thinking, acting, and planning?
✓ Understand other systems of belief with their logical conclusions and values?
SACE does not have all the answers, but hopefully this website provides an opportunity for you to contribute your thoughts and learn from others...
Society for the Advancement of Christian Education
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