C H R I S T I A N E D U C A T I O N
What is Christian Education?
There are probably almost one hundred new Christian Schools in Britain. In such schools it is considered vital that education is consistent with biblical teaching. It is not simply a good idea, it is a matter of biblical principle.
The idea which dominates many Christians’ thinking on education is the view that all knowledge is ‘neutral’; that it is possible to teach in a way which does not reveal a religious view of the world; that, for example, the Christian and the non-Christian will view science or history or literature in the same way. However, true Christianity cannot simply be the religious icing that we put on top of a secular cake; it is our whole life. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension which sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
In this task the Bible is our starting point.
Christians take a distinctive view of the origin and purpose of life. Science is not the study of impersonal chance laws, it is the study of God’s created order and design. History is not the examination of random events or the march of progress; for the Christian, history is the unfolding of God’s plan. No school subject is neutral! If a school leaves God out of the curriculum the school is making a religious statement, namely that God is not relevant to the majority of life, that life can be interpreted without reference to God. This is little more than practical atheism.
The Governors believe that the Bible places prime responsibility upon parents for the physical, intellectual, emotional, moral, spiritual and social development of their children. The School’s aim is to work in partnership with parents in order to help them fulfil their biblical obligations.
The idea of the school as an extension of each family has had a considerable effect upon the way in which Bethany School has developed. It is to supplement rather than take the place of the family. The school must never be so large that it loses the familiarity, informality and the caring discipline which should be features of family life; and perhaps most importantly, parents should be involved in the education of their children alongside those who, because of training, may have greater experience. Professional teachers assist parents at Bethany, they do not replace them.
In the experience of most of our families, an understanding of Christian Education is a process which involves an unfolding of truths from God’s word and a new understanding of the nature and purpose of education.
We expect that families will be interested in a more purposeful study of the challenging concept of Christian Education and each year we run an induction course for new families. The themes covered include:
What is biblical parenting?
What is a Christian Family School?
What is Christian education?
We have books and recordings relating to Christian Education and a list of these resources is available from the school.
Please contact us to arrange a visit or to discuss these issues with us further.
Bethany School and Christian Education
Bethany School is a small, friendly school based upon Christian principles.
We actively promote involvement of parents with teachers in every aspect of school life. Together, we continue to develop a distinctive, biblical curriculum for our children.
Parents and teachers at Bethany School are grappling with the issues involved in being part of a pioneering, grassroots work in education. We are seeking to add to the work of other Christians who are beginning to rethink and redirect education in the light of a Christian view of life.
These scriptures and many others which speak on the subject of education and schooling are the most profound and far reaching statements found in any source.
They will be helpful in gaining an understanding of biblical teaching on the subject of education. They contain references to many other matters and should always be read in context and prayerfully. (A good commentary helps too!)
that God has revealed himself to the people he created in His own image through:
the order and coherence of nature – Rom 1:20
the conscience of man – Rom 2:14
scripture, the final authority – 2 Tim 3:15
Jesus and the work of the cross – Heb 1:2
The work of the Holy Spirit – 1 Cor 2:12
that Christ is the source of all knowledge, wisdom and understanding. (Col 2:3)
that children have a special place in God’s heart, capable of responding to Him and seen as examples to adults in matters of faith and belief. (Matt 18:1-14)
that children are God’s gift to their families (Ps 127:3), wonderfully made (Ps 139:3), but conceived in sin (Ps 51:5 ) and in need of redemption (Rom 3:23).
that parents have a huge responsibility to bring up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4) and those to whom they delegate responsibilities, as teachers, will be judged by a stricter rule. (James 3:1)
It is also consistent with scripture to want to see every child thoroughly equipped for good works which commend Christ in this dark world (2 Tim 3:15-17) and prepared in heart, soul, mind and strength for this life and life in the world to come. (Deut 6:5, Matt 22:37)
These scriptures give instruction on what can be known, the source of true learning, the condition of the learners, the responsibilities of the teachers, the purpose of learning and the method by which true wisdom and understanding can be gained. (Compare with modern teacher training.)
We can have a biblical approach to the subject of education; if we are Christians, we must have a biblical approach to the subject of education as we must look to the scriptures for authoritative guidance on all matters of faith and conduct.
"The bible is thought of as authoritative on everything of which it speaks. And it speaks of everything. We do not mean that it speaks of football games or atoms etc. directly, but we do mean that it speaks of everything either directly or indirectly. It tells us not only of Christ and His work but it tells us who God is and whence the universe has come. It gives us a philosophy of history as well as history. Moreover, the information on these subjects is woven into an inextricable whole. It is only if you reject the bible as the Word of God that you can separate its so-called religious and moral instruction from what it says, for example, about the physical universe."
What The Bible Teaches About Education
The Old Testament wisdom literature in particular tells us that there can be no true knowledge or wisdom without ‘The fear of the Lord’, that is, those who do not ‘fear the Lord’ can know nothing truly. (Van Til – ‘The meaning of every fact in the universe must be related to God.’) This means that all facts are interpreted facts – interpretations coloured by our views, beliefs, culture, observations and experiences.
Education is not neutral! We bring to it who we are and what we believe.