Node-Christian-Education1-large1Education: there are so many forms of it today–public, home school, Christian, private, adult, special, informal, primary, secondary, higher learning, and the list goes on. With so many choices, how do you know the best option for yourself, your children, and your family? I am not one that thinks there is a one-size-fits-all mold for education. However, I do believe as a follower of Jesus Christ, that any education we undergo ourselves or in which we place our children should be Christian. I am not arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! What I want to begin sharing today is simply a series of posts concerning Christian education. This series is not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope to help you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. To start off, I want to ensure we have the same definition and goal.

Christian Education Defined

Christian education is more than just education that has been “Christianized”; it is an education that is completely informed and influenced by God’s Word.[1] “Christian education is more than Christian schooling”[2]—it is a holistic approach to life. For education to truly be “Christian”, it must be founded upon the only source that provides everything necessary for life and godliness, God’s Word (2 Pet. 1:3).[3] One cannot view Christian education merely as the teaching performed in a church Sunday School setting, a Christian school classroom, or a Wednesday night Bible study. Christian education is to be carried out in every area of life including the home, school, church, and recreation. Christian education takes into consideration every element involved, from the teacher and student, to the curriculum and methods, and even the philosophies of learning and how to effectively evaluate the education being provided. In order to qualify as a truly Christian education, that education must flow in every way out of God’s Word.

The Goal of Christian Education

Perry G. Downs states the goal of Christian education as “leading believers to spiritual maturity.”[4] The highest goal and purpose of Christian education is to facilitate growth in believers so that they resemble and become increasingly more like their Savior Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:26-27, Rom. 8:28-29).[5] Every facet of education from a Christian perspective, from class work at school to family interaction at home, must be executed with this end in mind. Christian education is an “equipping ministry”[6]; therefore, the Christian educator has a high calling and responsibility in this process of maturing believers and must serve both as a model and mentor. Teachers must model and mentor their students into spiritual maturity.

JonahChristian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what Christian education is and the goal it has fuels how it is done, which is what we will begin to look at next week: Christian Education: The Teacher.

[1] James R. Estep Jr. A Theology for Christian Education. (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008) 2

[2] George R. Knight. Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective, 4th Edition. (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2006), 203-204

[3] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 1018

[4] Perry G. Downs. Teaching for Spiritual Growth: An Introduction to Christian Education. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 17

[5] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 944, 979

[6] James E. Reed. A History of Christian Education. (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993),  370