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Feature Friday (3/7/14)

Balance-scale-1-

We all struggle with balance in our lives. One day we feel as though we have done too little, the next day we feel as though we tried to do too much. Balance is a rough thing to accomplish in our lives, but especially so in education. However, as this article shows, sometimes balance is not even pursued. This is just one more instance why higher education is become less of an education and more of an indoctrination.

As always, be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Christian Education: Summary

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 have not been arguing that every set of believing parents must put their children in a Christian school or they are sinning. No! This series was not about why you should send your children to a Christian school. Far from it! Instead I hope I have helped you frame your thinking about what “Christian education” really is and is not. Over the last number of weeks we have discussed the many aspects of Christian education. This week,  I want to simply summarize all the discussion on Christian education.

Summary

Christian education may come in many sizes, shapes, forms, methods, and times of life, but one thing is sure—if the education is truly Christian it will be focused on Jesus Christ and growing individuals to become more like him. The whole point of Christian education is not to make people knowledgeable about the Bible, although that will happen. It is not to make a nicer, cleaner, less criminal society, although that may happen. It is not even to cause families, communities, and nations to be more concerned for each other and the needs around them. The point of Christian education is to cause people to love and value Christ so highly that they become more like Him day after day.

Throughout the educational process many things will change—the content distributed, the methods utilized, and the individuals involved—but one thing must remain the same for education to be recognized as Christian. The goal of forming individuals into the likeness of Christ must not change. The goal and purpose is what sets apart any educational program, philosophy, or practice. Only with Christ likeness as its purpose and mindset should any individual or institution claim to be performing Christian education. The only true Christian education focuses on God, forms people into Christ likeness, and looks forward to an eternity spent with Him.

I hope you have enjoyed this series on Christian education. More than that, I pray that you have been challenged in your thinking about and carrying out an education that is truly Christian in nature. Whether it be in your home, classroom, church, or other social setting, may all the education in your life be truly seeking to be Christian. Remember, Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, or part 3: Christian Education: the Student, or part 4: Christian Education: the Content, or part 5: Christian Education: the Methods, part 6: Christian Education: Various Philosophies, or part 7: Christian Education: Evaluation, check them out here. Thanks for being part of this series with us!

Christian Education: Various Philosophies

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 continue sharing today in 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. Last week we discussed the methods of Christian education. This week,  I want to discuss the various philosophies of Christian education.

Various Philosophies and Christian Education

                Various philosophies exist on education and how it should be performed. From the Realist to the Idealist, philosophies on education are not hard to find; however, Christian educators must be discerning as to which philosophies to utilize in their own teaching. There are good, truthful things to be learned from philosophers, but there are also dangers to avoid when seeking to adopt new methods, content, or ways of thought to a truly Christian education. There are at least five philosophies that present positive insight into the educational process—Idealism, Realism, Educational Humanism, Essentialism, and Behaviorism.

These five philosophies do not originate from Christian backgrounds, but do present important insight into education. For instance, Idealism states that truth is perfect and eternal, which is consistent with the Christian belief that God is perfect and the eternal truth. (Jn. 14:6; Deut. 32:4; Titus 1:2; Heb. 1:3) [1]  Realism purports that the inductive method of study should be stressed which God’s Word testifies to as well (Rom. 1:18-20; Ps. 19:1)[2]. Educational Humanism maintains that education is built on trust and security. This corresponds to God’s design for education to occur primarily in the home (Deut. 6:5-9; Ps. 78; Prov. 3:5-6).[3] Essentialism also adds to education the idea that hard work is necessary to learning, discipline is needed and beneficial, and authorities must be respected.[4] Finally, Behaviorism states that the laws of nature should be studied.[5] Several good principles can be drawn from these five secular philosophies.

The positive principles pulled from the secular philosophies not only line up with Scripture, but are derived from Scripture. The authors and developers of each philosophy have only discovered what God has intended and planned before time began. He is the author of the universe and of all things (Col. 1:16; Gen. 1); therefore, anything that man may discover is ultimately an insight from the Lord. Each of the philosophies need to be seen and evaluated in light of the Scriptures. When evaluating, a Christian educator must always keep in mind the goal and purpose of Christian education. The educator could easily become pragmatic in perspective and begin to utilize a behaviorism philosophy of trying to change people’s actions instead of their hearts and lives. Therefore, prayer and constant reflection on God’s Word is foundational and crucial when considering how to integrate other philosophies into Christian education.

Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what the content of Christian education is vital to having an education that is truly Christian. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, or part 3: Christian Education: the Student, or part 4: Christian Education: the Content, or part 5: Christian Education: the Methods, check them out here. Stop by next week where the topic will be Christian Education: Evaluation.

[1] George R. Knight, Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective, 4th Edition. (Barren Springs: Andrews University Press, 2006), 44-48

[2] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 939, 456

[3] Ibid., 151, 488, 528,

[4] George R. Knight, Philosophy & Education: an Introduction in Christian Perspective, 4th Edition. (Barren Springs: Andrews University Press, 2006), 121-124

[5] Ibid., 133-134

Christian Education: the Student

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 continue sharing today in 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. Last week we discussed the role of the teacher in Christian education. This week,  I want to discuss the role of the student in Christian education.

Christian Education and the Student

Though the Christian educator must model and mentor, they cannot take full responsibility for the process of maturing a believer; some responsibility must rest on the learner. The ultimate truth that must be understood about students of Christian education is that they are image bearers of God (Gen. 1:26-27).[1] This understanding will make a significant difference in the student and also in the student/teacher interaction. The idea that the student is an image bearer of God should increase the teachers’ awareness with regard to how they interact with the student. With this in mind, the Christian education student must bear the responsibility and be seen both as a learner and as a future leader.

The student is a learner of who God is, how they are to respond to God, and how they can become more like God. This learning should take place in all realms of life as the student interacts with different teachers and influences because God uses multiple forms of education to impact people (Gen. 6-8, 37-50 Ex. 3; Deut. 6:4-9; the disciples, etc).[2]  The student must be one who, as 2 Timothy 2:15 states, “presents themselves to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth”. The Christian education student is also a future leader since the goal of Christian education implies that as students mature, they will become teachers as well. Ultimately, the student should be growing in their knowledge, love, and service of the Lord.

Student should one day be teaching other generations and those who come behind them (Eph. 4:13-14)[3]. Part of this process includes the students recognizing their gifts and beginning to utilize and develop those gifts (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, 1 Pet. 4).[4] The student must learn to serve God by serving others through the use of their God-given gifts and abilities. They should desire to be like their Savior who, as Matthew 20:28 declares, “Came not to be served but to serve”[5]. Students must be seeking ways to utilize, grow in, and mature in the gifts and abilities they have been given. They should look for these opportunities in varying settings including youth group, school, community, home, and extra-curricular programs. Students must seize the opportunity to fulfill their responsibility to grow and pursue Christ likeness.

Christian education flows in every way out of God’s Word as mature believers model and mentor younger believers to spiritual maturity. Understanding what the role of the student is in Christian education is vital to having an education that is truly Christian. In case you missed part 1 of the series: Christian Education: Definition and Goals, or part 2: Christian Education: the Teacher, check them out here. Stop by next week where the topic will be Christian Education: the Content.


[1] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers, 2003), 1

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

[3] Ibid., 978

[4] Ibid., 978, 948, 959, 1016

[5] Ibid., 825

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