Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thoughts on Christian Education (conclusion, for now)

I would like to end my thoughts on Christian Education (for now) with a simple question- Is education that leaves out the Sovereign God and his authoritative word truly education? Education according to Wikipedia:

Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgment and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation.

So education shouldn't be seen as the simple relaying of facts, there is judgment involved and a certain kind of wisdom developed. Is wisdom possible apart from the knowledge of God? If you define education solely as learning, then I will agree that learning definitely happens in public education (spending 14,000 seat hours before age 18 in a certain environment will most definitely teach something). But even Wikipedia defines education as more than just imparting facts and retaining those facts. For the believer, we must understand education as it is explained and described in God’s Word. Once again, we are talking about training, discipleship, worldview-shaping, the maturing process. That’s what real education is. Consider Proverbs 9:10 for a moment. We speak of people as being knowledgeable or smart. This is a virtue, even in our day and in our society. Here is a founding principle to determine if knowledge is true. If our education is right.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Solomon is saying that for us to begin learning, we must fear the Lord. In other words, we must acknowledge God in order to have the ability to rightly receive and interpret information. One might say this proverb in another way- without fearing the Lord, there is no wisdom. Without knowing the Holy One, there is no knowledge or insight.

Christian Education, by definition, places God as the root and source of all knowledge. Christian Education begins with an admission, we are finite. To understand the world, we must seek the counsel of the infinite. The Psalmist says it as well in Psalm 110:10

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Acknowledgement of the Creator of all things allows us to study all things. We must know and acknowledge the Creator in order to know or learn or be educated. By definition, Christian Education is the only true education. Paul speaks even more specifically when addressing the relationship of Christ to "all things"-

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Education that leaves out the sovereign God and His authoritative Word isn't really education. By definition, Christian Education is the only true education. All other forms of "education" are actually a skewed view of reality at best.


Frontier Forest said...

Standing with Pastor Tony, didactic thoughts, I remember a quote from my over educated son-in-law. Just after receiving his PHD in Foreign Political Science he arrogantly boasted, “Higher education subscribes to modern ideals of philosophical tolerance. I find the teachings of intolerance among evangelical Christians, an old fashion ideal, only held by the less educated.”
Upon hearing my sons-in-law espousing such heresy, my comment was, “You know Bret, with your statement you are quoting a truth from Scripture? The Bible tells us pretty much the same thought you just expressed in I Corinthians 3:18-19. “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he many become wise. For wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.”

Alan said...

Public schools do have valuable lessons to teach, their problem is that they don't (and can't) make Christianity a fundamental part of learning. That's where private schools come in. If they are an option for you there are some that are definitely worth looking into (Liberty University comes to mind).