Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why the name "Heritage Christian Academy"?

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” - Psalm 33:12

One challenge of merging two existing schools is establishing a new identity. Both schools liked the names they had, but agreed it's best to rename in order to bring unity of thought and mission to the newly established school. I helped with the name decision and wrote a lengthy explanation for why "Heritage Christian Academy" was chosen. A shorter version was distributed to the school families, here's the longer version:

We ought to be ever mindful of the gracious heritage God has blessed us with. Heritage is a concept that draws upon the past in order to move bravely and faithfully in to the future. We can be sure of God’s provision as we move in to the future because of his clearly demonstrated faithfulness in the past.

We have a national heritage unique in human history. America is a nation founded upon Christian principles and conviction. William Bradford, one of the original pilgrims to America, said it well-

“We verily believe and trust the Lord is with us, unto Whom and Whose service we have given ourselves in many trials, and that He will graciously prosper our endeavors according to the simplicity of our hearts therein.”

The Mayflower Compact stated boldly-

“Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia”

The Declaration of Independence reveals a heritage of godly dependence-

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...We, therefore, the representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States...”

The General of the Continental Army and our first President is described thus by Henry Muhlenberg-

"His Excellency General Washington rode around among his army yesterday and admonished each and every one to fear God, to put away the wickedness that has set in and become so general, and to practice the Christian virtues. From all appearances, this gentleman does not belong to the so-called world of society, for he respects God's Word, believes in the atonement through Christ, and bears himself in humility and gentleness. Therefore, the Lord God has also singularly, yea, marvelously, preserved him from harm in the midst of countless perils, ambuscades, fatigues, etc., and has hitherto graciously held him in His hand as a chosen vessel."

Certainly Scripture speaks of the great blessing a Christian heritage is to a nation-

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” - Psalm 33:12

A Christian heritage is woven in to the fabric of our nation’s being . Beyond this national heritage of devotion to God, we recognize a more personal heritage from our Lord- the children he has so graciously blessed us with. The Psalmist captures this reality-

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” - Psalm 127:3

The value of our children to their God cannot be underestimated or ignored. This is why God, through Moses, challenges all Christian parents so poignantly-

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-9

The clear hand of God’s blessing and heritage challenges us to move boldly in to the future. Past grace means present confidence and expectation for the days and years ahead. We believe wholeheartedly that God is doing a work in His people just as He always has. We affirm the Psalmist’s blessed declaration-

“For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage” - Psalm 94:14

In addition to a national heritage of Christianity and the personal heritage of our children, God has also given us a rich local heritage of faith.

In 1974 Berean Bible Church founded Berean Christian School for the express purpose of equipping students to pass on a heritage of faith in Christ by impressing God’s Word on their lives. Berean has been faithful to this task, by God’s grace, for the past 36 years.

For the same purpose, Redeemer Presbyterian Church founded Westminster Christian Academy in 1996 and has been growing in size and effectiveness for these past 14 years, again, by God’s grace.

In the Fall of 2009 leaders from both schools began to dream about the possibility of joining efforts. What greater opportunity for discipleship, training, and academic advancement would there be if these two schools joined their passion, efforts, and resources? It soon became the joint consensus that a Berean-Westminster merger would be a tremendous benefit and great enhancement to Christian Education in South Johnson County. Joined together, these schools could be more effective for the Kingdom of God and the passing on of their Christian heritage.

As a result of God’s guidance and grace, Kansas City will have a new Christian school this Fall. Remembering the Christian heritage of our nation, answering God’s call to cultivate the personal heritage of our children, and drawing strength from the joint heritages of two schools- Heritage Christian Academy will open its doors in August of 2010.


Jake Hill said...

So it has nothing to do with "Heritage Park?"


Reepicheep said...

Hopefully we'll expand over there some day...

Rick Calohan said...

Well written, well said, and well done! SDG

Woody Woodward said...

What a blessing to see this come to reality! Indeed, this has to be a work of the Lord. His Hands are guiding and blessing each step. Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.”

Jim said...

Congrats on the school.

Regarding your claim, "A Christian heritage is woven in to the fabric of our nation’s being" -- I'm not so sure, at least not in any way that a passing citation to a generic "Creator" in the Declaration would witness to.

If I recall my historical facts correctly, 1776 (and surrounding years) was something of a low point in Christian religious belief in 18th Century America. Heterodoxy abounded (particularly unitarianism, which was amazingly strong).

The lead drafter of the Declaration -- Jefferson -- rejected miracles (and published his own New Testament with Jesus' miracles excised), and leading influences on the Constitution, Madison and Adams were either very nominally Christian (Madison) or seriously heterodox (Adams' unitarianism).

Or read Revolutionary-era sermons of Christian clergy -- many border on idolatry as the clergy syncretistically conflate and identify freedom in Christ with freedom from British rule or with political liberty. Really concerning stuff, to my mind.

Reepicheep said...

I'm not saying we were a "Christian Nation". I'm saying Christianity was woven in to the fabric of our nation's being before 1776 and beyond. Jefferson and Franklin's unbelief is well documented, but the faith of Washington and Rutherford and others is also well documented.

I'm not suggesting a D.James Kennedyesque version of the past, but we do have a strong Christian heritage present in our nations history. Something that needs revival in our day. That's all I'm saying.

Jim said...

Hi Reepicheep,

Fair enough, but Washington had next to no intellectual influence on the Constitution or on America's constitutional heritage (beyond taking Hamilton's advice on the expansive powers on the Congress and of the presidencey). And the fact that you have to reach back a century and across the ocean to Samuel Rutherford actually provides evidence for the point I was trying to make in my original comment.

Indeed, Rutherford's influence, whatever it was, was largely mediated by Locke (and, again, heterodoxy). It's been years since I read Rutherford, but there's no question that Locke had a greater influence on the U.S. than Rutherford.

Just compare the freshness of Locke's "A Letter Concerning Toleration" with Rutherford's nascent theonomic commitments. However much one may regret it, Locke represents the primary strand in American political thought; Rutherford did not.

To be sure, there is "a" Christian element to the founding. Although my thinking has evolved some since I wrote this chapter (becoming a touch more pessimistic), here's my take on that element and it's import:


The essay concludes:

"A final note: Modern Christians may legitimately recognize that a
vocabulary rich with Christian commitments and concepts is not as alien to the American political scene as they may believe. Still, this is not to say that modern Christians can simply pick up where things were left. In addition to facing residual hostility among anti-Christian elites, Christians — particularly evangelical Christians — must face and own up to a century in which their world view was narrowed and crabbed by anti-intellectualism, cultural withdrawal, and a continuing lack of intellectual seriousness. Furthermore, a century or more of revivalism, popular Pelagianism, and the concomitant success of anabaptist ecclesiologies expressing little more than baptized versions of individual autonomy, are serious obstacles to a wider, more serious public engagement on the part of Christians. If the Christian
vocabulary of the founding has been ignored, it has as much to do with Christian neglect as it does with secularist exorcism."

Reepicheep said...

Excellent information. Thanks Jim.

Rick Calohan said...

John Calvin was the father of America, 'nuff said.