What is “Christian” education? How is it different from “public” education? What makes Christian education “Christian”?
No. 1. Is it “Christian” because the teacher is a Christian? If so, the public school system is Christian education because it has teachers who are Christians.
No. 2. Is it “Christian” because a moral message is given with the lessons (Be good; Don’t fornicate; Say “No” to drugs; etc.)? If so, the public schools and the private schools of Jews, Mormons, Catholics, etc., are giving “Christian” education.
No. 3. Is it “Christian” because the class is begun in prayer? While praying at the beginning of class is good, it does not mean that the teacher is giving his students a Christian education.
No. 4. Is it “Christian” because it is evangelistic? While evangelism is good and is one of the duties of all believers, it does not mean that Christian education is going on. Being saved and getting educated are two different things.
No. 5. Is it “Christian” because it has a chapel service? Chapels are good, but what is said in chapel may have nothing to do with what is said in the classroom. Great chapels do not necessarily mean great Christian education.
No. 6. Is it “Christian” because it is funded by Christian parents? No, the parents could fund a school that fails to give a Christian education.
No. 7. Is it “Christian” because it is a church school? No, just because a school is owned by a church does not mean the students will be getting a Christian education.
What Makes ‘Christian’ Education Christian?
Christian education takes place when academic subjects are taught from the unique perspective of the Christian world and life view. This includes every subject, because the Christian world and life view encompasses all of life.
Just as a humanist teaches from the humanistic worldview, a Christian should teach from the Christian worldview. Thus, a Christian who teaches math should give his students a totally different view of the nature and function of math than what a humanist would give. For example, New Age teachers in the public school system use such books as The Dancing Wu Li Masters as textbooks for physics because it teaches quantum mechanics from the perspective of Eastern religions. The world is an illusion and does not really exist. All is ONE.
This means that Christian teachers must develop a unique Christian view of their class materials. Too many Christian teachers have taken a humanistic college education (often obtained from a so-called “Christian” college) and used it as the basis of their class material in the Christian school. They have naively assumed that academic subjects are neutral and thus free from personal value judgments and an a priori worldview.
The goal of Christian education is to apply the Lordship of Christ to all of life. It strives to reclaim every inch of this world for Jesus Christ. It has as its grand motto: “That in all things He might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18).
The “all things” includes all academic subjects. For example, when teaching psychology, someone will have the preeminence in that subject. Will it be Freud, Rogers, Glasser or Jesus Christ? Whose worldview will dominate? Whose ideas will form the basis of that subject? Who will have the preeminence?
If it is Christian education, the teacher should not teach psychology from a Freudian perspective but from the Christian perspective. It will be Bible-based psychology instead of humanistic-based psychology.
What does this require of the Christian teacher? The teacher must understand that:
1. The world through its wisdom, i.e., its world and life view, cannot know God. and thus ends in foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18-29). Teachers must avoid the “enticing words of man’s wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:4).
2. Christianity is a distinct system of thought in which a unique view of the world and human life is given. It is a worldview and not just a “soul saving” experience.
3. God wants to transform our minds-not just save our souls. Our minds need to be renewed (Rom. 12:2). We need to love God with all our minds (Mk. 12:30).
4. The Christian should have his own wisdom, i.e., world and life view, which is based on the Word of God (1 Cor. 2:4-10).
5. The teacher must have a comprehensive understanding of the Christian world and life view. If he doesn’t, how will he teach it to his students?
6. The teacher must apply the Christian world and life view to whatever subject he is teaching.
7. The method used is deductive reasoning. For example, Gen. 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” From this statement we can deduce many things:
a. Since the universe had a beginning, it is not eternal.
b. Since it is not eternal, it is not infinite but finite.
c. Since it is finite, it is not self-existent.
d. Since it is not self-existent, it is not self-renewing.
e. Since it is not self-renewing, it will end one day. etc.
This means that when a Christian and a pagan look at the same tree, they do not interpret it the same way. While the pagan sees a tree produced by a meaningless chance-driven evolutionary process, the Christian sees a tree created by God with meaning, significance, and purpose.
8. God has revealed to us in Scripture the beginning principles or a priori concepts that form the basis of the Christian world and life view.
9. The first principle of humanism is that man is the measure of all things. This means that man starting only with himself by himself can come to a true interpretation of the meaning of his own existence and the world around him. He does not need any revelation from God. He can do it all by himself.
10. The first principle of Christianity is that God is the measure of all things. If we begin with God we can come to a true interpretation of the meaning of our existence and of the world around us. Without the God of the Bible, all is vanity and everything ends in ultimate meaninglessness.
11. The Christian world and life view is based on three pillars:
CREATION - FALL - REDEMPTION
12. Creation, Fall and Redemption form the basis of the biblical world and life view.
13. We develop a Christian view of something by seeing it from the perspective of Creation, Fall, and Redemption. These three a priori concepts are the glasses through which we view all things in life.
For example, when we look at a tree, what do we see? We see a tree CREATED by God, which is now suffering from the effects of man’s FALL and which will be REDEEMED one day when Christ returns.
Christian educators must apply the Christian worldview to every subject they teach, because nothing in life is neutral. Since all things are to be done to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31), all of life is sacred, i.e., religious. Since all of life is religious, everything in life is either apostate or biblical. There is no neutral or secular realm. There are no brute facts. Either God or man is the measure of all things.