The Bible warns us to beware of hollow and vain philosophies that are patterned after human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world. In this we understand that the learning process is not a neutral endeavor. There are competing ideas which are antithetical to one another vying for the mind. Since this is so—and since it is important that Christ be Lord of all, it is important to build a philosophy of education that is distinctly Christian in its orientation.
The above words come from the introduction to the philosophy of education that I created when I first began teaching my home education courses. I went back to review this statement after a conversation with some old friends who are now educators in the government schools.
The conversation began over this article, "Public Education: A form of child sacrifice." It's a real zinger of a title, I know. But the article outlines well how antithetical the public schools are to the Christian faith, and how this alternative discipleship is emptying out our churches.
As my public school teacher friends conversed over the article, I was surprised at how they expressed exactly what I was trying to warn against. Though they probably did not know it, they demonstrated that their understanding of education was not based in a Christian principle. One said that she loves teaching evolution without understanding that the system is radically antithetical to the Christian worldview. Another expressed that school was not a place for teaching Biblical principles--which essentially is an atheistic statement. At the very least, it is an outright denial of Deuteronomy 6:5-9.
All this is to say that there is a form of education that is distinctly Christian and there are many philosophies of education that will destroy faith due to their unChristian basis.
Some of this can be witnessed in the two classes that I taught in the last year. In my Public Speaking class, we began by looking at the foundation of communication. We discussed that speech isn't even possible without a Triune Creator. We looked at different Scriptures that provide understanding on the right use of the tongue and discussed how that serves as a guide for public debate. Throughout the class we used the Apostle Peter's words as a guide, "Be ready to give a response to the one who asks you for the hope that lies within you, and do this with gentleness." Ultimately, for the Christian, learning the arts of public speaking is for the right communication of the gospel!
Obviously, you wouldn't get this in a public school.
My creative writing class was also developed from a distinctly Christian standpoint, with the fear of God guiding it. In our poetry section we did not just learn basic structures of meter and foot. The students created hymns! We discussed the nature of art and beauty and sought to express how such things were to bring glory to God. We also looked at other famous works of poetry and prose and discussed how each writing "teaches" because it comes from a distinct worldview. (See an example here.)
Of course, these were only a sample of the various ways Christianity shaped each of my classes. I could also go on to talk about literature classes, science/health, history, mathmatics and such. The point I'm trying to make is this: when one teaches, one aims at the heart. In the end, that heart will either be led to Christ or away from him. It all depends on whether or not the fear of God informs the teacher's content and methods.
If your teaching has nothing to do with Biblical principles or communicating principles that are antithetical to the faith, you shouldn't be surprised if kids do not grow up in the fear of God.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.