by David Cooper
So many from the outside see Christian education as different, due to what they view as “accessories.” Looking in, they see prayer, chapel, discipleship groups, mission trips, and Bible classes as good things simply added to a curriculum that looks much like any public school. From the outside view it probably looks that way. Take a look at our course catalog or scope and sequence and what is seen, along with many other subjects, are algebra, U.S. history, cursive writing, spelling, chemistry, and English, much as you would in any public school. Are they right? Is the beauty of Christian education only skin deep? Once classes and activities perceived as “add-ons” are removed, are we just a smaller, safer version of public education? The answer is a resounding “No!”
A Christian education is different, not because of the “accessories” but because of the essentials. Our subjects are taught by faculty who allow their faith to influence everything they present. Each subject is brought under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, every thought taken captive, and each false stronghold taken down. Behind each subject taught is a Christian worldview that brings with it a foundational truth which guides the learning.
We teach from a belief that history is linear; there was a clear beginning and there will be a decisive end. It is a story of man’s perfect creation, sinful fall, sacrificial redemption and eventual perfection in Christ–all this done according to God’s design and purpose. It is the story of God’s relationship with His creation and His providential hand weaving the tapestry of time to reveal His final vision.
We teach from a belief that science is an exploration of a universe that was purposefully designed by our Creator. Our hope does not come from nature or, as the psalmist put it, from the hills (Psalm 121:1-2). Our hope comes from our God, the Maker of heaven and earth! We pursue science, not because it holds all the answers but because it reveals the fingerprint of our God. It is within that pursuit that we come to fully understand the privilege and responsibility given to us as caretakers of His creation.
We teach from a belief that math is discovered, not invented. Held within the order of creation are the mathematical truths upon which we build our systems. These systems of mathematics work, not because of some law we invented, but because they fit the design of our Creator. Math is the discovery of the orderly truths our Lord has used to create. A greater understanding of mathematics, therefore, leads to a deeper understanding of the creative mind of God.
We teach from a belief that language arts reveal that all truth is God’s truth and essential for people of the Word. Reading the great literary works, while enjoyable for their content, allows us to see beyond the story to the worldview of the author. This process of critical expository reading helps hone the skills needed to deepen our understanding of God’s Word. We serve a God who chose to reveal himself, at least in part, through the written word and a Lord who chose to teach the truths of the kingdom through story. Language arts then becomes more than just a tool for expression of feelings or philosophies; it equips us to more fully connect with our Savior and gives us the opportunity to share His love and truth with the world around us.
The beauty of a Christian education is found in how it differs from a secular, public education, and those differences are deep and visceral. They are foundational, essential beliefs that form the very framework of our thinking and teaching. That is a beauty which is lasting and eternal.