Why Do We Have A Christian School?
Why Do We Have A Christian School?
Often, as we go about our daily routine, we get so preoccupied with the what of life, that we forget the why. That happens often in both the church and a school. A program can become entrenched and soon the why gets lost. So, why do we have a Christian school as a ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of Oroville? Here are some thoughts:
1. The church clearly has a Biblical mandate to evangelize and disciple (Matt. 28:18-20). Theologically rich Christian education contributes to the church's ministry of discipleship. In Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, Gregg Allison has this to say about the connection between discipleship and Christian education: "Though discipleship can never be reduced to teaching and learning, education is a very important aspect of this work. As James Smart insists, 'The Church must teach, just as it must preach, or it will not be the Church....Teaching belongs to the essence of the Church and a church that neglects this function of teaching has lost something that is indispensable to its nature as a church.” He goes on to add, "For education to avail for discipleship, it must be Christian education.” He continues with, “Such Christian education includes, among other things, a theologically informed purpose (for the glory of God, growth in the faith, and advancement of God's kingdom), a theologically informed selection of content (from, for example, Scripture, theological tradition, and church history), and a theologically informed design (regarding the relationship between teacher and student, the educational environment, and instructional methods.” "
2. Parents also have a clear directive from scripture to lead in their child’s spiritual development. Proverbs 22:6 exhorts, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” But what does it mean to train a child? The word used by Solomon, the Hebrew chanak, appears in the Old Testament four other times, in three verses of Scripture. In these instances (Deut 20:5, 1 Kings 8:63, 2 Ch. 7:5), chanak is translated as “dedicate” and is related to sacrificing or dedicating something to the Lord. Used as a verb with an object, the English word, train, is defined as developing or forming thoughts, habits, or behavior through discipline and instruction. Parents, the church, and the school become partners in the educational journey of the child, teaching them to do all He has commanded (Matt. 27:19-20).
3. The public school is not neutral. Sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, today’s children are not raised in a bubble. In 21st century America, children are bombarded with worldly wisdom, and tempted at earlier ages with things that would have stunned parents of previous generations. Many of these challenges come during the ages of 10-13, when pre- and young teens are especially moldable and teachable. In her blog Teach 4 the Heart, Linda Kardamis reminds us that:
a. The public school has an agenda. The teaching of humanism, socialism, and progressivism is dangerously persuasive to impressionable children and teens.
b. Our kids need to do more than just survive. Can a child survive the ever-rising onslaught of unbiblical philosophies and graduate from a public school with their faith intact? Of course. But don’t we want more than this?
c. Our kids are still in training. The public-school system may indeed be a mission field, but the missionaries should be mature adults, not our kids. Why? Because they are still in training themselves.
4. Today’s children will be tomorrow’s leaders and defenders of the faith. Alisa Childers grew up in the church, graduated from L.A. Baptist H.S., and eventually became a member of the very successful Christian pop group “Zoe Girl.” Then she learned her pastor was a skeptic, who confronted her with questions and counterclaims about the reliability of Scripture, or even the existence of God. Flailing in doubt, Childers went to work to find answers, studying Scripture, church history, great apologists for the Christian faith (past and present), and critiques of the claims of progressivism. In the process, she found that her beliefs had rock-solid foundations, and answers to the toughest questions. Recently, she authored a book titled Another Gospel: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity to address the ideas deceiving so many Christian.
Many Christian schools have forgotten their why and drifted off-track. It is good for us to stop and recalibrate, to avoid, as C.S. Lewis put it, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”