The goal of Christian education is not just to produce qualified graduates who will go on to become contributing members of society. The goal of Christian education must have an eternal focus.
Truly “Christian” Education
“The fact is inescapable; the worldview of the teacher, insofar as he is effective, gradually conditions the worldview of the pupil. No man teaches out of a philosophical vacuum. In one way or another, every teacher expresses the convictions he lives by, whether they be spiritually positive or negative. This is why the school or college that would develop a Christ centered and biblically grounded program must fly from its masthead this standard ‘no Christian education without Christian teachers,’ and must never, under any condition, pull its colors down.”
Frank E. Gaebelein, The Pattern of God’s Truth
In his work, The Pattern of God’s Truth, Frank E. Gaebelein addresses the issue of discovering and magnifying the truth of God in every content area of the educational process. Gaebelein, who served as the headmaster of the prestigious Stoney Brook preparatory school in upstate New York until his passing in 1983, devoted his life to the pursuit of educating the next generation for the glory of Christ. This pursuit was founded upon the belief that education will never be truly “Christian” until is founded upon an accurate and all-encompassing biblical worldview.
Unfortunately for some, Christian education is believed to be a version of “normal” education with prayer, memory verses, and weekly chapel services added in. Gaebelein explained that this false perception of Christian education was like, “attaching a garage to a home.” He goes on to explain, “what the building of knowledge needs is not a new garage but a new foundation.” In order for education to be truly “Christian,” its foundation must rest upon seven essential pillars:
1. The primary educational aim of Christian education is to glorify God by helping students to know God and by equipping them to make Him known.
2. Christian education is derived from and is founded upon an accurate and all-encompassing biblical worldview.
3. The curriculum of Christian education magnifies the truth of God wherever it is found.
4. Christian education is contingent upon teachers who uphold and practice a proper biblical worldview.
5. Christian education demonstrates an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the nature and role of the student.
6. Christian education is a partnership in which the Christian school comes alongside of the parents and the Church for the purpose of discipling the next generation.
7. Christian education must continually strive for excellence and integrity in all aspects of the educational process.
The goal of Christian education is not just to produce qualified graduates who will go on to become contributing members of society. The goal of Christian education must have an eternal focus. Yes, Christian educators want their students to succeed academically, personally, and professionally. However, to stop at this point in the educational process fails to recognize that the students who walk down the halls of our academic institutions are, in fact, eternal beings. John Amos Comenius once stated: “We see at once why children are priceless to God and ought to be so to parents…The first care therefore ought to be of the soul, which is the principal part of man, so that it may become in the highest degree possible beautifully adorned…” In order for education to be truly “Christian,” the end goal must be to set students upon the pathway of discovering who they are in Christ and to give them the tools that they will need to serve Him faithfully for all of eternity.