Why Christian Education?

I am asked this all the time, “Why do you send your kids to a Christian school?”  More specifically, they ask why I send them to CLA

 

In response, I could say it is because of the teachers. I love the idea of God-called, Jesus following, and Spirit-empowered teachers helping me educate my kids.  I am tempted to point out the environment.  CLA is almost fanatical about providing a safe environment where fear and distractions are minimized so that learning can be maximized.  How is a child supposed to learn when they are afraid to walk the halls because of weapons or use the bathroom because the boy who decides to be a girl for the day is there?

 

In reality, I could point to a hundred things, but if you pressed me to give the most important reason, I would say, “I chose Christian education for my kids because it is a Biblical mandate.”  I simply must do it because the Bible teaches me that I must give my kids some form of Christian education.

 

The primary text I would point to (although I believe there are others) is Deuteronomy 6:5-7.  It is a passage where God instructs His people on how to promote multi-generational faithfulness to the Lord by discipling children.  There the Bible says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” 

 

Noted Christian counselor, Jay Adams, is right to assert this passage teaches that God’s word must so penetrate the students’ “inner life, as the vital element in his thinking and decision-making” (Adams, Back to the Blackboard, 103).  He goes on to note two aspects of this passage—the “what” and the “how.”  The “what” is the command itself.   “What God said could not be kept to oneself; it must be passed on down the generations. Thus, this teaching was not optional; it was required” (102).

 

Next, he moves to the “how.”  How does God expect His people to share what God has said to the next generation?  Two answers are given. First, we are to deeply impress this teaching upon children.  The Hebrew word that is sometimes translated “deeply impress” is a single term that means to “say something twice.”  “It is used of sharpening a sword because in the whetting process the blade is repeatedly struck by or rubbed against the honing stone” (103). Not only does this underscore the value of repetition, but it also points “to the idea of applying truth to situation after situation to which it corresponds” (103).  In other words, by “deeply impressing” God’s word into the hearts of the next generation, that very word becomes a part of their mental framework, inspiring not only a vision of life, but also providing a vital mental framework necessary to be faithful and effective in any situation they find themselves.  In other words, “One must learn the truth, but repeatedly he must be shown its application to everyday, real life circumstances.  Truth must be integrated with life” (103). 

 

Not only are we called to impress God’s word on them deeply, but we are also to train them in such a way that it shapes them pervasively.  I think Adams captures this second task when he writes, “Binding the commandments on the hands, wearing them on the forehead, and writing them on the doorposts and the city gates again means that the commandments of God are to govern all of our behavior (hands) and thought (forehead).   And this is true whether we are in our own homes or city (doorpost) or whether we leave it through the city gates and go elsewhere.  In all places, the commandments of God apply to every and all circumstances. To teach, that is the teacher’s main duty . . . That is why parental-like, discipling teachers, rather than academics, are the ones to be sought and secured.  That is the worldview in which God wants children raised” (104).

 

When you put these things together, you see God demands that His people train their children in an atmosphere that is dominated by the Word of God so that His word becomes the interpretive grid for how they understand everything in life.  And that simply cannot be done in a context where the Lordship of Christ is not honored.  This is especially true when His name cannot be spoken and the Bible is not the shaping influence on all that is done.

 

Yes, I could give many reasons as to why we chose this type of education, but I cannot think of a better one than this.

 

Dr. Shane Arnold, Head Of School