Educating tomorrow’s church—whose job is it?
WHAT IS EDUCATION?
LEARNING: The process by which every person acquires a certain body of knowledge, and a corresponding set of personal values, attitudes, behavior, and skills.
STUDENT: A person with a highly impressionable mind, significantly affected by the knowledge, values, attitudes, and behaviors of others, especially by those in positions of authority.
TEACHER: A person in a position of authority who utilizes his own knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills to influence and develop those of the student. This influence is nonverbal as well as verbal, in an informal context as well as formal.
SCHOOL: A formal institution that provides an organized and structured context conducive to intensive learning.
EDUCATIONAL CLIMATE: The overall goals, ideals, knowledge, values, attitudes, etc., that characterize the teacher or school, and thereby promote a particular kind of learning in the student.
VALUE MODELING: The process by which a person influences the thinking and behavior of another by exemplifying, implying, and assuming certain values, without necessarily explicitly stating them.
Values are communicated nonverbally and informally, as well as verbally and formally.
Values are not simply taught, but caught.
KEY EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES:
- A child’s education is his parents’ responsibility. NOT: government, schools, church, youth director
- All aspects and areas of education should be related to God:
God as Creator—He made the world.
God as Governor—He watches over and is involved in the world.
God as Savior—He offers a sinful world change and hope in Christ.
- Spiritual truth and moral values are to be continually taught (formally and informally) and consistently reinforced and modeled before children.
- A child’s models and companions will greatly influence his values, attitudes, and behaviors.
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way” (Proverbs 4:14-15).
“Stay away from the foolish man, because you will not find knowledge on his lips” (Proverbs 14:7).
“...rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God...Have nothing to do with them” (2 Timothy 3:4-5).
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers” (Psalm 1:1).
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
The more moldable the mind, the more care should be taken to protect it from ungodly influence.
HOW DOES MODERN EDUCATION RELATE TO THE KEY BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF EDUCATION?
- Modern education has been allowed to assume the God-given parental responsibilities to educate children.
Note: Schools did not usurp it; parents relinquished it.
- Modern education does not relate all aspects and areas of education to God.
A. Assumes evolutionary origins—GOD IS NOT CREATOR
B. Assumes world is on man-determined course—GOD IS NOT GOVERNOR
C. Assumes man is not sinful and is capable of making his own changes, generating his own hopes, and shaping his own destiny—GOD IS NOT SAVIOR
- Modern education does not consistently model spiritual and moral values. It cannot, since it is not built on the foundation of biblical truth from which those values originate. Consequently, the climate of modern education is not conducive to spiritual development, and is sometimes directly hostile to it.
- Modern education offers a context for models and companions (peers) that does not reinforce biblical truth, values, attitudes, and behavior.
IS PUBLIC EDUCATION GOD-CENTERED?
Not only is a God-centered approach to life and history left untaught, but it is sometimes regarded as a hindrance to and violation of true education.
The subtlety of this is that God is not usually attacked, but is simply excluded.
“One does not get rid of God by reasoning against Him, but by forgetting Him, by losing sight of Him, by exercising the function of thinking in such a way that the question of God cannot appear” (Jacques Maritain).
The foundation of modern education is humanism (“life is man-centered”), not theism (“life is God-centered).
WHAT DOES A STUDENT LEARN?
- The Bible is not the ultimate authority.
- Evolution is the only explanation for the origin of life accepted by intelligent people.
- Everything is relative. There are no absolutes. “Situational ethics.”
- Sexual “freedom” may be a legitimate alternative for some.
- Individualism, self-fulfillment, the protection of one’s personal rights is at the core of life (autonomy).
- It is uncertain what lies beyond the grave.
- The only certainties in life are those that can be observed, measured, and tested (the scientific method).
WHAT MAKES A CHILD THINK AND ACT THE WAY HE DOES?
His mind and will are greatly influenced by:
Parents—______ hours per week? (Parents: Fill in the blank)
Church—2 - 5 hours per week?
Media—30 - 50 hours per week? (TV, radio, reading material)
Peers—20 - 30 hours per week? (besides school)
School—30 - 40 hours per week?
Conclusion: Whatever parents and church are striving to teach their children, it will not likely be learned if it is countered by media, peers, and school.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Parents. Become much more involved in the formal and informal education of your children. This requires time and effort.
- Church. Improve the quality of education offered to children and parents. Also, offer specific training to help parents teach their children.
- Media. Parents must carefully monitor their children’s exposure to television, radio, music, and reading material.
- Peers. Parents need to carefully supervise their children’s relationships with friends.
- School. Parents should carefully oversee the education your children are receiving. Give positive, constructive input to public schools and teachers.
If you believe public schools are not sufficiently God-centered, consider finding an educational alternative that is.
Jesus said: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”(Luke 6:39, 40)
- Can a spiritually blind society lead my child to truth?
- If an ungodly society is my child’s teacher, shouldn’t I expect my child to become like that society (values, attitudes, behavior)?
These questions lead to the crucial questions to consider:
- What input must a child receive in order to develop a godly character?
- Who or what should be the primary source of this input?