First, it must be understood that education is a means to an end. Education is nothing more that a tool to be used to accomplish a desired goal. The question must be asked: What end does the educational system in America serve? Before there is any discussion on the issue of the efficacy of the public and private institutions, it must be asked: What purpose does education serve within ourselves? Is education a means to obtain a better paying job or is it achieving a desired status in society? Does the educational system serve to boost the economy or produce individuals who think critically? It is often said, and has become the cliché, that every American should obtain a good education. We must stop and ask ourselves, what is a good education? Is a good education passing with a “C” or is it with an “A?” Is it how many degrees a person possesses, in which they are automatically considered educated? Is it the money we make that determines the efficacy of this education? When it all boils down, a good education across the board is nothing more than subjective jargon, which is totally empty and void of any real meaning. Our purpose for education should be clear in our minds. If this is not so, then we are simply wasting our time and the time of those we teach. A person who lacks purpose lacks passion. Without passion there is no inspiration. No inspiration, no education.
The Role of Christian Education
As Christian educators, our purpose has already been determined for us. The Lord has given us our mandate in Matthew 28:19-20. We are to educate the mind as well as the heart. It has been said that an education without the Bible is not a complete education. It is hard enough to educate the mind; as Christians we have the double task of educating the hearts as well. Never forget that the greatest institutions of higher learning began as theological institutes to perpetuate the gospel. Those same institutions, because of the advent of secularism, have become impotent in educating the heart, thus producing an unbalanced student. These institutions lost focus and sight of their purpose. The chief goal of the public education system has been to replace God’s counsel in dealing with fundamental problems such as sin. Alister McGrath in his book Intellectuals Don’t Need God and Other Myths, states the following:
The great liberal dream was that education would change [and deal with sin] radically and produce a generation of morally enlightened and responsible people, dedicated to the construction of a better world.
The reality is that this is nothing more than a pipe dream. Reality tells us that the world is becoming worse by the second. So, again, what is a good education? If the public education system’s goal is to produce students who are morally enlightened, then it should manifest itself in society. The opposite has been the product and the norm. Christian education has the only real chance of achieving a morally enlightened state, because it has the means to educate the mind and the heart. Furthermore, this is our purpose. This is our passion. We are free to communicate our faith in an effort to produce a student that is thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Christian Education: The Only Bastion for Hope
We have already established the fact that the Christian is the last hope in restoring trust in this society through the displaying of integrity. Integrity as defined by the Bible is being totally committed to God and the things of God here on earth. Whatever area God has placed us in we must be a light to that community. This is what it means to be the light of the world. Our society is decaying because of lack of trust. We must make a conscious effort to restore trust in our society by starting with our school. We have a unique opportunity to change the lives of those we encounter everyday. It will affect them for the rest of their lives. Why not affect them in a positive way? Again, I ask: “Why Christian education?—We have the freedom to teach the truth and every opportunity I get I will communicate that truth to whom ever will listen. The great concern here is that our purpose in being here is understood. We have to work as a team. Teammates have to trust one another. The only way that we will develop trust from our students is to show them how to trust. We all at some point in time must be honest with ourselves and ask whether we are totally committed to the cause of educating children. The principle of the matter is not whether we ought to work in a Christian School it is the reality that there is no other medium (other than the media) that can have a greater effect on the lives of students. We have the attention of these children in their formative years. We have the power to communicate the truths of God to a new generation that will affect the world for the next 100 years. The foundational principles we communicate to students will be with them for the rest of their lives whether they implement them or not.
The Glory of God in Christian Education
Intellectual honesty is key. Are we giving all that we can to see that we develop trust in our students? Do we teach with the passion to influence children toward the things of God? What is holding us back from being the top institution both public and private in the state? Why not work toward these things. Again we have a unique opportunity that few are afforded. In fact, the Bible places a high regard on teachers, because God knows what the teacher teaches will affect the person being taught. We have to ask ourselves if we really care about the future that we are going to leave our children, or are we wrapped up in ourselves wondering about ourselves. Calvin says that the beginning of the Christian living is self-denial. This is where we begin in the Christian school. As teachers it is not all about us in the class. It is about God and His glory. How shall we glorify God other than being a reflection of his glory? This is to be totally committed to Him. This is integrity; to be wholly committed to God’s will and purpose. We have a responsibility to live up to that expectation of the students and parents and supersede that expectation. We must become the leaders in our community.