Our Philosophy

A Christian Philosophy of Education

Introduction

God, whose subsistence is in and of Himself, who has revealed Himself in three persons, is the creator of all things. He is sovereign, maintains dominion over all creation, and has revealed Himself to man, His chief creation, whom he has created imago Dei, in the image of God . The first man, transgressing God’s law has brought upon all man the disease of sin, which has distorted this imago Dei and man’s ability to reason. God, in His sovereignty, has provided man with the Holy Scriptures in order to restore man to his pre-fallen state. The Holy Scriptures provide the only means for man’s restoration and is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, which has been revealed and is centered on Jesus Christ, the Redeemer. Furthermore, it has been given for the preservation and the propagation of truth. It is to this end that this philosophy of education is forged. Truth, the chief end of all educational practices, can only be attained through knowledge of God , revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Mankind, without this knowledge, remains in a fallen state—maintaining faulty reasoning—which cannot lead to a knowledge of God the Redeemer.

Brief Commentary

This statement of philosophy is based on the major components of a worldview: theology, anthropology, and epistemology.

Theology

The theological views are outlined as follows: God, whose subsistence is in and of Himself, who has revealed Himself in three persons, is the creator of all things. He is sovereign, maintains dominion over all created things, and has revealed Himself to man. This statement declares, first of all, that we believe in God. It furthermore distinguishes which God we believe in. We believe in a God whose power is derived from Himself, who is transcendent, creator of all things, as well as, one that is immanent, and has revealed Himself to man. God, through His revelation to man, expresses a desire to be known. The ideas refuted here are many, but two in particular: First, God is the creator of all things but is not involved in the activities of His creation, leaving God to be defined as some aloof being leaving the world to govern itself. The second idea refuted is that of man being god. The line of demarcation drawn here is between who God is and how man was created. Imago Dei, in the image of God, by definition is merely a reflection or a part of an existing form. God being this existing form has only endowed man with an image or a reflection of Himself. As a result, man has the ability to respond to God, but this does not communicate the idea of man having the ability to become like God. When it is stated that God is the creator of all things, it by default denotes a hierarchy. This hierarchy is maintained in knowing that the creation is always and will always be subject to the Creator.

Anthropology

The anthropological views are outlined as follows: [God] has revealed Himself to man, His chief creation, whom he has created imago Dei. The first man Adam, transgressing God’s law has brought upon man the disease of sin, which has distorted this imago Dei and man’s ability to reason. God, in His sovereignty, has provided man with the Holy Scriptures in order to restore man to his pre-fallen state. This position maintains that God created all mankind, in direct opposition to the belief that mankind is a product of natural selection. God has separated man from all other creatures, and endowed him with imago Dei. This image is reflected in man’s ability to reason. Reason is defined as the power of man to think, understand, and form judgments logically. To think is to deliberate over possibilities, and self-willingly choose between those possibilities. Not to think is not to be human. Not to think is to be purely instinctive. To be purely instinctive is to be a brute. The first man, Adam, transgressing God’s command, thus breaking the covenant between him and God, has brought death upon men. Man’s transgression of God’s command has distorted imago Dei placing on man the mark of original sin which is detestable to God. Since imago Dei has been distorted, man’s ability to reason—his chief attribute—has been distorted also. If man’s ability to reason has been distorted, man cannot arrive at truth through reason alone. Man can only arrive at truth through a knowledge of God the Creator and of God the Redeemer.

Epistemology

The epistemological views are outlined as follows: The Holy Scriptures provides the only means for man’s restoration and is the only sufficient , certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, which has been revealed and is centered on Jesus Christ, the Redeemer. Furthermore, it has been given for the preservation and the propagation of truth. It is to this end that this philosophy of education is forged. Truth, the chief end of all educational practices, can only be attained through a knowledge of God, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Man without this knowledge remains in a fallen state—maintaining faulty reasoning—which cannot lead to a knowledge of God the Redeemer. The impending question that has to be dealt with at firsthand is whether truth can be arrived at apart from the Holy Scriptures? Specified in Article 1.1 of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith is the type of knowledge found in the Holy Scriptures. This saving knowledge is the thread that binds all the verses and chapters in the Holy Scriptures. Revealed in the Holy Scriptures is a knowledge of God the Creator and a knowledge of God the Redeemer. John Calvin, in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, asserts that man can arrive at an elemental knowledge of God the Creator through pure reason, but denounces man’s ability to arrive at a knowledge of God the Redeemer through similar means. Thus the Holy Scriptures are necessary to attain both knowledge of God the Creator and the Redeemer. All educational practices must be geared and tailored towards this end: the pursuit of the truth about and of God. All institutions without truth as their end, labor in vain. These institutions and their philosophies, without exception, must be refuted and denied the privilege of educating.

By L. Jerry Nelson