“All Truth is God’s Truth” Is Not Enough
It is common in Christian schools to hear the phrase all truth is God’s truth. This phrase is usually used in the context of curriculum discussions and the foundational philosophy of content. The theologies behind the phrase are special revelation, which is the actual Word of God, and natural revelation, which is the created world. Authors like Moreland (1997) would add intellectual reasoning as a means to discover truth as well. The ideas imbedded in the Truth of God are not always adequate to describe the real importance of the Christian school distinctive. It is too easy for the Christian school teacher to say, “All truth is God’s truth” and then go on and teach content in the same manner as the public school. This is why Riesen (2002) says there is often little difference between the public, private and Christian schools. For education to be truly Christian, it must have a foundation in the actual words of God spoken through the Scriptures and consistently applied in every content area of the school.
Christ declared himself to be “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Therefore, when Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:20 to be “Ambassadors for Christ” it can also to be a call to be an Ambassador of the Truth. The greatest revelation of Christ is the Bible itself, making it the foundation for all understanding of the truth, regardless of the academic discipline. For this reason it is not enough to hint at Bible verses in a curriculum guide and call it biblical integration. The principles of the Scriptures must be one with the subject’s content. In his book Building the Christian Academy, Arthur Holmes (2001) put it this way,
"The integration of faith and learning involves far more than the conjunction of liberal learning and student formation. The unity of truth in the mind of an all-knowing creator underlies the reintegration of Christian beliefs with the foundations, the content, and the practice of academic disciplines. Christian beliefs provide theological foundations for knowledge and art, they reintroduce truths that would otherwise be ignored, and they give coherence to a worldview."
The great meaning here is that Christ holds all things together (Col. 1), unifying truth, belief, content and practice into one instructional whole that must not be overlooked by the Christian educator.
Further exploration helps to reveal how God’s Word can be used and misused in Christian education as a foundation for learning. Math teachers might view biblical integration as a calculation using facts like, “1 talent in ancient times would equal 75 lbs. of gold, what would 7 talents equal?” Instead, the Christian educator should use math to demonstrate God’s precision, unchanging and infinite nature. Language must be more than learning to read so one can study the Bible. Language Arts use written and verbal words as part of God’s plan to reveal who He is, also providing a means for personal thought and self-reflection as demonstrated in the Psalms. History is more than learning the mistakes of the past so they won’t be repeated. Social Studies reveal God’s sovereignty and grace to sinful mankind, providing insight into community relationships, stewardship, and service. Romans 1:20 clearly teaches that the study of Science reveals the “invisible attributes” of God, exposing mankind, not to the wonders of the world, but the wonders of the creator. Praise and Worship is only a small part of musical study. The study of the Arts exposes humankind to the creative nature of God and provides a better understanding of the meaning of being an image bearer of the creator. Finally, Physical Education should not be derogated to physical activity, but should educate the learner about the proper use of the body for a long life as well as how to compete in life in a manner that glorifies God.
The Word of God can refer to both the Bible and Christ Himself. Clearly, when Christ and His Word are the foundation of every aspect of education, content and character, the Christian school can move beyond trait and insignificant differences with other school systems and become truly distinctive. The purpose of education is the glory of God. For this to take place it is necessary for the Christian educator to be ever exposing students to the person and work of Christ. This should be the focus for all academic disciplines, and the greatest source for this revelation of truth is God’s Word. It then falls on the Christian educator to be a lifelong student of the Scriptures and continually make efforts to grow in the ability to communicate the Truth in methodology and through modeling.
by John M. Furrow
Westminster Catawba Christian School
Presented in Partial Fulfillment of
Kingdom Education FDS
EDU 9950 (FDS)
Dr. Milt Uecker
Columbia International University
Posted with author's permission
Holmes, A. (2001). Building the Christian Academy. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company
Moreland, J.P. (1997). Love the Lord your God with all your mind. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress
Riesen, R. (2002). Piety and philosophy: A primer for Christian schools. Phoenix, AZ: ACW Press
Author: Kristen Trace
Posted with author's permission
"Discuss how God's Word becomes a foundation for all subjects taught at school."
Yesterday, I put up a new seasonal bulletin board in the library with the verse from Col 2:3, "in whom [Christ] are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” As we move into a season of reflecting on the revealed mystery, Christ, I want our students to understand that, because our eyes have been opened through Christ, we can understand the wisdom and knowledge learned in our school. It is only through Christ, the Word, which our minds that were once enemies of God, can now continuously grow in understanding of God, His creation, and our eternal hope. In order for God's Word to become the foundation for all subjects taught in all our subjects our teachers must use the Word of God as the lenses in which they use to determine and deliver their subject matter for the sake of the evangelism and discipleship of their students.
In order for our teachers to use the Word of God as the lens in which they teach, our teachers must be followers of Christ and trained in Biblical integration. Although it is important for the classroom teacher and others in the school to disciple the students, it is even more necessary for the administrators to disciple their staff. Our teachers must be actively speaking and acting out the Word of God in their lives, so that students are pointed to Christ. As administrators we cannot assume that our teachers are spending personal time in the Word and prayer, attending Bible study, or pursuing personal accountability. We must invest in our teachers' lives enough to be able to speak truth in love. Even coming from a school where the majority of parents have walked with God for over 15 years and disciple others, some of our teachers lack Biblical integration into their classrooms. Our teachers may be trained to teach the Bible as a course or walk someone through self-counseling questions, but they need to be trained to teach Thai language, Mathematics, History, etc. through the lens of a Biblical worldview. In addition to training how to use the Word as a foundation, we need to emphasize the continuous dependence on the Holy Spirit as they teach. This is especially true for my Thai teachers, who did not learn from Christian parents, teachers, or a church family in their lives growing up. They teach like they were taught. They do not grasp the value of an individual and his learning style and often use shame to motivate. Luke 6:40 states, "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." Teachers will either reflect lesser gods or Christ as Lord, we must see the latter happening in their lives in order for God's Word to be the foundation of education in our classrooms.
Once our teachers have the mindset of God's Word being the foundation for all subject matter, their lesson plans should have a central focus on moving students forward in their understanding of the Gospel. Until a student receives Christ as Lord their minds are enemies to God and cannot fully understand the mysteries of Christ, in whom all of creation was made. Therefore, our goal must be to evangelize and disciple our students through our subject matter. A foundation is the source of support. Tacking on verses to the subject or making a Biblical analogy of Jesus multiplying fish and bread does not quite to help students build a foundation of Biblical thinking. Edlin states, "The Bible alone, as God's written revelation, has divine authority and divine reliability. It has been written to point mankind to Jesus Christ and to reveal God's complete offer of salvation through him." In all subject matter attributes of God, results of living in a fallen world, and our need for redemption are revealed. Teachers need to regularly be sharing the Gospel with students by helping the students see their need for redemption.
Even students who are believers need to be reminded of the Gospel and their position in Christ daily, "so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding" Col. 2:2. They need to be reminded that they are dependent on Christ for all wisdom and understanding. Since discipleship is the training of a child to be a strong follower of Jesus, we need not forget the God-given responsibility of helping develop these students in their faith through our classes. The purpose of education is not to fulfill the American Dream, but to bring Glory to God by revealing his power at work in their lives. Teachers need to be modeling and helping students develop skills and excitement to examine the scriptures, as was modeled by Paul and the Christians in Berea. Each teacher must be training students how to use the Word to analyze and compare the ideologies taught in the text with God's will. The ability for analysis will develop with age and subject matter, but from the youngest age students should be learning the need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. As a teacher who loves mathematics, I often forget that my goal is not to create disciples of math, but to create disciples of Jesus Christ who enjoy math, because it reveals the Master Designer. If the Word is the foundation for our subjects rather than just an additional subject, our students will be lead to all the treasure of all wisdom and understanding found in Jesus Christ.