By Roy W. Lowrie, Jr. Ed.D. (1988)
What sets the Christian school apart from other schools is more than the happy environment, more than the good discipline or the dress code, more than the high levels of learning, and more than dedicated teachers and administrators. It is the words.
Any school is known by its words: read its student handbooks, newsletters, bulletin boards, student newspapers, yearbooks; analyze its textbooks, its music, visit the classes; review assignments and tests; go to its concerts, plays and athletic events; listen to the talks of its administrator, teachers, counselors, and school board members.
Reviewing the meanings of those words from these numerous sources over a reasonable period of time will show the kind of education students are getting there. Through that review it becomes apparent that a school founds education upon man and his reason or upon God and His Word. Upon those opposite educational foundations the superstructure of the student’s education is crafted. The conflict of these contrary foundations is between irreconcilable concepts of man, the universe, life, and ultimate destiny.
To illustrate, during his first week as a Christian school student a kindergarten boy brought home a bookmark his teacher had given him. He could not read the words on the marker but told his mother that his teacher said, “Those words say ‘Jesus loves you.’ “ Then she added, “And so do I.” In the initial days of his schooling that child was being pointed toward Christ, who is the key to education. Also, he was being made secure by knowing that his teacher loved him. No wonder the boy had a strong, happy educational year.
Words taught in the Christian school that are not taught in a non-Christian school are a second vocabulary—almost like a second language. Here are some of them: Savior, sin, Creator, Father, angels, Son of God, redeemed, Word of God, Holy Spirit, holy image of God, soul, Calvary, resurrection, Lord, second coming, sacrifice, and heaven.
Among other words in the second language of the Christian school are: Lamb of God, cross, new birth, Divine, Master, King of Kings, Lord Jesus Christ, hell, eternal life, creation, God, I am, witnesses, Great Commission, kingdom of God and saved.
Additional words taught in the Christian school are: prayer, covenant, will of God, conviction, High King of Heaven, Adam, Eve, the virgin Mary, saint, sinner, Divine guidance, inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, indwelt, second death, demons, Satan, Truth, revealed, and eternal.
Still more words include: believe, receive, worship, tithe, clean heart, confess, obey, heritage of the Lord, forgiveness of sin, the Trinity, body of Christ, the Lord’s Supper, Shepherd, pastor, elder, deacons, evil, righteousness, the ten commandments, prophecy, incarnation, disciple, servant of God, church, condemnation, regeneration, the Fall of Man, and temple of the Holy Spirit.
Others are: abiding in Christ, walk in the spirit, the flesh, the old man, the new man, Scriptures, judgment, second death, gospel, old nature, new nature, law, grace, mortal, immortality, the living God, sovereign, quickened, spirit, guardian angels, supernatural, transcendent, spiritual warfare, the armor of God, prince of this world, prince of the power of the air, perish, damnation, steward, discernment, Messiah, spiritual gifts, winning souls, the secret place, and absolute moral standards.
In conclusion: antichrist, prophet, great high priest, substitutionary atonement, tribulation, promised land, chosen people, doctrine, justification by faith, parable, miracles, and mercy.
Although not exhaustive enough words from the second vocabulary of the Christian school have been listed to show the difference between it and the non-Christian school. Simply put, that difference is this: The secular school has no room for the eternal; the Christian school makes eternal truth central in all of its teaching and activities. To pinpoint this critical difference another way, the Christian school’s educational foundation is God and the supernatural as revealed in the Bible. The secular school’s educational foundation denies the existence of the eternal world and teaches only from the natural viewpoint.
The real world includes the transcendental, the eternal and students need to be taught those truths so that their education does not omit true reality.
Christian education has integrity for it teaches the Truth. The school teaches that eternal truth is not just material to be known—it must be done. This living of the truth by the saved student develops godly character and moral cohesion in him or her. Doing the Truth delivers from selfism—me first—for it keeps the claims of Christ upon the student’s life from seeming to be something unreal, outside their daily lives.
Thank you for considering these thoughts about the second vocabulary of the Christian school. Those words about the eternal are for you and me as well as for our children. May they see us doing the Truth.
“Father in heaven, thank you for words, for the great gift of communication between yourself and us and between us people. Thank you for the words of eternal things you have revealed to us. But especially, thank you for giving us your Son, the living Word come down from heaven to save us from our sins. In His name, Amen.”