by Gene Garrick
The Christian Teacher (1961)
The Norfolk Christian Schools espouse Christian education as their basic philosophy, the reason for their existence. This view of education holds that God is central and everything else exists in relation to Him. If we would learn anything correctly, we must put God in His proper place. The Bible informs us that “the fear of God” is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10). Therefore, any integrated, meaningful education that is truly valid must have this “reverence of God” as its starting point and doing the will of God as its goal.
Christian education teaches that the child is a spiritual being, not physical and mental only. He is a unity and, therefore, must be educated as such. It is impossible to train only one factor because all of the child learns all of the time. Since this is true, it is very important that we train the entire personality of the pupil. The spiritual is actually the integrating factor, because the physical and mental areas have no meaning apart from the soul. A training which includes the spiritual nature must be given, or else the personality will be warped, and the child can never know the true purpose of living. A person must know God in order to fully comprehend any truth.
Whereas things sacred and secular are divided in our world, Christian education recognizes no such cleavage. The Word of God teaches that in a Christian’s life everything should be done for God’s glory. “Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31) All truth belongs to God whether it is scientific, historical, philosophical or spiritual. Christian education seeks to teach it in that light. Only a teacher with a thoroughly God-centered outlook on life can convey this vital concept, that God must not be divorced from everyday life, but rather, He must be the Ruler of that life.
Bible teaching has a primary place in the curriculum of the Christian school. It is there that we find the great truths about God, ourselves and our relationship to God. We learn of Jesus Christ who entered the world to show us God in the flesh and to die for our sins. There alone do we gain a proper understanding of how we can come into God’s family and live the Christian life. In all of life these truths are the most important because eternity hangs in their balance. Certainly it is folly to think that our children are educated when they have no knowledge of God nor are rightly related to Him.
Thus, in combining the academic and spiritual learning patterns with proper scriptural discipline, the Christian school can develop the entire child. This is true in Christian education. However, even this is fragmentary if it is limited to the classroom and omitted in the home. The Christian school is designed as an “extension of the Christian home.” The teaching, values, goals, discipline and atmosphere of the home and school must be parallel in order for the training to be effective. Therefore, both the Christian parents and the Christian teacher are essential cooperatives in this philosophy of education.
In summary, we may say that where there are Christian parents cooperating with a Christian teacher in teaching truth from a God-centered viewpoint, using the Bible as the unifying factor and administering discipline in the fear of the Lord while surrounded by an atmosphere of spiritual freedom, there is Christian education.
Last updated by Lisa Lanpher Feb 12.