A Christ-Centered Education
What we realized several years ago, gradually, was that all other forms of education swapped man for God. Perhaps God was still a welcome “add-on” to the educational framework, but He wasn’t central. In most forms, God is a non-entity. At most God is a quaint relic of days-gone-by that our grandparents used to believe in. John Dewey noted “religion tends to hinder the evolutionary progress of man”. For Dewey, thoughts of God impeded learning therefore God was summarily removed from an end-goal of education, relegated to just another item of the past that perhaps we can learn something about. The vast majority of education in the west today is in some way rooted in Dewey’s humanistic education revolution which is why other forms have an exceedingly difficult time putting God back in. That is the crux of humanism. It makes man the measure of all things and, progressively, merely presumes we will have a better tomorrow because we did not like yesterday. Humanism is often defined as this (American and British dictionaries):
-any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate
-a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God
-the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favour of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts
This affects the mechanics, purpose and end-vision of education. Mechanically, the learning is intensely secular. We end up solely desiring the “here and now” benefit of learning something. Usually, those benefits are termed entirely in productivity equations. “I can be more productive if I know such and such” or “I can be more efficient with this skill, etc.” But that only adds to us being “curved inward on ourselves”. This ingrains habits of self-centeredness that are hard to break later in life.
Our purpose is for the maturity of the individual person, not merely a pragmatic benefit to society. We are called to honor Christ. As all people are created in God’s image, and He is the maker of them all, we owe it to others and to the glory of God to see our education as a growth that helps me truly care about others. Simply because we live in an era where the government dictates and provides for education (a fairly new concept, actually), does not mean we are wise to simply hand over the reins of our children’s maturity to them.
The end-vision is likewise not simply the next four years, but the next twenty. Who will this person be when they are 36 and they have children? What will they be like when they are the future business leaders, parents, ministry workers of our culture? Our end vision, this side of heaven, is two decades away. This is far from “here and now”, secular thinking.
Historically, within the church, this is been called living “Coram Deo”, or “living under the face of God”. We are not to merely think that we are to fill our children’s minds with ample amounts of “stuff” and then, someday, they too can live for God’s purposes. They need to understand that critical principle now. If they are ingrained in the habit of self-centered thinking, they will have a difficult, if not painful time getting away from that in the years to come. This is what atmosphere, habits, respect all do for the maturity of the mind of the child. If we want to see society change, we need to have people who see society differently and live differently within it. Along the way the person receives a wonderful education full of rich ideas, great authors and thoughtful habits.
Our passion in education is, ultimately, to focus with honor toward God in Christ. This means our learning is for His Glory, our future dreams are to His service, our relationships with others are for the sake of His name. We start that “here and now”.