21 Oct. 2012
Toward a Philosophy of Christian Education
Christian education is one of the most important things an individual can participate in throughout their lifetime. It is a lifelong process, beginning when we reach an age of awareness and ability to learn, and does not end until we reach our physical deaths. This is an ever-evolving progression that changes over the course of a person’s life. People have the capability to constantly grow in spiritual maturity, and it is imperative as teachers and educators to aid students in perceiving, accepting, and fulfilling the Gospel. Jesus provided the Great Commission to make disciples until the day of his return. This is something we must consider carefully and intentionally. As Christian educators, we have the responsibility of first making disciples of Christ, and secondly to prepare them for their participation in our culture and society with God’s word at the center of all they do. Educators should have a desire for others to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. People must learn how they can know God and follow him in their daily lives. “We . . . need to be clear on our purpose and creative in our design of educational strategies and use of methods that promote the knowledge of God and a growing relationship with Him” (Anthony 25). Every faucet of the purposes and goals of Christian education should be Christ-centered and biblical. According to Michael Anthony’s book, Christian Education, “the philosophical foundations of Christian education are derived from systematic theology, which in turn emerges from biblical theology” (26). A correct observation and high view of the Bible, as well as thinking and teaching according to Christ’s view of Scripture, is the Christian educator’s ultimate frame of reference. There has to be an awareness of the indispensable theological keystone of the faith for this education to be successful. In the Bible, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17.17). Therefore, teaching with the groundwork of God’s word is teaching the truth; the Bible tells Christians how to live in this world and gives His people morals to stand by and believe. An educational philosophy that is biblically informed provides stability in the midst of the never-ending changes in our society. “The only constants in our world are God and Scripture. The Lord of the church is the Lord of theology and philosophy” (Anthony 34). Educators need to use theology and the Bible as the foundation for moving toward any philosophy in their Christian education. The purpose of my first education program is to lead people in worship of our Lord and Savior through music, which evokes their feelings and emotions as they celebrate His greatness, unconditional love, and presence in their lives. The goals for worship are for individuals to feel free to express their love of Christ and thankfulness for His mercy, grace, and eternal salvation during Sunday morning services. They will learn the powerful words to these songs, and will then be able to feel the truthfulness in them, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When people worship and celebrate God, those feelings are released, which then leads to them wanting to grow even closer in their relationship with Him; one goal from this experience is for them to bring others to church, becoming witnesses and bringing people who don’t know Christ to services, thus fulfilling the Great Commission. By singing songs with words that come from the Bible, they will become familiar with verses that are God-breathed, making it a strong foundation for Christian education. The purpose of my second education program, leading small group meetings for adults, is to create a safe environment and atmosphere, where students are surrounded by not only their peers, but friends, which allows for a positive setting to learn. The goals are to...