Philosophy of Christian Education

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"The church teaches. It always has and always will. From the Great Commission to its earliest confessions and catechisms, the church has viewed teaching as an integral part of its life and ministry." It has been noted that there is a distinct difference between a "Christian philosophy of education" and a "philosophy of Christian education." The former being only one of many applicable and credible forms of education and the latter being the only viable form of education. We, as a collective person, were made in the image of God. With this premise given, God alone would hold the keys to educating the entire person, and all other educational systems and philosophies, while holding some truth, cannot hold all truth. Any educational system that denies the Spiritual side of man is not concerned with the entire man and is doomed to failure. The metaphysical presupposition of a philosophy of Christian education must define its ultimate reality as God Himself. This premise is however, never assumed to be above question. The person who exhibits an ‘ostrich-type' faith, that is, one who simply responds to legitimate questions with a condescending "Because" is never ready to truly define their epistemological base. "The Christian educator does not hesitate to welcome open investigation of the reality of his faith." Given the premise that the eternal God is the basis for any Christian philosophy of education, then revelational truth must be at the core of its teaching. Both general revelation and special revelation are considered valid and important for the student to understand. Non-Christian philosophies of education give general revelation (although not noted as such) in much the same way that Christian philosophies would. But Special Revelation is necessary to direct us not just to the unmoved-mover of Aquinas, or the greatest form conceivable of Plato, but to the God of Scripture. Gaebelein has said "The world of nature bears overwhelming evidence to God and His greatness and essential being. But of the knowledge which is eternal life it does not directly state." Any educational philosophy that removes Special Revelation as a base component leaves out the foundation for which all other knowledge must be based. What is the worldviews that must be espoused in a Christian philosophy of education? In most secular educational philosophies, man is viewed as "good and getting better." But in a Christian philosophy, man exists in a fallen state and will choose darkness over light. (John 3:19) The Christian educator must, as their primary goal, seek to lead the student to a full understanding of their need for a Redeemer, for the purpose of putting the student back into a proper relationship with God. Without the relationship in proper order, then the knowledge that is gained will always be with doubt and cynicism. The ethos of Christian education must always have eternity foremost in mind. Gangel references Comenius as saying this task is threefold in nature: "First, man must know all things, including himself; second, he must be master of all things, including himself; and third, he must direct all things, including himself, to God. In order to attain these objectives the work of Christian education is to develop the pupil in knowledge and understanding, in moral insight and action, and in reference to God and in true spiritual living." The true spiritual living is to live according to the precepts of God, not looking at merely today or tomorrow, but looking at eternity as our final goal. The curriculum that is used in Christian education is of paramount importance. My dealing with a very popular curriculum source is, considering mathematics, that it is excellent for early years, but very questionable for later years. It uses rote learning and repetition for teaching foundational facts of mathematics, but continues that for older children, so that when a child gets to about the fourth grade, possibilities outside of the...
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