Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Christian Philosophy of Education Must Be Based on a Christian World View

James M. Bramblet is my father-in-law and a true pillar of the Christian school movement. I had heard of him long before I met and married his daughter and even long before my first wife went home to be with the Lord. Although we have a bit of fun jabbing at each other over a couple of issues: Bible versions and the difference between 4, 4½, and 5-point Calvinism, I have the utmost admiration for him and his work. He has contributed a great deal to Christian schools over the past half-century, and he has contributed a great deal to my ministry as a Christian school administrator and teacher over the past several years. He is one of my heroes in ministry.

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A Christian Philosophy of Education Must Be Based on a Christian World View
by James M. Bramblet

When we speak of philosophy, we speak of a worldview that includes all knowledge in a unified whole. Our minds are so constructed that we instinctively shy away from over-against positions. When we are confronted with over-against ideas, we seek to understand them more fully so they can be harmonized in our own minds. We each have our tidy little system of thought that is really our philosophy or life view. When information comes to us that disagrees with our philosophy, we must reject it, adjust our philosophy to accommodate it, or ignore it. As Christians, our philosophy should be in harmony with God’s revelation in His Word, the Bible. We need to be clear concerning our Christian view of things in general before we apply these views in the field of education.

A part of Dr. H. W. Byrne’s definition of the Christian Theistic Worldview is as follows:

"The Christian Theistic World View, formally stated, starts with God. The existence of God is the key truth of this view. His existence provides the foundation upon which to build this philosophy. Since philosophy is the search for unity and Ultimate Being, the reality and existence of God provides both unity and being. All things are related understandingly to God and are derived from God." (Byrne, H. W., A Christian Approach to Education. Milford, Michigan: Mott Media, 1977, p.45.)

Dr. Mark Fakkema says the same thing more succinctly. He states, "Christian philosophy is the romance of seeing all things as one whole with God as Ultimate." (Fakkema, Mark, Christian Philosophy, Its Educational Implications. 1953, p.5)

Both of the definitions above use the word "ultimate" in referring to God. If it is true that all of life and all truth form one unified whole, then there must be something or Someone Who coordinates all things. It is apparent that there can be nothing equal to or beyond that which coordinates all things. This point of coordination of all things beyond which we cannot go, is the ultimate. As Christians, we believe that God is ultimate.

Included in the ultimacy of God is the fact that He is eternal. The Bible starts with, "In the beginning God" (Gen. 1:1) and it speaks of Him as being eternal. "The eternal God is thy refuge" (Deut.33:27). The human mind cannot conceive of a time when there was absolutely nothing, so the materialists say that "matter" is eternal. Some say that "energy" is eternal. The Bible clearly teaches that only God is eternal and that matter, energy, and everything else that exists came from Him.

The Evolutionist would not only deny Scripture but also deny many discoveries of science in telling us that the beauty and order that exists in the world today came about by natural forces apart from the creative hand of God. We all know that if we do not clean our house it gets dirtier and dirtier. If we do not weed our gardens, they become weedier and weedier. If we do not control the breeding of our pets, their offspring become "muttier" and "muttier." Order does not naturally come out of chaos, but without diligent attention, chaos soon comes from order.

The Deist makes a similar mistake when he claims that God created the universe in the dim and remote past and then left it to operate according to the laws He established. In other words, they believe that God is a bystander that takes no interest in the present affairs of this world. Since both the Evolutionists and the Deists attempt to write God out of the script, they end up with philosophies that are materialistic and humanistic.

Those of us who believe the Bible are called Christian Theists. Like the Deists, we believe God is transcendent, but we also believe that He is immanent. In other words, He is interested in the affairs of our lives, hears and answers our prayers, and providentially provides our needs. Ephesians 4:6 clearly states, "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
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Excerpted from Chapter 2 of An Introduction to the Christian School by James M. Bramblet, Copyright © 1985 by James M. Bramblet

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