Monday, May 11, 2009

Christian Schools Need a Christian Philosophy of Education

by James M. Bramblet

Every teacher working in a Christian school needs to thoroughly understand the Biblical view of life, Biblical methods of discipline, and the Biblical interpretation of the subject matter he is teaching. Well over thirty years ago, Dr. Mark Fakkema wrote, “If we are to meet our educational challenge we need an all-embracing, unified Christian philosophy. To formulate such a philosophy is our greatest need today in the field of education.” (Fakkema, Mark, Christian Philosophy, Its Educational Implications. 1953, p.2.)

In the years since these words were written, Christian schools have proliferated dramatically. Many books have been written and many speeches made on the subject of the Christian philosophy of education. And yet it is still difficult to find teachers for our Christian schools who understand what it means to teach Christianly. Let us hope that we do not beg crumbs from the educational table of the world so long that we become accustomed to this meager fare.

The teachers in our Christian schools need to know what the Bible says about education so well that they not only recognize educational error when they see it but are able to give a reason for the Biblical standards they hold (I Peter 3:15). The God-ignoring, God-denying, and God-dishonoring views of modern educational thinkers are having a tremendous influence in the world. This influence has even invaded the thinking of many Christian educators. Only those who clearly understand what the Bible teaches on this subject can defend Christian standards in education and take the leadership in our Christian school movement. When it comes to educational philosophy, we need to be prepared to meet the world head-on. We must meet their thoughts with God’s pronouncements, their theories with God’s facts, and their philosophies with a God-centered view of life.

But the challenge of the anti-theistic educators of the world is not the most important reason why we need to understand God’s method of education. The primary challenge comes from within the Christian school movement. Christian schools are multiplying across our land. Many churches have begun and are maintaining schools at great expense. Christian parents are sacrificing to send their children. Christian teachers are giving their lives to staff these schools. How tragic after all of this if we fail not only to give a good education, but a good Christian education. We should not be satisfied until every person associated with our Christian schools has an understanding of the Christian purpose of our schools, every textbook is written from the Christian viewpoint, and every teacher is specifically trained for the Christian school ministry. Until these goals are attained, we are going to continue to be dependent upon the erroneous thinking of the world’s educators.

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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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