Why a Classical Christian Education?

When parents consider enrolling their children in a Christian school, they ponder the following thoughts: Can we afford it?  Maybe secular education isn’t so bad after all.  Can’t we cover the "Christian aspect" at home or get it from our churches?  Maybe our children need to be ambassadors for Christ in the public schools.  Maybe our children need to face the real world.  We have heard all of these thoughts and questions expressed over the years.  Let’s talk.

Every year is critical in the education of children because they are children and these are the training years.  They are not adults, nor are they ambassadors.  One is considered an adult at age 18, and an ambassador is one who is a fully trained adult!  While a child is in training, a Christian school is necessary from kindergarten through the senior year.

During these training years, children begin thinking about what they have learned using rules of logic, analyzing data, making inferences, drawing conclusions, and making applications and decisions that will carry lifetime consequences.  In a very short time our children will leave our homes as adults and come out from under the umbrella of protection they have enjoyed for 18 years.  Our children are within a few years of being leaders of their own homes, their churches, and local and national governments.

This generation is the one which will deal with the fallout of worldwide terrorism, civil unions, cloning, and many other social issues.  The leaders of ACSI tell us that those of us teaching this particular generation are possibly teaching the most critical generation of all.  ACSI’s motto for Christian schools is that we have been raised up “for such a generation as this!”

This generation will be leading us and running the world in a few years.  Will they do so from a biblical framework or secular framework?  Will their thinking be Christian thinking or secular?  It depends on their training.  Let us be clear about this:  in Christian school ministry, we are teaching exactly and totally the opposite of what secular schools are teaching.  Here are just a few examples:

Mathematics:

Secular Perspective:  In secular schools students are taught that math facts are reliable because they work.  Do they work?  If so, then they are true.

Christian School Perspective:  Students are taught that math facts are reliable; they “work” because they are true.  Math facts are ordained by God.  He created all the laws by which the universe operates.  They are a reflection of His character which is truth, and it never changes.  There is no new source of truth that can be introduced tomorrow to change these facts.  This is an impossibility.

These two viewpoints are mutually exclusive and utterly incompatible.

Science:

Secular Perspective:  Secular schools teach students that the world came about by chance.  Events are random; there is no order, no predictability.  The universe is impersonal, beginning and operating by blind chance and man is nothing more than a cosmic accident, an adult germ.

Christian School perspective:  There is nothing random in the universe, not in the manner in which it was created, nor in the way it operates.  It was created on purpose, with a purpose, and by purposeful design from the mind of the Sovereign, Intelligent Designer.  Science is the study of God-ordained laws.  These laws work because they are based on its Creator who is “Truth.”  Therefore we can predict, and we can make application based on the order, constancy, and eternality of the laws of our Creator.

These two viewpoints are totally opposite and utterly incompatible.

Literature:

Secular Perspective:  Secular education teaches that every author has a worldview that is expressed in his/her writing and that all worldviews are equally true and equally valid.  There are no universal absolutes.  Therefore we must respect, accept, tolerate, and try to understand each one’s truth claims.

Christian school perspective:  Every author has a worldview expressed in his/her writing, but not all worldviews are equal or true.  There is only one source of truth.  Every idea must be discussed and analyzed in light of this source of truth – the Word of God.  We are commanded to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

These two viewpoints are mutually exclusive and utterly incompatible.

History:

Secular Perspective:  Again, secular schools teach students that mankind and chance control history.  The future is primarily in man’s hands.  We can manipulate society through massive social restructuring and more government programs, hoping for the best!

Christian school perspective:  Nothing operates by chance.  Rather, God is behind the scenes, and He is moving all the scenes He is behind.  God is always the First Cause.  History, then, is the study of secondary causes under the Sovereign Controller of the universe.  Although there are cycles of rebellion, repentance and redemption, the flow of history is not cyclical but linear.  The beginning was when God said Fiat lux, and the end will be when Christ appears to judge the quick and the dead and ushers in the New Heaven and New Earth.  All events fit in with God’s purposes in bringing about His ultimate plan for the end of this age.  This is truly His Story!

These two viewpoints are totally opposite and utterly incompatible.

Abraham Kuyper said, “If the battle is to be fought with honor and with hope of victory, then principle must be arrayed against principle.  We must understand opposing views as total life systems and then take our stand in a life system of equally comprehensive [but greater] far-reaching power.”  (Colson, How Now Shall We Live, p. 36.)  In Christian school education, we have engaged this cosmic struggle between conflicting worldviews.  We are preparing our students to think biblically and to make all decisions from a biblical framework and worldview.

In conclusion, it was stated earlier that some parents may think it is time for their children to “enter the real world.”   Such parents have unwittingly slipped into secular thinking.  Why?  Because the real world is the Christian world.  It is a world of truth, absolutes, order and design, at all levels of thinking.  On the other hand, the so-called real world out there is a world of deceit and distortion.  It is a world of chaos, false premises and untruths!  Only through a Christian education can God’s real world be seen and understood.  Please commit to sending your children to Christian schools all the way through their senior year, and do not subject them to an unreal world governed by those whom the Scriptures say “walk in the futility of their own minds” (Eph.4:17).

Author: Nancy Zins, Christian school administrator and former ACSI state representative for Vermont.