Christian Education

The Christian School

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Christian primary and secondary education (sometimes called “Christian Day School”) became popular among fundamentalists during the 1970s. While some have alleged that the Christian school movement was a response to racial integration,1 it was more likely a reaction against the increasingly vicious secularism of public education. For a generation, many Christian parents sent their children to Christian schools, even when the cost of tuition meant significant financial sacrifice.

Over the past decade, however, most Christian schools have begun to decline. Administrators speculate about the reasons, but at least a few seem pretty obvious. These are generalizations that will not hold in every instance. Certain tendencies, however, can be observed more often than not.

First, Christian schools have not typically produced a better academic product than public education. True, the average test scores from Christian school students are higher than those of public school students. That is partly because public schools are required to accept students (including special education students) whom Christian schools uniformly reject. Take the top ten percent of graduates from the typical Christian school, and compare them to the top ten percent of graduates from the typical public school, and you will likely find that the public school graduates are better prepared.

A second reason that Christian schools are in decline is because they do not generally produce a better quality of Christian. Granted, the environment of a Christian school does shield its students from the most brutal influences of the secular school environment, such as rampant drug use and open promiscuity. It also grants Christianity a normative status, so that a student’s faith is not overtly and constantly under attack. Nevertheless, graduates of Christian schools do not seem to be noticeably more spiritually minded than Christian graduates of public schools. The real test is in what happens to Christian school students after they graduate. How many of them are walking with the Lord five years later? The proportions do not seem markedly higher for Christian school alumni than for other Christians of the same age.

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Becoming a True Christian Scholar: Some Recommendations, Part 2

TalmudReprinted with permission from As I See It. AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com. Read Part 1.

Recommended areas of study

Beginning in 1977, I have been more or less continually involved in the educating of men in or preparing for the ministry in a variety of Bible colleges, seminaries, and Bible institutes, besides seeking to educate myself as well, and have concluded that certain areas of study will yield the greatest benefits, if diligently pursued, to those seeking to become well-prepared and useful Bible scholars. What specific areas of study would I recommend for a budding young scholar-in-training who wishes to maximize his usefulness in the service of God?

Of course, a general Bible course in college and seminary or graduate school is presumed, but specifically in such a course, I strongly urge, even insist, that for a scholar-in-training, there is no substitute or alternative to knowing and knowing competently well both Greek and Hebrew, as well as Aramaic, the three Biblical languages. There is no getting around it: the Bible was originally written in these three ancient languages, and if we are to be truly masters of this book (as far as that is humanly possible)—”homo unius libri” [“a man of one book”] as John Wesley famously declared1 he wanted to be—then we simply must study these languages extensively. And that may—in fact, definitely will—require the foregoing of other study and activity to a not inconsiderable extent. Historian and biographer Douglas Southall Freeman wisely affirmed, “In deciding what you’re going to do, your first decision must be what you’re not going to do. To do, you must leave undone.”2 Priorities, priorities.

Nineteenth century Scottish theologian A.M. Fairbairn is quoted by A. T. Robertson in the preface of his A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research as having said, “No man can be a theologian who is not a philologian. He who is no grammarian is no divine,” (4th edition, p. x). Robertson himself adds:

There is nothing like the Greek New Testament to rejuvenate the world, which came out of the Dark Ages with the Greek New Testament in its hand… . The Greek New Testament is the New Testament. All else is translation. Jesus speaks to us out of every page of the Greek. Many of his ipsissima verba are here preserved for us, for our Lord often spoke Greek. To get these words of Jesus it is worth while to plow through any grammar and to keep on to the end. (p. xix)

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When God and Science Mix

beakerRepublished with permission from Baptist Bulletin Nov/Dec 2010. All rights reserved.

By Liz Gifford

Challenges and Opportunities on the University Campus

Dad and Mom and their high school son or daughter sit at a table piled with college catalogs, applications, and scholarship forms. “I would really like to study chemistry or biology at the university, Dad.”

“But you know the big news stories coming out of the universities are about professors not getting tenure or even being fired because of their Christian stand on contemporary issues. What are your chances of having classes under an instructor who isn’t an atheist?”

“All I hear is how the university is a negative influence on Christians. Not the place I want to send you,” Mom adds.

“But I enjoy physics and chemistry and math, and I get good grades in those classes. I could help find a cure for cancer or work with plants and find a source of food to end hunger around the world.”

So the discussion goes as parents struggle to help their young people make the right choice of a place to study to be what God wants them to become.

Christian young people who wish to take advantage of the programs offered by a secular university, who wish to study under professors who are leaders in their areas of expertise, who want a diploma from an outstanding institution of higher learning are going to have to confront ideas that challenge their Christian beliefs. These are found in most areas of study, but highly volatile topics come under scrutiny in the sciences. Biology, archaeology, chemistry, and physics classes will force Christian young people to examine what they believe.

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Answers from the Whole Bible

Reprinted with permission from the Baptist Bulletin Sept/Oct ‘10 issue. All rights reserved.

I enjoy talking with children. It’s fascinating to look at life through their lens. To prime the conversation pump when first meeting them, I will ask kids questions such as, What is your favorite subject in school? What do you like to do when you are not in school? and a favorite question, What do you want to do for a job when you graduate? Kids have some common favorite subjects, after-school activities, and employment aspirations. However, it doesn’t require a PhD research grant to realize that kids are different. Some children like to read, some like science, while others are fascinated with history or geography. Some kids like to dabble with mechanics, some prefer sports, while others like music, art, or drama. Kids have indicated to me a multitude of career choices; they want to be nurses, singers, carpenters, teachers, missionaries, doctors, farmers, and, of course, pro basketball players and firefighters!

Certain educators argue for an interest-based approach to education. They design their instructional program around a child’s aptitude or inclination. However, most educators believe that a general education on the elementary and secondary levels, which provides instruction in a wide range of core subjects, equips a student in the long run for life.

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