Why Christian Education?
We want our children to own their faith for themselves.
Each child needs to individually come to terms with the Gospel message and the teaching of Scripture. Christian education is specifically designed to come alongside the parent and the church to help them in this mission. The English abolitionist William Wilberforce wrote a book in 1797 called Real Christianity. What he says to Christian parents more than two hundred years ago is even more relevant today.
"In an age in which infidelity abounds, do we observe them carefully instructing their children in the principles of the faith which they profess? Or do they furnish their children with arguments for the defense of that faith? When religion is handed down among us by hereditary succession, it is not surprising to find youth of sense and spirit beginning to question the truth of the system in which they were brought up. And it is not surprising to see them abandon a position which they are unable to defend." William Wilberforce
The Barna Group concluded that one of the reasons why three out of every five young Christians disconnect from faith and church, either permanently or for an extended period of time, is because their experience of Christianity is shallow. Good Christian education grounds children in God’s Word. It is aimed at helping children claim their family’s Christian heritage for themselves. The goal is for each child to not only know what they believe, but why they believe, and then to be able to stand up and defend those beliefs in the face of a culture that is constantly pressuring them to compromise.
We want our children to receive the best education.
Christian education is not simply spiritually and morally better, but it is academically better. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics has consistently shown that Christian schools on average test higher than their public counterparts. Data from the College Board indicates that the average combined SAT scores of students from religious schools is 85 points higher than the national mean and 104 points higher than public schools. Explaining this as merely the byproduct of student demographics overlooks the significance of placing Christ at the center of the educational process. C.S. Lewis illustrates this vividly in his classic work, Mere Christianity.
"God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other." C. S. Lewis
Students are not able to fully realize what they were designed to achieve (spiritually, morally, and academically) when the educational process excludes the God of the Bible. Christian education is the way education was always meant to be.
Just one more consideration on this point. Christian education is designed to integrate the Bible into every facet of the curriculum. That means that every idea being discussed, every truth claim being held up as the object of belief, is being evaluated in light of God’s Word. Christian education necessarily comes with this analytical focus that engages students’ higher order thinking skills, where they analyze and critique, interrogate texts, dissect arguments, compare and contrast, and ultimately construct a defense for what they believe, and that adds a level of rigor that better prepares students academically. As Christians we are told to “excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love . . . " (2 Cor. 8:7). Christian educators understand this to mean that in addition to teaching God’s Word, we are called to excel academically, preparing our students to grow in wisdom and understanding of all truth.
We want our children to be future leaders.
When previous generations went to church, there were still segments of society that reinforced the values and beliefs they heard in the sermon. That’s not the case for today’s young Christian. As soon as our children walk out of their homes and church doors, every aspect of culture undermines what they have been taught. When our children go off to college, they face professors who ridicule Christian faith. Through advertising, entertainment, and media, they are bombarded with messages that are antithetical to Biblical values. If we fail to confront these prevailing cultural narratives, we risk losing our young people. In his book, The Last Christian Generation, Josh McDowell ominously warns, “If trends continue, the next generation of the church will not even be rightfully called Christian."
Towards the end of the 20th century, theologian, philosopher, and diplomat Charles Malik sounded the call for a new generation of Christian leaders and scholars to be raised up to counter these trends and work to transform culture.
"For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ Himself, as well as for their own sakes, evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence."
If we are going to be effective in proclaiming the Gospel message, we need an educational program that focuses both on spiritual formation and intellectual development. The Church community needs not just pastors and missionaries, but scientists and lawyers, politicians and college professors, entertainers and artists – voices engaged with every segment of society, standing up for truth, and redeeming the times. This means that the goal of Christian education is to raise up a generation of leaders who love Jesus and His Word, and who are also fully equipped to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5).
Kinnaman, David. You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith. Baker Books, 2016.
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. MacMillan Publishing, 1943.
Malik, Charles. Except from his address at the opening of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, 1980.
McDowell, Josh and David H. Bellis. The Last Christian Generation. Baker Books, 2006.
Wilberforce, William. Real Christianity: Discerning True and False Faith. Regent College Publishing, 2003.
Evergreen Christian School seeks to provide students a rigorous academic and biblical education based on God’s Word, the foundation for all teaching, learning, and living.
Evergreen Christian School, by God’s grace and through His Word, seeks to transform students to achieve the highest aspirations spiritually, academically, and culturally
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagle; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
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