What do Christian Schools see as the purpose of education?
School is an accepted, in fact expected, part of our modern society. We assume it is a good thing. Access to education is now seen as a right not a privilege. Before choosing a school, Christian parents should take a step back and ask a more important question – “is the purpose of education?”
For many parents the often unstated goal of a school education is to prepare their child for a career. Going to university is often seen as the doorway to this. The purpose of education can then become simply the creating of future employees and employers. Believing this some parents may adopt a consumer mentality in choosing a school. They shop around for the best value based on the school’s academic reputation on providing access to university. The Bible has a radically different purpose for life than is taught in most schools.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms
1 Peter 4:10
WHAT TYPE OF WISDOM WILL MY CHILD BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOL?
In light of this the purpose of education could be to help children understand their God given gifts and abilities so as to serve Him and others in society. The Westminster Confession used by many churches summarises our purpose as… “The chief aim of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”
An education which denies God, or seeks to diminish His importance misses this “chief aim”. Instead it often focuses on the personal success of the individual. The definition of success is often vague. For some success is defined by what we have attained to or acquired. One of God’s definitions of success is found in Matthew 25:23. Here Jesus says “well done good and faithful servant” when speaking of a man who wisely used the talents God had given him.
What is it we really want for our children as a result of their years of education? Is it to be happy, have friends, a job and to travel? The most common desire for Christian parents is that their children will make good choices in life. To choose satisfying work, good friends, to share, to treat others like they wish to be treated. Ultimately it is to choose to follow Jesus and serve God and others with their gifts and abilities. A child’s education is more than imparting knowledge. It is to impart wisdom to make wise choices in life.
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life. Deuteronomy 30:19
In James 3 the Bible contrasts two types of wisdom. One is earthly wisdom which is described as unspiritual and demonic. The other is wisdom from above, which is described as …pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere (James 3:15-17).
A Christian school is by no means perfect, but is seeking to impart a godly wisdom for life. The Bible says The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom Proverbs 9:10 The foundation upon which an education system is based is therefore important.
As parents we need to be confident our children will receive in school a wisdom which is worth having.