In the spirit of transparency, let me take a moment to share some of my core principles for edification within K-12 educational contexts.
Consecration and Power
When individual’s internally decide to follow Jesus and the externally testify that he is Lord, they choose a new kind of life. Jesus sends us his Holy spirit to give us the power to abide in God’s presence as a way of life. Our new life requires complete obedience to Jesus’ invitation, “Follow Me.” Every moment and every new day, Jesus calls us to continue to follow him with our whole selves (hearts, minds, souls, and bodies).
Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, believers are empowered to resist sin in ways that displace anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscenity, lies, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, and idolatry. Through this transformation process, a person’s desires are supernaturally rerouted towards God leading to integrity, physical purity, the mind of Christ, purity of heart, and various other good fruit.
Christian schools should be places where radical forgiveness is routine, where people are empowered to overcome anything that would keep them from deeper intimacy with Christ, and where miracles, signs, and wonders are common. Every day, we are invited to become more like Jesus.
Five Fold Governance
God has consecrated his people across sectors of society as his chosen vessel to change the world, and he promises to powerfully use his Church. The leadership and structure of Christian organizations (including Christian schools) should conform to the Ephesians 4:11-16 ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Five-fold governance should guide institutions that work with children, as the same God who makes crooked paths straight promises to pour out his spirit on sons and daughters who will prophesy.
In order to be associated Christ in the eyes of others, organizations in the Body of Christ must genuinely love one another and non-Christian people. All individuals and organizations who ascribe to the Christian faith through the Apostles Creed should take seriously Jesus’s commission to make disciples, with genuine love and without coercion. Christian organizations should transparently acknowledge their disagreements while still honoring one another and making every effort to agree.
It is neither realistic nor helpful to fully separate religious conviction from beliefs about right use of justice and governmental authority. Governments and rulers must also do justice and attend to the needs of their citizens as they are accountable to God (I Kings 18:18; II Chron. 15:1-4; Matt. 5:13-14; Acts 12:23; I Sam. 15:14-35).
“No government is safe from challenge or subversion by the community of faith…It is neither possible nor desirable for people of faith to extricate themselves from the political conditions of the day”Eugene Peterson, “Where your Treasure Is: Psalms that Summon You from Self to Community”
Instead of retreating into either comfort-seeking or monastic communities (as even well-intentioned saints of the past have done), Christians have the responsibility to demonstrate lively faith that has the power to bless and reform broken governmental systems. We must demonstrate a fearless pursuit of God in our midst.
Sacred Learning: God’s Sovereignty over Educational Institutions
God the Creator, Jesus who was the word that God spoke in creating all things, and the Holy Spirit that hovered over the formless waters to create life have the ultimate authority to define human beings and creation. As created beings, humans do not have the authority or intellectual capacity to negate the things God has revealed about himself, whether through nature, scripture, or the reformation work of the Holy Spirit throughout centuries.
Within current educational trends, God is working to dismantle the harsh separation of scientific and sacred learning from the Western Enlightenment Era (17th and 18th centuries). During this time, people accepted the lies that:
- in order to pursue science, people need to abandon their faith (Rationalism)
- man exists to gratify man’s desires (Deism)
- humans can be entirely moral creatures without God’s help (Deism, Freemasonry)
- human beings are meant to function as machines (oppressive aspects of Capitalism under the Industrial Revolution)
Even if humans intend to sever God from the educational process out of fear of bias, individuals studying a created world will always be studying that which God created. There are countless examples of the ways that Christians have shaped the field of education, from the first universities having evolved from Benedictine monasteries, Jesuit scholars revolutionizing the field of linguistics and humanizing cross-cultural relations, evolution of the modern, Western nonprofit sector in the West emerging from the biblically-based English Poor Laws, and the social work and healthcare efforts of various religious orders.
And yet, even if humans fail to praise God for all these glorious things, God’s sovereignty cannot be changed by unbelief. Even without human participation, even the rocks will cry out to praise him. And even when we seek to disinvite Jesus from our classrooms, our churches, or other kinds of institutions, Jesus as an equal member of the Trinity is both Lord and omnipresent, as he was in the beginning. We don’t have the authority to disinvite him from the study of his creation, even when we try.
The Mind of Christ
The “mind of Christ” can refer to several things aspects of education. One element of the mind of Christ is the excellent spirit that was on Daniel, Joseph, and Jesus. Another aspect of the mind of Christ is mental soundness in love, discernment, wisdom, and sober-minded judgment. God promises to be found when humans seek him with our entire substance and MINDS! When it comes to supernatural revelation, God promises to reveal himself to his friends.
Inquiry Based Learning
Individuals must develop curriculum, teaching, and schools for rigorous sacred scholarship of all subjects. God’s mighty deeds invite human beings into a state of awe and worship that all inquiry-based teaching methods should aspire to produce. While inquiry-based learning is not the only effective teaching style, it squares with children’s natural curiosity, love for nature, God’s invitation to them to taste and see his goodness, and a world that is increasingly hungry for the experiential gospel.
Social Engagement and Diversity
Christian schools should exist to prepare individuals to be healthy conversation partners with society. In order to honor Christ’s ethnically, linguistically, nationally, and culturally diverse Kingdom, Christians must make their identity in Christ more important than nationalism, individual politics, and cultural preferences. Through his finished work on the cross, Jesus became the path to ethnic, racial, gender, and cultural reconciliation; he is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. If Christians believe that Jesus has reconciled all of us to himself through his blood, we will not need to assimilate to one another. Christians must have great awe for God who is greater politics, respect for the power of Jesus’s finished work on the cross that destroyed all barriers so that we can build relationships and structures beyond political divisions. When Christians are externally identifiable as “Children of God” they engage in peacemaking in an otherwise violent and striving world. Even as Christians make meaningful contributions to society, there are many practices and patterns of sin that Christians must explicitly reject due to their incompatibility with the Kingdom of God.