Purpose

Purpose

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 (ESV)

This Bible passage is a great summary of the power of a Christian school. Of course, all schools are looking to transform students minds. To what or whom is the school helping students aspire and hopefully achieve? The early Christian church theologian Augustine, who ideally saw the teacher as someone who helps students see the world as God would, advised instructors to “Imitate the good, bear with the evil, love all” (Joseph, 1952, p. 87). He believed, as do I, that the biggest way to demonstrate love for someone is to help them see the Truth in the world so that they can transform their thinking and doing to properly bear the mantle as image bearers of God. (https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1778/Augustine-St-354-430.html)

John Milton, English poet, wrote about education, “I am long since persuaded, that to say, or do ought worth memory and imitation, no purpose or respect should sooner move us, then simply the love of God, and of mankind. Nevertheless to write now the reforming of Education, though it be one of the greatest and noblest designs that can be thought on, and for the want whereof this Nation perishes.” (https://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/of_education/text.shtml). These profound observations are as relevant today as they were 1,600 years ago, 400 years ago, or just this morning. A proper education must have a proper foundation and purpose in order to be full and appropriate.

The Christian school provides that essential ingredient of framing reality properly and providing a purpose that is crucial in any education. Neil Postman (1995), education researcher and author, laments that the result of educators and education without a clear purpose and goals is problematic. He goes further to claim that an aimless education is dangerous (Postman, 1995 pp. 4-23). Neil Postman (1995) recognizes that education has both an engineering and a metaphysical, understanding or reality, component (p 3-9). The engineering, structure and delivery, of the teaching and learning is nothing without the component of illuminating reality. This is why the Christian school is vital. The Christian school develops students that understand the purpose of the education. And, the Christian educator provides a direct link to reality that is both challenging and comforting.

The Christian school is engineered so that each subject, skill, and content develops a proper worldview. As with any structure, the foundation must be engineered strongest so that the rest of the work does not collapse due to the failure of its underlying basis. Then, upon this foundation/purposeful endeavor of developing students to think properly, the Christian school challenges, encourages, and teaches students how flourish. Education is about thinking. As I have heard so often lately, “the way we think is how we act.” Let us transform our thinking to be biblical so that our actions can be godly. Then, every subject will have meaning and purpose. Through this meaning and purpose, the pupil will learn deeper. A good school is a Christian school that engineers and metaphysically presents education as a means to transform a worldview (thinking) in order to provide purpose so that each student can use the skills, content, and information to flourish.

Sources:

Christopher, Joseph P. Translation (1952). St. Augustine: The First Catechetical Instruction (400). Westminster, MD: Newman Press.

John Milton Reading Room. (1997) Of Education To Master Samuel Hartlib. Retrieved August 25, 2019 from: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/of_education/text.shtml.

Leonard, Timothy. St. Augustine 354-430 : Augustine and Teaching, Influence. retrieved Aug. 26, 2019 from https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1778/Augustine-St-354-430.html

Postman, Neil (1995) The End of Education: redefining the value of school. Random House, New York, NY.

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