What Makes Christian Education Christian?

By: Kim Miller, Director of Curriculum
Sounds like a funny question, doesn’t it? The answer is obviously God, right? Well, yeeesssss. . . Can that be clarified a little?

Christian education uses the Bible. Teachers at a Christian school are Christian. There is a personal focus on students. Salvation is critically important. Assignments involve Bible verses. The students have a Bible class and go to chapel. Prayer is a big part of the day. In science, students are taught about creation. Do these things make Christian education Christian?

Christian school education cannot be Christian without these things, that’s true. As I ponder this a little more, I hear the question a little differently. What makes Christian education Christian? What’s the difference? Is it more than creation vs. evolution?

The Webster Dictionary (1828) defines “educate” as: To bring up, as a child; to instruct; to inform and enlighten the understanding; to instill into the mind principles of arts, science, morals, religion and behavior. Reflecting on that definition, I realize that education is based on both content and purpose. The purpose of secular education is to prepare students to fit productively into the world economy – to become productive citizens of the world.

Christian education prepares students to become citizens of God’s kingdom who have an impact on the world for His glory. That’s a huge difference! Through content and practice, the differences between the purpose of secular and Christian education becomes clearer. It goes beyond the creation/evolution debate. Christian education approaches content through the lens of God’s intent and purpose, rather than the world’s. Here are some key differences that shed a little more light:

Secular Education

Science: Naturalism: everything comes from matter, time, chance.
Lang/Lit: A representation of cultures with no meaning outside of cultural. 
History: Controlled by man.
Math: A tool used in attempts to manipulate and control the natural world. 
Christian Education
Science: God is Creator and Sustainer. Science reveals His work.
Lang/Lit: Representations of common grace and/or man’s state in the world, interpreted through God’s Truth.
History: Controlled by God who knows the end from the beginning.
Math: A reflection of the mind of God and a language for understanding His world.

So, what makes Christian education Christian? God really is the answer!