The Value of a Christian Education
Article by Dan Egeler, EdD, who serves as the President of the Association of Christian Schools International.
Enjoying lunch with a school administrator, our conversation turned to the wonderful role we as educators play. I mentioned that I felt honored to accompany students along the path to discovering truth. He looked at me with disdain. “Truth? We can’t use that word on our campus,” he said. “It’s divisive.”
Truth, divisive? The search for truth is supposed to unite us. Yet, in today’s postmodern society, even the idea of truth can be disruptive. Nowhere is this more evident than in our schools.
Many may consider a Christian education a withdrawal from the prevailing culture. However, recent research shows that Christian education is providing the most vigorous and complete instruction for our children. The results are evident: young men and women who know how to think deeply and broadly, and graduates who are energized about the future and have a desire to make a positive difference in the world.
How does Christian education accomplish this?
First, Christian education is not indoctrination but true education. This is the strength of Christian education. It is free to investigate all issues from alternative worldviews because of its commitment to the discovery of truth. Students explore different ways people seek knowledge—for example, through science, religion, philosophy, and literature; then they are equipped to evaluate why people believe and act as they do.
Second, Christian education is not fragmented but holistic. Education at its best helps students make connections between academic studies and important issues. Unfortunately, fragmentation is characteristic of today’s postmodern culture, and much of our children’s learning experience reflects this. Students can learn the facts of history, master the laws of science, and understand the rules of grammar, but such an approach may only help them learn what and how but never discover why. Christian education actively explores questions of origin (Where did everything come from?), morality (How do we decide what is right and wrong?), and destiny (What happens when we die?)—questions central to the human experience. Students are prepared and motivated to think deeply and serve willingly.
Third, Christian education is not limiting but empowering. Christian education aggressively takes on the culture in a bold attempt to equip students for lifelong leadership and service. At the personal level, Christian education holds up the importance of virtue and the development of true character. Integrity, courage, sacrifice, and love are modeled by teachers who are committed to a biblical worldview.
At the public level, Christian education provides the knowledge and skills our students need to see beyond politics and the shallow notions of popular media to underlying worldviews and values. Students learn to engage the culture with the heart and mind of Christ.
A complete and well-rounded education recognizes that God has revealed truth to us through His creation and His Word (Psalm 19, Romans 1:2). Far from being divisive, the search for truth provides the path to freedom (John 8:32). In these postmodern times, Christian education stands tall, broad, deep, and empowering. The results speak for themselves.