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What Do We Mean by Christian? Part 3: Christian Education

March 25, 2019
By Brian Fitzgerald, High School Principal

If it’s true that “Christian is the greatest of all possible nouns and the lamest of all possible adjectives,” as Gregory Thornbury has said, then what exactly do we mean by Christian education at Grace Christian School? It would a lame education indeed that simply slapped Bible sentences alongside lessons that loosely associate with something mentioned in the Bible, or simply added a Bible class and a chapel period to an education otherwise identical to that of the world, or simply taught students what to think about the Bible without teaching them how to think about all of life and reality. If that’s Christian education, it’s perhaps the lamest of all possible education.

Chuck Colson wrote in How Now Shall We Live?, “Genuine Christianity is a way of seeing and comprehending all reality.” In a similar statement, the English writer Dorothy Sayers said, “It is vitally necessary to insist that [Christianity] is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe.” At Grace Christian School, when we talk about “Christian education,” we are talking about an education that intentionally and systematically teaches all subject areas at all grade levels in such a way that assumes the universal, absolute truth and relevance of God to every area of life and reality. Bible verses and Christian symbols are not merely slapped to the side of a lesson here or there. The entire system is saturated with the assumption that God is relevant to, interested in, and has something to say about every area of reality.

In other words, teaching students truth is as much a matter of teaching them how to think as it is teaching them what to think. Teaching students how to think well about life and reality will inevitably lead them to correctly and creatively think about the what, which in turn equips them to live well and free in reality as God created it. Every educational system imparts its fundamental assumptions and values to its students. By distinguishing our system as Christian, we are stating our assumptions and values up front, and we are then intentional to ensure that those things are embedded in our curriculum at the deepest and most practical levels. C.S. Lewis once observed, “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects - with their Christianity latent.” That’s our goal at GCS. We seek to teach all subjects at all grade levels with academic excellence, and, more importantly, with our Christianity latent throughout.

Maybe we should look for another descriptive than Christian education?

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