While we believe that the education our students are getting here at ECS is sound and good, and while we believe that it will only get better, they could technically learn much the same information somewhere else.
They could read Anne of Green Gables or the Odyssey somewhere else. Someone else can teach them how to write cursive or multiply and divide, or about the basic needs of all living things (a recent unit from Science class).
But I’ve been around enough schools to know that a good education is rare. In fact, most people can’t even agree on what a good education is. By a “good education,” I mean learning about how a Christian is to live in the world so as to maximize his influence and God’s glory. I’d love to flesh that out some other time, but today I want to briefly mention two threads that run through everything we’re trying to teach here at Evangel Classical School. I would hope that our students and families would recognize these things and notice when they come up over and over. First…
Our Testimony is Important
More and more of late I’ve been thinking about how the power of our testimonies.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus knew that the disciples were not going to save their unbelieving neighbors by their theological understanding or the strength of their conviction. If that were enough, then Jesus’ preaching by itself would have saved everyone who heard Him.
Our theological and academic knowledge are very important, but they are not the principle human instrument in anyone’s salvation. What do we have that the world wants? A life. Relationship. Love for each other.
We can spend our days and nights gaining more and more information, but if we do so without a love for each other, we’ll look just like the world. And why would the world want what we have when they already have it themselves? They wouldn’t.
At ECS we regularly pray and care about how our students treat each other. We are trying to equip them to be better worshipers than they are now by teaching them how to live as Christians.
This brings great glory to God and makes the world around us scratch its head in wonder.
The other lesson I will key in on is that The Dragon is for Fighting.
The Dragon is for Fighting
In Scripture, there is a dragon, and he’s there to fight. His name is Satan, and if we think we can avoid him, we’ve already lost the battle. But avoidance is the method we teach our Christian children more often than not.
Most education today does a poor job of preparing Christians for effective living as we combat the forces of darkness. This is not an all-inclusive claim, but the trends are very strong.
Public schools and secular private schools often teach ideologies and lessons intended to call into question the truths and principles of Scripture. That means that a lot of non-Christian schools teach unbiblical messages and unbiblical views of morality, history, science, etc. The world wants us to reject the claims of the Bible, and a lot of schools train students to do just that.
Many Christian schools teach a lot of the same material as their secular counterparts but with two distinct differences:
1. They integrate the Bible, including chapel programs and Bible classes.
2. They endeavor to protect students by insulating them from the evils of the secular world.
This second one gives birth to this parental mindset: “I chose this Christian school so my kid wouldn’t have to be bullied in the locker room like he was at his last school. I want my kid’s teachers to be saying the same things I am.” This is well-intentioned, but it is artificial and incomplete.
The thing is, someday our students are going to leave our halls and will inevitably face the evils of the world. What will they do then, when through their formative years they have been trained simply to avoid evil?
Imagine I were to drop my three-year old son in the deep end of a swimming pool and tell him to try to avoid the water. What would he do? Flail violently trying to get out, exhaust himself and succumb to the inevitable forces around him, sink and drown. But that’s exactly what the Church does today with its youth! We insulate them from evil (i.e. Keep them “dry”) through their formative years, then graduate them and throw them into the deep end and tell them to swim, when they’ve been taught all along to avoid the water.
Like water, evil inevitably surrounds us. We want to train our students to swim. Trying to avoid evil (and the dragon) is like trying to avoid water while in the pool.
Let me finish with another illustration. Many schools are like summer camp, where it’s pleasant, fun, and safe. We want ECS to be like boot camp (but more fun!) where we’re using real bullets and growing tight as as team and trying to equip our little soldiers for Christ about real life-and-death, good-and-evil battles.
Thankfully, in Christ we already have the victory, so we want to go forward joyfully with our spelling, our reading, our cursive writing, our Latin verb conjugation and our correcting of logical fallacies.
Every day our students are learning things that are of great value that will never show up on any standardized test. They are learning how to live like Christians in a dying world. That is what should make the world around us jealous, wanting desperately to enjoy the sort of love that we share.