In last week’s blog post I shared two very important statements that we need to remember as we get ready to start a new school year. The first statement explained the goal of traditional, man-centered education.
Traditional schooling prepares students for more schooling that will end up getting them a job!
The second statement centered on the goal of kingdom education. We must remember that kingdom education exists only when God reigns as king in the entire educational process.
Schooling must prepare children to fulfill God’s ultimate purpose for why He created man in His image.
One reader commented how we can get caught up in the assembly line of education and forget what the goal is. Another subscriber wrote that we also forget that education is indoctrination. Still another reader added that traditions are often a blessing, but sometimes, if they’re not true to biblical principles, they can be chains that enslave the mind and the spirit.
It is so easy to get caught up in the human traditions that shape so much of education today. As Christians, we want to prepare our children to fulfill God’s ultimate purpose for why He created man in His image. Francis Shaeffer stressed the importance of knowing God’s purpose for man when he wrote,
Man, made in the image of God, has a purpose – to be in relationship to God, Who is there. Man forgets his purpose and thus he forgets who he is and what life means.
Too often, we use phrases and cliches without ever clarifying the meaning of them. When this happens, everyone is free to define the terms according to their own belief system.
First, I need to clarify what I mean by the term education. When I use this term, I am referring to the multi-faceted process of preparing children and youth for the future. It takes place in the home, church and school. Too often, we immediately equate education with schooling. Schooling plays a major role in the educational process but it is only one part of the process.
Second, we must answer this question as we start a new school year. What was God’s ultimate purpose for creating man in His image? This is not a new question and Christians have tried to answer this question in the past. In 1647, the Westminster Assembly developed the Westminster Shorter Catechism. The very first question was, What is the chief end of man? Their answer provides us with insight into what the goal of education, including schooling, must be. It simply states,
I have combined these various concepts into another biblical principle of education. It reads,
The education of children and youth must equip them to fulfill God’s highest purpose for man to glorify Him and enjoy Him for life and eternity.
Again, it is important to dissect this statement in order to understand its full meaning. We all know that God’s Word clearly states that we are to glorify God in everything (1 Corinthians 10:31). However, we must fully understand how a person actually glorifies God. Dr. Gary Inrig gives a wonderful explanation of what it means to glorify God.
One’s glory is one’s reputation…God’s glory is not just His reputation but His revealed character, the display of His attributes…To glorify someone therefore is to increase his reputation by revealing his true nature…to glorify God is to live in such a way that His character is displayed and His praise is increased.
God’s glory is who He is; it is His true nature. This means that one cannot glorify God unless he/she regularly sees and knows God’s glory. I have discovered that the only way that I can know God’s true nature (His glory) is if He reveals Himself to me. The good news is that God reveals Himself to us in three ways. God reveals Himself to man:
- in a general way through Creation
- in a written way through His Word
- in a personal way through His Son
Everything a young person studies at home, church and school should guide them into a deeper knowledge of God. This includes reading both books that God has written and given to us. These books are Creation and the Bible. As students grow in their knowledge of God, they will see His glory. As they see His glory, they can reflect His glory and, therefore, fulfill God’s ultimate purpose for creating them in God’s image — to glorify God in everything they think, say and do.
Here are some questions we need to ask ourselves so that the education we give our children will prepare them to fulfill God’s ultimate purpose for why He created man in His image.
- How can this be done in the home? What do parents need to do?
- What is the church’s role in this process? What does the church need to do?
- How can this be done in the school? How does every teacher, coach and/or administrator accomplish this?
As you answer these questions, share your thoughts with other parents, church leaders and teachers. The home, church and school must join together and provide our children and youth with an education that guides them to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes (character) that will enable them to glorify God in whatever they think, say and/or do.