I have been in school at Cbu for two whole months now and it feels great completing my first two classes and all the hard work I put into them. In my Introduction to Christian Education class, I had to come up with my final thought and statement on what is Christian Education. It comes from more of a fundamental and structural viewpoint on the originality and priority of Christian Education. Here is my essay below. Enjoy!
Throughout history God’s word has been preserved in its perfect infallibility, inerrancy, and absolute truth. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the word of God provides the source from which all Christian Education is founded upon. It is the very epicenter of all Christian Education. God provided educational structures to live by in the Old Testament and New Testament to grow closer to Him in spirit and truth.
Christian Education began with God ordaining and instituting generational Christian Education.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 declares, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
This is called the Shema, in which the people of God were to teach their family the law of God. God ordained the family to be the resource center of all Christian Education. The family was the place where the law of God was to be taught and passed on to the next generation. It was in the family where commitment, accountability, grace, encouragement, and intimacy could occur to grow and raise up the next generation in the ways of the Lord as
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 declares, “Fix these words of mine into your mind and being, and tie them as a reminder on your hands and let them be symbols on your forehead. Teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates so that your days and those of your descendants may be extended in the land which the Lord promised to give to your ancestors, like the days of heaven itself.”
Christian Education is a generation to generation structure. It is designed to instruct and teach next generation the word of God so they will love God with all their heart, mind, and soul, teaching the next generation after them in the ways of the Lord. This was the process of all the way up to the time of Christ.
After the age of the life of Jesus and the Early Church, Christian Education flourished into different stages in different ways, as man desired to grow closer to God through intellect, knowledge, philosophy, faith and reason, and university curriculum. These were new and different methods promoted growing in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ. Services were established, schools were built, universities were founded, and church became more structured and arranged than ever before. Throughout the middle ages, renaissance, colonial ages of history, Christian Education strategies and developments were being used to all achieve the same goal of spreading the Gospel and growing people in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Today there are many different methods and systems to how Christian Education is organized and structured: Sunday school, mid-week Bible study, small group studies, home bible studies, men’s and women’s ministry, children’s ministry, junior high ministry, senior high ministry, college ministry, single’s ministry, etc. All of these ministries serve a specific purpose to reach people and equip them with their walk with God. However, at the core of every Christian ministry, there must be Biblical foundations.
The Biblical foundations in Christian Education are the essential theological and doctrinal necessities of the Christian faith found only in the word of God. Proper theology of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit must be exposited and emphasized to bring Biblical clarity and articulation of who our glorious Creator truly is in His nature and attributes. Proper doctrine of the Person and works of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit must be explained and taught to bring Biblical certainty and affirmation in the glorious work that was done through Jesus Christ, and how the Holy Spirit resides in us to live out the faith in power, love, and a sound mind. Proper bibliology of the totality of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation must be taught and instructed to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of the all Scripture. This is a necessity. The necessity of studying the word of God contains all sixty six books, from forty different authors, over a one thousand and five hundred year period of history, all magnifying and praising harmoniously the redeeming and sovereign Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament points to Christ coming into the world as the Messiah, and the New Testament points back to Christ dying for the sin of the world as the Savior. These theological and doctrinal roots are grounded in absolute truth. The word of God is absolute truth and therefore it is on that truth Christian Education is founded upon. Jesus declared, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Christian Education’s Biblical foundations need to be rooted in the absolute truth of the word of God teaching theological and doctrinal realities for everyday faith.
The One who taught Christian Education masterfully was Jesus Christ the Righteous. He was the Master Teacher and pure example of how Christian Education should be taught to others. Jesus Christ and the nature of His teaching was authoritative (Matthew 7:28-29, Mark 1:22, Luke 4:32, 36), about the Kingdom of God (Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:15, Luke 4:43) and was always evangelistic (John 3:15-17, 6:47, 14:6). He taught without being authoritarian but with conviction, clarity, and certainty unlike the religious leaders of that day. Jesus Christ and the practice of His teaching was creative and matchless (Matthew 13:53-54). He captivated and educated his audience which developed them into followers (Luke 5:27-28). Jesus Christ is the perfect example of how the Christian educator must teach the truth. Jesus was a great teacher, communicator, expositor of the word of God. Christian Education should be taught in a way that reflects the way Jesus Christ taught, communicated, and exposited truth from the Scriptures.
Understanding how Christian Education was instituted, what its Biblical foundations are, and how to teach those foundations from the example of Jesus Christ, we need to see the major role of the Holy Spirit working in Christian Education. Ministry is only capable if the Holy Spirit is involved. The Holy Spirit works in the ministry as the Christian educator does the ministry. It is all through the mighty and glorious power of the Holy Spirit that moves in the ministry to bear fruit. The Holy Spirit is the One who speaks to the teacher, then speaks through the teacher to reach the learners. The Holy Spirit is the One who illuminates the Scriptures to the learner and moves in their heart to live for the glory of God.
Nevertheless, Christian Education needs to be done correctly with a Biblical purpose, Biblical plan, and with Biblical practice. The Biblical purpose of teaching, reaching, and ministering to others to grow them in their relationship with God and others must be a priority. The goal of Christian Education is to teach others the promises and truth from God’s word to help them grow in their relationship with God. The gathering of Christian Education is to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ and lead them into a saving relationship with God. The ministering of Christ Education is to attend to who have needs through prayer, encouragement, and fellowship. With a Biblical purpose in place, a Biblical plan needs to be organized to effectively show importance through consistency. Having the right Biblical practice is also significant. The correct place with the right amount of space is necessary for Christian Education to be done correctly. This place needs to be a place of grace where God’s love is evident to all who come. Having a Biblical purpose, plan, and practice can lead to successful Christian Education.
Christian Education is for every aspect and every age in life. From the family room to the classroom, people need to be taught the word of God to know the Gospel from God. Christian Education’s foundation is grounded in salvation. The whole point of having Christian Education is for people to be reconciled to God. Through the proper teaching of the truth of the word of God, people should be able hear the gospel in any Bible study. For it is God’s will that people get saved (John 6:40). The focus of Christian Education is to live Spirit filled (Galatians 5:16-26). Christian Education primary emphasis is to teach others to be ready and serve the Lord. The foundation of Christian Education from where all growth flows from is in sanctification (Romans 12:1-2). The continuous call to holiness, humility, and conformity to the image of Christ molds others into godly man and woman who fear the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul. This where Christian Education should bring people in their relationship with God from where it all began with the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, to grow and love God with all your heart, mind, and soul more and more throughout your days here on earth.