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Educational Philosophy

Educational Philosophy
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Worldview Curriculum

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A Christian curriculum must derive the fundamental principles of each subject from Godís Holy Word. Because the Bible is our final authority, all of manís wisdom must be brought into subjection to it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, not only in our educational philosophy, but also in each discipline of study. We realize, as many Christian colleges apparently do not, that education is not made Christian by merely adding a course in Bible, a chapel period, or an introductory prayer in class. If the course content or educational approach to the subjects is humanistic, Christian additions will do little to change the direction of the overall program.

In every area of studyĖliterature, science, government, history, etc., we want our students to understand Godís perspective. When they are taught to interpret all they learn through the eyes of Scripture, they acquire true knowledge and wisdom. We want them to acquire a truly Christian worldview in the areas of their interest and calling, thus to achieve this goal, it is necessary to have a plan of actionĖthe Christian curriculum that provides Christian students with the principles, content, and analytical skills that teaches and enables them to be consistently biblical.

Our goal is to use the Bible in each course both directly and indirectly. We do so directly by considering how various passages relate to the subject, and indirectly as we demonstrate how the theological principles or doctrines of the Bible provide the proper framework for our understanding. In the following sections we provide examples of how such a curriculum will be taught.

Biblical and Theological Studies

Foundational to our curriculum is the necessity of studying the Bible extensively and intensively. We need to be mastered by the Word of God before we can properly evaluate the writings of men. Bible study focuses our attention on the text of the Bible and seeks to help us understand and interpret it correctly. We do not believe in the mere study of religion, or even in a disconnected series of Bible and doctrine studies, but we seek to arrive at a unified understanding of the biblical system of truth. It is this system of truth that provides us with the fundamental principles of a Christian philosophy, out of which we can develop a Christian worldview that touches every area of life and thought.

A Biblical View of Mathematics

God is one being in three Persons. He is the reason why there is both unity and diversity in creation, and this becomes the basis for the unity in mathematics, as well as the possibility of differentiation. The Bible teaches us that our Creator is also eternal and infinite. As we study the created universe we can see a reflection of these qualities; all of creation is governed by absolutes which reflect the character of the One who made it. We can see the marvelous precision in nature and the vastness of space, demonstrating the magnificence of Godís creative power.

It would be impossible for us to know or understand creation without Godís gift of mathematics, for without it, we would not have the means of measuring and computing His world. Mathematical principles never vary; formulae and equations are always in perfect balance and exhibit flawless consistency. Consequently, it is the tool for studying Godís creative handiwork; it helps to reveal the omnipotence of the Lord.

The study of mathematics is really the study of Godís divine order revealed in His created universe; as we learn about mathematics, we are learning about God. Every time we do mathematics it should remind us of the sovereign GodĖ even as He is perfect, so we should strive for perfection, as mathematical principles are exact, so also our daily lives are to be lived by careful adherence to His principles.

Additionally, mathematics is a tool for manís rulership under God. All callings in life demand planning, calculating, and evaluating in order to carry out our God-given responsibilities. Mathematics plays an important part, whether it be in business, medicine, engineering, art, science, etc. Therefore, as Godís people, we are to use this wonderful gift to advance His kingdom on earth for His honor and glory.

A Biblical View of Science

All creation was brought into existence and formed by Godís power, wisdom, and understanding. This means that we live in a logical and orderly world and can approach it as such. Science is a study of Godís revelation in creation, which can be understood only as it relates to the Word of God. In the study of creation we see Godís order reflected in the structure of the universe. When God created man, He created him in His own image and likeness, and made him to rule over the animals, the plants, and the earth. Under Godís direction, man was to develop each of these areas to its fullest potential, thus it was in the Garden of Eden that science was assigned to man as part of his cultural task. It was there that Adam first learned to cultivate the soil, and to plant and tend the trees and vegetation. It was there that he first studied the animals, gave each a special name that described its species, and classified them biologically.

To have dominion over His creation as God has commanded, we must have an organized and systematic knowledge of the areas we are to rule; this is the purpose of science. We are to study Godís physical laws in operation over each area of creation, and to learn to apply this knowledge in accordance with His holy will.

To do this, we must approach the study of science using the Word of God as our key to correct interpretation, because only as we learn to see creation through the eyes of the Creator can we learn to know it as it really is. In so doing we are protected from evolutionism and ďscience falsely so calledĒ (1 Tim. 6:20), and are instructed in His awesome power and the beauty of His handiwork. The Bible teaches that God made all things out of nothing, by the word of His power, in the space of six days. Man was Godís greatest work of creation; he did not evolve. Everything that God made was good. True science establishes creation, not evolution.

A Biblical View of History

The Bible clearly reveals that God is Lord of history. He governs all nations and peoples by means of His providence or guidance. He also acts directly in history through blessings and judgments upon the earth (Deut. 28). The prophecies recorded in Scripture, many of which have been fulfilled, demonstrate that history has been planned by God and continues according to His purpose.

A proper understanding of history is built around its key events: creation, manís fall into sin, the cross of Christ, and the return of Christ. Because God has a plan to sum up all things in Christ (Eph. 1), history has a goal, thus, its meaning and purpose must be seen in terms of the One who guides and directs it toward that goal. Consequently, history is more than just names, dates, places, and events. Unlike science, in which we study Godís physical laws in His government over creation, history is the study of Godís moral laws in His government over men and nations.

For this reason all historyĖancient, medieval, and modernĖmust be seen as the sovereign rule of God over the affairs of men. All men are accountable to Him, and all events must be viewed as the hand of God directing history toward the final victory of Christ and His Church, when Godís truth will triumph, and ungodliness will be destroyed. We learn, therefore, to patiently wait upon the Lord for the fulfillment of His perfect will. The lessons of history are to be used by Godís people to diligently work and ďoccupy,Ē as we advance His kingdom on earth for His honor and glory.

A Biblical View of Sociology

Biblical sociology begins with God who exists in eternal relationship between the Three Persons. Because unity and plurality are equally ultimate, we find that the Bible does not place either the individual or the corporate above the other. Biblical Christianity has the only solution to the fluctuation in humanism between individualism and collectivism.

At creation, God, in His infinite wisdom, instituted the family, the fundamental social relationship. From this basic institution all other social orders have developed according to His providence. While sin distorts the social orders established by God, He restores them by His grace, and uses them for His purposes. He ordained the family, the visible church, and the state, and each of theses social spheres has co-ordinate rights and functions with a mutual independence clearly marked out in His Holy Word.

The Bible contains not only the principles of a sound sociology, but also provides social facts upon which we can build. For example, the social structures of the Old Testament covenant community of Israel, as established in Genesis, demonstrate Godís purpose for each and contrast them with pagan society. A biblical presentation of the social order is needed to effectively address the current collapse of society. Biblical law provides us with tools for analyzing the various social structures of different nations and peoples. Connected with the revealed social facts of the Bible, we can develop a perspective on the Christian community and how the church can become an alternate society in the midst of chaos.

A Biblical View of Political Science and Government

The Old Testament reveals Godís system of law for civil government. At Mount Sinai, through the prophet Moses, God gave Israel an entire system of civil law and government. In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, we see a complete system of law with due process, a federal system of government with three branches at each level, and separation of powers with a system of checks and balances.

The student of history who learns this system has a valuable tool to help him in the necessary task of analyzing human governments both past and present. By using Godís perfect Law as the standard of evaluation, past governments can be analyzed as to their structures, laws, and practical weaknesses. This knowledge will create the kind of understanding necessary for intelligent voting, responsible government, and the development of a godly ruling system.

Because civil government enacts laws, it is concerned with deciding what is right and what is wrong. Right and wrong, however, have to do with morality, and morality is religious. This means that civil government, by its very nature, is a religious institution, receiving its only legitimate authority as it acts as a minister of Godís justice.

We can see, therefore, that the study of political science must be grounded in the Word of God. In studying civil law and civil government we need Godís infallible standards in order to recognize truth from error, and justice from injustice.

A Biblical View of Economics and the Environment

For man to rule over the earth as God has commanded, he must be free to develop its natural resources. To do this, God has given him the right to private property, the right to choose his own occupation, the right to make a profit, and the right to decide how his earnings should be spent. Yet because God owns all things, we are to use these rights as stewards of the gifts of God.

To exercise these God-given rights, man needs an economic system that is designed to glorify God and serve the needs of everyone, and such an economic system must embody upon competition and the risks of the marketplace. Both competition and the element of risk force sellers to use their skills and economic resources more carefully, which produces a higher quality of goods and services at very reasonable prices to their customers.

Material abundance is possible only through productive harmony in the marketplace, and that is possible only through the grace of God and His Law working in the hearts and minds of men. To the extent that men understand and obey Godís Law in the economic realm, they will respect each otherís property, not steal from or cheat one another, abide by contracts, and, when elected to public office, not use the power they have been granted for their own selfish purposes.

Contrary to much modern belief, it is not the duty of civil government to regulate the economy; Godís laws over men and creation already do that. The proper role of civil government is to serve as a neutral referee, praising good, and punishing infractions of Godís Law in the marketplace. Just weights and measures, sound money, and legal execution of contracts are all legitimate areas of governmental concern.

A Biblical View of Language and Literature

In the beginning God spoke and it came to pass. The three Persons of the Trinity have spoken to each other eternally, and when God created man in His own image, He gave him the gift of language. Language is thought expressed, but thoughts are never neutralĖthey are either true or false. To discern this, we need to study the Bible, for only from its pages can we come to know truth and error. Therefore, as we learn to read all literature through the ďeyesĒ of Scripture, we will learn to interpret all that we read by the mind of God.

As against the post-modern trend of deconstructionĖof approaching a text as though the author left us a blank slate on which we are to write our own meaningĖChristians must maintain that language has meaning, and therefore is not open to endless reinterpretation. This is of fundamental importance when we come to special hermeneutics, the study of sacred Scripture. Unless language has fixed meaning, any text can be made to read almost anything we want it to.

It is, therefore, important to remember that all thoughts and ideas have a religious point of view. Consequently, when reading any kind of literature, we should ask ourselves: Is the author Christian or non-Christian? If non-Christian, from what religious point of view is he writing? Is there any information available about the author that could tell us something about his education, background, and personal beliefs? Is the author known for a particular cause or type of thinking? Does the message of the author compare or differ with Biblical teaching?

A Biblical View of Culture and the Arts

Art, music, and other arts are gifts given by God to man. When an artist paints a picture or a musician composes a song, each is using his God-given talent. Every gift should be used to reflect the beauty of its Original Creator and imitate His creative work. A humanistic view sees culture and art as existing only for self-expression and human enjoyment. The non-Christian uses culture as a way to revolt against God and glorify himself. He thinks that he can create out of nothing and be totally original, however, when man creates, he is not creating something absolutely new, but is discovering a potentiality which has existed from the beginning of creation. Its use becomes a blessing from God for the benefit of man.

Because art and music express thoughts and emotions, they exert a moral influence on our behavior. This makes art and music forms of religious fellowship. It is religious because thoughts and emotions are always moral, and fellowship because of the sharing between author and audience. For the Christian, this imposes a serious responsibility: it means we are not to enjoy art and music that promote thoughts and emotions contrary to the Word of God, for the Scripture says, ďWhat fellowship has light with darkness?Ē (2 Cor. 6:14). Instead we are to enjoy art that reflects the glory of Godís creation, and music that truly lifts the spirits of its listeners, and expresses emotion biblically. Likewise, we are to use our talents in these art forms in harmony with Godís truth and morality.

Furthermore, since art and music are channels of communication, Christians should use them, either directly or indirectly, to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a biblical understanding of Godís world. In so doing, we will be working to advance the kingdom of God on earth for His honor and glory.

 
 

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