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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Curriculum (2)

Christ must be in it all.

Educating for Godly Policy (4)

“When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand; and the LORD showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’” Deuteronomy 6.20-25

The Word in the bottom
An early motto from Harvard declared that the college existed—as most other early American colleges and universities—to “lay Christ in the bottom” of the curriculum and the lives of the students. Similarly, an early version of the Harvard Rules insisted that “The main goal of a student’s life is to know God & Jesus Christ.”

Christians may not be able, as their forebears were, to make this part of the public school curriculum. Not at this time, that is. But we must hold to the idea of Scripture serving as the foundation and framework for all education, and we must begin to pursue policies—especially at home, in churches, and, where we can, in the schools of the land—that will bring the light of God’s Word to shine on and through all aspects of the education of our children.

Curious children will naturally wonder why we put so much emphasis on learning the Word of God in the instruction we provide for them. The answer, as we have seen, is that we want them to know, fear, love, and serve God, so that they might also be able to love their neighbors as themselves and enjoy all the blessings and goodness of God throughout their lives.

From God to His works
Focusing more instruction on the Word of God will beg the question of the nature of God—Who He is and why we should love and serve Him—and will open the door for teaching all the various works of the Lord as further illustration of His glory and means by which to love Him and our neighbors. As Vern Poythress has shown in his many books, God is at work in and through all aspects of life. Our task is to explain how all learning is only complete when it is set in a framework of knowing, loving, and serving our Lord Jesus Christ.

No one is going to do this for us. If the education of our children is to equip them for knowing, loving, and serving God, we’re going to have to take the matter into our own hands.

The works of God include everything that falls within the categories of creation, providence, and redemption. Thus, all arts and sciences, history and humanities, study of institutions and culture, all languages and technologies, and much, much more are aspects of the works of God. The entire school curriculum can thus be presented as but one or another expression of the steadfast love and faithfulness of God, a resource for loving God and neighbors as the divine economy requires. This was the approach that guided the efforts of the founders of the modern universities, as well as of early American educators throughout the colonies.

By His works—manifestations of His steadfast love and faithfulness—God enables human beings to know more of His goodness and to express His glory. It makes sense that, the more children are equipped for understanding and engaging the works of God, the more they will both enjoy and glorify Him in every aspect of their lives.

Because all things are created by Christ, upheld by Christ, and ruled by Christ, then all things may be used in furthering His Kingdom (Eph. 1.15-23). We must teach our children to prepare for life as a vocation from God, Who calls all of us to His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2.12); and we must equip them to enter any vocation as an arena for carrying out that calling.

In the unbelieving educational systems of the world, the works of God are taught, but they are not acknowledged. Thus, they are not rightly or fully understood, since they do not lead to improved knowledge of God and love for Him. In the Christian world this must not be the case. As we labor to realize an economy of justice and love, we will instruct our children to see all the works of God in creation and culture, and all legitimate vocations, as having a place in that economy, and as topics for study and disciplines for carrying out our callings as citizens and ambassadors in the Kingdom of God.

For the glory of God
God is making Himself and His glory known through the things He has made, and it is our duty as believers to search out by wisdom all that God would have us to know, and all the good He intends us to do, by entering with Him in the works of His hand (Ps. 111.1, 2).

Today the work of God is denied in all sectors of the public school curriculum. Even in Christian schools, how the Lord’s work of creation, providence, and redemption relates to such subjects as mathematics, science, history, literature, and languages is only vaguely understood and, for the most part, inconsistently taught. We need a more robust approach to understanding the steadfast love and faithfulness of God as these are expressed in all His works, and in teaching all the disciplines of the educational curriculum from the perspective of the eternal wisdom and good pleasure of God.

The place to begin studying and learning for the glory of God is in the church and home. Here Christians can shape an outlook on and approach to all of life—a worldview—which will enable students to take every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor. 10.3-5). We will be most effective in changing American public education policies if we concentrate now on what we can do without hindrance—teach our own children to know the Lord in all His Word and all His works.

For reflection
1. How would you describe the role your church presently has in the education of its children? On what do these efforts focus?

2. If we fail to teach our children the works of God, what worldview will likely guide their thinking and choices?

3. What can parents do to help make sure their children see the work of God in all facets of their education?

Next step—Preparation: What can you do to better prepare yourself to understand the works of God?

T. M. Moore

Jesus is the beginning and end of all true learning. Our book, Know, Love, Serve, shows why this is so and can help you in laying again a foundation of Biblical instruction in your life, family, and church. Learn more and order your copy by clicking here (for the book) or here (for a free PDF).

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ReVision comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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