In a challenging and ever-shifting educational landscape, Christian parents and learners may find it difficult to navigate the many choices currently available. The elusive question, “What will be the best for my child?” consistently troubles families. To effectively answer the first question, a second question must be asked: “What is true education?”
Authentic Christian education
Authentic Christian education is best defined as the process by which a learner experiences the development of the following qualities: Spiritual and moral maturity, knowledge of truths and facts, ability to think rationally, practical capabilities and skills, productivity in accomplishment of goals, commitment to traditional values, as well as adjustment to the challenges of life.
More than an academic pursuit
Education is more than an academic pursuit, it is integrating faith and values into the learning journey, setting the stage for a stronger moral fabric within society. Unlike conventional education, authentic Christian education takes biblical teachings and applies them across all subjects, fostering a holistic understanding of life’s purpose and values. The aim is to nurture learners intellectually, physically, and spiritually. This education leads the learner to the point where they discover God’s purpose for their lives, accept Christ as Saviour and pursue the destiny He has for them according to Psalms 139:14-16.
Guiding your children spiritually
Authentic education recognises that the Word of God, is living and life-giving, guiding individuals through life’s challenges and dilemmas. The Bible is the manual for understanding not only the world around us, but also the nature of humanity and God’s amazing plan of salvation. As the Psalmist declares in Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” The greatest gift a parent can give their child is a knowledge of God’s word and the wisdom to apply biblical principles in everyday life. This cannot be done in an hour on Sunday or a few minutes before bedtime, it must be intentionally and consistently communicated.
Nurturing moral fibre
One of the most significant impacts of authentic Christian education is its role in shaping individuals and the moral fibre of society. Christian education stands as a bulwark against this decline, instilling values such as honesty, compassion, humility, and respect for others. By grounding learners in these values and character traits, authentic education builds a foundation for ethical leadership and responsible citizenship.
The manual for life: The Bible
Just as a manual provides instructions for operating a complex device, the Bible serves as a manual for life. Authentic Christian education recognises that children do come with a manual – the Bible – and this manual should be integrated into every facet of life. By immersing learners in the Word of God, the education process equips the learner with the wisdom to make decisions as they navigate life.
Academic excellence and faith integration
Contrary to misconceptions, authentic Christian education is not synonymous with academic mediocrity. In fact, it upholds academic rigour while simultaneously integrating faith. Learners usually excel academically, demonstrating that faith and learning are not mutually exclusive. By connecting subjects to biblical teachings, learners gain a deeper understanding of the world and their place in it. This integration fosters critical thinking, creativity, and a comprehensive approach to problem-solving.
The role of the church: Taking a stand in education
Education began in the church. The pastor served as the teacher and the Bible was the textbook. It is the church and not the state that has the responsibility to educate the next generation. According to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, this responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the parents and the church serves as facilitator together with the parent. The church serves to guide and provide spiritual support for parents and learners.
Now is the time to rise
Authentic Christian education provides a valid and transformative form of education, impacting lives and communities. There are numerous examples of schools operating successfully at full capacity with Christian curriculums offering recognised qualifications, such as the Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.) curriculum.
A call to action
In the complexities of the modern age, Christian education remains a beacon of hope, reminding us that true education encompasses not only the mind but also the heart and soul. It is a call to action for the church to step up and take a stand in education, ensuring that future generations are equipped with a solid foundation of faith, values, and academic excellence. With more than 80% of South Africans claiming to be Christians, there is no reason for the next generation to be exposed to education that is void of the truth of God’s word, the time to act is now.
Graham Yoko, CEO of Accelerated Education Enterprises (AEE), He has a long-standing presence in the world of Christian education with years of experience in delivering a variety of Bible and values-based education solutions to schools across Africa.