One Family’s Journey in Christian Education Michael Goheen Burnaby, B.C., Canada
Preliminary Comments • Asked to tell our story • One family’s story • Not perfect example • Each family’s story is unique • Home-educating family
Four early stepping stones • Deep sense of obligation: covenant and baptism
Preface to Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms "To the Christian Reader, especially Heads of Families "As we cannot but with grief of soul lament those multitudes of errors, blasphemies, and all kinds of profaneness, which have in this last age, like a mighty deluge, overflown this nation; so, among several other sins which have helped to open the floodgate of all these impieties, we cannot but esteem the disuse of family instruction as one of the greatest...
"If, therefore, there be any spark in you of love to God, be not content that any of yours should be ignorant of him whom you so much admire, or any haters of him whom you so much love. If there be any compassion to the souls of them who are under you care, if any regard of your being found faithful in the day of Christ, if any respect to future generations, labour to sow these seeds of knowledge, which may grow up in after-times. That you may be faithful herein, is the earnest prayer of ...signed [authors]”
Four early stepping stones • Deep sense of obligation: covenant and baptism • Understanding the gospel as a gospel of the kingdom
‘For me, for me, for me …’ Gospel of individual salvation ‘… Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1.14-15)
Four early stepping stones • Deep sense of obligation: covenant and baptism • Understanding the gospel as a gospel of the kingdom • Deepening understanding of gospel in a biblical worldview
Deepening through worldview • Creation as God intended it to be • Very good • Ordered • Cultural task part of being human • Struggle for creation between kingdom of God and kingdom of darkness • Sin and salvation affect more than individuals • Struggle for all cultural activity
Four early stepping stones • Deep sense of obligation: covenant and baptism • Understanding the gospel as a gospel of the kingdom • Deepening in a biblical worldview • Implications for education
Education . . . for what? • Christian education! • Not (in the first place for): • Academic excellence • Character building • Moral training • Protection from evil world • No Icing on the Cake
No Icing on the Cake Relating the gospel to education is not simply a matter of putting religious icing on an otherwise secular educational cake. Those who confess the Name of Christ are called to develop learning and teaching which is based on the Word of God. Recognising Christ’s creation-wide redemption, Christians will produce fresh and new approaches in education: a brand new cake!
Aiming for Christian Education • Alternative kind of education to public school system • Rejects cultural idolatry that shapes these schools • Based on distinctive and comprehensive philosophy of education • Christian approach transforms the whole enterprise: goals, curriculum, pedagogy, evaluation, structure, etc.
Settling for Christians Educating • Christianity-enhanced public school education • Adds moral integrity, devotional piety, and biblical insight to select topics • Maintains status quo about education
Educational implications • Lectures and discussions: How do we bring the gospel to bear on why we educate, what we teach, how we teach? • Parental responsibility (Deut. 6.4-9; Eph. 6.4) • Priority and sacrifice (cf. Prov.31.28) • ‘Serviceable insight’ • Education for witness
Education for witness • Identity: People sent on a mission (John 20.21) • Given foretaste of salvation • Actual taste of salvation of future kingdom now • Promise of salvation in future • Charged to be previews of kingdom • Actual footage • Interest viewer of coming attraction • All of life
Our Place in the Story: Witness The Spirit thrusts God’s people into worldwide mission. He impels young and old, men and women, to go next door and far away into science and art, media and marketplace with the good news of God’s grace. . . . Following the apostles, the church is sent— sent with the gospel of the kingdom . . . In a world estranged from God, where millions face confusing choices, this mission is central to our being . . . The rule of Jesus Christ covers the whole world. To follow this Lord is to serve him everywhere, without fitting in, as light in the darkness, as salt in a spoiling world.
Witness to Lordship of Christ • ‘There is no thumb-width of the entire domain of our human life of which the Christ, the Sovereign over everything does not proclaim: ‘It is mine!’ (Kuyper) • ‘There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.’ (CS Lewis)
Creating a home environment for Christian education • Family worship
Family worship: Sending roots down into soil of gospel • Commitment to a time • Singing Luther composed ‘German psalms for the people; that is, spiritual songs, whereby the Word of God may be kept alive among them by singing.’
Family worship: Sending roots down into soil of gospel • Commitment to a time • Singing • Scripture • Prayer • Catechisms and Contemporary Testimony
Creating a home environment for Christian education • Family worship • Discerning use of technology
Technological Impoverishment • Boredom • Short attention span • Separation from creation/people • Shaping worldview • What can ______ give and what does ____take away?
Creating a home environment for Christian education • Family worship • Discerning use of technology • Critical evaluation of culture
Critiquing cultural context • Develop skepticism toward advertising • Discuss movies • Discuss music • Discuss current issues
Stepping up intentionality • Exodus of youth from Christian faith in the West • Need for serious intentionality in nurturing children • Our families, our future!