Philosophy of Christian Education
Brethren Christian upholds a philosophy that presupposes the existence of God, the source of all truth and the starting point of all knowledge. The goal of a Brethren Christian education is to honor and glorify God and to produce reflective, responsible students who have the character and mind of Christ. These goals are transmitted through the words and lives of the knowledgeable and dedicated teacher, who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and integrates Biblical truth into each subject area. Finally, Brethren Christian understands that the Bible merits our full attention because it is God's Word, inspired, inerrant, infallible, and preserved for us as believers, learners, and educators, holding the final answers to the most compelling questions.
The universal aim of education is the acquisition of truth. Because God is the source of all truth (Psa. 31:5), education that is truly Christian must have God at its core. Because there is a creator God, the universe coheres. The end goal of a Brethren Christian education is to glorify God (I Cor. 10:31). Education that denies God as the unifying factor of all subject matter exalts man and is ultimately at odds with Scripture.
The Bible makes clear that education is to begin in the home with parents primarily responsible for the task of imparting truth, wisdom and knowledge to their children. At Brethren Christian, the acquisition of wisdom and knowledge and the development of faith take place in the context of a school-community dedicated to Biblical values shared and experienced by students and teachers alike. A Brethren Christian education reinforces the instruction and training of the home and church, creating a partnership dedicated to providing an education based on Biblical principles.
One of the tenets of Christ-centered education is its view of man's basic nature. Because God created man in His own image, man reflects God in his moral, intellectual and emotional capabilities (Gen.1:26, 27); however, the image of God in man was marred when man fell because of his disobedience to his Creator and thus came under the dominion of sin. According to Scripture, all human beings inherit a sinful nature (Rom. 3:23) and are in need of redemption (Rom. 5:12). God restored man's condition through the work of Jesus Christ, who came into the world to redeem men by His substitutionary death on the cross. This Biblical view of man is in stark contrast to the philosophy that dominates secular schools that seek to make man the center of all knowledge and which depend so heavily on naturalistic suppositions, human reasoning, and the fundamental belief in the ascent of man.
God's will for every Christian is to be Christ-like, conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). Brethren Christian provides an environment that fosters the attainment of God's objectives for the individual student. Spiritually, the school develops students as followers of Jesus Christ with a fervent love for God and a desire to serve, acknowledging that an individual's justification and sanctification is not by our efforts, but by the power of the Spirit of God (II Cor. 3:18). Academically, the school seeks to produce competent and mature individuals who can function as reflective, responsible citizens in society. The mature student reasons logically and critically, understands the purpose and meaning of study, and builds a habit of life-long learning as he or she pursues excellence as a worker for God. Brethren Christian prepares young men and women to reflect the mind of Christ as they walk daily with Him. (I Cor. 2:16).
At Brethren Christian, the educational program emphasizes the following concepts in order to achieve the school's mission: a mobilized prayer base and a continuing practice of prayer within the school that continually upholds the ministry and its people in prayer; a social and learning atmosphere that echoes the clear call of Scripture to "love one another;" a proper view of Jesus Christ, as God incarnate, that is communicated consistently and clearly; a position upholding the Bible as God's inspired, eternal and absolute Word; a relational ministry that is seen as important and indispensable; a commitment to the pursuit of excellence as workers for God; and finally, a profound faith which translates into action, recognizing the truth that faith without works is dead (James 2:17).
The Bible is the starting point of all inquiry and the guide to all interpretation of reality. No concept can be true that conflicts with Scripture; therefore, the Word of God and Biblical principles underlie the Brethren Christian curriculum (John 17:17). Educators and students must prioritize the application of Scripture in their lives. This is not an optional activity in our school. Every facet of the educational program must be filtered through God's Word. The Bible is to be studied and lived. Biblical training, where students search the Scriptures in depth and detail, enables the student to know God and obey His commands.
Therefore, the single most important element in the Christian school is the educated, spiritually mature, responsible, Christ-like model, the teacher. As one of the founders of the Christian school movement, Dr. Frank Gaebelein, explained, "there is no Christian school without Christian teachers." It is the obligation of the Christian school first, to procure teachers who are both spiritually and professionally prepared to work with the most precious materials in the world -- the hearts and minds of young people, and second, to place them in an area of responsibility and ministry where their expertise, gifts and passion can be maximized.” The teacher must communicate the truth; therefore, each Brethren Christian teacher must personally know the truth and live it so that each can honestly and persuasively present the truth to students. The teacher whose life is dedicated to the truth will have an impact on students' lives far beyond the scope of whatever subject he teaches. Today, more than ever, youth are inundated by popular culture and a post-modern relativism that must be countered by the Christian teacher with an intellectual and spiritual focus in God's Word.
Brethren Christian's curriculum consists of Biblical studies, mathematics, literature, language, writing, science, foreign language, social-studies, fine and performing arts, vocational arts/technology, physical education, athletics and selected electives. The goal of this curriculum is to develop the intellect, refine the moral character of the student, promote a pure and healthy lifestyle and provide a broad range of activities, including leadership, mission and service opportunities, all of which meet the diverse needs, gifts and abilities of the Brethren Christian student.
It is imperative to imitate God in the method of instruction used as well as in the content taught; therefore, the educational techniques and procedures of Brethren Christian must follow Biblical principles. Our teachers must give serious thought not only to content, but also to form. How we teach is often just as important as what we teach. We miss the mark if the instructional methods obscure the message. Of utmost importance to any methodological structure is discipline. In order to systematically, sequentially and orderly teach young people, discipline is a must in the classroom. Respect for fellow students, the teacher, the administration, and all proper authority must be stressed. Once a learning environment has been established, specific methods such as lecture, illustration, group, induction/deduction, drama, discussion, investigation, debate, analysis/synthesis and recitation are all valid. The selection of methods should be determined by the teacher based upon a variety of factors including, but not limited to, facilities; available materials; resources and technology; educational goals and objectives; student needs; abilities and learning styles; and teacher skills, abilities and experience.
In accordance with these guiding principles, Brethren Christian, in partnership with Christian parents and families, purposes to provide to students a high-quality Christ-centered education in an environment designed to nurture an ever growing love for and understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ, and thus lay the foundation for a productive and rich life serving God and mankind.