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Why Christian Education?

Northumberland Christian School was founded in 1972 because of a conviction that a Christian education is an important part of the training of children. Many beliefs undergird this conviction, but five principles are central to the educational philosophy of our school.

1. God’s revelation is foundational for every area of life.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Prov. 9:10) God commands His people to raise their children in a context where love for God and communication about God are pervasive. (Deut. 6:4-8) God has revealed Himself to man, and His revelation is central to all of life.

God has SPOKEN! Education is not man trying to figure out life - it is the creature sitting at the feet of its Creator. Romans 11:36 - From Him and through Him and to Him are all things! To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Christian education seeks to give God His proper place at the center of all things. To teach science with no view to the Creator, is to miss the main point of science - creation is to bring our hearts to rejoice in the glory of God.

In Romans 1:18ff, Paul says that creation reveals the power and glory of God to all men, and to reject that revelation, to refuse to give Him glory and thanks is a great offense to God. Paul says that ignoring God is a great sin, and godlessness leads to wickedness. The culture around us demonstrates this truth - as God has been ignored, wickedness has abounded. Education which omits God and His revelation or treats His revelation as optional and insignificant at best, lays the foundation for increasing wickedness, because there is no fear of God before their eyes. (Rom. 3:18) The real world is spiritual as well as material, and to ignore the centrality of God in education is to “shelter children from the real world.”

Living in the “real world” also means our students must be taught what the world around them is thinking. They need to be taught about evolution and post-modern ideas. Unlike public schools which more and more are locked into teaching politically correct ideas and are afraid to suggest any alternative understanding, we want our children to understand the alternatives to a Christian world-view. They will stand strong for Christ not by ignoring the thinking of the world but by being able to analyze it clearly in the light of Biblical principles.

God’s revelation is not only foundational for understanding science but history as well. Jesus Christ towers at the center of history (as reflected by our calendars!), and any approach to history which does not ask what Jesus Christ reveals to us about God and truth and life will miss the main point of history. True education must continually show Christ to be central to everything. He is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.

Because God has spoken, there IS absolute truth. There is right and wrong. It is God who defines what love is, and it is only God’s revelation that will help us understand people who are made in the image of God and for His glory. A God-centered education is important if our children are going to have a God-centered view of life.

2. Discipleship is an essential part of the Christian life.

Jesus’ final words in the gospel of Matthew (28:18-20) are “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Our goal in teaching our children (and in all our relationships) is to bring them to become disciples of Jesus Christ and to grow as disciples of Christ. We teach this by our words and by our example. Indeed, Jesus says in Luke 6:40 that “everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Christian education is important because we want the teachers of our children to be disciples of Jesus Christ, whose influence in the lives of our children will be focused on making them disciples of Jesus Christ as well.

Our children need to know Jesus as their Prophet, Priest, and King. They must recognize their need for Jesus to teach them the truth in every area of life. They must also recognize their need of Jesus as their Savior day by day. They fall far short of God’s law; they do not love God with all their heart and soul and mind and strength, and they do not love their neighbor as themselves. Their only hope is a Savior who lived the righteous life they fail to live and then died on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty for sins. They must also recognize that Jesus is Lord. No one can have Jesus as their Savior if they do not also bow to Him as the Lord of their life.

Children need to be surrounded by these realities every day. Their sin needs to be addressed as sin, and they must be pointed continually to their need for Jesus day by day - their need for Jesus to teach them, to cleanse them and pray for them, and to rule over them and defend them. Our goal is to bring our students to a living relationship with Jesus Christ that impacts every area of their lives every day. In light of this goal, we must immerse our children in the scriptures by daily teaching and memorization that will help them understand and apply God’s Word and lay it up in their hearts.

Much of evangelicalism today promotes a very shallow and erroneous view of Christianity that focuses on getting our children “saved” by something they do, and once they have Jesus as their “personal Savior”, the other areas of their lives are of secondary importance. It is easy to see why this viewpoint would place little value on Christian education. On the other hand, because we believe that God commands us to make disciples of our children and to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord, we value the hours they spend in school as precious time to shape their thinking and wills and hearts to a God-centered view of every area of life. Children have much to learn to give them a solid foundation for life, and elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school are all important times of learning in the lives of our young people. They need a pervasive influence of godly teachers and instruction, not just a few references to spiritual things during the limited time after school and on weekends. All these years are formative years for our children, and as parents we want to do all we can to mold them into passionate servants of God who will make an impact in the world they live.

3. Worship is central to all of life.

Crucial to having the word of Christ dwell in us richly is not only that we teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, but that we sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts to God. (Col. 3:16) Worship is important because God commands it, emphasizes it, deserves it, prescribes it, seeks it, blesses it, and perpetuates it. An education which ignores worship will undermine the student’s view of the worth and glory of God.

Worship is neither optional nor peripheral. The first four of the Ten Commandments deal with worship, because WE WERE MADE TO WORSHIP GOD. Worship is central to who we are. Our relationships with others are intended to flow from our relationship with God. We were made in His image, and His Son came to redeem us in order to bring us back to God. The goal of life is to join in the fellowship of love and joy in the Trinity. (John 17) Worship is looking outside of ourselves to the One who alone is Worthy. We were made not only to glorify God but to enjoy Him forever. Students must see worship as central and should be surrounded by staff members who model a genuine joy and delight in God.

4. God made us to be people who think deeply and broadly about life.

God is a God who communicates with WORDS and IDEAS, with POETRY, with SYMBOLS - a revelation that requires us to THINK and FEEL. Students must be challenged to think deeply about the things they read and learn. They must learn to ask questions about root causes and ideas and ultimate consequences. They must also be challenged to articulate feelings as well as thoughts. God reveals His glory by beauty, not just function. He calls us to respond with all our being, not just our minds.

Students must learn to appreciate the abilities and wisdom God has given to many who are not Christians, and yet they must be able to recognize how they fall short of the glory of God. They must also learn to see how God’s Word applies to every area of life and thought.

5. Whole-hearted service to God should motivate excellence in the pursuit of developing our skills and abilities.

Students must learn the importance of pursuing excellence, because they are called to live for God. They are called to be like God in the way they work - concerned with precision and efficiency and beauty. They must also imitate God by working in a way that will benefit others, giving of themselves for the good of others. They need to be challenged to look beyond the pragmatism and materialism of the world around them and to aspire to something more than making money so they can have the things they want. They must be encouraged to actively develop their God-given abilities with a view to how they can best serve Him and bring Him glory in the world He has made.

Christian education is exciting! God has called us to seek to pass on to the next generation the things which God has taught us about Himself and His deeds. That’s what N.C.S. is all about. We serve a great God, and we want to help young people learn to see all of life from His perspective. We long for them not only to learn but also to delight in who God is and in all the wonders He has done and continues to do. We believe that this delight in learning about God and His world is central to equipping them to be passionate disciples of Jesus Christ who seek to serve Him in every area of life.


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