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Christian Education Curriculum

 

The Challenge

The ancient teacher cries: 'Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.  For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.  For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.  He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.' (Proverbs 4.1-4)

These words imply:

(a) The writer is in possession of a universally valid knowledge, which has to do with moral absolutes and an unchangeable reality.

(b) The writer is able to communicate this knowledge to those under his instruction even as he learned it under similar nurture.

(c) Attention, retention and action with respect to this body of knowledge on the part of the instructed will involve the good life.

The irreducible core of the educational curriculum is consequently the nature of the good life, what is involved in living it and the most significant facts in connection with it.

Ultimate Truth

A truly Christian education proceeds on the basis of the accessibility of universally valid knowledge. It does not regard everything as being merely relative. It maintains that there are moral absolutes and an objective reality. It accepts the validity of the scientific method within its proper limits but it also affirms that the ultimate reference point is the Triune God who is absolute, eternal and unchangeable. All of the facts of the universe relate to him and it is consequently inevitable that any interpretation of these facts which is a contradiction of that which God is must be false and is to be rejected.

 

The Unfailing Guide

We do not expect to find the Bible to be a textbook of astronomy, geography or science. Professor E.J. Young (Thy Word is truth, p.103) explains: 'The Bible is not a textbook of geography; when, however, it speaks upon geographical matters, it speaks with absolute authority. The Bible is not a textbook of geology, when however it speaks upon matters of geology it is infallible in what it says. Human theories of astronomy, geology, and geography have changed and do change. The Bible, in what it says upon these subjects, is not in any sense in disharmony with the facts. That it may disagree with certain theories is, of course, granted; it does not disagree with the facts, since those facts also were given of God.' The Bible then is reliable and our ultimate standard of authoritative truth, but we must ensure that our interpretations of it are reliable too.

 

The Overall Educational Aim

The overall educational aim must be to enable the children to attain to man's chief end which is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. This aim is elaborated in the Statement of Foundational Concepts of Geneva College in the USA. 'The educational goal is to prepare children for the fulfillment of the calling of God. This vocation or calling is forst defined by the creation of man in God's image as lord of the world, heir of life and son of God. Through sin man became incapable of fulfilling this calling, but God has renewed His calling in saving power through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, applying the finished work of Christ, renews the people of God in the image of Christ to fulfil the calling of a redeemed humanity in work and worship.'

 

Implied Educational Aims

Such Christian education as is referred to in this educational goal:

'1.      Seeks to develop the learner's ability to know God and to relate himself and the created universe to God, through the study of his word and works.

2.      Emphasises Christ in order that the learner may be yielded to him as saviour from sin and that he may see in Christ the ultimate purpose and meaning of the whole universe;

3. Seeks the realization of the potential of the individual as the image of God through the development of God-given capacities. The fulfillment of those potentialities is reached insofar as the learner devotes those capacities to god's glory in his vocation and life;

4.      Endeavours to develop the student's capacity for the enjoyment of the world as God's creation, in all its cultural richness, realizing that all life as a coherent whole is related to God and his redemptive activity;

5. Seeks to train young people dedicated to God who will serve their neighbours, their country, and the world for Christ's sake.'

 

Detailed Educational Objectives

The above stated educational aims will now be utilised to provide a basic framework for tuition preserving Christian orientation with an emphasis upon knowledge and commitment from which stems fulfilment, enjoyment and service. This framework will be specified in detailed educational objectives to preserve the Christian character of the education and provide for the writing of annual schemes of work designed to cover the objectives at a level appropriate to the needs of the children in each class. The framework will be specified in an introduction on the subject of wisdom followed by 'seven pillars' concerning God, the universe, man, history, divine institutions for human society, work, now and beyond respectively. Each section will provide a rationale, objectives, topics and links with examination courses.

 

Introduction. Wisdom: God's Gift to those who Seek it

Rationale

'Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.  For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.' (Proverbs 8.34-36)

Objectives

To lead the children:

* to make progress in that true wisdom which begins with the fear of the Lord;

* to be committed to Christ as the one in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;

* to seek in true faith that conformity to Christ by which one is restored to true wisdom in order to a devoted service to God bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

* to see that all life is a coherent whole and that all things are to be related to God in Christ; and

* to appreciate and experience the practical effect of true wisdom, to fear God and to keep his commandments.

Topics

Sound wisdom The absence of true wisdom Two kinds of wisdom Nature of true wisdom Source of true wisdom Pursuit of wisdom Limits of true wisdom Benefits of true wisdom Sum of true wisdom Content of true wisdom Tools of wisdom Wisdom and philosophy.

Links with Examination Courses

Communication

English Language

Foreign Languages

Philosophy

Resources

Wisdom: God's Gift to those Who Seek It  A study course covering the objectives and topics of this section. The lessons are as follows: (1) Sound wisdom (2) The absence of true wisdom and the two kinds of wisdom (3)  Nature and source of true wisdom (4) The pursuit of wisdom and its limits (5) The benefits and sum of true wisdom (6) Content of true wisdom (7) The tools of wisdom (8) Wisdom and philosophy and your digest of true wisdom. Click on title above for links.  

1. The Supreme Being God Himself

Rationale

The knowledge of the only true God is life eternal. Without this knowledge all other knowledge is ultimately futile: 'for what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' (Matthew 16.26) It is thus necessary to set forth that God is, that he can be known and that which can be known about him and his purposes.

Objectives

To lead the children:

* to know the God of the Bible as the one living and true God and to reject atheism, agnosticism and all false conceptions of God;

* to consider the universe as a divine creation through which God makes himself known;

* to appreciate the Bible as the Word of God and to accept its authority with respect to all areas of life and to live by it as a sure guide;

* to come to that only appropriate response to the manifestation of the divine perfections by repenting of sin and committing themselves to God in Christ;

* to understand the divine purpose as all comprehensive and to see that they have a place in it; and

* to understand that God has created all things for his own glory and to desire to glorify him through a life of devotion to him.

Topics

The existence of God Knowing God The Bible The divine perfections The purpose of God.

Links with Examination Courses

Religious Studies

Resources

God Is A study course covering the objectives and topics of this section. The lessons are as follows: (1) God is: (1) There is a God (2) Some Types of Denial of the True God (3) What is it to be a Fool? (2) Invisible Things Clearly Seen: (1) Seeing the Invisible (2) The Nature of General Revelation (3) The Content of General Revelation (4) The Insufficiency of General Revelation (3) A More Sure Word: (1) The Nature of the Bible (2) The Importance of the Bible (3) The Usefulness of the Bible (4) Given by Inspiration: (1) Inspiration (2) Full Inspiration (3) The Accuracy of the Bible (5) A Light to my Path: (1) Guidelines for Using the Bible (2) Benefits of Using the Bible Properly (6) The Living and the True God: (1) Proper Names of God (2) The Perfections of God (3) Personal Names  

2. The Universe God's Workmanship

Rationale

Scripture not only recounts the origin of the universe with its spiritual and physical aspects but again and again refers to our various parts and those of the world about us and commends them to our contemplation. It does not encourage such investigation merely to add to the body of knowledge but in order to spiritual improvement and service to God. We investigate the world around us as God's stewards to his glory and to better serve him.

Objectives

To lead the children:

* to be aware of the different parts of the universe: spiritual, mineral, vegetable and animal;

* to appreciate the relationship of this universe to God as his creation;

* to value the creation as a general revelation of the Maker displaying his perfections;

* to be encouraged to observation of the world as a divine creation manifesting the divine glory;

* to develop the ability to classify information collected from observations in order to better understand and evaluate their own findings;

* to rejoice with wonder, admiration and praise at the provision of such an adequate and richly furnished home for man;

* to grieve over the corruption of sin in the world; and

* to recognize that as God is the Creator, in him alone is the only hope of restoration.

Topics

Creation The heavens The earth with its seasons, atmosphere, weather Water Continents etc Matter and energy Vegetation Animal life.

Links with Examination Courses

Astronomy

Biology

Chemistry

Geography

Physics

Zoology  

Resources

CREATION LAB The Creation Lab contains a series of research projects on the creation of the universe. For each project a research area is assigned, resources are specified and research questions are given. There is an an optional review of your research report so that you can have comments upon it. Details are provided for this at the end of each project. (1) Research Project 1 The Big Bang (2) Research Project 2 Uniqueness of the Genesis Account of Creation (3) Research Project 3 The Bara' Constant (4) Research Project 4 Six Day Creation (5) Research Project 5 The Seventh Day. Click on CREATION LAB above for links.  

3. Man God's Steward

Rationale

The excellent glory of the Lord caused the psalmist to marvel at the regard that such a great God paid to man (Psalm 8.5-6). The special position of man is emphasized in the record of the creation (Genesis 1.26). The question: What is man? Must be answered by consideration of his origin, nature, role and relationship to God both before and after the fall of Adam. Unless this is done any appreciation of man's cultural development and our place in relation to it will be superficial.

Objectives

To lead the children:

* to understand the significance of being God's workmanship created in his own image;

* to value man's spiritual and physical endowments;

* to appreciate the purpose of man's existence and to grieve over the woeful effects of the fall of Adam;

* to cleave to Christ in true repentance and faith as the only Saviour;

* to understand the development of the human race as a conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent;

* to see that all life is related to God, the creator and redeemer and to enjoy the world in the light of this; and

* to see the futility of a selfish life and to give all in the service of God.

Topics

Man in his original condition The Fall and its significance The human body and its care Human consciousness Music, art and literature Personal development.

Links with Examination Courses

Art

English Literature

Human Biology

Music

 

History God's Purpose Unfolding

Rationale

Much of the Bible is taken up with historical records and most of the remainder consists of interpretation of these historical events. Among the true people of God, history has always been regarded as very important because it is the out-working of the divine purpose. All human culture is to be judged in the light of God's redemptive word and works (Psalm 78.4,7).

Objectives

To lead the children:

* to understand the significance of being God's workmanship created in his own image;

* to value man's spiritual and physical endowments;

* to appreciate the purpose of man's existence and to grieve over the woeful effects of the fall of Adam;

* to cleave to Christ in true repentance and faith as the only Saviour;

* to understand the development of the human race as a conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent;

* to see that all life is related to God, the creator and redeemer and to enjoy the world in the light of this; and

* to see the futility of a selfish life and to give all in the service of God.

Topics

The world before Christ The times of the Messiah The world after Christ.

Links with Examination Courses

History

 

Divine Institutions God's Order

Rationale

God lays claim not only to the determination of man's relationship to himself but also to the government of the relations that exist between men. Ultimate sovereignty belongs to God and in his word he has promulgated his Law and his authority structures. Scripture gives clear instruction with respect to the functions of the family, the church and the civil magistrate and the standards of each generation must be examined in the light of God's Word.

Objectives

To lead the children:

* to acknowledge the sovereignty of God and the mediatorial kingship of Jesus Christ as the source of all legitimate authority in human society;

* to accept and value the Law of god as the ultimate rule of duty;

* to understand the divinely ordained functions of family, church and civil magistrate;

* to appreciate the ways in which the believer is to devote his capacities to God's service in connection with family, church and state;

* to see the importance of God's redemptive activity in connection with his own institutions;

* to serve God in their own family, congregation and country through the renewing influences of the Holy Spirit.

Topics

Ultimate sovereignty The Law The Family The Church The Civil Magistrate British Constitution Principles of law Erroneous views of family, church and state Prospects of kingdoms.

Links with Examination Courses

British Constitution

General Principles of English Law

Sociology  

Resources

British Constitution: Bible Background - Magna Charter - Henry VIII - Elizabeth I - Gunpowder Plot - The National Covenant - Cromwell v Charles I - Revolution Settlement - The Monarchy Today - Parliament Today - Church and State

6. Work God's Task for Us

Rationale

Scripture defines the place of work in the life of the human race. It has much to say about the necessity of work and the conditions under which it will take place in a fallen world. It does not leave untouched the subject of the organization of the factors of production and many other associated topics. As it is our duty to use our time to the glory of God, preparation for adult life requires not only an understanding about work but also preparation for it.

Objectives

To lead the children:

* to appreciate man's position as God's steward;

* to regret man's rebellion and consequent selfishness and covetousness in connection with labour and its fruits;

* to be submissive to Christ as Saviour through whom our daily labours can be acceptable to God;

* to analyse economic systems to determine the extent to which they are consistent with the Word of God and contribute to man's chief end;

* to understand the national and international aspects of the world today in which dedicated believers are to serve.

Topics

Work as a divine institution Indirect production using specialization of labour factors of production The market place The theory of money Wealth and its uses Rent, interest, wages and profit Master-servant relationship The civil magistrate in relation to work including economic activities and limits of public enterprise International economic practices.

Links with Examination Courses

Business Studies

Commerce

Economic Geography

Economics

Personal and Business Finance

 

7. Now and Beyond God's Challenge to Us

Rationale

The writings of the Apostle Paul evidence how awake he was to the world in which he lived. He was aware of its geography, social and political structures and its cultures and religions. He could see the challenges of the situation in which god had placed him and he spent his life seeking to meet those challenges. No Christian should be willingly ignorant of the world in which he or she lives now and each must live in it with an eye to the future.

Objectives

To lead the children:

* to acknowledge God as the Lord of history and of each one's present and future;

* to own Christ as the one who reigns till all his enemies be made his footstool;

* to face the challenges of the present in Christ and to God's glory;

* to enjoy the legitimate things of time as gifts of God;

* to be stirred by the urgencies of the times and the opportunities of the present to serve God with mind, heart, soul and strength in ministering to the needs of others.

Topics

Christ's lordship over the present and the future The terminus of history in the second coming of Christ Events preceding the end Present challenges such as evangelism, missions and Christian principles in society, law and order, social needs, education, the arts, science, economy and media Personal contributions possible within the areas of challenge A new heavens and a new earth.

Links with Examination Courses

Religious Studies

Sociology

 

Further Reading

The book Train up a Child available from truthzone.co.uk (5-00 including post and packing) covers in more detail a numbers of the matters referred to.