What Does a Christian View of Education Look Like?
A “Christian view” of education should be one that reflects a Christian view of the world. To develop such a view requires understanding, in its fullness, God’s purposes and revelation about the world and humanity. A Christian view does not involve picking a few Bible verses and using them to justify a specific policy. Instead a Christian view should reflect the full story of Scripture, drawing out the themes and principles in contextually valid ways.
It requires looking further at how those principles and themes might be applied today, not just to specific ‘problems’ or even to specific policies, but also to the way we think and act as we consider these issues. Christianity is not just a set of instructions or laws or morals, it’s a story about people living life under God’s rule and as such, its scope is as broad as life itself.
One of the implications of this is that there will be no one Christian view of education. Instead it is likely that Christians will come to different views on education policy, even if they are using the same Biblical principles.
In other words, Christians disagree about education. What is important is that pursuing justice for every person and institution is not negated by that disagreement.
Instead of just focusing on particular policy outcomes, we should work in dialogue with Christians and non-Christians alike, to understand the differing basic beliefs and principles we all have that shape our more specific applications and solutions.
Indeed, one of CPJ’s guiding principles is that the various people and institutions involved with education need to act justly precisely because they disagree, and that while efforts at consensus are important, the desire for consensus should never force or impose an artificial consensus where none exists. To do so disrespects those who hold diverse views.
This is in part why CPJ affirms the role of parents in directing the education of their children. Parents (whether Christian or not) legitimately disagree on the best educational approaches for their children. We should not try to manufacture an arbitrary consensus and create a “one-size-fits-all” system. Our education system should function in a way that encourages diversity while still ensuring opportunity.
Finally, it is important to note that while disagreement on specific policies might exist among Christians, there will also be times when Christians are in agreement with non-Christians on specific policy outcomes. While the foundations from which the principles derive will be different and care is needed to understand where other differences may then arise, we must also recognize these agreements can still occur. For example, the Christian belief that all people are created in the image of God can agree with non-Christians who hold a high view of human dignity and believe all people are created equal. Both might then agree on a way to secure justice of opportunity for all children in education for example.