A cautious, wise approach
An appropriate approach to the Christian life involves the application of wisdom to all areas. I’m seeking this in my own life, and want to encourage my readers to the same. This wisdom should be born out of a knowledge of God’s revealed word, a cautious and careful approach to it’s implications, and a willingness to do whatever is necessary, including hard, unpopular stuff, to be faithful to that word.
The approach I hope to take in analyzing all subjects discussed at Kingdom Advancing Ideas is that of a measured, careful, precise, informed Christian. I don’t want to be rash. I don’t want to overreact. I don’t want swing back and forth on a pendulum, as conservative Christians are sometimes known to do. I don’t want to be overly hyperbolic, although challenging rhetoric is sometimes needed. I want to develop your trust by communicating effectively the truth, goodness, and beauty of faithfulness to God and His word in every area of life.
Jesus came for cultural reform
I also want to be up front with my bias towards reforming things broken by the fall. This is a base presupposition of my worldview. God made the world. Sin entered. Stuff got broke. Jesus came and fixed stuff, and is in the process of fixing stuff even now. This bias means that as Christians grow, mature, multiply, and labor in all areas of life, that institutions and element of culture which have been affected by the fall slowly reform as Jesus begins to heal them. In other words, God heals the institution or culture as we are faithful to live by His rules, and conform the institution to the guidelines of His word. The Christmas Tree is a good example. Some Christians, who are given to the Reject approach, claim the Christmas Tree has pagan roots, and ought to be Rejected. Instead, I think the symbology of the Christmas Tree has been so thoroughly Christianized that it’s a prime example of how Reforming a culture should work.
So we are often faced with the decision to Reform an institution, or Reject it. I think a wise approach, as bore out in many historical examples, is to work within an institution in attempts to Reform it. Martin Luther tried this. He attempted to Reform the Roman church. He was banished, and a Rejection of the Roman church was thrust upon him. The Reformation, as we know it, was an attempted Reformation, but ultimately a Rejection, and a cutting off, from the Roman institutional church.
I took some time above demonstrating my commitment to both a cautious, measured, wise approach to all things, as well as my bias towards reform. Why did I say this? Because I wanted you to read, and truly believe, my desire is not to be rash in my condemnation of public schools, and that if I believed it was capable of Reforming, then I would argue to Reform it. I do hope to be radical, however. That is, I want to get at the roots of Public Education, and hope to demonstrate that the institution is corrupt and wicked at the roots. This is an important distinction, because I will no doubt be met the the objection: “But my public school is different”, or “But my child’s teacher is different”, or “they are Christian”. Your school may be decent, your teacher may really, truly love little Johnny with all his heart, and he may view his service to the children as a Christian ministry. All of this is negligible, anecdotal evidence in the face of a much broader question of whether the Christian parent/child ought to labor to Reform or Rejection public schools. Whether the Christian ought to Reform an institution or not ought to be decided on whether the institution is a Biblical one, which uses Biblical methodologies, with aims at glorifying God.
Is public schooling a biblical model? Using biblical methodologies? With an aim to glorify God? The answer, which I hope to expand upon in further posts, is clearly no.
I think the answer to Reject is universal, not subject to family desires, preferences, or the ‘goodness’ of your unique school. It is also a question that goes beyond the pragmatic approach that may seek to demonstrate that some ‘good’ can be done in the life of a child. I agree, that a Christian teacher could potentially have a meaningful impact on their students. But in what ways is that Christian teacher failing in the other, more objective areas of Christian service and ministry? How could they proactively use their gifts/abilities to build the Kingdom? These, and more, I hope to address in time.
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