In Antioch, disciples of Jesus were first called Christians. This is a fitting term, because believers are called to reflect the image of God to the world. The greater our understanding of the image of God is, the more we can shine like a light in the world. In our Christian worldview book club this week we are studying Eastern Pantheistic Monism. This worldview gained incredible ground in America in the 1960’s. Those who turn to Eastern religions often exhibit a disdain for technology and industry while promoting the nebulous goal of getting back to nature. I grew up on such ideals. As a young Christian I read a book by Rabbi Daniel Lapin that challenged the values I had adopted from my culture. He claimed that a skyscraper declares the glory of God more than a forest. That is a pretty bold statement considering the beauty of nature, the order that we observe at every level and the testimony of scripture that all creation declares the glory of God. His argument is that a skyscraper is designed and built by human beings who reorder nature in a manner that demonstrates the glory of God in man. When you stop and think of all the training, planning and skills required to build a skyscraper it becomes evident that it is a monumental task. At every level, the whole project of building a skyscraper relies on a great tradition of education in order to be successful.
Christian discipleship, which seeks to bring forth the image of God in man, is intimately connected to education. The first priority of education must be to teach our children Christian values and ethics, because the same skills that produce skyscrapers can be used either by those who oppress others for selfish ends or by those who seek to be a blessing to others. The whole reaction against technology and industry that developed simultaneously with propagation of Eastern thinking may very well have been a reaction to the impersonalization of people in the pursuit of industry and technology. This suggests that people created in the image of God have a natural distaste toward anything that lowers the level of human dignity, thus revealing the law of God written on the hearts of men. Only those governed by godly values can use education in a manner that reflects the government of God. A simple way to get at the heart of this is by asking, what is the motivating force behind progress? If progress is driven by ungodly values such as greed, it will result in tyranny and oppression. If it is motivated by love and service, it will lead to freedom. Because this is true, it is of utmost importance that our children wrestle with the ideas and values behind the events of history in a manner that grounds them in the Bible. This is what a classical Christian education does. Finally, education must promote a love for excellence and achievement so that our children reach their full potential of expressing the image of God in man.
We take the goal and task of classical Christian education seriously at Fortis Academy. Our children our precious to us, and it a great privilege and responsibility to educate young men and women who are created in the image of God. Another way to describe it is a liberal arts education, because this is the training in the skills that make a human truly free. It is not only humanities (trivium), but all areas of learning (including the quadrivium) that work together to develop a well-rounded, fully educated child. Our prayer is to help each one of our children express the image of God in man.