What is more important, a Christian education or a high-quality academic education? The reason I ask that questions is because I often encounter people who introduce a binary distinction between the two. Personally, I believe we need to expand our view of Christian education because a good education strengthens the image of God in Man. The goal of education is to enculturate mature human beings into God’s world in order for them to be blessed and to be a blessing. It goes without saying that a biblical worldview and Christian faith is essential to education, but it must be integrated into our children in a manner that produces authentic disciples. When our children learn to reason, communicate and to be active learners, they are integrating their education in a manner that reinforces the image of God in man. Such learning also helps them grow in confidence, self-esteem and in the ability to be creative (being able to take ideas and work to make them real). It not only makes them able to stand strong in a world of ideas, values and systems that are often antagonistic to Christian faith and values, but also gives them the power to change the world.
A common approach to Christian education is to focus on indoctrination in a manner that is closer to modern progressive education than classical education. The method is essentially to input Christian teaching as information and expect them to be able to output it for a test. This does not make faith real, nor does it develop the image of God in our children. It is a method founded in a materialistic anthropology whose focus is to program students to fulfill a function in society.
I recently have been working through the fruits of such an education with my daughter who came to Fortis from the public schools. As we were working through some of her homework, I realized that she wanted me to show her what she needed to do so she could pump out the answer. Her immediate response was not to seek understanding, but to seek a process (show me what to do so I can do it). This brought home to me the radical difference between classical and progressive education. The classical approach sees everything as simple at its fundamental level, and able to be learned if we approach it systematically. We often speak of learning the grammar (fundamental language of a discipline), logic (how to understand it and rightly think about it), and rhetoric (ability to communicate eloquently through mastery of the discipline). It is after this last stage that our children will have an incredible power to be creative that must be grounded in Christian character and morality. Our commitment at Fortis Academy is to provide the very best academic education that develops the whole image of God in our children intellectually, morally and spiritually.