What is meant by a Christian philosophy of education?
Whether we want to admit it or not, each of us has a philosophy of education. It does not take long to determine whether one's philosophy includes or excludes God from the educational process.
At Bethesda Christian Schools, it is our responsibility to inspire students to know and love God. Students are shown that the Word of God is the authoritative source upon which to build a life that has both purpose and meaning.
The philosophy of education at Bethesda calls for an educational process that puts the Bible at the center of all learning and asks the student and the teacher to evaluate all they see in the world through the lens of Scripture.
How does this philosophy affect the educational program at Bethesda Christian Schools?
Years ago Plato asked the question, "What is truth?" Although the question did not originate with him, it has been raised many times throughout the centuries. Certainly, it is still a relevant question today.
Most educators would answer the question by saying that truth, absolute truth, does not exist. However, Jesus clearly taught that truth does exist. He said in John 14:6 that He is the truth. In John 17:17 He also taught that the Word of God is truth.
While in school, students face a number of important questions: How did the universe begin? What is the origin of man? Why is there evil in the world? What is the purpose of life? As educators grapple with questions like these, there are only two resources of information from which they can draw their conclusions. One is God's Word. The other is man's reason.
Students at Bethesda Christian School learn that absolute truth does exist and that the wisdom of God's Word is superior to the wisdom of man. BCS is committed to teaching a Biblical worldview.
How does Bethesda Christian School implement this philosophy when selecting textbooks and other instructional resources?
It must be remembered that today's textbooks, while often appealing and well written, usually encompass a worldview at odds with that of evangelical Christianity. They neglect religion and, as such, communicate that religion and faith are not important in life. They promote ethical relativism. Often the choice of values is left with the student without reference to absolute norms. They usually assume an evolutionary explanation of human origins and development. They suggest that the traditional family, if mentioned at all, is just one among many possible acceptable options.
For these reasons, all textbooks and supplemental materials undergo a stringent evaluation process by the faculty and administration before being adopted for use in the classrooms. The evaluation process not only addresses the academic rigor of the materials but also spiritual and Biblical worldview issues.
Aren't students sheltered from the "real world" if they attend Bethesda Christian Schools?
This is an interesting question because it contains two false assumptions. The first false assumption is that children "sheltered" will be weaker, not stronger, Christians. The fallacy of this assumption is best illustrated when you consider the purpose of a greenhouse.
The purpose of a greenhouse is to nurture seedling, fruit-bearing plants during the cold winter months. Plants in the greenhouses grow rapidly and become much stronger than those which have to brave the elements outside in the winter storms. When the spring comes, these "hothouse" plants will be stronger and ready to face the outside world.
Dr. Mark Fakkema wrote, "We do not put young plants in hothouses to make them weak. We put them there because they are weak--too weak for outdoor exposure."
Noted Christian psychologist, Dr. Clyde Narramore, said, "A tree that is planted in poor soil doesn't have the advantages that one planted in good earth has. Contrary to some beliefs, we do not grow through resistance." Sheltering is not only good for our children, it is our responsibility as parents and educators.
The second false assumption is that students who are in the Christian school are not in the "real world." Dr. Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, noted, "The 'real world' is where God is. God was expelled from the public school system years ago. It is the children in the public school who are not exposed to the 'real world' because they are not taught about God, the One Who created this world and all that is in it."
How can I be assured that the spiritual training at Bethesda Christian School is compatible with what I believe?
Bethesda Christian students come from over 40 different churches, representing a number of denominations and religious traditions. What they share is a common belief in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. For example, the BCS Statement of Faith acknowledges the absolute authority of the Word of God and the personal need of salvation that only comes by trusting in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bethesda Christian School is not a church, it is an educational institution. But it is an educational institution that is established upon the principles of God's Word. In addition to being a partner with the home, BCS seeks to be a partner with the local church. As a school, believers can set aside denominational differences to experience God's blessing through their children.