We continue our classical parents series this week, discussing how parents who choose a classical Christian education for their children are dedicated. The first week we established that classical parents have to be dedicated to going against the status quo in education because cCe is so different from the education most of us are most familiar with. Last week parent participation was the topic. Classical parents are dedicated to participating in their children’s education, and they are invited and encouraged to do just that in cCe schools. This week we will close out the series for now by discussing the most important of three ways classical parents are dedicated: they are dedicated to the role of the Scriptures in the education of their children.
For God’s people, God’s word reigns supreme. To claim Christ as Savior and Lord and at the same time neglect the Scriptures is incongruous at best. It is a little like claiming to be a New York Yankees fan without actually knowing what sport they play. It is almost like volunteering to be a guide at a famous art museum that you’ve never been in. It might even be more like entering a maze blindfolded. The Scriptures, God’s Holy Word, are fundamental for the salvation and sanctification of Christians; without the Scriptures, we cannot reach the level of Christian maturity God calls us to. Parents who choose cCe understand this supreme importance of the Scriptures in the education of their children.
There are several ways of approaching the Scriptures in education. Secular models, if they acknowledge the Scriptures at all, will sometimes teach God’s word among other spiritual writings, downplaying divine inspiration. For the child growing up in a Christian home, this can be confusing because all of a sudden it seems that the teachings of Mohammed, Confucius, the Dali Lama, and Karl Marx are being elevated to the level of Scripture.
In contrast, God’s word is authoritative in Christian schools. The Scriptures often show up as addendums to lessons—a Bible verse on the bottom of a math worksheet, for example. The Scriptures are also pulled out when there is need for discipline, sometimes becoming the instrument of discipline. Depending on the strength of the home, students in Christian schools may sometimes come away with an understanding that Scripture is ancillary, or they may think legalistically about the Word.
The classical Christian model, on the other hand, strives to approach the Scriptures as the center, the hub by which all things are held together. Classical Christian schools saturate their students in Scripture and then put everything else they teach in conversation with Scripture. So the teachings of Mohammed and Karl Marx may not be neglected, but the inspired word of God will be the light by which those teachings are studied, the standard by which they are weighed and measured. All characters on the world’s stage—past, present, and future—owe their life and breath and being to the Sovereign, Triune God. Not the good actors only, but the good, the bad, and the ugly; for God has made “even the wicked for the day of doom” (Prov 16:4). So it hardly makes sense to attempt to understand anything that ever happened anywhere apart from God’s Holy Scriptures. Classical parents get this and are dedicated to the hard but rewarding conversations that happen at their dinner tables because of it.
Classical Christian Schools also take the position that Scripture is formative. In sharp contrast to the idea that Scripture is optional for Christian children or that it is ancillary or that it is a rule book with which to coerce desired behavior, classical Christian schools teach that Scripture is one of God’s main tools for sanctifying and maturing His people. Large quantities of Scripture are memorized in these schools. Each day new passages are studied, old passages revisited, and all of God’s word is brought to bear not only on the subjects being taught, but also on the way students and teachers are thinking about and acting toward their peers, the world, academics, everything. This bringing to bear is not merely a thought exercise, but an insistence that we evaluate ourselves according to Scripture and engage in the work of changing—with the help of the Spirit and the community—when we find ourselves out of alignment.
Changing in accordance with God’s word is not a work for the faint of heart, but if God’s people are to really live as God’s people, it is a necessary work. Classical parents understand the work and are dedicated to it, knowing that change is difficult even painful, knowing that as their children change their whole family will be changed for the glory of God and the good of the Kingdom. And nothing changes us like God’s word because it is “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). Classical parents look beyond the growth pains of change and embrace the role of the Scriptures in the education of their children.