Written by Mr. Triemstra, on April 30, 2021
Why Christian Education – Part 2
Ottawa Christian School exists because children of believers need to be enmeshed in community that practices the Christian faith. The Christian school builds on the faith-forming practices that are taught at church and in Christian homes. Children need to know that prayer, singing, devotional reflection on scriptures are normal in every good way. We live in a fallen world; a world where we are inclined to spiritual deformation. We refer to prayer, worship and attending to scripture as disciplines because that is what they are. Until Christ comes again to make all things new, including our and our children’s hearts, it will be hard work; it will take discipline to resist our sinful tendencies to be completely preoccupied with ourselves and fulfilling our personal wants and needs. Healthy Christian practices teach that we are completely dependent on a God who has shown us (in Christ most perfectly) that he loves us. Children need Christian schools that keep the vertical dimension of our lives up front.
But of course those practices do not exist in isolation; they are nested in the drama of scripture – the true story of the whole world. We cry out to God because we know from history that he redeems. We give him praise because of his great works of redemption and because we know that he will make all things new. Our children need to know the acts in the drama of scripture and find their place in that drama. They need to know that this remains God’s very good world that he spoke into existence. They need to know that, while it remains very good, it is sin-stained and that they, like all of us, are complicit in that brokenness. They need to know that in his initial stage of his work of redemption he chose Abraham and his descendants to be the vehicle for his redemptive work. They need to know that Christ is the promised shoot from Jesse; that he affirms the very-goodness of creation; that he became one of us, but remained fully God; that he is our all sufficient redeemer who makes us right with God; that he loves us with a love beyond our imagining. They need to know that when, at his ascension, he called all of his disciples together and told to go and make disciples of all nations, he was telling this to us and to our children. We now get to be, by his Spirit, his ambassadors declaring and living out the good news of the Kingdom of God. This is very exciting, especially since we know that Christ will come back, will make all things new and will welcome all who have been faithful into his eternal Sabbath.
Our children need to be deeply embedded in this story, because there are other very alluring stories out there that can wreck their lives, compromise their faith and distort their mission. I believe that the two chief gods in the Western pantheon are material progress and individual human autonomy. These gods tell stories of personal peace and prosperity, but, like addiction, make us dependent and forever dissatisfied. The Old Testament prophets show that idolatry also leads to injustice. When they hear the stories of the false gods, our children need to be able to identify those stories as alien for those who follow Jesus. They need to be able to identify and resist the siren calls of these gods for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of Jesus.