Bethel Christian School’s Educational Philosophy
What does it mean to “share the mission/vision of the school?”
BCS’ teachers and staff will:
1. Assist parents in educating their children.
Scripture clearly declares that a child’s training and education is the responsibility of his/her parents:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Parents engage our help in this area, but maintain their responsibility for our authority over their child. In partnership with parents, our authority over is both legitimate and to be responsibly exercised. We are, in fact, temporarily standing in the place of the parents, and so serving the parents in this capacity.
Consequently, BCS will:
- Always uphold and honor parental authority before students. A teacher’s words and actions will be in concert with the Christian home.
- Keep parents well informed about their child’s progress. This is more than an institutional requirement for teachers. It is one way we help parents fulfill their God-given responsibilities.
- Listen to parents.
2. Implement a curriculum that is shaped and governed by God’s Word.
To be truly Christian, the educational process at our school must involve much more than the presentation of a Bible-enriched curriculum. It must be a process in which the Word of God governs and informs every subject, every activity, every idea we employ. We must actively “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Presenting yourself, on a daily basis, to God as a living and holy sacrifice. Not being conformed to this world, but rather being transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may show forth what the will of God is (Romans 12:1-2).
- Constantly re-thinking and re-working courses and teaching methods in terms of the framework and principles God shows teachers in His Word.
- Seeking out the wisdom of other godly men and women in this area.
- Mastery in subject areas to the extent that we separate the wheat from the chaff in the realm of secular thought and can guide students in developing a similarly discerning Christian mind.
3. Guiding students in the path of wisdom as well as of knowledge.
Repeatedly, the book of Proverbs tells us that the primary objective of parents is to give their children wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-2, 4:1-13).
Wisdom is praised as the greatest treasure one can gain. Nothing desirable can compare with it; in fact, all other good gifts – happiness, honor, peace, long life, wealth – accompany wisdom. Wisdom is the special possession of the Lord who stores it up for His children. For these reasons the model father in Proverbs continually urges his son toward wisdom by saying, “seek it, love it, prize it, guard it, heed it”.
Imparting wisdom is a central objective, as teachers and staff stand temporarily in the place of the parent. We should never be content merely to pass on information or academic skills with no regard for how those things are to be used for God’s glory. Instruction that only furnishes the mind, making the student clever without cultivating godliness, has failed in the most serious way possible. The student has become an educated fool, doubly dangerous to himself and to others. Thus, our efforts must constantly be directed toward developing the following characteristics in students:
The Fear of God – Scripture tells us in several places that wisdom begins with the fear of God. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.(Proverbs 1:7) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
This godly fear is a heart attitude of awe, worship, and thanks before God that brings forth obedience to His commands. Because it flows out of the heart or inner person, an individual must be regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit before he can truly fear God. This may seem to create a dilemma since instruction, even to begin to attain this objective, waits on something we have no power to do – give the student a new heart. Yet Scripture repeatedly commands parents (and so, BCS staff as well) to teach their children to fear God (Deuteronomy 4:10, 5:29; Psalms 34:7; Proverbs 2:5). We are to understand from this that the Holy Spirit normally works in and through people such as ourselves to bring salvation to others. Thus, we should teach the fear of God by precept and example, prayerfully relying on God’s concurrent action to change the students’ heart.
A Christian Worldview – A worldview is the framework of beliefs about God, man, creation, human society, and history held by an individual. This framework shapes and holds together everything the individual claims to know. Because it is his/her basis of understanding or interpreting everything he notices or thinks about, a worldview can be compared to a set of eyeglasses through which a person sees himself and the world. Speaking of these matters, Christ says, “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23). The Christian worldview starts with the understanding that Scripture provides a normative guide for exploring academic subjects and topics, and conceptualizing the material world as well as the world of ideas. Our task, then, is to make clear to the student the framework Scripture provides for each subject. We must sharpen the students’ discernment by training him in the work of sound thinking. Continually prod him to look beneath the surface of the statements and claims he encounters so that he may examine the underlying beliefs. By this practice, the student will gain experience in distinguishing right from wrong and in detecting the falsehoods that may lurk beneath impressive rhetoric.
The Skills of Life-long Learning – Because most of the students’ life will take place outside the bounds of formal schooling, most of his/her learning should be the result of self-teaching. If it is not, his/her learning will stop, or at best halt when no teacher takes him by the hand. For this reason, equipping the student to learn for himself should be a fundamental objective in all teaching. The student must master certain skills in order to be a life-long learner. These fall into two broad areas. First, the student must enjoy a thorough comprehension and command of communication skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Second, the student must be able to exhibit critical-thinking skills in research, logic, and ciphering, as well as in perceiving and coping with inference and ambiguity.
An Orientation toward Service in God’s Kingdom – In an environment as highly social as is a school, there are many opportunities for you to encourage the student toward acts of service and kindness. Students are also capable of performing tasks that would be welcome outside the school property, projects that benefit the church and/or the community. Scripture makes clear that everything a person does, not just those acts deemed religious by onlookers, can and should be performed as service to God (I Corinthians 10:31). Any work, if it is not against God’s Law and if it is carried out as unto the Lord, is service in God’s kingdom. For this reason, encourage your students to aggressively pursue their interests and aptitudes as they prepare for future employment. God has some sphere of activity that He wants each student to take in hand for His glory.
A Commitment to Excellence – Your students are naturally inclined to travel easy paths, not challenging ones. But there is no easy path to excellence. Achieving it requires great patience and diligence. Reinforce this truth in your classroom by maintaining high standards for all student work and behavior. But also show your students that excellence in self-discipline is well worth the cost it takes to achieve. Praise students as they progress; encourage and prod those who lag behind; reward the diligent. By so doing, you will help students internalize the standards to which you are holding them. They will come to have joy in a job well done and so prove to be highly valued and sought-after members of society. “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29). More importantly, they will please the Lord by exercising good stewardship of His gifts.
Of course, no teacher or school completely shapes the character and mind of any of the students, because students are not like products that can be assembled in a factory. They are persons, possessing minds and wills of their own that only God has the power to shape exactly as He wishes. Yet it is clear that God expects parents, and all those who instruct, to have great influence on children. “Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it”(Proverbs 22:6). The ordinary way God extends the blessings of wisdom to each succeeding generation of young people is through the faithful instruction of parents and teachers.
Since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.” Genesis 18:18-19