Years ago, when I had heard the term “an American Christian Education” I didn’t quite comprehend what it meant. However, I understand it now. And, it’s not what it’s often mistaken for.
What an American Christian Education is Not
To begin with, it is not an “elitist” mentality of “American Christians are better than other Christians.” Nor is it a mentality of “American Christians are better than other Americans.” To be sure, it is not ignoring missions work around the world and in America. And it definitely is not about forcing people to become Christians in America.
What an American Christian Education Is
The Separatists, Pilgrims, and Education
An American Christian Education is America’s historic form of education. It proceeds from the education the Separatists received during the Protestant Reformation and that the Pilgrims received from Pastor Robinson when they studied under him before coming to these shores. Christians who happen to live in America taught with Biblical principles as the premise for each subject. Additionally, it is learning how to see subjects and life with a Sovereign and a Providential view of God and His story of Liberty for the individual and nations.
The Founding Era and Education
It continued during America’s Founding Era and into her first two-hundred years. In fact, the Puritan Founders of Harvard said: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed…to lay Christ at the bottom as the only Foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.” That is the historical form of education in America—a Biblical framework for each sphere of life and learning.
The 1800s and Education
Dwight L. Moody, an American Evangelist (Feb. 2, 1837 – Dec. 1899), also saw the importance of going to God’s Word for studying topics to find out what God has to say. He once said the following:
“Obtain for use a good Bible, a concordance, and a topical textbook. Any Teacher’s Bible embraces the two latter, or they can be obtained separately. They form a complete library, and by their aid the Bible can be studied with profit.” -Dwight L. Moody
Therefore, we see that historically Christians continued to use the Bible, a concordance, and a topical textbook in their studies post our Founding Era. Doing that aids in reflective Biblical reasoning in all areas of life—which is the method of learning we see in the Bible.
The Biblical Classical Form of Education
Specifically, it’s a Biblical Classical education. That means that we look through the lens of a Sovereign and Providential view and we reason from the truths/principles of God’s Word.
Details on How It Differs From Other Methods
Many traditional methods and Christian curriculum talk about facts of American history. And, they may even go so far as to mention that God is behind the forming of our nation. Oh, you may even see a Bible verse sprinkled here or there. However, it’s so much more than that.
As Biblical Classical students we add to the above Webster’s 1828 Dictionary because Noah Webster did thorough research of words and the definitions God gave them—giving us the only Biblical worldview dictionary. That, in addition to D.L. Moody’s counsel, helps us to study “life” and “subjects” with profit.
A Sovereign and Providential View
As mentioned earlier, an American Christian education is teaching our history and all other subjects in the context of a Sovereign and Providential view. In this way, students are able to comprehend the purpose God has for America as a country of Law with Liberty. Furthermore, it helps students learn about the purposes for which God has created all subjects which relate to life. Sure, we see this to an extent with England’s history. However, as we learn we are able to see that it flourishes even more so in America.
Whenever we study individuals in history or literature, we look at the internal and external qualities of the individuals. Then, we look at the cause-to-effect of their internal qualities, the outworking of them, and the individual’s response to Holy God.
Biblical reasoning was common for America’s first two-hundred years in education and the Founders understood the importance for this form of education. Consider what Noah Webster said in the following statement:
“Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.”-Noah Webster
Unquestionably, we see the effects of a different philosophy of education being taught to most students in America today. Therefore, we need to restore America’s Biblical Classical form of education in order to help restore our Republic.
In closing, the Bible is kept at the heart of life and learning as we research it for what God says, as we reason from Biblical principles, and as we reflect on and apply what we’ve learned. Having students keep a record of their learning in their notebooks gives the students the ability to keep a record of their research, personal reasoning and reflections from Biblical principles and a Providential view. Assuredly, this leads to Biblical scholarship that is needed in Christian leaders—wherever God calls them to lead.
For solid Biblical Classical educational resources read: Biblical Classical Resources.