Posted July 17, 2019
Christian Education and the Reformed Baptism Form (5): Meditation at the beginning of a new school year
What is a world view? It is an overall guide for life. However, a world view is particularly interested in our life on earth before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is, our view of the creation. Prof. David J. Engelsma picks up on this point when he writes, "By world view, I understand a comprehensive, unified view of the whole of creation and its history, including the creation's origin, meaning, and goal and including my own life, in light of the triune, true, living God" (Standard Bearer, Vol. 74, no. 16).
As another school year is upon us, we pause in our treatment of the baptism form as an occasion to contemplate the Christian schools where our students are instructed in the "aforesaid doctrine" of salvation, that is, where they are taught the Reformed Christian world view. The need to instruct our covenant children gives the Christian school the right to existence. As the form says, we want our children to "eternally praise and magnify" our Lord. One of the most important places in which children praise and magnify the Lord is the Christian school where they are instructed in the Reformed Christian world view. There they are taught of the infallibility of scripture, the origins of creation, and the relationship between God and his redeemed, covenant people.
With that in mind, I would like to consider Engelsma’s definition of world view as taught in the Christian school. We teach our children that God is the only triune and living God. We teach them that he has revealed himself to us in his Son, the word. And because Christ reveals himself in his infallible and inspired word, we are to view all of creation through the scriptures. The world in which we live mocks and scoffs that the Bible is our only guide, especially regarding our belief of the creation of the world and man 6,000 years ago. The scriptures are the only guide and rule for our lives; they reveal the truth of God in every aspect of the creation.
We teach our children that God created man out of the dust of the ground and woman out of the rib of the man. God breathed into their nostrils the breath of life. That is, man is made up of body, soul, and spirit. This is an incomprehensible wonder of God. Moreover, we believe that God created man good and placed him in fellowship with himself. And as a rational and moral creature, man was created not only with the ability to fellowship, but also with the desire to fellowship with God. Man was created in the image of God, for he had true righteousness, holiness, and knowledge. In thanksgiving and service to God, man ought to serve him as prophet, priest, and king in his creation. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. However, man, by the instigation of the devil and his own willful disobedience, fell from his original state.
The elect of God receive again the image of God in the new man in Christ (Col. 3:10). The reprobate bear the image of the devil, as Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:44.
Let us teachers, parents, board members, and followers of Christian education resolve to instruct our covenant children in the truth of the Reformed world view. While a public school teaches only with this earth in mind, a Christian school must teach with both earth and heaven in mind. Our Christian schools must continue to equip our students to do battle against false doctrines like evolutionism. May we be given grace to train them up in this aforesaid doctrine.
This post was written by Mike Feenstra, a member of the Protestant Reformed Church in Crete, Illinois. Mike also teaches fifth grade at a Christian school in Indiana.