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3 Things I Learned at the 2015 OKC Homeschool Convention

Volunteering at the OKC Homeschool Convention

The OKC Homeschool Convention taught me a lot about who homeschoolers are and why they do what they do. I meet people who were religiously motivated, educationally motivated, motivated by the need for a more significant family life, and more. I meet people who were every color, denomination (or none at all), ethnicity, sex, age, and race.

Volunteering at the OKC Homeschool Convention
Volunteering at the OKC Homeschool Convention

Volunteering at the OKC Homeschool Convention

My wife and I volunteered at the ministry booth for overseas missions at the 2015 OKC Homeschool Convention this past weekend. Both of us had been homeschooled to one degree or another, but I’m way past my high-school years and this new generation of students taught me a few things.

Homeschoolers Are Not “One Size Fits All”

In the space of three hours (between 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on Friday morning), I saw more variety in personality, character, dress, passion, and interest than I’d seen in a long time.

It isn’t accurate to relegate homeschoolers to a religious backwater and call it a day. Not only wouldn’t that be an accurate picture of homeschoolers today, but it’s historically unsupportable. After all, before the establishment of a government funded/directed educational system, how were children educated? Learning at home or through private schools was how almost everyone was educated.

Homeschoolers Care Deeply about Education

Homeschooling doesn’t just happen. The decision to homeschool is a decision to make two very big commitments:

  • Pay More Money
  • Give Up More Time

Money

How so? Well, homeschoolers essentially have to pay twice for their children’s education. They pay once through taxation and again to homeschool (books, supplies, food, opportunity cost, etc.). It’s simple to determine what someone’s passionate about by examining how the invest their money. By this measure, homeschoolers are passionate about education.

Time

Homeschooling take time. It takes a lot of time. Most parents can drop their kids off at school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. Not so for homeschoolers. Homeschooling can be a lifestyle. It can be an all-consuming passion.

Homeschoolers Will Change the World

Those who go against the grain are the one’s who will change the status quo. Those educated en masse are less likely to be the same ones who will revolutionize the world. Oh sure, it will happen, if for no other reason than due to sheer numbers, but my money is on the homeschoolers.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.

— Unknown

If you get the chance to attend or volunteer at a homeschool convention, you should take it. If you were homeschooled, you’ll get to reconnect with your past. If you weren’t, you’ll get to meet a group of people who are passionate about education and are willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve it. Either way, you’ll have a good time and expand your horizons.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this blog should be construed as a criticism of non-homeschoolers.

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Dr. Peter Lillback Didn’t Fit My Idea of an Ivory Tower Elite

Dr. Peter Lillback Speaking About the Parakeletos

This past Friday evening Dr. Peter Lillback (President of Westminster Theological Seminary) spoke at Grace Bible Church as part of the James Montgomery Boice Lecture Series. This event was sponsored by the The George Whitefield Society. Dr. Lillback’s lecture was titled, “The Parakeletos: Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John.”

Dr. Peter Lillback Speaking About the Parakeletos
Dr. Peter Lillback Speaking About the Parakeletos

As I interacted with him a little after his lecture, I was surprised by how “down to earth” he was. This says something about Dr. Lillback, but it says a lot more about me. I’d mentally put Dr. Lillback into the category of over-educated snob and feel ashamed at having done so. Before that evening I knew literally nothing about him except his name and position. An ivory tower education could puff someone up, but it hasn’t done this to Dr. Lillback.

Dr. Peter Lillback with Ted Paul at Grace Bible Church in Oklahoma City
Dr. Peter Lillback with Ted Paul at Grace Bible Church in Oklahoma City

An Ivory Tower Education Doesn’t Have to Lead to Pride

You’d think that someone who works in the field of education would know better. You’re right. I should have. Having spent a lot of time with many well-known scholars, I’ve always found them personable and approachable. They’re regular folk just like the rest of us.

[Tweet “It’s certainly true that knowledge can induce pride in the heart, but so can ignorance.”]

It’s certainly true that knowledge can induce pride in the heart, but so can ignorance. Some people spiritualize ignorance. They think it forces them to be more dependent on God, to have a more simple faith. I’m going to set this debate aside for now, but you may want to see the related post Christian Education: 7 Biblical References to Consider (Infographic).

Upon reflection, what humbled me was my tendency to assume that Dr. Lillback would be aloof. He was just the opposite. You can see from the photo above that he was kind enough to pose with me for a quick picture after his presentation. He also stayed and interacted with everyone until almost everyone was gone. One can easily see why he is the President of Westminster Theological Seminary.

Dr. Peter Lillback Speaking About the Parakeletos

Here are the six main points Dr. Lillback addressed. Previous lectures from the James Montgomery Boice Lecture Series have been made available online. Hopefully this one will be as well.

  1. The Synoptics and the Fourth Gospel
  2. The Holy Spirit in the Synoptics and John
  3. Who Is this Holy Spirit?
  4. What Does the Word Parakeletos Mean?
  5. What Did Jesus Mean when He Spoke of Another Parakeletos?
  6. The Holy Spirit’s Relationships
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Is Religious Education an Oxymoron? 10 Quick Reasons Why Not

Is Religious Education an Oxymoron?

Do you have a favorite oxymoron? Many of us do. Some oxymorons are at the expense of someone else. Some are just plain funny (e.g. jumbo shrimp). Some oxymorons reveal cultural biases or trends in thinking we unconsciously adopt.

Religious Education and Military Intelligence

Using “Christian education” as an oxymoron is like using “military intelligence” as an oxymoron. In both cases they’re done at the expense of their respective groups. What society considers to be an oxymoron reveals cultural bias.

[Tweet “Using “Christian education” as an oxymoron is like using “military intelligence” as an oxymoron.”]

Is Religious Education an Oxymoron?
Copyright: Berni

 

1. Religious Schools Educate Millions Annually

Over 4 million students (about 1 in 12) attend religious schools[1]. This number may be a low estimate. According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, 35.9% of elementary and secondary schools in America are religious[2]. Smaller class sizes make it unlikely that 35.9% of schools represents 35.9% of students. Even so, it’s not an insignificant number.

[Tweet “If Christianity were anti-education, we wouldn’t observe schools (at all levels) being established, operated, or funded by Christians.”]

2. Most Nobel Prize Winners Are Christian

65.4% of Nobel Prize Laureates have identified Christianity as their religious preference[3]. In fact, the Nobel Prize itself was established by a Lutheran, Alfred Nobel. Do these laureates simply divorce their religious preferences from their scholarly pursuits? Perhaps, but if religious education is contradictory, wouldn’t we expect to see a low representation within these noble (homophone pun intended) ranks?

3. There Have Always Been Christian Scientists

Galilei, Kepler, and Pascal were Christians[4]. A long list of Christian scientists and philosophers can be found here. A comprehensive list would fill a book, maybe two. It’s commonly held that scientists (past and present) are usually unbelievers. This is demonstrably not the case. Some argue that the religious beliefs of past scientists were coincidental—mere accidents of historical congruence.

Were scientists in the past Christians because everyone back then was Christian. It’s notoriously difficult to determine the true state of one’s beliefs. This is true even when the person in question is right in front of you. So it must be admitted that some who bear the “Christian” label in the past were likely not Christian at all. I asked Dr. Douglas Groothuis what he thought about this. He denied the caricature. He pointed out that the scientific advances they made were precisely because of their Christian worldview, not in spite of it.

[Tweet “The scientific advances they made were precisely because of their Christian worldview, not in spite of it.”]

4. The Bible Is Pro-Education and Pro-Science

Scripture instructs Christians to study[5]. God values wisdom and knowledge[6]. Knowing Christ and having wisdom go together[7]. Some may claim that the education the Bible recommends is religious in nature. It’s certainly true that the Bible encourages its readers to know what they believe. However, this is not in conflict with education about non-religious topics as well. In fact, some of the greatest philosophers in history have been Christians.

What about science? Isn’t the whole idea of miracles anti-science? Daniel 1:11–16 records the story of some “sons of Israel” who asked to be allowed to maintain a diet different from that of the Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel presents the idea (common enough today) of using a control group and an experiment group. Daniel and his friends would eat their own diet while the other young men would eat the King’s diet. After ten days the results were compared to determine which diet was superior. I won’t give away the ending, but suffice to say, Daniel appealed to the testability of a hypothesis, not to miracles.

5. Harvard+Yale+Princeton Were Founded by Christians

Christians founded three of the five wealthiest universities in the United States: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton[8]. It must be granted that in large part these universities have diverged greatly from the vision of their founders. William F. Buckley’s God & Man at Yale published in 1951 gained fame for its criticism of the way Yale undermined the faith of its Christian students. Modern apostasy aside, the question remains, why would religious people establish an institution of higher education if their worldview devalued education?

Are you starting to see a trend here? It would be one thing if there were simply one or two outliers in religion who championed the cause of education but surely not this many? By now, the chinks in the anti-education assumption should be obvious.

6. The Christian Worldview Is Foundational to Education

Christianity provides a firm philosophical foundation for education. The regularity of nature[9], predictability of cause and effect[10], and the belief that humans can understand the world[11] are Christian beliefs that are necessary to justify the value of education. This is not a claim that those who hold to non-christian worldviews don’t value education. They certainly do. Rather, it is the assertion that non-christian worldviews must borrow intellectual capital from the Christian worldview to make their criticisms.

[Tweet “Non-christian worldviews must borrow intellectual capital from the Christian worldview.”]

7. The Bible Is Pro-Philosophy

The Bible warns against godless philosophy, but philosophy itself is not denigrated[12]. In fact, the entire book of Proverbs elevates wisdom and knowledge to an extremely high degree. The history of philosophy is replete with great Christian thinkers. Even the Apostle Paul was not afraid to argue philosophy with the men in Athens.

8. Christianity Holds that Individual Transformation Is Achieved through the Mind

The Bible states that individual transformation comes through a renewing of the mind[13]. This militates against the view that it is mere moral reformation that accompanies salvation. That’s not to minimize the importance of the ethical revitalization that comes with Christianity, but rather to point out that a Christian isn’t fully obeying God if they doesn’t love God with their mind.

[Tweet “A Christian isn’t fully obeying God if they don’t love God with their mind.”]

9. Christians Founded 70% of the World’s Top Ten Universities

Two of the top five and seven of the top ten ranked universities (as ranked by the Academic Ranking of World Universities) were founded in whole or in part by Christians[14]. This statistic makes a falsehood of the stereotype that Christianity is anti-intellectual, ethically medieval, and culturally backward. There are religions that don’t value education. Christianity isn’t one of them.

[Tweet “Two of the top five and seven of the top ten ranked universities (as ranked by the Academic Ranking of World Universities) were founded in whole or in part by Christians”]

10. The Advance of Western Civilization Owes Much to Christianity

Dr. Craig L. Blomberg in Christian Apologetics states that:

Christianity is responsible for a disproportionately large number of the humanitarian advances in the history of civilization—in education, medicine, law, the fine arts, working for human rights and even in the natural sciences (based on the belief that God designed the universe in an orderly fashion and left clues for people to learn about it)[15].

A worldview which not only allows for but encourages the development of civilization cannot be called anti-educational with a straight face.

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  1. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/05/09/making_the_case_for_parochial_schools/  ↩
  2. United States. Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results From the 2011–12 Private School Universe Survey. By Stephen P. Broughman and Nancy L. Swaim. July 2013. Accessed February 27, 2015. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013316.pdf.  ↩
  3. Baruch A. Shalev 100 Years of Nobel Prizes (2003), Atlantic Publishers & Distributors , p.57: between 1901 and 2000 reveals that 654 Laureates belong to 28 different religions. Most 65.4% have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.  ↩
  4. Christian Apologetics 101. Directed by Ted Paul. Performed by Dr. Douglas Groothuis. Edmond: Credo Courses, 2015. DVD.  ↩
  5. The Holy Bible: King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009), 2 Ti 2:15.  ↩
  6. New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Ch 1:11.  ↩
  7. NASB, Col 3:16.  ↩
  8. CCAP. “22 Richest Schools In America.” Forbes. July 30, 2014. Accessed March 14, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2014/07/30/22-richest-schools-in-america/.  ↩
  9. NASB, Ge 8:22.  ↩
  10. The acknowledgment of miracles presumes that cause and effect are normative.  ↩
  11. NASB, Ro 1:21.  ↩
  12. NASB, Col 2:8.  ↩
  13. NASB, Ro 12:2.  ↩
  14. ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. “Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014.” Academic Ranking of World Universities. Accessed March 14, 2015. http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2014.html.  ↩
  15. Craig L. Blomberg, “Chapter 19: Jesus of Nazareth,” in Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2011), 438.  ↩
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6 Ways NOT to Lose Your Christianity in the University Classroom (Video)

6 Ways NOT to Lose Your Christianity in the University Classroom

When you (or a son or daughter) go to college, will you lose your Christianity? The percentage of young people who abandon their faith while at college is debated. The numbers can be high depending on what research you look at. Ed Stetzer has written about this topic for Christianity Today. His work belies some of the hyperbole in this discussion[1]. I thank him for that.

While the numbers may not be as high as some have reported, Christians do face challenges to their faith at university. Parents don’t want their children to lose their Christianity, but they may not know what to do to prevent it.

6 Ways NOT to Lose Your Christianity in the University Classroom
Copyright: Frannyanne

Christians trying to remain faithful while at school may feel like they’re fighting uphill. In some respects this is just reflective of our culture, but I think there’s more to it. These battles are taking place during a liminal stage for the student. Merriam-Webster defines the word liminal this way: of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition[2]. From a psychological perspective, a liminal stage is one full of uncertainty and ambiguity. What better way to describe college? Can you imagine a more difficult time to try to answer life’s hardest questions?

Prepare to Lose Your Christianity

We’re concerned with how to prepare young people to handle objections to their faith. In 2009 Jim Warner Wallace (a former cold case detective) was interviewed by Lee Michaels and Jeff Shell. He said that we should present evidence to young people in much the same way you would to a jury[3]. These are young people who don’t accept the authority or credibility of the Bible. We’ve boiled down six specific steps students can take to prepare for college.

1. Study Worldviews

Life is lived in terms of “worldviews.” Ideas aren’t orphans and don’t exist in isolation. Worldview evaluation helps bring to light any internal inconsistencies one might have. First, believers should understand the Christian worldview. If they don’t understand what they believe, how can they truly have faith? Second, they should study the various non-christian worldviews. This may seem overwhelming, but it can be done. Worldviews can be grouped into categories and dealt with in bulk.

[Tweet “Life is lived in terms of “worldviews.” Ideas aren’t orphans and don’t exist in isolation. “]

2. Get Perspective

College lasts for a short time. It’s busy and often confusing. It may feel like you have to come to definite conclusions, but you don’t. Christianity has a historical pedigree that cannot be destroyed by a few college credits. College is not a panacea of truth. Once it’s over, life’s toughest questions will remain. You’ll have to answer them over and over again, even if only in your own thoughts.

[Tweet “Christianity has a historical pedigree that cannot be destroyed by a few college credits.”]

3. Pursue Truth

There is no dichotomy between education and Christianity. Christianity is the only worldview that can sustain a positive outlook on knowledge. Don’t fear truth. Truth will always lead to a deeper and more accurate faith. Believers may feel a tension between following the truth and what their faith tells them. However, the Christian worldview is lead by one who identified himself as “truth” itself. It is impossible that truth (properly understood) will lead away from God. So, pursue truth with courage in your heart and Christ in your sights.

[Tweet “There is no dichotomy between education and Christianity. Christianity is the only worldview that can sustain a positive outlook on knowledge.”]

4. Take a Stand

When I taught computer networking, I enjoyed when students asked questions or challenged me. It showed me that they were thinking. I don’t doubt some professors are authoritarian. Some may brook no dissension. That’s when courage is needed. Taking a stand for what you believe is one of the quickest ways to mature.

Rows of Chairs in a Laboratory Classroom
Harris and Ewing Collection in the Library of Congress

[Tweet “Taking a stand for what you believe is one of the quickest ways to mature.”]

5. Join a Church

Being a “lone wolf” may work in your favorite action movie, but as a strategy for life, it’s a bad bet. Christianity should be practiced in community. The members of the body of Christ help to balance each other out. Even students at a religious university can benefit from local church membership. Churches in a college town know to expect a flood of new and returning students each year. They may even have classes and programs designed around students’ busy schedules.

[Tweet “Being a “lone wolf” may work in your favorite action movie, but as a strategy for life, it’s a bad bet.”]

6. Be Humble

Humility is necessary in the pursuit of truth. This isn’t in contradiction to the fourth point above (Take a Stand). It’s the flip side of the coin. Humility and courage go hand in hand. Your beliefs and convictions may be challenged. Fellow students, professors, even the curriculum itself may make you uncomfortable. You won’t always be right. Pick your battles. Be willing to admit if you’re wrong. Refusing to give up faulty ground only makes you king of an imaginary hill.

[Tweet “Refusing to give up faulty ground only makes you king of an imaginary hill.”]

A Professor’s Perspective

Dr. Groothuis has worked for years in campus ministry. Now he’s the professor at Denver Seminary. I asked Dr. Douglas Groothuis, “How should we prepare young people for challenges to their faith in college?” This is what he said.

Video Transcript

Apologetics and Christian worldview and knowledge of the Bible should be taught in the home; and it should be taught rigorously in the church; and students going to college should be involved in classroom activity/classroom instruction to prepare them for the kind of onslaught that they’ll have to deal with, prepare them for the atheism, prepare them for the relativism, and so on.

This is very exigent because the statistics I’ve seen are pretty frightening and disheartening. So many Christians go to college and either deny their faith or put their faith on hold, and they don’t act like consistent Christians. Maybe ten years later when they have children they’ll go back to the church and get more serious. But the university and college shapes an individual decisively for life.

So Christians need to know what they believe and why as they go into these settings. So the church should have courses, study opportunities to prepare for college, parents should know what sorts of things their children should read and what kinds of seminars they should go to. And this needs to be very intentional, very serious because, otherwise, the students will very likely drift away from Christianity or become fideists and say, “I believe Christianity but it is not supported by anything I study and there’s really no evidence for it but somehow I believe it.” We don’t want that.

free-28min-video-of-apologetics


  1. Stetzer, Ed. “Dropouts and Disciples: How Many Students Are Really Leaving the Church?” Christianity Today. May 14, 2014. Accessed March 5, 2015. http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/may/dropouts-and-disciples-how-many-students-are-really-leaving.html.  ↩
  2. Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 2003.  ↩
  3. Wallace, Jim W. “How to Help Young People Learn to Defend the Faith.” Interview by Lee Michaels and Jeff Shell. The Cold-Case Christianity Radio Interview Podcast (audio blog), September 14, 2009. Accessed March 6, 2015. http://thepleaseconvincemeradioshowpodcast.libsyn.com/how-to-help-young-people-learn-to-defend-the-faith.  ↩
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Christian Education: 7 Biblical References to Consider (Infographic)

Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind

Updated: 2015-04-20

Christians sometimes feel that dedication to their faith relegates them to an intellectual backwater. The media reinforces this idea by painting Christianity as a kind of intellectual laziness. They make it seem as though Christians want to return to a cultural dark age. Is this true?

Let’s consider what Christianity’s founding documents have to say. We’ll examine seven passages that emphasize the importance of Christian education and explain why a Christian education is the only kind there is.

Further Reading: Why You’ll Never Outgrow the Study of Theology

1. Loving God with Your Mind Is the Purpose of Christian Education

In Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27 Jesus alludes to Deuteronomy 6:5 when he says:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

– Matthew 22:37 (ESV)

As the founder of Christianity, Jesus has ultimate authority to declare what is important. When we put all three passages side-by-side we see the following:

Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind
Christian Education Involves Loving God With Your Mind

 

2. Jesus Is the Very Embodiment of Truth

Christians are those who follow Christ (no surprise there). Christ claimed to be the essence of truth. He didn’t claim to be the essence of illusion, mystery, or the unexplained.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

– John 14:6 (ESV)

[Tweet “Christians need not fear pursuing the truth because all truth points back to God.”]

Christians need not fear pursuing the truth because all truth points back to God. There are times when we can’t seem to reconcile natural revelation with special revelation. At least, we don’t see how we can. Christians take this as a sign that we’ve made a mistake in understanding one or the other. A strong adherence to Scripture allows for only potential contradictions, not actual ones.

3. Knowing Truth Results in Freedom from Sin

We all want to make good choices. The raw material needed to make good choices is knowledge. Just as important though, is the ability to choose what is right. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says the following while interacting with some Jews:

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 8:31–32 (ESV)

The CIA adopted John 8:32 as their motto while under the guidance of Allen Dulles1. We presume that Dulles had political freedom in mind. That’s what the Pharisees thought Jesus was speaking about. Christ made it clear though that he was talking about freedom from sin. Who could argue against Christian education if it spells freedom from sin?

[Tweet “Who could argue against Christian education if it spells freedom from sin?”]

Christian Education: 7 Biblical References to Consider (Infographic)
Christian Education Infographic

4. Christian Education Is Specifically Commanded by God

After Moses delivered the ten commandments to the children of Israel, God said:

You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.

– Deuteronomy 6:7 (ESV)

The ten commandments are, of course, moral laws. Few would deny that Christian education should include instruction about morality and ethics. What about education in general? It turns out that the Bible encourages this as well:

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

– Proverbs 18:15 (ESV)

Scripture is full of admonitions to live lives full of learning, wisdom, and knowledge.

5. Jesus Is the Treasury of Wisdom and Knowledge

Christianity is not a religion of blind leaps of faith. Christianity places enormous value on wisdom and knowledge. The Apostle Paul tells believers what the core of wisdom and knowledge is:

1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,

2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,

3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.

– Colossians 2:1–4 (ESV)

Study is hard. Good study is really hard. If you knew that the end of your study is Jesus, what greater motivation could you ask for?

6. An Educated Mind Can Discern Between Good and Evil

In his sermon “Growing in Christian Maturity,”2 Dr. James White covers Hebrews 5:11–14. These verses talk about the maturity that comes from consistent and purposeful Bible study.

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

– Hebrews 5:14 (ESV)

Christian growth, like physical growth, has a natural progression. If a baby didn’t seem to be growing, we’d get it to a doctor. Growth is natural. For a Christian growth is the ability to discern between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error.

7. Jesus Is the Intellectual Atmosphere of Christianity

Paul quoted a Greek poet when addressing those at the Areopagus. In doing so, he demonstrated that Christ is the intellectual atmosphere we all breathe:

‘In him we live and move and have our being’;

– Acts 17:28a (ESV)

It’s not just that we live in a world that God created and than left to run on its own. The Christian worldview encompasses all areas of life, including education.

[Tweet “The Christian worldview encompasses all areas of life, including education.”]

An education may be labeled Christian due to its focus or methodology.

  • Focus: A Christian education focuses on the person of Christ (in particular) and the Christian worldview (in general).
  • Methodology: A Christian education methodologically speaking is one which adheres to the principles of Christianity but which may be focused on any topic.

Conclusion

[Tweet “Christians have the most powerful motivator possible to be the most educated people possible.”]

Christians, of all people, should be the most educated. There is nothing in Scripture (rightly interpreted) that would compel or encourage a person to be willfully ignorant. If anyone has a corner on ignorance, it’s not the Christian worldview.

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  1. “Headquarters Virtual Tour.” Central Intelligence Agency. March 17, 2013. Accessed February 28, 2015. https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/headquarters-tour/virtual-tour-flash/index.html.  ↩
  2. White, James. “Growing In Christian Maturity.” SermonAudio. January 1, 2010. Accessed February 28, 2015. http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=6281001226. ↩
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Why You’ll Never Outgrow the Study of Theology

The Study of Theology Will Be Perfected When Jesus Appears

What Happens to Our Theology When Jesus Appears

Is it possible to be so old and wise that our theology can’t grow anymore? Is there a point where further study would be useless? Consider these words from the apostle John:

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

— I John 3:2[1]

The phrase to note is, “what we will be has not yet appeared.” [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Our theology will be perfected when Jesus appears.[/inlinetweet]  If our physical makeup will be different in the eternal state, why not our mental comprehension of God as well? Here are some specific changes that will occur when we see Jesus:

  • Errors: Mistakes of all kinds will be corrected.
  • Gaps: The gaps in our understanding will be filled in.
  • Fully Renewed Minds: Our capacity to understand truth, free from the effects of sin, will be realized.
  • New Truths: New truths (which agree with and confirm Scripture) will be understood.
  • Complete Sanctification: The disconnect between knowing right and doing right will be gone.

    The Study of Theology Will Be Perfected When Jesus Appears
    Copyright: Cameron Whitman

172 Years in the Study of Theology

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to talk for over three hours with three people who like Credo Courses. Their combined age was 172. What was the biggest lesson I learned? [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]No matter your age, you’ll never outgrown the study of theology.[/inlinetweet] This shouldn’t discourage anyone. It should serve as a testament to the richness of the Christian faith.

Similarities from My Mini-Survey That Surprised Me

In our digital age there are many ways of learning about your audience, but it’s tough to beat sitting down and talking with someone. The tone of voice, body language, and energy of a conversation is hard to replace.

The three individuals I spoke with were Adrian (the youngest of the group), Janet, and Joel. What surprised me wasn’t that they had some things in common, but how many of them they had. Here’s what I learned:

  • 3 out of 3 – Have been or currently are in full-time ministry
  • 3 out of 3 – Expressed a desire to learn more about their faith and use it to help others
  • 3 out of 3 – Went to college
  • 3 out of 3 – Heard about Credo House first and then Credo Courses
  • 2 out of 3 – Have master’s degrees
  • 2 out of 3 – Are men
  • 2 out of 3 – Have more than one child
  • 2 out of 3 – Get much of their information from a network of friends and acquaintances

Three Preconceived Notions Destroyed

None of them fit my preconceived notions. My brain constructs pictures of what certain “kinds” of people are like. I think we all do this. Sometimes my pictures are accurate, but often they aren’t. People who like to study their Bibles are a “kind” of people in my mind. I should have drawn my picture in pencil because it didn’t stand up to reality.

The Study of Theology: Will Keep You from Being Active in Good Works

For some the study of theology is viewed as a danger. Why? Because they believe that knowing rightly and living rightly are opposed to each other. Or, at least, that you can’t do both equally well. So if you have to pick one, you should choose to live rightly.

Maybe you’ve heard someone allude to this yourself. They may say things like, “We should be concerned about living the Christian life. This theology stuff is just head knowledge.” A more spiritual version might be, “I just want to serve Jesus.” It’s hard to argue with a statement like that. As Christians we should all want to serve Jesus. Let’s try to put this in the form of an argument:

Premise 1: Christians should spend their time serving Jesus.

Premise 2: Time spent studying theology is time we don’t have to serve Jesus.

Conclusion: Therefore, we should spend less time studying theology.

It’s hard to argue with the first premise. In fact, I agree with it completely. The second premise has a built-in assumption. An assumption I deny. What is the assumption? It’s that studying theology is not a service we can do to Jesus. This is untrue.

Theology is the study of God. As such, it cannot be contrary to serving God. It may be done (like anything else) in a wrong way. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Properly done, theology is as much an act of worship as feeding the hungry or caring for the sick.[/inlinetweet]

Joel, Janet, and Adrian are good examples of how theology coincides with good works. Adrian runs a full-time Christian ministry. Joel is a deacon at his church and teaches class on Wednesdays. Janet visits the senior center almost daily. She enjoys chatting with her friends (online and off) about theology.

The Study of Theology: Is for Institutions of Higher Education

While Adrian, Janet, and Joel are all well educated, none of them studied theology in college, seminary, or university. However,  they’ve each continued their education through self-study. They’ve gotten study materials from a variety of ministries (including their local church). They then apply it to their lives in practical ways.

There are thousands of religious schools in the United States educating tens-of-thousands of student yearly. For some the amount of time, money, and focus college requires can be too burdensome. The wonderful thing is that folks like Adrian, Janet, and Joel don’t give up. They’re continuing their education on their own.

The Study of Theology: Is for Younger People

Most formal education takes place when a person is younger. This gives them a chance to get a job in their desired field early in life. They will then have the majority of their adult lives to build their careers. When an older person goes to school they are sometimes referred to as “non-traditional.”

I’m happy to report that Adrian, Janet, and Joel all qualify as non-traditional students. Their age hasn’t slowed down their study. Neither has it slaked their desire to deepen their understanding of God.

Just Keep Swimming

In the movie Finding Nemo, Dory tells Marlin[2]:

Dory: When life gets you down, you know watcha gotta do?

Marlin: I don’t wanna know watcha gotta do.

Dory: Just keep swimming.

This is what the lives of Adrian, Janet, and Joel teach us. Despite age, circumstances, and stereotypes, these three just keep swimming.

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Footnotes


  1. “Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”  ↩
  2. Finding Nemo, dir. Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, perf. Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, and Alexander Gould (Walt Disney Video, 2003), DVD.  ↩