Getting Back to Old-School Christian Education
by Joseph Franks
In Moses’ final sermons, which are presented in the book of Deuteronomy, he is encouraging Israelite parents to disciple the next generation. They are to be consumed with family devotions, corporate worship, Sunday school, Bible classes, and Christian education. Using symbolic language, parents are to inscribe God’s Word are their own hearts, on their own heads and on their own hands. Then they are to chisel God’s Word into the granite of their children’s souls. (Deuteronomy 6) They are to speak of God’s Word when they rise, and once again before they retire for the night. Whether at home, work or play, there are to be discussions regarding God’s Word and sovereign intent.
Their children are not merely to learn, but they are to practice that which they have learned. Therefore, Christian parents, pastors and teachers are to always teach with application in view. Knowledge alone puffs up. One is not blessed unless one applies the information one has gained. God’s children are to be both hearers and doers of the Word.
Finally, the children are not merely to learn in order to practice, but they are to learn in order to teach. Moses not only has the second generation in mind, but the third and fourth generations of Israelites in his thoughts. Children and grandchildren are the business of the parent, teacher, and minister.
Therefore, one is never finished with Christian education. For all of one’s life, one is to be constantly consumed with:
- Learning the Facts Found in God’s Word
- Practicing the Application of God’s Word
- Teaching Content and Application to the Next Generation
And in Deuteronomy 6 and 11, all of this emphasis on Christian education is attached to the Great Shema. Because God is Yahweh; because God is One; because God is to be loved and worshiped with all one’s heart, soul, and strength; because this is the greatest worship commandment in all of Scripture; because this is a summary of all God’s laws; one should understand the connection between love, worship, obedience and Christian education. One does not love God is one does not learn, live, and teach.
Therefore, we end this devotional by asking three questions:
- What have we learned? We have learned the importance of consistent multi-generataional Christian education. Forever we are to be students on the road to advanced scholarship in the Bible.
- How are we practicing? We are not merely to be librarians of God’s truths, but professionals in doing all that God requires. Are we putting in to practice that which we have learned? Are we exemplary practitioners of the Word of God, or are we just equipped for the next Calvinistic-Arminian debate on our favorite blog?
- How are we teaching? Are we passionate about Christian education in the home? Are we taking advantage of all the opportunities to put Christian education before our children in the church and in neighborhood schools? Are we keeping the Great Commission and advancing the cause the Kingdom of God by educating our neighbors in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Remember, one does not love God or the lost if one is not learning, living, and teaching them God’s truths. The weapon of our cultural warfare is the Word of God, and teachers are those who are found on the front line.
Friends, this emphasis on Christian education used to be the norm in Christian circles. In the “good old days,” much was made of VBS, Bible memory, Sunday school, Christian education, AWANA, Pioneer Clubs, and family devotions. Sadly, the emphasis has changed throughout Christian homes, churches, schools, and in evangelistic strategies. However, while the thoughts and strategies of men shift to and fro from generation to generation, the will of God stands forever. He still commands his church to love him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength; and he still intends that they to do so through learning, practicing, and teaching the Word of God. Christian education is very close to the heart of God.