Teaching from a fully integrated Christian worldview is one of the distinctives of Redeemer Classical School. Unfortunately, what that means might not be as clear as we often think. With that in mind, I’d like to unpack some (though not all) of what that means for us at Redeemer Classical School. I hope you find it helpful.
What is a worldview?
In his book What’s your Worldview, Dr. James Anderson explains that worldview refers to your “most fundamental beliefs and assumptions about the universe you inhabit…[it’s] how you would answer all the ‘big questions’ of human existence, the fundamental questions we ask about life, the universe, and everything.” (p. 12)
In other words, your worldview is the collective set of beliefs and assumptions that you use to make sense out of the world around you. Like air, it is necessary for life and we use it all the time, but we often don’t think about it or even realize that we are using it. “Like a pair of spectacles with colored lenses, it affects what you see and how you see it. Depending on the “color” of the lenses, you see some things more easily, while other things are de-emphasized or distorted. In some cases, you don’t see things at all.” (Anderson, p. 13)
As Christians, our goal should be to develop and strengthen a consistent Christian worldview that will enable us to see everything around us — our neighbors, the earth and stars, ourselves, and God — through the lens of the Bible.
How does it impact education at Redeemer Classical School?
So what does this have to do with education at Redeemer? Everything. It impacts our understanding of who is in the classroom, what we teach, how we teach, and why we teach.
Who is in the classroom
We believe that our teachers (who are all Christians) and our students (who may or may not be Christians) are all created in the image of God and, therefore, deserving of the highest respect, dignity, and love. That’s the baseline. From there, our teachers strive to exemplify Christian values and show their importance for a life well-lived with the hope that our students will increasingly embody these attributes themselves.
What we teach
We teach the major tenets of the Christian faith, in a grade appropriate way, at every level. We read the Bible and pray together in class, and encourage our students to continue these practices at home. But the Christian worldview impacts more than our explicitly “religious” studies. In keeping with the Christian worldview, we believe that Christ is the creator, sustainer, and Lord over all things. This means that every subject area and topic of study is an opportunity to know Christ more fully. As such, our teachers seek to help students see Christ in everything that they teach and do. For example, when Kindergarten students go on a nature walk they are taught that the rocks, leaves, and insects that they observe are all beautiful creations of God, designed to display his creativity and might. Or when sixth grade students are taught the law of noncontradiction they are shown that this is true in all cases, precisely because of the consistent and unchanging nature of God. This is what we mean when we say that we teach from an integrated Christian worldview.
How we teach
Human beings are not just complex biological machines capable of high-level computations. If that were the case, a thorough education would consist merely of information — or data — input. But humans are so much more than machines and so education must consist of infinitely more as well. As divine image bearers, human beings are creatures with unique intellectual, moral, emotional, and relational capacities (to say the least). Education, rightly considered, must honor what it means to be human by cultivating each of these capacities. At Redeemer we hone students’ intellectual and moral virtues in a loving environment that develops strong interpersonal skills. Meaningful relationships between teachers and students play a vital role in this endeavor. But our unique curriculum, organized around the Trivium is also crucial to accomplishing these educational goals (the Trivium consists of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric; it will be explored in more detail in another blog post).
Why we teach
Our Christian worldview drives us to educate students not merely for the betterment of the creation or of humankind, but for the greater glory of God. That’s not to say that the betterment of the earth or of humankind is wrong. Quite the opposite. Caring for the creation and for our fellow human beings is a noble cause. But we believe that this is only rightly accomplished when we put God first. In everything we do we strive to make God known, to extend his reign on the earth, and to exalt his name.
At Redeemer Classical School we seek to teach and embody an integrated Christian worldview in everything that we think, say, and do. It is our hope that our students, seeing this example lived out every day, will learn to do the same.