The purpose of Christian education is not primarily to meet human needs or develop human potential, but preeminently to labor to the greater glory of God, the honor of the name of Christ, and promote the development of His kingdom. In a word, the ultimate goal of Christian education is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It means that we are to serve Him in every area of life and calling. This takes place when the student learns to fear God and trust Christ so that he will think and act biblically. For this reason, true Christian education must be God-centered. “Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam”—For The Greater Glory Of God.
God created man for the joy of communion with Himself. Therefore, the student’s joy and fulfillment in life is not to be found in himself or in the world in which he lives, but in loving communion with his Creator. As students learn to glorify God and live for Christ, they will have true enjoyment in life. Without holiness there is no happiness. As the student grows in the knowledge of creation, and discovers the wonders that God has made, he should be taught to enjoy and praise the One who made it. Each new discovery should lead him to acknowledge that God has made us and all things. If education is to train the child for life, then the chief end of man must be constantly kept in view.
To Fear God and Trust in Christ
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. To fear the Lord means to take what He says seriously. When education begins with the fear of God, it promotes respect for God’s authority as expressed in His word and Law as the foundation for learning. With reverential awe, the student will approach schoolwork seriously, attempting to do his best. This is absolutely necessary for the student’s proper attitude in education.
Since the fear of the Lord is necessary to glorify Him, and without faith it is impossible to please Him, the student needs to come to a saving faith in Christ before he can think and act biblically. The first American college, Harvard, established this standard: “Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Proverbs 2:3).” Christian teachers should, by their instruction, discipline, and godly example, pray that the Lord might be pleased to use their teaching as a means to effectually call students unto Christ.
To Reason According to a Biblical Worldview
In every area of study, JCILF wants to help parents train their children to understand God’s perspective and think His thoughts after Him. To do this, they must grow in their knowledge of the Word of God and learn the mind of Christ. They must learn to reason in terms of biblical truth, and develop a truly consistent biblical worldview. By godly instruction and precept, through the inculcation of scriptural wisdom, students are to develop their God-created minds unto Christian maturity. They must be taught how to rightly discern and judge all things in the light of Scripture. Christian education fails if it does not instill the pattern of thinking after God’s words and logic. If a student learns to think in terms of himself or the creature, his decisions regarding right and wrong, truth and error, reality and fantasy, will be humanistic or naturalistic. Without realizing it, he will be acting as his own god, determining for himself good and evil (Genesis 3:5).
To Love and Serve God and Our Neighbor
JCILF believes that knowledge for the sake of knowledge is useless and leads to intellectual arrogance and self-glorification. True knowledge must be used practically to advance the Kingdom of God for His glory. Christian education promotes using knowledge to glorify God and to minister to others. Students should learn to obey and serve God more fully so that they may minister to others more effectively. Students must learn to walk in the truth and through faith manifest the fruit of the Spirit in good works. Thus, after coming to faith in Christ and developing a biblical worldview, the development of strong godly character and a lifestyle of service is most necessary. In fact, godliness is necessary for a proper understanding of the truth.
To love and serve God is an empty lie if there is no heart to serve others. Christian education aims to train men and women who love God in both word and deed, and express this love in ministering to others. One’s vocation must be seen as part of this moral responsibility. It is not merely the obtaining of a paycheck, but to serve God and our neighbor.
Biblical education is devoted also to the development of the student’s spiritual, academic, and physical welfare. Each student has received talents, opportunities, and blessings from his Maker. Christian education does not only develop one’s potential, but assists the student to find his place, meaning, purpose, and responsibilities in the plan of God. Christian education can help determine God’s call on his life, and equip him with skills and knowledge by which he can glorify God effectively. As the student better understands God’s Word and how to apply it to God’s world he will be able to take dominion in his calling under Jesus Christ. JCILF is dedicated to helping both parents train up their children in the way they should go, so that when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).