Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Education is Discipleship

What do you think of when you hear the word education? Most people think of subjects or a classroom. You may also think of a scope and sequence, of a start and end date, of matriculation and graduation.

What do you think of when you hear the word discipleship? Most people think of helping others in their "walk" with Christ. That may involve encouragement to attend church, pray, read their Bible, have a "quiet time," get involved in "ministry."

What does the Bible say about these two terms?

I recently received an email from a young father who is "getting ready" to homeschool. (His oldest child is "only" three.) I encouraged him that he has been homeschooling already, so there was no need to "get ready," just to keep doing what he's been doing. He replied:
...[O]ne of the arguments I have used with folk is that most Christian
parents separate education from discipleship whereas with homeschooling
both can happen simultaneously. And we have certainly been reading to and
praying with and for our children from the beginning, along with Scripture
memory work.

But I think we need to continue to reform regarding even this manner of speaking. We certainly agree that it is unbiblical to separate education out from discipleship. In fact, education as it is defined today is nowhere in the Bible. But there is a lot in there on training, teaching, and discipleship; and almost always in the context of parents and grandparents training up their children and grandchildren.

So we would do well to remove the contemporary notion of "education" from our vocabulary as much as possible and only speak in biblical terms. Rather than disciple and "educate," we simply want to disciple our children in grace, math, home maintenance, mercy, science, balancing a checkbook, esteeming others, writing, menu planning, worship, history, budgeting, prayer, biology, diaper-changing, justice, reading, marriage, etc. All of those "subjects" belong to God. There is not one that is outside of His creation, ordination, or interaction. Therefore, separating them is putting asunder what God has joined together. Too often, that means separating "God stuff" from the rest of "life." But Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

Let us think God's thoughts after Him by speaking His words after Him.