I was finally catching up with some of my periodicals this afternoon and among them was the Fall 2009 issue of Westminster Seminary California’s Evangelium. This is the issue devoted to the subject of education. It was recently criticized in Christian Renewal. So, I picked it up expecting to encounter serious problems. What I found was something quite different: apart from some subtle nuances, the traditional Reformed perspective on Christian education. In other words, the faculty at WSC is not anti-Christian education or anti-Christian schools.
As an example, consider the five convictions expressed in the lead article by Dennis Johnson. These convictions are shared by the faculty on the basis of God’s inerrant Word:
1. Parents are responsible to oversee their children’s whole education — both ‘religious’ and otherwise.
2. Parents are not alone in their responsibility to nurture their children in God’s wisdom.
3. The wisdom that our children need centers in the fear of the Lord, and then reaches out to embrace all of life.
4. No educational enterprise is religiously neutral.
5. Our children’s education should enable them not only to investigate God’s world, but also to engage confidently and winsomely those who do not see that ‘this is our Father’s world.’
Those sentiments are not unfamiliar to me and I can readily say “Amen!” However, if I would make one note about what I read in Evangelium, it would be that we should aim for a closer relationship between church, home and school. It is never desirable to have the Christian school teaching in a way that contradicts the church or the home. The obvious way to mitigate that possibility is to have all three operating on the same confessional basis.
I conclude that the criticism expressed in Christian Renewal arose from as uncharitable a reading as one could possibly give.