The Renewanation Review Volume 6, Issue 2 - Page 20

I WHAT 'GOD' ARE WE ? PURSUING By Glen Schultz, Ed.D. takes you at no one sophy and th “See to it hrough philo to the captive t ception, according o the empty de f men, according t world, tradition ory principles of the ist.” elementa n according to Chr rather tha s 2:8 Colossian 20 AM VERY CONCERNED with the current state of education in our country. However, my greatest concern is not so much about what is happening in the general educational community but what is happening with the education of children in the Christian community. From all of the recent studies that have been done on the faith of teens and young adults, it is alarming to see the number of our young people that are leaving the church. Depending on which study one reads, the estimate for our young people leaving the church is between 60 to 80 percent. What is causing this vast exodus from the church?   There is no doubt that one of the greatest contributors to this growing problem is the education that our children are receiving. The reason I say this is based on a truth that many parents, church leaders, and educators don’t understand when it comes to the education of our children and youth. I am convinced that the principal business of education is the communication of ideas, and all ideas have consequences.   In Colossians 2:8 Paul warns Christians to, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”   This warning makes it clear that Christians can be taken captive by false philosophies. A simple definition for philosophy is a “set of ideas.” Since the principal business of education is the communication of ideas, then education is one of the major ways that one is taken captive by the ideas presented in the process. Christians must be intentional to make sure that the ideas that are taking their children captive are according to Christ and not the false ideas of this world.   In order to raise our children to be strong, confident Christ followers; parents, church leaders, and educators must give greater attention to how they are educating their children. The education our children receive is a major influence on what they believe to be true. This is important because what one believes to be true sets one’s beliefs; one’s beliefs shapes one’s values; one’s values drives one’s actions. The fact that so many people are walking away from their faith is because they have developed a set of beliefs (worldview/ideas) that are contrary to truth as found in Christ and His Word. How did we get to this current dilemma? I believe it is because we have been pursuing some false ‘gods’ when it comes to the education of children and youth. Author and educator Neil Postman made a bold statement in his book, The End of Education. He set forth the premise that “behind every educational effort is a pursuit of a ‘god’ or ‘gods.’”   Nancy Pearcey also addresses this concept in her book, Total Truth, where she states, “The fear of some ‘god’ is the beginning of every proposed system of knowledge.” I find it amazing that both a Christian and a non-Christian author understand that everyone is pursuing a ‘god’ of some type when it comes to the education given to one’s child.   Two Australian Christian educators take this concept one step further. They would agree with Pearcey and Postman, but they also understand the consequences that will result in the pursuit of a ‘god’ or ‘gods’ by education. They write, “Every kind of teaching and learning is based upon and oriented by a shared vision of life (worldview/ideas), and that all people …serve some ‘god’ or ‘gods’ in their lives and in turn are conformed into the image of their ‘god.’”   It is not a question of whether a person will be conformed into the image of a ‘god.’ The question is, what ‘god’ will they be conformed to? Every child will be conformed into the ‘god(s)’ we pursue through the education we give our children.   Kyle Idleman makes a sobering statement in his book, Gods at War. In the book, Idleman was reminding his readers of Joshua’s challenge to the nation of Israel in Joshua 24. Joshua told the people that they were to choose a god to pursue. They could choose the false gods that their fathers knew about in Egypt, or they could choose the false gods they knew were among the pagan nations that were around them or they could choose the true and living God of Israel.   This account is very familiar to most Christians, and many of us may have a plaque on the wall with Joshua’s bold statement on it. Joshua proclaimed to all of Israel, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Idleman explains Joshua’s challenge to Israel in a unique way when he writes, “It’s time to select a god and follow him, to select a worldview (ideas), and allow it to remake you.” The power of ideas Christian parents, church leaders, and educators must understand the power of ideas. Ideas are always tied to a god of some type. We will pursue ideas that are in line with the god we most fear, and when we choose that god to pursue we will be conformed to its image. Therefore, it is imperative that we choose to pursue the right ‘god’ when it comes to the education of our children and youth. 21