I have been working through some ways to view our classical mission here at Caldwell by starting with the end in view. Last week I spelled out that one end for our classical school is pursuing the end God has given man. His purpose for man to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever is certainly fundamental to any classical and Christian school. But another end is almost as basic, and in some ways, even more beautiful. The second end of classical education can be called an education in grace. It is God’s purpose to teach us His grace. God’s grace has been given to us, not just to benefit us, but to teach us Who God is (Eph. 4:7). What do we have that is not a gift of God’s grace? A great education teaches us to all walk in the light of this truth.
This is quite distinct from the prevailing notion that all we have, we had to go out and get by our own effort. Pride, being the chief of sins, is something natural to our students and we must teach them a better way: that of grace. There must be a clear end in a classical and Christian education that leads a student to walk daily within God’s grace. Apart from God, all our learning, all our study, all our efforts are misguided and result in destruction, not life. In Christ we find the grace that leads to eternal life. If our school is not saturated with this notion from head to foot, we are not fulfilling one of the most basic goals of any classical or Christian school: seeking for the student to be most fully alive. If we teach him that he is alive due to his own wit and effort, his own merit, then we have failed him. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).
This grace oriented thinking is the heart of good learning, which starts with the fear of God and leads to true wisdom. The student must be taught in a manner that demonstrates and declares to him over and over that “all truth is God’s Truth.” This grace awareness, this gracefulness, this grace-laden education, is indispensible to our students finding and grasping the truly permanent things, the things that will bring them eternal freedom and life. I highlight this end for our education by quoting a blog I recently read that seems to make my point for me:
“Do not accept it when you read articles that contend that there are multiple ideologies fighting for control of society and that there is no alternative to ideology. Conservatism, the real stuff, is not an ideology and neither is Christianity.
“Ideology denies the possibility of knowledge or of virtue. It begins with an absolute relativism and then denies that anybody can know the true or the just. It denies the very possibility of our obedience to Philippians 4:8 and 9.
“And it controls, by habituation, the way our young people think (italics added).
“We are not “fighting an ideological war” with anybody. We are witnesses to the life-creating power of the Spirit and Truth of Christ to anybody who will hear it. To the rest we are martyr-fodder.
“We do not order our lives around an abstract idea, we order them to Him who is Truth. It’s personal.” (taken from Andrew Kern’s blog, http://circeinstitute.com/blog/birzer-on-ideology/)
May we teach and model every day that God is the God of grace and we benefit from that grace every day. May our education here be personal.