Creation: Human beings are created by God in his image. Therefore our ability to think and learn are gifts from him. God has created us “good”. Sin has distorted this original perception of goodness, but through His grace, some of it remains. Despite the prevalence of sin and evil that can be seen in the past and present, we can still see instances where God has moved human history forward according to His own plans. Despite the ails affecting us in the present, we continue to see beauty, goodness, curiosity, and a willingness to explore God’s creation and learn more about Him through the increased understanding of His work.
Fall: History has empirically and unequivocally demonstrated the extent of the depravity of mankind.
Man’s sinful conceptions can also be found everywhere, including in our educational institutions. The denial of absolute truth, the spirit of relativism that permeates discussions and conversely the suppression of questioning and exploration due to biased and short sighted proclamations of “truth” have all found their way (or managed to stay) in 21st century classrooms. The reality of current North American culture is such that post modernity does not provide an agreeable circumstance for religious belief to flourish. Reflective Christian educators want to avoid a “book-end” approach to Christian education in which secular education is merely sandwiched between prayer and devotions as this hardly reflects a distinctive approach to education. Furthermore, students who feel that they are “losers” while others are “winners” means that some of our students cannot see themselves the way God has intended them to be.
Redemption: God has not given up on His Creation. The death of His son, our Saviour, means that there is hope in our world, a hope that we could not achieve without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. There are many different historical and contemporary schools of thought with regards to our identity. Who are we? What is our responsibility towards community? We need to acknowledge our place in Creation and join our Savior in working to bring glory to God in education and as an extension, all parts of Creation
The desire of Christian educators to maintain the integrity of Christ-centered education, is something that is not always easy to do in a post-modern age “do whatever you want” age.
On the other hand, Christian educators must be conscious about being reactionary and putting up high fences between themselves and the larger public education establishment. Such a mindset goes against proponents of a more transformative view of Christianity who don’t want to see Christianity put in a box. For all Christian educators to be ethical and responsible to the needs of their students, they need to engage in an ongoing dialogue with regards to educational initiatives/school improvement.
Restoration (God’s Fingerprints): As stated above, despite a broken world we can see evidence of God’s work in Creation. In human history, there have been many dark times, yet even there we see God’s hand in various shining examples. God has not abdicated his Creation. Recognizing his work, both inspires us to work alongside him and reminds us of his majesty. God promises to completely restore Creation (Matt. 24:30, Mark 14:62, Luke 17:30, I Thess. 5:23, Isa. 65:17, II Peter 3:13, Rev. 21:1). We also know that in the meantime, he often uses people to bring about his purpose and plan (Moses, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, David, Jacob, Joseph, Gideon, Peter, John, Luke, Paul etc.). In short this world is still God’s. In our study of modern history and current global events, we will look for His fingerprints. These may sometimes be subtle, but still very much there.
The question remains for education—how do we get this belief system to walk out into the practice of our classroom lessons? How can we actively and intentionally engage students in the creation-fall-redemption-restoration worldview, in ALL school activities. How do we avoid a “book-ends” approach to Christian education where prayer is done before and after the class, but the lesson remains largely unaffected?
One way that Christian curriculum is being developed by Immanuel Christian school staff is by utilizing “Through lines”. Through lines are thematic approaches towards curriculum, which allow teachers to authentically engage students from a Christian perspective, no matter what the subject or topic. Through lines, represent a larger movement as schools affiliated with the Prairie Center for Christian Education (PCCE) are in a partnership, developing Christian curriculum.