Many social analysts agree that strong societies rely on strong families. Christians believe strong families come from teaching a kingdom-based educational system to all members of the family - especially the youth.
Dr. Glen Schultz, Director of Christian School Resources area of LifeWay Christian Resources, is a 30-year veteran in Christian education.
The following are excerpts from a July 11th interview with Dr. Schultz on his kingdom education philosophy.
What are some of the major issues youve come across during your three decades of experience in Christian education?
More and more people are realizing that a childs schooling has a major impact on the worldview that they develop and if we dont provide our children with a stronger Biblically based educational program, we shouldnt be surprised if our young people grow up and have a secular view, go out and live life very similarly to what the unsaved world would live their life by. Other than attending church and doing some of the church functions, they dont really live much differently in every day life because their worldview was pretty much formed through a secular educational program.
I find church leaders not knowing what to do about this. Whats going to have to happen is theyre really going to have to study and address the entire issue of education in a Biblically holistic view and not have it separated into a religious part of our life.
So thats the story behind your book Kingdom Education: Gods Plan for Educating Future Generations." Can you briefly go over your nine principles of Kingdom education?
Since the book came out, theres a tenth one weve added so Ill add that one too.
First, the total education of our children is a primary responsibility of parents.
Second, this education process is a 24-hour,7-days a week process form birth all the way to maturity, which includes schooling, church, and home.
Third, when you read scripture, the primary goal of education from Gods perspective is number one: that they come to know Christ the Savior and number two: that their gifts are honed and reach their full potential so they can really go out and serve Christ while they live here on earth. Its a deeper meaning of discipleship than whats usually used in the church, but thats what discipleship really is.
Fourth, their whole educational system must be grounded on Gods word as being absolute truth and foundation for all knowledge.
Fifth, Christ, because of what he did on the cross, is supposed to be the preeminent person in the entire process. So he should be preeminent at home, definitely at church, but also in the schooling of our children.
Sixth, the education we give our children cannot harm them spiritually and morally. In other words, what they learned in textbooks from philosophy and in classrooms or what theyre watching at home should draw them close to Christ, not push them away. The reality of Christ represents all of life and any time you push someone away from Christ, youre pushing them away from the truth and from what matters.
Seventh, when parents do delegate this to others, they need to choose men and women who have the same worldview and belief systems and follow these same principles, so theres a consistency in front of their children.
Eighth, when educational process is completely through, the students will be like their teachers. Theyll have the same beliefs, values, motivations, and attitudes. Thats why you choose them[teachers] properly.
Ninth, the education we give our children is supposed to lead them to true wisdom and understanding according to the Proverbs. Thats done by connecting all knowledge to Biblical framework. This principle emphasizes there is no such thing as spiritually neutral knowledge. Everything has God-intended meaning in it.
Lastly, tenth, since all education comes from some image we have of the future, weve got to make sure the image of the future we have in educating our children has an eternal perspective, not just a temporal or secular perspective as were finding in secular education today.
Many parents are finding homeschooling as a viable option to public or private school education. What are your thoughts on homeschooling?
When you think of homeschooling, it is parents saying that were responsible, which is very Biblical. But, whether its through homeschooling or a Christian school education, they still have to follow this Biblical philosophy. So those ten principles dont just apply to a Christian school, but to homeschooling and also to church because theyre Kingdom in perspective and scope, not just limited to just one aspect of a childs education.
What kind of responses do you receive from parents as you travel across the country, speaking in schools and churches?
I find that parents so many times are just broken hearted because they never realized what an awesome assignment this is and they are going to be accountable for it. Most common response I get is I wish I had known that ten, five, or two years ago.
I try to get them to understand that you cant beat yourself up for what you didnt know, but now that you know, what are you gong to do from this point on? Then, the issue becomes how do I do this? because many times, were not following good biblical stewardship principles so we dont feel we can afford different types of schooling financially. So we feel all these obstacles and get fearful, rather than saying lets get our life in order saying, If we have to cut back, lets cut back. If we have to readjust living, lets go ahead and do this because our children are the most important gift we have been given from God.
What do you expect to see ten years down the road in this Kingdom Education movement?
If church leaders really would embrace the Biblical philosophy of education, I see that we would have literally millions of young children in strong Bible-based, Christ-centered educational programs and they will make a difference in the culture. The other side of the coin is that if the churches do not embrace it, I believe in ten years were going to continue to lose the majority of our kids to a secular worldview and Christianity as weve been privileged to know in our country will be greatly diminished in the public market place.
Nevertheless, Gods Kingdom will still be going forward. Hell still be fulfilling His plan to redeem all men to Himself, but He may choose, like He has throughout the history, another people group to do His work because we have failed to raise a generation that thinks Biblically.
Do you have any additional words?
Im encouraged because I just see as more and more people have even picked up the book and read it, theyve realized that this is something very important. I had a pastor recently that Ive preached at who mailed us and said this is the message that every church in America needs to hear and I pray that God will open the doors somehow where the messages of Kingdom Education will get out there.
Dr. Glen Schultz graduated with a pre-medical degree from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y. and earned master of education degree in school administration and doctor of education degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Schultz has worked in both public and private schools as a teacher, principle, and superintendent, prior to becoming a southeast regional director for the Association of Christian Schools International, overseeing educational services for 600 Christian schools for seven years.
In 1996, he became director of Christian School Resources area of LifeWay Christian Resources and began writing "Kingdom Education: Gods Plan for Educating Future Generations," first published in 1998.
The book, revised in 2003, has sold more than 30,000 copies to a mostly Christian school market.