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The book “Christian Education: Its Mandate and Mission” is a collection of booklets that had been periodically published over a period of ten years. The main motivation behind the drafting and publishing of the booklets that would later be compiled in a book was to offer a philosophical justification and direction to the providers of educational materials for the children at the various educational levels subject to a directive to the Christian school movement.
It also serves as a response to the confusion that existed in regards to the methods of Christian education. There was confusion on whether the adopted approach was biblically justified and permissible and whether that compares to the secular education. All this was done in the face of a threat of legal action by the government. Its objective therefore is to offer a distinction between the Christian education and the secular form of education. It provides the reasoning behind the separation of Christian teaching and form of education and the secular world’s form of education.
It takes a stand on the incompatibility between these two forms of education and justifies this stand in the form of a legal defense in favor of the Christian education. It acknowledges the existence of fraudsters who commercialize the concept of Christian education. In response to this problem, the book perpetrates guidance drawn from biblical teaching breaking down the opinions stands and justifications into three parts. The first part discusses the rationale while the second part discusses the various methods available to Christian educators. The last part breaks down the application of these methods in the various fields of interest.
This book benefits from the input of consultative authorship being a product of an investigative permanent committee specifically appointed to look into the issues it addresses. The committee comprised professionals and persons of interest from a variety of disciplines therefore; the book bears an informed opinion.
The book begins by offering a step-by-step analysis of the various concepts definitions and interpretations necessary for any person engaging in Christian education. The interpretation of the various terminologies gives the reader a good foundation from which the various concepts will be laid out. The first chapter gives an outline of the philosophy of Christian education in the form of concept-by-concept explanation with references from the bible and its teachings.
This chapter offers a comparison between the general definition of phenomenon in education and the biblical position on these definitions citing the authorities in the bible. The second chapter guides the reader through the methodologies that best comply with the teachings and concepts of Christianity. The last chapter discusses the various fields of high school education and the application of the Christian based teaching to these subjects.
The book uses simple and easy to understand language which appeals to any reader. The author has a consistent flow of argument and critique. The arguments are supported with statements from the bible as well as real life application of the opinions and statements. The book offers a short conclusion that summarizes the arguments made taking keen interest in the legal aspects as well as the procedural and structural elements of delivery of Christian education.
This book is relevant to modern and postmodern education society especially in reference to its methodology and philosophy. These are rather constant aspects of education that can be referred to at any such time.
The statements made in the last part are majorly theoretical and for the most part, they are applicable to specific situations only as opposed to a conventional guideline to these classifications of knowledge. The chapter also makes conflicting categorization of element of various subjects. For example, it makes a contradictory discussion of music alongside speech which is totally different fields.
The outline of the book in the last part which forms the greater part of the book1 subscribes to a specific secondary curriculum. The curriculum is bound to change from time to time to accommodate new advancement in knowledge and fields of interest. The book also seems to restrict the possible interpretation of phenomenon and therefore seems to justify Christian education based on a specific school of thought in relation to the association between education and learning as compared to gathering information.
It goes on to dismiss the importance of a blend between the secular system of learning and the Christian in a manner that conforms to Christian teaching and abides by the laws of education as required by the government. As such, the resources and facilities supporting both Christian and government systems of education are required to abide by the secular standards of quality education for the purpose and measure of social, economic, political and spiritual development.
The level of engagement of the discussions on the various subjects in the last chapter is minimalist in nature and do not comprehensively discuss the basis of religious conviction and support for this opinion. Its conclusions are justified true but to a great extent impractical in certain setups, especially those that have limitation in resource or restriction in government practice law and policy. It also claims to represent the fundamentalist protestant belief however, it does not exclusively represent this opinion and stand.
The bible alludes to the lack of knowledge as the cause of sin and un-Christ like living. It is the quest for knowledge that caused the fall of man in the book of Genesis Chapter 3. It is apparent that God understood the potential harm that knowledge information and education can cause. From that time on, we were granted the capacity to perceive intellectually but we remain fools to spiritual knowledge.
Therefore, our minds are impaired by sin and cannot be trusted. The book offers guidance on the various methods of managing the manner in which information is disseminated to us as Christians taking keen consideration on those that draw us closer to Christ and leaving out those things that push us away from Christ. Jesus grew in stature and wisdom during his growth and development. He entrusted himself to the priests at the temple to challenge and sharpen his knowledge of the matters of the spirit. In this example the book proposes that a shepherd of sheep cannot keep a heard of sheep in the same field as a pack of wolves. He can only be a shepherd of one at a time.
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This book appeals to the ideals of society as instilled by the institutions of learning. It also condemns educational enterprises which offer the wrong teachings in the name of Christian learning. The bible is clear that it condemns this kind of behavior. Jesus took action against fraudsters in the temple by whipping them and summarily dismissing them from the church. It is therefore a resourceful guide to all Christians.
Horton, Ronald A. 1992. Christian Education: Its Mandate and Mission. Greenville: SC, BJ Press.
- (Horton, Ronald 1992, iii).