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As we continue to watch the unimaginable unfold before our eyes in our world, I do not think the importance of Christian education can be overstated

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Aaron MapesIt is no exaggeration to state that this is a critical and defining cultural moment. If we do not get this right, it will have a reverberating effect for generations to come. We are standing on a precipice where the very notion of truth is at stake and a war for the minds of our children and young adults is taking place.

A little over a year ago, we felt compelled to start inviting students into our home on Thursday nights for the purpose of discipleship. We call it Veritas, which is Latin for "truth." It has been an incredibly fruitful time, and the main focus is Jesus and equipping young adults to understand the Bible, their identity, their purpose, and to equip them with a biblical worldview at this critical time in their life. As we continue to watch the unimaginable unfold before our eyes in our world, I do not think the importance of Christian education can be overstated. Here are a few reasons why parents and the church need to rethink the importance role of biblical education in worldview formation in a post-truth world.

Truth

Truth itself is being called into question, and objective truth is being rejected by our culture in favor of "your" truth and "my" truth. However, Jesus tells us plainly that He is the truth (John 14:6). He doesn't just proclaim it, he embodies and personifies it. All truth has its origin in Jesus. Paul tells us, in Colossians 2:3, about Jesus: "...in whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." These are profound statements, which tell us plainly that in order to start from a position of truth and in order to obtain the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, we must start with Christ himself. Math has its foundation in Jesus. Science has its foundation in Jesus. Social studies, language art and humanities all have their foundation in Jesus. It stands to reason, therefore, that any system that rejects God is starting from a faulty foundation, and its entire structure will be at risk of failure and collapse. We are watching this unfold daily. Is it any wonder chaos has overflowed into all aspects of society, including our schools? To reject Jesus is to reject truth. Postmodernism proclaims there is no truth, but Jesus proclaims I AM THE TRUTH. Only Christian education can make this claim objectively, and God himself tells us that He is that source of all truth because He is truth.

Identity

Our culture is facing a profound identity crisis. While many parents are perplexed by this (both Christian and non-Christian alike), they are powerless apart from Christ to address this crisis. Many parents are stunned to hear that students are not just struggling with gender identity, but some are taking on all kinds of alternative identities from animals to inanimate objects. While it may seem incomprehensible to some, this is the scourge of postmodernism. It is precisely what the Bible tells us will happen in Romans 1 when the worship of the Creator (God) is exchanged for worship of the creation (self). Not only do we have an identity through Jesus, it is so much better than anything in this world. Our students need an authentic sense of identity that is rooted in Christ and our identity conferred upon as Children of God. Only a Christian education comes alongside churches and parents to help students understand their identity, their world and their place in it.

Purpose

Coming to an understanding of our identity gives us a profound sense of purpose. Christians are not living for this life, their citizenship is in heaven, and they have been given a distinct purpose. So many people spend decades trying with little success and asking the question, "Why am I here?" People who lack purpose struggle in all areas of life. Jesus, however, gives us the greatest purpose of all -- to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, to know Him and to make Him known. Most of us are probably familiar with the Great Mandate in Matthew 28:19, but my favorite version is actually from John 20:21: "As the Father sent me, even so I send you." Christians already have a God-given purpose and a Christ-given mandate. We are a "sent" people, regardless of our individual role, location, etc. Only a Christian education comes alongside churches and parents to help students understand their purpose and to challenge them to think from that perspective.

Discipleship

Children spend the majority of their day in a classroom and each day, that time is being used to construct their worldview. The most recent research tells us that worldview formation largely happens by age 12 for most students. An important example of this is that the majority of people who come to faith in Christ do so before the age of 12. This has important implications for every child and every family. Our children are being discipled every single day whether we are consciously aware of it or not. There is a worldly system and activist culture that is working overtime to disciple our kids into its faulty ideas of identity and is competing for their minds, hearts and souls. This is a matter of life and death, and we have a choice whether or not we send our students to be discipled for eight hours a day by that system or whether we provide them something better and rooted in truth. We should not be surprised when we send our children to be educated by Rome and they come back as Romans. If we want them to be Christians and disciples, we need to educate them in all things with Christ as the foundation and especially in the critical years of worldview formation. Only Christian education comes alongside to daily reinforce that worldview and intentionally help students see and understand what they are learning through a biblical lens and framework.

Parents and churches face a monumental task, but it is not an optional one. Only Christian education comes in partnership with parents and churches to build strong, stable students and disciples who are equipped for life in a post-modern world. It is imperative that we focus on a deep understanding of the Bible and constructing a worldview that informs everything students are learning. Our job as parents, churches and educators is to prepare them with an excellent education and how it relates to the Word of God, the Church and the Great Commission. If we seek His Kingdom first, everything else will be added unto us. Math will be added unto us. Science will be added unto us. Social Studies will be added unto us. Language will be added unto us. Our students will be given everything they need if they are given Christ above all, and their impact on the world will come as they enter life with a firm sense of purpose and identity that is founded squarely on the one who personifies truth. Churches, parents and communities around our nation must take ownership of the education of our kids so that ANY family can have the support and access to education rooted in truth. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise." (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Aaron Mapes is the lead pastor at First Assembly of God. He can be reached at 541-447-7254.


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