As published in The Citizens of 2/27/2011
By Pastor George van Popta
In the previous issue of The Citizens, Chris van Popta wrote about our calling to live as prophets, confessing Christ in all the economies of life, which includes the gaining of knowledge. I would like to follow this up, addressing the topic of how Reformed education specifically facilitates the knowledge-gaining aspect of our calling to be prophets.
A school that is circumscribed by the Reformed confession is especially well-placed to teach our children to live prophetically since it will help them to gain the correct knowledge of God, of themselves, and of the world and history in which they live and move.
The Reformed confession speaks about the transcendent God who is far above his creation, who has created all things and, in his providence, sustains them. But it also speaks about the immanent God who has come near to us in his Word, and in the fullness of time, in his Son Jesus Christ, and then even in the person of the Holy Spirit. Education that is informed by this belief in, and understanding of, God will communicate to the children the same knowledge about God that the church and our homes transmit. The student educated in a Reformed context will be encouraged prophetically to confess the Name of this transcendent and immanent God.
The Reformed confession speaks about man. It speaks about the original dignity of man whom God created in his own image and with whom God entered into covenant. It speaks about how man fell into sin and under the wrath of God, and about how depravity has crept into every part of man, also into his ability to learn and understand.
The Reformed confession speaks about how God sets us free from sin by the blood of Christ and regenerates us by the Spirit of Christ, calling us to live in covenant with Him. Education founded upon the Word and encircled by the Reformed confession is a very good context for children to develop their understanding of the effects of the fall on all of human life and the efficacy of the Holy Spirit in turning back the consequences of sin. Reformed education understands well what man was, what man became, and what he is called to be.
Reformed education will impart a Biblical understanding of the world in which we live. A Reformed school will teach that God is the creator of all things, that the world belongs to him, and that we are stewards. As the image of God, the children will be taught how to work with what God has given us in this world.
Reformed education also shows the student that God is the Lord of world history. He is bringing the history of this world along, according to his sovereign and good plan, to its perfect conclusion. In the mean time, we are to work in the world and in history for as long as the Lord gives us time.
The Reformed confession is essential to good education. It endeavours to show the student that God is both transcendent and immanent. It helps the pupils understand themselves as people saved by grace and in covenant with God. It gives them the tools to be conscious of the world in which they live and of the movement of the history man occupies. It helps them to be prophets equipped with right knowledge.