As you may know, Spring Branch Academy is a Christian high school sponsored by our church. It has an ambitious curriculum and aims to prepare students for their life vocations by instilling wisdom and inspiring worship. That is our heart! These things you may know, but do you know why a church would have a school?
Personally, I’m hesitant to promote Christian education with negative reasons—not because these reasons aren’t true, but because they’re not enough. Yes, the public schools have a God-less curriculum (literally!), and yes, the youth culture and its social media can be toxic, but surely we can aim for goals higher than merely protecting our kids. After all, what is the point of protection, if we have no higher purpose to protect them for?
Ultimately, we want them to live free lives in Christ and for Christ. To do so, we aim primarily at their personal liberation through “the sacred writings, which are able to make [them] wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). We love the Bible and use the Bible in class. We teach twelve courses in Theology to show students why and how they can trust this Book and its Author in everything, including language, society, marriage, finances, parenting, history, and salvation. We also seek to love each student and their family. At its heart, our Christian school is an extension of our pastoral ministry to families.
Granted, but math? Greek? What do such things have to do with our spiritual lives?
To live free lives, we need empowerment. Anyone of us are “free” to dunk a basketball, but few are us are empoweredto do it. We want our students empowered to do all that Christ has called them to do in this world for His glory, and to do that, our school makes use of the liberal arts—literally, the skills (arts) necessary for free men.
Just think of our Bible. What is necessary to understand it? Well, in the Reformation, William Tyndale knew it needed to be translated from Greek into English in order for every plowboy in England to read it for himself. Empowerment! But is that it? Martin Luther knew that the biblical languages were the sheath for housing the sword of the Spirit, and therefore, he encouraged the German princes to sponsor schools. Extending his metaphor, we might say that knowing English well is necessary for understanding an English Bible. One half of the liberal arts empowers students in the skills of language through training in grammar, logical argument, and rhetorical forms of speech, especially poetry.
The other half of the liberal arts empowers students to listen to God’s other “book,” the world of nature, a world formed by the same divine word and obedient to His laws (Psalm 119:89-91). To speak this language, students must speak math, the language of science. If it is God who teaches the farmer how to farm as part of His wondrous counsel (Isaiah 28:23-29), then true science learned and applied from the book of nature is also part of His glory. We want students to be empowered in both books as free individuals in Christ. All truth is God’s truth!
Do you see? What an opportunity would be missed if we only focused on what a Christian school keeps students from, without thanking God for what a Christian school prepares students for. God be praised! Thank you for sponsoring a school and making it available for our families, as well as our country and this community.