The Ephesians 4 Project: Article XII
Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ's people.
In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
Unifying Principles of Article XII
One of the distinguishing marks of being a Southern Baptist has been the emphasis placed on the necessity of Christian education. The Baptist Faith and Message puts forth a clearly unified statement on the importance of education and its co-ordinated connection with “missions and general benevolence.”
Here I would like to offer to disclaimers for Southern Baptists. One, we are right to emphasize Christian education in our churches, theological schools, and missions, but we must be sure that these educational pursuits are hinged with lots of accountability. It’s easy to assume that people are being educated in the ways of the Lord when they’re not. Two, we are right to ask churches for their “liberal support,” but not for the sole purpose of pouring multi-billion dollars into the building of elaborate American church/seminary facilities when simple facilities will do just fine and when Christians in foreign lands are in such great need of assistance.
Despite any disagreement with these disclaimers, Southern Baptists agree that Christian education is crucial for the edification of the church of God.
For His Glory,
Education has been one of the ways Christianity has generally benefitted the world. Wherever the gospel has gone, education has gone with it, raising up that culture out of ignorance and superstition. Even in our own nation, just think about how many colleges and universities were begun by Christians. Even my undergraduate alma mater Hanover College began in such a way. Unfortunately, most of these institution have broken away from their Christian beginnings, but nevertheless, Christianity worked to elevate society through education.
Honestly, I never really had put much thinking into this article of the BF&M, but I'm really glad it's in there. Thanks for drawing my attention to it!