Understanding the Church’s Role in Kingdom Education, cont.

When we refer to kingdom education, we are including all of the above. As we do, we are attempting to avoid a dualistic approach that makes a distinction between religious education and that which is not religious. The kingdom of God includes light and darkness. It includes the kingdom general areas of life and the kingdom special areas. For example: mathematics would be a kingdom general discipline and Bible study would be a kingdom special activity. While our attempt is to talk about kingdom education as our paradigm, we will have to learn all of God’s truth, from both general and special revelation. That paradigm includes how that is done plus the relationships necessary to make it effective in its mission.

We should be careful in discussing Christian education lest we fail to distinguish at which level or from which perspective we are speaking. While every aspect of Christian education should be biblical, i.e. consistent with the Word of God, there is a broader aspect of Christian education than biblical data which I why we prefer Kingdom education as our nomenclature.

Within the kingdom of God model, which represents both the broad (general) and the special definition or we could say, the formal and informal approach to Christian education, God is the ruler and the sovereign over all.

Within His all encompassing kingdom there are various spheres o areas over which He rules as Lord. As Abraham Kuyper and later Carl Henry were famous for saying, there is not any area of life over which Christ has not said “mine.”

A second aspect of kingdom education is that it is all inclusive in its subject matter. The church has a primary role of teaching God’s special revelation in a way that will enhance, encourage, and implement the learning process from a whole life perspective. While the church focuses its teaching primarily on the Word of God, because of the church’s centrality within the kingdom, it must teach the Bible in manner that demonstrates Christ’s sovereignty and Kingship over his kingdom and the source of all truth. Actually the church, along with the family and the school, are to see the wholeness of God’s truth. For example: The Bible is not intended to be a textbook on mathematics or science but what is taught, studied, and learned in those areas must correlate to or not contradict wha God’s word teaches, thereby giving us in God’s Word a foundational base for al learning.

By “the kingdom” I mean the rule and reign of the sovereign God over all things. Presently, it is a spiritual vs. a geographical rule and reign. This present concept of the kingdom foreshadows the final stage of the kingdom initiated with the return of Jesus Christ the King at which time the kingdom will not only encompass the spiritual domain but will also be realized as a place, called the new heavens and new earth, rev. 21.

Also, we understand from God’s revelation in the scriptures, while the kingdom of God encompasses all things, the church has a special but restricted spiritual mission to make kingdom disciples by teaching people to observe and live obediently in all things and in all areas of life that Christ has commanded. It is restricted in the sense of mission and assignment. unlike the church’s role, the kingdom of God includes the public square and every other area of life. This means that Christianity is the religion of the kingdom including the church, but as a religion, Christianity is broader than the institutional church. The church is the body of Christ, an organized organism, according to the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. The term institutional church refers to the organization of that body. In early America when reference was made and correctly understood, church and state separation referred to the organized or institutional church. The Westminster Divines, who authored the famous Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, indicated only two areas in which the organized church should enter the broader kingdom realm, as far as rule and politics are concerned. one allowance is proactive while the other is reactive. This is spelled out in chapter 31 of the WCF: “synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way humble petition in cases extraordinary; or by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”

Originally, the phraseology “church and state separation” did not mean a separation of state and religion. rather it meant the organized or institutional church and the state.

The contention is that if there had been a biblical understanding of the kingdom of God, the church and the state tensions, schisms, and confusions could have been avoided or at least more clearly understood. By the way, that is not directed simply to those who are not part of Christianity or the church. What has happened due to a lack of kingdom world and life view perspective is that Christians have embraced a dualistic philosophy that characterizes-western culture which separates the natural from the supernatural, faith from fact, the secular from the sacred, the spiritual and the natural, the secular from the religious. How that tends to play out in the above scenario suggests that religion belongs to the supernatural realm. Things like politics and science belong to the natural realm. Values and beliefs belong to the upper spiritual realm while science, fact, and history belong to the lower natural realm and never should the two meet. How this has played out, especially in American history, has created much confusion. Does the institutional church become involved in the political realm or does the church remain silent about political and social issues?

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