All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17
If you Google ‘Pillars of Christian faith,’ you will find that you come up with dozens of different search results. There are more pillars of Christianity than a Greek architect would know what to do with! There are the ‘Seven Pillars of the Church,’ the ‘Ten Pillars of Christianity,’ the ‘Five Pillars of Faith,’ and it goes on. It’s interesting that of all the many pillars you can find, there seems to be one noticeable pillar that’s missing – the pillar of Christian education. I’d like to contend that without this pillar in place, there is a real danger that the whole work of the Church becomes vulnerable to the secular thinking of those who have had a secular education and who literally put their faith in the public education system.
Christian education is without question a necessary and vital pillar in the Church of Jesus Christ. It’s a key element, in my mind, of discipleship. If Jesus wants us to ‘Go into all the world and make disciples,’ then Christian education has a non-negotiable role to play.
The continuity of the Church and the Christian faith is reliant on all those in positions of responsibility. Pastors, parents, and leaders are there to teach and impart their faith to the next generation, yet so many in the Church are blind to the obvious Biblical principle of passing the baton to our children. Christian education has been overlooked, or worse still, rejected and dismissed as unimportant, and through this neglect, so many of the next generation are being lost unnecessarily.
The problem is that many in the Church see education as a secular issue and not one for the Church to bother about. They see the public education system as the pathway to a successful future, as a route to higher education and a good career – especially seeing as as home schooling or starting a Christian learning centre is hard work and very time consuming! Education is best left to the professionals; after all we pay our taxes for the state to school our children, don’t we?
Many in the Church see Christian education as second class, something at the margins, and a poor alternative for the education of their children. For that view alone, we will pay a heavy price.
The missing pillar of Christian education may not bring the edifice, that is the church, crashing down immediately, but it will seriously weaken the structure. As a young boy I remember having a children’s picture Bible showing Samson bringing the pillars down and causing the building to collapse on the Philistines. It’s a sobering thought that we could do the same thing to ourselves if we don’t take Christian education seriously.