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Stepping Stones

Chapter 3
A Christian Worldview as a Basis for Curriculum
Outline
Introduction
The Creation Mandate (Gen 1:28, 2:15)
The Great Commandment (Mat 22:37-39)
The Great Commision
Worldviews, Values, and Schooling
Values and the Curriculum
Biblical Values and the Curriculum
Notes
Introduction

The starting point of this view is that God governs all things in His
sovereignty and faithfulness. Further, all knowledge depends on God's
revelation. God reveals Himself in creation, in Scripture, and in Jesus
Christ.
Worldview is a comprehensive framework of basic convictions about life.
Worldviews embrace what we believe about the nature and purpose of
reality, human beings, knowledge, and life in society. Our framework of
ultimate beliefs (even if we hold them implicitly) plays a decisive role in
how we view and live our lives.
A Christian worldview is shaped by God's revelation in His Word: His Word
in creation, His Word in the Bible, and His Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ. He
also provides us with the norms or values (love, faithfulness, compassion,
righteousness, integrity, justice, responsible, stewardship, and peace) for
human culture and society that enable and call us to be His coworkers in
carrying on His work.
Sin distorts all of human life Sin is foreign to God's order for creation,
and it is only through Christ's death that redemption and restoration have
become possible.
Task of Christians is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ They do
so by discipline others and by calling and working for a restoration of all
aspects of culture according to God's creation norms. Christians recognize,
at the same time, that God's creation will be restored fully only when
Christ returns.
Three mandates creation mandate, the Great Commandment, the Great
Commission
o All three mandates require us to seek first God's Kingdom and its
justice and righteousness. All call us to conform to the image of
Christ in all of life. All instruct us to reach out to others and to this
world with the power of the gospel. And all challenge us to

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understand, evaluate, and transform the world from the foundation
of God's unchanging values.
Four basic worldview question (and rephrase for curriculum planning)
o Who and where am I? What are the nature, task, and purpose of
human beings? What is the nature of the world and universe I live
in? [creation] (What is God's intention for the particular area of
creation or culture that we will investigate?)
o What has gone wrong? Why do we personally and as a society fall
far short of perfection? Where do pain and evil come from? [fall]
(How has this purpose been distorted by the effects of human
disobedience and sin? How have humans deviated from God's
original intent?)
o What is the remedy? Where do we find answers to the human
plight? [redemption that enables us to work toward
restoration] (How does God want us to respond? Are there ways in
which we can, through Christ's work of redemption, restore, at least
in part, the love, righteousness)
o What does the future hold? Where do we find our hope?
[fulfillment in a new heaven and a new earth] (How can we
help our students develop a deeper understanding of, experience
in, and commitment to a Christian way of life? How can we instill in
them a sense of hope, strength, and courage despite the many
problems and struggles we face?)
The Creation Mandate (Genesis 1:28, 2:15)

God created the truth; all truth us Gods truth


The Creation Mandate calls Christians to be involved in forming culture.
We therefore plan a curriculum that challenges students to explore how
they may work at and call for more biblical direction in the structures and
practices of society.
We help our students sense that God calls them to be His servants in His
world. We invite them to be stewards of the God-given gifts within and
around them. Our students learn about, use, and value mathematical,
physical, and biological entities and theories. They also experience how
God-given norms can promote love, integrity, and justice in
communication, economics, social interaction, the arts, government and
law, and family life. We encourage students to be and become committed
to and involved in Kingdom service.
The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39)

Combine Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18


Love agape
o It is self-sacrificial love, love even for the unlovable. Agape love
embodies a total commitment, a deliberately chosen, faith-based
devotion. It consumes all our strength: strength of conviction,
strength of character, and strength of will. And it includes our whole
mind: to love God, we need to have the mind of Christ.
o Love is the key to being transformed by the renewing of our minds
so that we no longer conform to the pattern of this world (Romans
12:2)

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The Great Commandment means that teachers strive for a classroom that
is a loving community based on shared values, one where we bear with
each other in love and use our unique gifts for building up the whole
community (unfolds their gifts for service to others, shares each others
burdens, and bring shalom or unity)
o Teachers care and pray for their students and help them be and
become what God wants them to be.
o Teachers encourage students to use their minds to the best of their
ability in service to and love for God and neighbor, and to develop
the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
o Teachers promote constructive and fair relationships. They
implement strategies for conflict resolution based on repentance,
recompense, forgiveness, and mutual respect.
o Rather than insisting on personal rights, teachers and students
together observe personal and communal gratitude for God's gift of
grace.
o Praise and thankfulness are built into the curriculum. The school
celebrates students' diverse gifts.
o Students engage in learning activities in which they help and
support classmates.
o Teachers set high but realistic expectations for all members of the
school community. Assessment practices treat students fairly and
help them improve their learning.
o Teachers trust their students with meaningful responsibilities while
holding them accountable for agreed-upon commitments.
o Curriculum content deals with issues in our society in which agape
love can make a difference. It deals with the effects of sin in society,
but it also proclaims hope in the future because God is faithful
forever (Psalm 146).
o The school arranges for service projects through which students
practice love for neighbor.
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus enjoins us to make disciples (not just converts) of all nations (not
just individuals). Disciples are people who base their thinking, words, and
deeds on the principles Jesus taught us. If an entire nation recognizes what
it means to serve God, the resulting conditions will set the stage for a
more loving, just, and joyful implementation of God's mandates.
A community enabled by the Spirit to live in Christ will challenge both
individuals and the powers and principalities (e.g., the structures of
society such as global consumerism). Both our words and our deeds can
then promote justice and peace, though we need to remember that no
human endeavor is free from the corrupting power of sin. Our words are
empty unless our daily activities reflect them in all our involvements
Teachers who realize the importance of the Great Commission will model a
lifestyle, design units, choose resources and literary selections, and
structure their assignments so that students will learn "everything I have
commanded you." Their goal is that their students, in turn, as part of the
Christ-community, will "go and make disciples of all nations."

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o Make clear that our whole life and being depend on our relationship
with God (Acts 17:28). Teachers are to take opportunities to lead
students to a personal relationship with God when students ask
questions about the source of hope and peace.
o Model lives of joyful obedience so that their students, too, will begin
to understand what it means to put their lives into God's hands.
o Recognize Christ's authority and presence in the classroom, and
therefore cherish and promote the fruit of the Spirit compassion,
self-sacrifice, justice, righteousness, and truthfulness.
o Choose curriculum content that reveals how people have responded
obediently and disobediently to God's mandates. To understand the
influence of sin and explore Christian responses, teachers
sometimes discuss controversial, anti-Christian materials, such as
modern rock music videos. This helps students avoid blithely
accepting what they read, hear, and see; and apply Christian
principles to personal and societal life issues.
o Examine with students the Kingdom norms that Christ taught us
together with their implications for our society. They help their
students investigate, at an appropriate level, what it means to be
ambassadors of Christ wherever God puts us.
Worldviews, Values, and Schooling

Three major influences in western society:


o First, technology has led to an economy that requires humans to
consume at an ever-increasing rate. At the same time, it gives the
false impression that persons can control their own lives and their
own destinies.
o Second, the media promote individualistic pleasure, often as
dictated by large corporations seeking to maximize profit.
o Third, postmodernism (including constructivism in education)
advances the idea that values are relative to each individual.
These influences have produced several frameworks that will lead into
educational worldview. Education always involves initiation and
socialization into a way of life.
o Since persons are autonomous and good, they deserve a
comfortable, exciting, and happy life. Happiness results from
material things.
o There are no transcendent values based on a source outside of self.
Persons have the right and freedom to do as they please.
o A common ethos formed by one's heritage and community is
unimportant.
o Authority is to be tolerated only when convenient. Violence may be
used to resolve conflict.
o Families with a mother and a father are unusual, and family
relationships are superficial at best.
As Christian teachers:
o We strive to foster values that help students become loving and
principled persons
o We need carefully define the broad spectrum of values embedded in
a Christian worldview

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o We need to oppose the notion that values are to be pursued just for
our own betterment or self-interest
Values and the Curriculum

The values embedded in the curriculum are rooted in particular


worldviews.
Thomas Lickonas suggestion for teaching values
o Implement explicit plans for developing students' sense of
responsibility, including planned homeroom discussions and service
projects.
o Encourage thoughtfulness and ethical sensitivity (e.g., During an
egg incubation project, is it right to open an egg each week to
monitor the embryonic developments of the chicks, even though
that kills the embryo?).
o As a teacher, combine high expectations with high support for your
students.
o In literature have students analyze moral strengths and weaknesses
of the characters. Choose selections that promote respect and
responsibility.
o In social studies discuss questions of social justice, ways to better
one's community or country, as well as actual moral dilemmas
faced by historical figures.
o Design science lessons on the need for precise and truthful
reporting of data.
o In mathematics have students research and plot morally significant
social trends.
o Involve parents in the curriculum through home activities in which
families discuss stories that involve moral situations or in which
children interview parents about value-related issues.
Biblical Values and the Curriculum

The starting point in considering values is that the Bible as God's


revelation is the ultimate source of values for Christians
Schools ought to nurture shalom, the biblical peace, justice, and
righteousness that heals and restores broken relations with God, with
other humans, with self, with other creatures, and with nature.
While schools foster the love and justice undergirding shalom,
nevertheless, they should also provide room for students to explore and
develop their own value framework and its implications.
Some key biblical based values
o Spiritual: faith, devotion, piety, holiness
o Moral: honesty, integrity, respect for truth, responsibility
o Political/legal: respect for authority, lawfulness, justice, peace,
balance of personal and communal rights and responsibilities
o Economic: responsible stewardship, compassion for the poor and
disadvantaged
o Social: respect for others, cooperation, trusting and unselfish
relations, kindness, trustworthiness, upholding marriage and family
as sacred covenants
o Language/communication: authenticity, meaningfulness, clarity

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o Analytic/logical: validity, discernment, respect for the life of the
mind
o Aesthetic: creativity, expressiveness, beauty
o Psychological: emotional balance, sensitivity to others, self-control,
perseverance, prudential courage
o Physical health: physical wellness, vitality, coordination
o Biological and physical: respect and thankfulness for life and
physical things; precision in observation, good judgment in
interpretation
o Mathematical: accuracy, precision, responsible use of numbers and
space