- I. GOD IS THE SOVEREIGN CREATOR OF ALL THINGS
- II. THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD WRITTEN, INSPIRED AND INFALLIBLE, THE ONLY AUTHORITATIVE GUIDE FOR FAITH AND LIFE
- III. HUMAN BEINGS ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
- IV. HUMAN BEINGS ARE STEWARDS OF THE EARTH
- V. MANKIND IS FALLEN IN SIN, AND HAS BROUGHT THE CREATION ITSELF UNDER SIN’S BONDAGE
- VI. REDEMPTION IN JESUS CHRIST EXTENDS TO THE WHOLE OF CREATION
- VII. KNOWING IS DOING
- VIII. TEACHING IS MODELING
- IX. THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF EDUCATION IS DISCIPLESHIP
- X. SCHOOL, CHURCH AND HOME HAVE RELATED, BUT SEPARATE, RESPONSIBILITIES
God called all creation into being by His Word. His creating Word holds all of reality in existence continually. Both visible things, such as the chemical composition of a rock, and invisible things, such as the relationships of people in society, are created by Him. All things function as they do because God’s Word is living and powerful to sustain them. Therefore all of creation speaks of God and reveals Him.
When we study any aspect of God’s world, we are looking at the way in which God’s Word holds together that aspect of the creation. Because we are dealing with the relationship between God and His creation, learning is a sacred task.
We reject, therefore, any form of dualism, which would divide human life into separate realms, a spiritual realm and a natural realm. We confess rather that all of human life is profoundly religious, being a service either to the one true God, or to some false god.
We reject also the view that any part of God’s creation is inherently sinful or secular. We confess rather that the earth and all its fullness belong to the Lord. He made His whole creation good. God made humanity responsible for working the creation in a way that brings glory to Himself. All aspects of God’s good creation are open to our investigation, learning and action, so long as these take place in subjection to God’s authority.
Though the creation comes to us in many aspects, yet it is one creation. To study any aspect in isolation, as if it were a thing in itself, is to violate the order of creation. The detailed study of any aspect enlarges and enriches our understanding of the whole. No academic discipline can be independent or self-sufficient. The unity of creation demands of us an integrated or wholistic understanding.
God’s revelation of Himself comes to us in at least three ways: in the creation itself, in Scripture, and in Jesus Christ. However, God’s revelation in the structure of creation can be understood only in the light of His written Word. We reject the idea that the study of the Bible is “added on” or “applied” to a branch of study that is otherwise independent or religiously neutral. Scripture is foundational to all study and learning because it provides the framework of understanding without which our learning is certain to go astray.
Therefore, though there is an important place for separate biblical studies in the Christian school, biblical study may not be limited to such classes. The study of Scripture must lie at the foundation of every course taught, every policy formulated, and every action taken in every operation of the school. The Scriptures must be allowed to set the limits and the guidelines within which all true knowledge is to be sought. The Bible, however, is not a textbook of any of the branches of human knowledge, as if it were written in the language of our academic disciplines.
Mankind is distinguished from every other order of creation by this: that we are made in the image and likeness of God. We are created to act on God’s behalf in His creation, and in all things to respond obediently to Him. The meaning of human life is therefore bound up on mankind’s responsibility and accountability to God.
This view of life stands in opposition to any system of thought that would make human thought the creator of meaning or value. It opposes also any system of thought which makes humanity to be the chance product of an impersonal nature, or which in any other way reduces the uniqueness of the creation of mankind or denies that mankind is made in God’s image.
In every aspect of life, human beings bear God’s image. The image of God is not a thing which we possess. We are, in the fullness of our being, made in God’s image. We reject the idea that the image of God is to be identified with any of the aspects of human life, whether rationality or creativity or any other. No one aspect of life may be elevated above the others as being “more God-like.”
Because human beings are created in God’s image, every person is of inestimable worth, and deserves to be treated with love and respect. No difference of race, ability, sex, creed, status, class or anything else, can make one human being of greater or lesser worth than another.
The child, as one who bears the image of God, is to be nurtured in a path of willing obedience to God. Learning about God and His creation calls for a response from the heart. Our educational theory therefore must recognize that the child is an active participant in the learning process. Parents and teachers can cultivate growth, but they cannot create a product. Though there are many educational theories from which we can learn, we must not rely on any which denies the responsibility of the person for his/her choices. We can provide guidance, but must encourage growth in responsibility.
The child is deserving of respect as one who bears God’s image. The process of growth and maturation is part of God’s good creation. Our educational theory must take into account the developmental stages of the child’s life, and our educational practice must reflect the growth process. The more the child matures, the better able he/she is to understand his/her responsibilities, the less extrinsic measures of accountability should be emphasized.
As an image-bearer of God, each child is uniquely gifted and called into God’s service. Whether those gifts appear to be small or great, they must be fostered and nurtured. Provision must be made for students of all levels of ability to make maximal use of the gifts they have been given. Whether the student’s abilities and interests are leading toward further education or toward a more immediate vocation, the opportunity to learn and grow in the context of a Christian view of life and the world must be provided.
In the beginning, God entrusted the care of the earth to mankind, His image-bearers. God’s command to subdue the earth and have dominion over it, repeated as the command to cultivate and to protect the creation, expresses the fundamental relationship of mankind to the rest of the creation. We reject any view that would make any part of the world our exclusive possession, to do with as we please. We confess rather that we hold everything we have in trust from God, to be used for His glory and for the service of others. We reject also the idea that human beings are intruders in an otherwise well-balanced creation, confessing rather that mankind was created to play an integral role in the creation as its stewards.
Mankind was placed in the creation with a task to perform, to cultivate the earth and to protect it. Work was a part of human life from the beginning. We, therefore, reject the view that work is a punishment for our sinfulness while at the same time we recognize that what was intended to be joyous service to God has become burdensome toil because of sin. We confess that in spite of the ravages of sin, humanity still bears the God-given task of exercising God’s dominion over the earth. We confess further that only in Jesus Christ can we be restored to the place where we can take up that task in a way that is obedient and honoring to God. We are to work, not as those who seek to beat the creation into submission, but as those who serve God and the creation as stewards for Him.
As stewards of the creation, we are under the authority of God. All human authority is a delegation of God’s authority, to be exercised in obedience to His will, for the benefit of those under authority. The responsibility of those under authority to obey may never be used as an excuse for the abuse of authority, nor may the failures of those in authority, be seized upon as an excuse for disobedience. In the Christian school, as in every aspect of the life of the body of Christ, there is to be a mutual submission to one another, and a common submission to the authority of God.
We confess that sin is now a fundamental reality of human life. Because of mankind’s rebellion against God, we have become alienated from God, from the creation, from other persons, and even from ourselves. Though sin has clouded mankind’s ability to act as God’s representatives in the creation, we reject the view that sin has destroyed the image of God.
We live in, and learn about, a creation that has been deeply touched by sin. Sin and sorrow, disease and death, failure and brokenness, have become part of us and of our surroundings. In our learning, we may not pretend that sin is not real, nor may we refuse to examine the world in its brokenness. The school has a responsibility to help students confront the world as it is and respond obediently to Christ, the redeemer of that sinful world, in the midst of brokenness.
Learning itself is not a consequence of sin, but a God-given responsibility. We learn because we are human, not because we are sinful. However, sin has warped and distorted mankind’s understanding of the world. Every human system of thought is bound to be correct in some respects, because nothing, not even a system of thought, can exist unless it is grounded in the reality of God’s creation. But every system of thought not grounded in Christ is also bound to be false in its ultimate meaning and direction, because sin has separated mankind and human thinking from God who is the ground of meaning. Furthermore, even our best attempts to respond obediently to God in our thinking and learning are prone to error and sin. Therefore we must never elevate the products of our learning to the status of absolute truth, which is found only in Christ who is the truth.
We confess that God is reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, and that we also, who were alienated from Him by our wicked works, have been reconciled through the blood of His cross. If human life, including human learning, is to become again an obedient response to God, our hearts must be renewed through faith, by the Holy Spirit, on the basis of Christ’s atonement.
Redemption in Jesus Christ extends not only to persons, but also to the whole creation. There is nothing that has been touched by sin which is beyond the reach of Christ’s redemption. Because every aspect of creation has in principle been reconciled to God, we should expect to see a substantial healing in the present. Therefore it is our responsibility as Christians to lay claim to every aspect of the creation in the name of Jesus Christ.
Christ calls us to nothing less than the building of a Christian culture, a Christian way of life. We reject the idea that a Christian way of life means only the addition of Christian ethics, piety and evangelism to an otherwise secular realm of life. We reject also any attempt to take that which is of the world and to “baptize” it into Christ. We confess rather that the very foundations of every other “way of life” must be challenged in the light of Scripture, so that we can work out obedience to God at the heart of every aspect of life. It is a task of the Christian school to help build a biblical foundation for the rethinking of every aspect of life out of a Christian view of life and world.
Scripture is clear that knowing and doing cannot be separated. “If you know these things,” Jesus said, “happy are you if you do them.” We reject the idea that learning can ever be an end in itself, apart from the goal of loving service to God and neighbor. We confess rather that faith without works is truly dead, that knowledge without practice is foolishness.
While meeting the educational needs of both college-bound and vocationally oriented students, the school cannot ignore the need of all students to grow by putting into practice what they know. A Christian education must extend beyond the classroom and into the world, beginning with an emphasis on service to one another within the school body, and extending to the practice of love to those outside. Opportunities for service must be an integral part of a truly Christian education.
In Scripture, teaching is not only the communication of ideas with words and rational arguments, but also the setting of an example, as Jesus demonstrated in His own life. We confess that the Christian school has a responsibility, not only to employ teachers and other staff members who will personally model lives of commitment to Christ, but also as a school to model a biblical vision of life in all its operations and in all the relationships it contains. Those who participate in the life of the school must always bear in mind that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, and must be prepared to act out of a biblical view of life and the world no matter what the surrounding world may say.
The Christian school task is not only to teach but also to model the kinds of relationships which should exist within the body of Christ. Love, respect and discipline as expressed in Scripture must govern all aspects of the school.
We confess that the supreme loyalty of all Christians is to Christ and His kingdom. All other goals and objectives must be set in terms of this larger aim. “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness,” Jesus said, “and these other things will follow.” The ultimate goal of Christian education is to lead students to live lives of Christian discipleship. A life dedicated to Christ will be a life devoted to the service of others. Therefore in all the operations of the school, its goals and objectives must serve the ultimate goal of seeking first Christ’s kingdom and His righteousness, so that we may be His servants doing whatever Christ has called us to do with our whole hearts for Him.
Bellevue Christian School desires to provide responsible educational leadership for the Christian community and to remain in a relationship of mutual accountability with the home and the church. The school was founded as a corporation run school and as such is distinct from either a parent or a church run school.
We believe that Christian parents should be able to entrust aspects of their children’s education to teachers who will seek to build them up in the faith and to equip them for service to Christ by opening up to them a biblical view of the beauty and complexity of our world. Within the body of Christ some members are gifted and called to be educators with a duty to provide the kind of specialized instruction which most homes are not able to supply in our complex society. At the same time we recognize that no one school can meet the needs and desires of all Christian parents.
The relationship established between parents and the school is one of mutual support and encouragement. The school must be responsive to the needs of families without giving up the biblical education vision it seeks to pursue; parents must be responsive to the educational leadership provided by the school without abandoning their responsibility for the nurturing of their children. Bellevue Christian School seeks the counsel of biblical interpretation and insight from those churches which are supportive of and responsive to the doctrinal position of this confession.