Christian Educators Journal

April 1971

Bonus Issue

Writing About Christian


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Attempted Better Creeds - D. Oppewal

Confessing Christ in Education - J. Olthuis and B. Zylstra

The School System and the Bible - D. Oppewal

Needed: An Educational Creed - D. Oppewal

First Order Issues in Christian Philosophy of Education - N. H. Beversluis

This We Believe - J. VanderArk

Principles of Christian Education - Report to Synod 1955


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Attempted Better Creeds

Don't look for your favorite department, feature column, or section in these pages. This "Bonus" issue comes in addition to the usual four issues per year, and is devoted to a single dimension of the professional educator's concern, that of written formulations undergirding and directing our practice of Christian education. This single dimension can be given a number of names, some of which are: formulating philosophy, creed constructing. foundations formulating, manifesto making, or just theorizing. It is what these terms have in common that is the focus of attention, and not commitment to any one of these terms or the approaches that they seem to imply.

Thus, this issue contains several types of essays, all concentrating on what traditionally might be called formulating a philosophy of Christian education, or, if you prefer, a Christian philosophy of education. It is offered not first of all as light weekend reading, but as a continuing source book for those individuals or groups who wish to do some fundamental thinking about Christian schools with a view to sharpening and improving both the theory and practice of Christian education. If standing committees, whether of faculty or school board, who deal with policy making in any way find this issue useful in grounding their thinking more firmly, then the efforts of the writers and of the Journal staff will be more than rewarded.

All of the following essays, some reprinted from elsewhere, are relatively recent and critically constructive efforts to improve both the clarity and practicality of our written formulations about the Christian day school, and within relatively brief compass.

These ABC's of Christian education are what all of us must return to in order to give our many decisions some perceived pattern and consistency.

I believe that all of the following essays agree that our philosophizing of the recent past has not been as helpful as it could be in shaping educational policy. There is further agreement that in some way the heavy hand of the ecclesiastical establishment has been a hindrance in clearly defining the role of the school, even while it has been an immense help to the school movement in other respects. Beyond these two areas, there is widespread disagreement as to both the cause and the cure.

Therefore, perhaps the most constructive efforts of this issue are reflected in those parts of the essays which proffer either better ways to go about theorizing, or offer better summary statements of theoretical foundations for Christian education.

The observant reader will note that there are at least two divergent proposals which use "educational creed" and creed-making as the key to both the method and content of philosophy of education. A third approach, using the key term of "first-order questions" offers what it takes to be a corrective to both traditional philosophizing efforts by individuals and to present efforts to redefine philosophy of education into educational creed.

This issue is the Journal's contribution to the ongoing dialogue among Reformed Christians on basic questions in Christian education.