Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Theme for 2014-15: Colossians 2:8

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."  Colossians 2:8, ESV

There's always a good reason for choosing a specific theme verse for the school year.  The theme verse directs our attention to specific Biblical content that will help us teach our students and emphasize a particular Christian principle during the school year.  We ask our chapel speakers, especially during the first part of the school year, to base their texts and messages on related principles, not necessarily the specific theme verse, but something that is related, and supports the principle we are emphasizing.

So what are we going to learn from Colossians 2:8?

In this part of the letter to the Colossian church, the Apostle Paul is distinguishing between religion that requires a specific set of actions, duties, or rituals which, when completed, lead a person to forgiveness of their sin, and Christian faith, which brings salvation by grace through Jesus, who is the Christ, or savior, sent by God for that purpose.  The distinction is made between religion that is based solely on human experience, wisdom and knowledge, and genuine faith, which is based on revelation provided by God through Jesus and through the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of scripture.

There has always been a philosophical war between Christian faith and human wisdom.  The narrative of Adam and Eve's fall in the garden emphasizes the conflict between what God had told them, and what they wanted to do.  They were tempted with the thought of becoming like God.  That was certainly appealing, since they knew him rather intimately.  But selfishness, which is exactly what that temptation was all about, has always been the opposite of godliness.  And selfishness has led humanity to develop all kinds of philosophies and religions which are based on resolving the problems of humanity without believing in, or consulting, the God who created them.

This same philosophy, which we call Humanism, is the dominant worldview of our age and culture.  I think we are now at a point where this verse is particularly relevant not only to our culture and society, but to the reason for the existence of our school.  We are seeing a large number of people, mostly those between 18 and 40, leave the church when they leave home, never to return, either to the church or to the faith that it professes.  Most researchers who study religious demographics tell us that about 80% of those who are raised in the church as children and youth will leave it by the time they are 20-22, and all but about 8% of them won't be back.  The studies that distinguish between those who attend Christian school, are home educated, or are enrolled in the public school system show that they are far less likely to leave the church if they've been enrolled in a Christian school, especially during their formative years.  Imagine that. 

Humanist philosophy has an activist element to it that involves people in promoting it.  The public education system is one of the most powerful tools available to shape the thinking of future generations, and build a society according to whatever worldview dominates it.  The secular nature of our government-provided public education system is naturally removed from the influence of the Christian church by the applied interpretations of the concept of "separation of church and state."  That's been a deliberate move on the part of a number of secular humanists.  Their idea was to control who colleges and universities hired to teach in their classrooms, so that curriculum content would reflect a humanist perspective, and then through that process, train those who would be teaching each succeeding generation of children in the education system.  It worked.  The content of the curriculum in the public school system in America points children right toward humanist philosophy and worldview, and as a result, many of them abandon Christian philosophy and world view as soon as they are old enough to escape the daily teaching of mom and dad.

Why would humanists want to control public education?  Because it gives them the means to shape national policy according to their desires, and their philosophy.  The nation's institutions, from its corporate and business community to its government, operates from a humanist worldview, and uses the principle of separation of church and state to distance the Christian influence from those institutions, particularly government supported education. 

Christian schools like ours exist for the purpose of teaching students a worldview and philosophy of life that recognizes God as our creator, and the only means of redemption being through faith in Jesus Christ. We teach everything else that goes along with that, not only in Bible class, and through the preaching in corporate worship, but also in every subject area where the truth, integrated into the curriculum, provides students with an intellectual basis for their faith.  We hope that by not separating their faith from their educational experience, they will develop a worldview that doesn't see faith separated from corporate and business life, the government, education, the military, and any other national institution.  We want to accomplish this because the Bible points out that being peacemakers, and loving our enemies are signs that we are the sons of God, and we want to see people have a redemptive, productive relationship with their heavenly father.  We hope that our students, when they graduate from our school, will become leaders in whatever field they are called to serve, and will use what they've learned here to make a difference in the lives of everyone they influence. 

Towards the end of Colossians 2, Paul points out that the principles of humanity are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.  We want our children to be better equipped in all areas of their life, and to have a faith that empowers them.  Humanism cannot succeed in doing this.  They need to know how to submit to, and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  That's what we teach.  That's why they're here. 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Enrollment for 2014-15 Nearing Capacity

We are experiencing a great blessing!  We are seeing a large number of new families apply for admission to PCS this coming fall, and a high percentage of current families who are planning to return.  I believe that this is an indication that our goals are being met, and that the satisfaction with the school and its academic and extra curricular program is increasing.  Several grade levels are at or near capacity, especially in the high school area, and with the remaining applications that we have received, it is possible that our fall enrollment will be the highest that we have seen since 2006. 

If you are a current family, and have not re-enrolled, you need to do this as soon as possible!  Applications are being received almost daily, and if a grade level fills, and you haven't re-enrolled, a waiting list will be created.  We would not want to tell a current family that there is no room for their students, but we can't exceed the capacities that are set at each grade level.  So you need to get your re-enrollment fee and paperwork in as soon as possible.

As we enter our fifty first year, please continue to pray for us.  We will have a few new faculty and staff members joining us in the fall as well.  New textbooks are arriving, supplies are coming in and before you know it, orientation will be here. 

Our theme verse for the 2014-15 school year is Colossians 2:8:

"Make sure no predator makes you his prey through some misleading philosophy and empty deception based on traditions fabricated by mere mortals.  These are sourced in the elementary principles originating in the world and not in the Liberating King, so don't let their talks capture you."  The Voice Translation

I think that is especially relevant, as the world's traditions are increasingly being advanced through the public education system, and the introduction of common core standards which leave out any acknowledgement of God's existence, and teach principles that are rooted in humanistic philosophy.

What you'll find at PCS are curriculum objectives that integrate Biblical principles into all subject matter, and which acknowledge the existence of God, and the salvation of hos son, Jesus.  You'll also find teachers and staff members who are committed to their Christian faith.