I am excited! This spring issue of the Christian Education Journal is filled with stimulating articles and helpful book reviews. They represent the efforts of many in our field to reflect on this critical ministry of Christian education in different contexts, and from a variety of perspectives. It is a veritable feast of thoughtfully written pieces to help us consider more carefully what we do and why.
James Michael Lee advocated a social scientific "macrotheory" for religious and Christian education from the late 1960s until his death in 2004. Lee said that theology should no longer direct methods of education. Social scientific empirical results would provide firm ground for the teaching of faith and make a way past confessional educational expressions. However, empirical data are now recognized to arise from philosophical pre-commitments, especially since Thomas Kuhn. Lee's socieal scientific macrotheory is not neutral but comes from his understanding of "fact," based in turn on a commitment to immanentism and a theology of faith. The article traces stated and unstated philosophical and theological commitments that give rise to Lee's macrotheory.
The article examines the important connections between how well students learn new information in response to the classroom environment and scoial interaction among learners and teachers. Educational research in the field of learning style theory has demonstrated significant improvement in learning achievement when students are taught according to their learning style. Professors and Christian educators can respond to the needs of their students' differing learning styles by incorporating various teaching methods in their classrooms. A Biblical basis for incorporating learning style theory into the Christian education environment can be seen by briefly considering some ways in which Jesus demonstrated mastery of these instructional methods as He taught invdividuals, small groups, and large crowds.
Many secular children's books contain explicit or implicit images of God which can be used by educators and parents to enhance the spiritual growth of children. This article discusses stages of spiritual development in childhood then provides specific books that contain images of God and activities for using these books with children.
The authors contend that two haunting conditions foster frailty within the North American church's efforts at educating its adherents--first, the curious gap in theological education segregating clergy and laity; and second, an American-style penchant slouching toward unchecked pragmatism. An analysis of the obstacles that spring from these conditions is offered. Finally, the authors articulate a distinctive educational philosophy of Christian education and propose four distinctive, although not new, theological "tent posts" to guide professors and church leaders in conceptualizing how God's people might be better educated in faith for the 21st century.
While a syllabus can helpfully outline the various topics and expectations for a course ("explicit" curriculum), it is increasingly realized that all learning is framed by an "implicit" curriculum. These "implicit" values and convictions about pedagogy that instructors (and students) bring to the classroom greatly influence the quality of learning, but they are often unexamined or unexpressed. Effective learning happens when these values are shared, explored and critiqued in the class. In this essay, the author provides practical ideas and suggestions to explore the pedagogical values of instructors and students. His goal is to deepen the learning experience through fostering community and a culture of learning in the classroom.
Pervasive globalization and perennial separatism are the two paradoxical trends characterizing our planet today. Four dominant forces appear to be driving globalization: (a) mobility of capital, people and ideas; (b) simultaneity--the rapid decline of the time lag between the introduction of a product or service and its adoption almost everywhere; (c) bypass--cross-border competition resulting in multiple choices for the consumer; and (d) pluralism--multiple centers of expertise and influence. These same forces are transforming Christian higher education's macro-environment. To avoid marginalization, institutions of Christian higher education must adapt. Adaptability to the new global environment requires accessibility, flexibility, relevance, and creativity.
Learning occurs in a cultual context. In the 1950s, educators and anthropologists started to evaluate educational systems within their cultural context. Educator David Kolb (1984) proposed a theory of experiential learning based on structures of social knowledge and preferred learning styles. Anthropologist Sherwood Lingenfelter (1996) modified a model based on grid and group to evaluate a multicultural ministry in North America and its informal educational program. Since both models identify variables that underlie all societies, correlations were found between the two models. Implications for Christian education were identified.
A salvation history approach to the theology of leadership suggests an ideal of theocratic leadership, the heart of which is the servant leader model of Jesus. Such an ideal can be attained only in as much as leaders are able to find significance in their relationship to God rather than through their status and position as leaders. Such confidence in God empowers a leader to move towards the eschatological imperative of vulnerable authority.
Although both Catholics and Protestants alike have condemned Philipp Melanchthon for theological views, many have praised his educational reforms. The following is a study of the development of Melanchthon's educational theories in light of his theological views in order to reveal how he understood natural reason and divine revelation to cooperate. The study also places Melanchthon in context by comparing him to contemporary Catholic educators. Melanchthon did not solely attach himself to either secular philosophy or sacred theology but found a synergistic balance that allowed him to systematize not only theological doctrine but also humanist education.
This past year, Group Publishing and Talbot School of Theology have provided funds to support the first phase of a research effort to explore what is happening in Christian education programs in Christian higher education. Here is an overview of the project.
A many colored kingdom: Multicultural dynamics for spiritual formation. By Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, S. Steve Kang, and Gary A. Parrett. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2004.
Review by W. Kenneth Phillips, Christian Ministries, Northwestern College, Saint Paul, MN
Ancient-future evangelism: Making your church a faith-forming community. By Robert E.Webber. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. 2003.
Review by Don Shepson, Bible and Christian Education, Montreat College, Montreat, NC
The role of teaching in sustaining the church. By Harold W. Burgess. Anderson, IN: Bristol House. 2004.
Review by Ron Habermas, Biblical Studies and Christian Formation, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR
Indoctrination, education and God: The struggle for the mind. By Terence Copley. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 2005.
Review by Katheryn L.Webb, Fellowship Bible Church, Middletown, KY
Let the children come: Re-imagining childhood from a Christian perspective. By Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2003.
Review by Dean G. Blevins, Christian Education, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Nashville, TN
University of destruction: Your game plan for spiritual victory on campus. By David Wheaton. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House. 2005.
Review by Johnny L. Derouen, Educational Ministries, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX
Teaching as a sacramental act. By Mary Elizabeth Mullino Moore. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press. 2004.
Review by Lisa M. Long, Christian Ministries, Lee University, Cleveland, TN
The power of small groups in Christian education. By Harley Atkinson. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Publishing House. 2002.
Review by Terri K. Talley, Christian Ministries, Northwestern College, St. Paul, MN
Teaching like Jesus: A practical guide to Christian education in your local church. By La Verne Tolbert. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2000.
Review by Janet L. Dale, Christian Education and Discipleship, Alliance Theological Seminary, Nyack, NY
Refining your style: Learning from respected communicators. By Dave Stone. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing. 2004.
Review by James W. Mohler, Christian Ministries, Trinity College, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL
Christianity in the academy: Teaching at the intersection of faith and learning. By Harry L. Poe. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2004.
Review by Peggy Velis, English as a Second Language, Biola University, La Mirada, CA
Being leaders: The nature of authentic Christian leadership. By Aubrey Malphurs. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. 2003.
Building leaders: Blueprints for developing leadership at every level of your church. By Aubrey Malphurs and Will Mancini. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. 2004.
Leading leaders: Empowering church boards for ministry excellence. By Aubrey Malphurs. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. 2005.
Review by Steven C. Ibbotson, Bible and Theology, Prairie Bible College, Three Hills, AB, Canada
Seeing God: Jonathan Edwards and spiritual discernment. By Gerald R. McDermott. Vancouver, BC: Regent College Bookstore. 2000/1995.
A treatise concerning religious affections, in three parts. By Jonathan Edwards. Edited by John Smith. In H. S. Stout, (Gen. Ed.), The works of President Edwards, Vol. 2. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Review by Gary Stratton, Christian Formation and Student Development, Crown College, St. Boniface,MN
NAPCE professors who use these texts then reviewed the 14 most popular texts, listed below in rank order. I trust this information will prove helpful to you as you survey NAPCE textbook usage by popularity among our members.
Created to learn: A Christian teacher’s introduction to educational psychology.
By William R. Yount. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman. 1996. 394
Review by Norma S. Hedin, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort
Creative Bible teaching. By Lawrence O. Richards and Gary Bredfeldt.
Chicago:Moody. 1998. 350 pp. $29.99. paper
Review by Holly Catterton Allen, John Brown University, Siloam Springs, AR
Teaching for spiritual growth. By Perry Downs. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
1994. 224 pp. $22.99.
Review by Bill Higley, Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, PA
Creative teaching methods. By Marlene D. LeFever. Colorado Springs, CO:
David C. Cook Publications. 1996. 305 pp. $19.99. paper.
Review by Alvin W. Kuest, Great Lakes Christian College, Lansing, MI
The teaching ministry of the church: Integrating biblical truth with contemporary
application. Edited by Daryl Eldridge. Nashville, TN: Broadman and
Holman.1995. 326 pp. $34.99.
Review by Margaret P. Lawson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary,
Fort Worth, TX
Teaching for reconciliation: Foundations and practice of Christian educational
ministry (rev. ed.). By Ronald Habermas. Eugene, OR:Wipf & Stock Publishers.
2001. 384 pp. $29.60. paper. [1st ed. co-authored with Klaus
Issler, Baker, 1992]
Review by Jason Lanker, adjunct, California Baptist University, Riverside, CA
Teaching to change lives: Seven proven ways to make your teaching come alive.
By Howard Hendricks. Sisters, OR:Multnomah Publishers. 1987. 152pp.
Review by Jennifer Perkins, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort
Learning styles. By Marlene D. LeFever. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook
Publishing. 1995/2002. 255 pp. $13.59. paper.
Review by Gary Wozniak, Crown College, St. Bonifacius, MN
Teaching for results (rev. ed.). By Findley B. Edge. [d. 2002]. Nashville, TN:
Broadman & Holman. 1956/1995. 237 pp. $24.99. paper.
Review by Martha S. Bergen, Hannibal-LaGrange College, Hannibal, MO
The courage to teach. By Parker Palmer. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 1998.
198 pp. $24.95.
Review by Eleanor Daniel, Emmanuel School of Religion, Johnson City, TN
Nurture that is Christian: Developmental perspectives on Christian education.
Edited by James C. Wilhoit and John M. Dettoni. Grand Rapids, MI:
Baker Books. 1995. 278pp. $23.99. paper.
Review by Margaret F.Williamson, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary,
Renovation of the heart. By Dallas Willard. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
2002. 296 pp. $24.99.
Review by Don Ashley,Wayland Baptist University, Anchorage Alaska campus
Understanding teaching: Effective biblical teaching for the 21st century. By Greg
Carlson. Wheaton, IL: Evangelical Training Association. 2001. 96 pp.
Review by Richard Ramsey, Grace University, Omaha NE