This article presents an explanation of and an alternative to a trend within the history of Christian education that has often precluded the development of a strong biblical foundation. At the center of this perspective is the perception that the history of Christian education is intricately interwoven with the history of all philosophy and that this relationship has traditionally led Christian educators away from the text of God's Word.
This article is adopted from the presidential address given by the author to the members of the National Association of Professors of Christian Education at their convention in 1983. In the address, Dr. Smyth challenged Christian educators to a leadership characterized by serving God out of broken hearts and redeemed minds, following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and envisioning the changing world while remaining constant in purpose.
Real learning can only take place when the student comprehends or understands the subject under review. As difficult as this can be when both the teacher and the students are of the same cultural milieu, the degree of difficulty takes a quantum leap in a cross-cultural situation. Too often the west further exasperate the process by imposing its own educational system upon third world countries without thinking through the cultural implications. This article examines some of the factors a western teacher would first need to comprehend before classroom comprehension in another culture could be expected.
Christian education has grown up in Japan in the context of a culture based on non-Christian religions. In this context society perceives the child, youth, and adult (man), moral values and a world view from a non-biblical point of view. Various assumptions from this non-Christian point of view have consequently, unknowingly become the basis of the education program of the church. The time has come to reflect on and reconstruct these foundations on soundly tested and biblical guidelines. The author has probed these foundations through 32 years of experience in leadership in the churches, producing materials and training leaders.
This article considers the subject of spiritual growth as it relates to the developmental goal of spiritual maturity. The holistic developmental approach is presented to shed additional light on how spiritual growth actually occurs. The areas of physical, intellectual, psychosocial, emotional, social, moral, and faith and spiritual development are explored.
Because man is emotional as well as rational, the effective educator must not ignore this dimension in the learning environment. Fear, stress, and anxiety are often generated and heightened by the classroom experience, but the classroom can also become a vehicle for overcoming these emotions. Assurance and courage can be modeled in the classroom, and fear can be confronted and diminished. When educators thoroughly equip the learners with the necessary coping skills and provide a supportive learning environment, fears and anxieties are reduced and learning is enhanced.
This article examines the validity of Jerome S. Bruner's hypothesis about the communication of knowledge to the learner through the vehicles of its representation--iconic, concrete, and symbolic. Perforce it is concluded that these three modes or "structures" may be employed as a legitimate means of instruction for the Christian teacher; in that, not only were they anticipated by John Milton Gregory, a 19th century Christian educator, but they also were confirmed by the methodology of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is the Sunday School a valid educational venture in the 20th century? This has been the debate in recent years, and effective Christian education depends on one's conclusion. Though the Sunday School has played a major role in my background, my approach of this issue entails a study of the history and philosophy of the Sunday School movement, and more importantly, an analysis of the Sunday School's strengths and weaknesses. If the Sunday School is to make a valid contribution in people's lives, as I propose it can, we must plan in light of biblical objectives and current needs and patterns.