• Taylor Sexton

My Vision for Providence Academy

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

—Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NKJV)

Many people perhaps do not consider the above-quoted passage from Deuteronomy 6 to have any relevance to education. Yet it has everything to do with it. Consider the scope of what Moses says when he speaks of “these words which I command you today.” To be sure, he is specifically referencing the recounting of the Ten Commandments found in the previous chapter. But, more broadly, whenever the Old Testament speaks of “these words which I command you,” they are a reference to the entire Law, Genesis through Deuteronomy.

But you may ask, “Still, what does this have to do with education?” Consider the content of the Law. It begins with creation. God in his work of creation made “all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.”[1] This does not just include the Earth, the sky, water, air, and animals, but also includes the laws of logic and mathematics, as well as science. These are all created realities. The Law also teaches ethics, summarized in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), which teach us how we are to interact with God, neighbor, and creation. The Law, finally, teaches us how history is unfolding—namely, that God is the author and controller of history, and that history has one glorious goal: the glory of God in his Son and by his Spirit, and the salvation of his people.

So, there in the Law we have not just a text to guide our religious affairs, but a blueprint for faithful education. The Law as described above teaches how we are to view the world and how it works (science and math), how we are to behave in the world (ethics), and the goal for which God created the world (history). All of this, furthermore, is communicated through the written word (literature), which itself is by no means unconcerned with communicating through beauty (art). Here we have every conceivable facet of education—science, math, ethics, history, literature, and art—for the training up of young man and women toward “a life of true usefulness and joy in the service of [their] God.”[2]

But these things are not merely to be relegated to the classroom. Rather, they are to be a life-saturating passion. Moses says that these things are to be discussed and pondered day and night, in the house, on the road, and elsewhere, and are even to be a part of our homes, our clothes, and even our very bodies. Education, then, is not just a method by which we fill children’s brains with facts. Rather, it is yet another God-given means by which his glory and his grace are to be preached to all nations (Matthew 28:19). Therefore, education is, to use a recently overused phrase, a “gospel issue.” What Christian education is, then, is not merely an alternative to public, secular, state-sanctioned education, but is rather the way God desires, I believe, to have his children taught and “brought up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Therefore, in view of these truths, here is the proposed new vision statement of Providence Academy in Royston, GA:

Providence Academy exists to provide a self-consciously Christian education, according to the precepts of Holy Scripture, in order to further his Kingdom and gospel through the propagation of his revealed truth about and his Lordship over all creation.

[1] Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 9.

[2] Louis Berkhof, Subjects and Outlines (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans-Sevensma Co., 1918), 111.

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