Personal Testimony

Applied Biblical Christian Worldview, Faith & Education–

Theology, Philosophy, Methods and Curriculum

 

In November 1973, after two years of reading the Bible and exploring alternative religious and philosophical views, the Lord captured my heart.  In reading the Sermon on the Mount on my second excursion through the whole Bible, the love of Christ finally penetrated my hardened heart and head.  My young wife earlier had sought the Lord, but needed my leadership to know Him and walk with Him.  In July, 1974, upon receiving my first job after college, we began to attend Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, at which time the Lord began seriously to peel away the hardened sin of my previous life.  After three years of study with Calvary Chapel, we moved to Thousand Oaks, CA, where we volunteered to assist with the children’s ministry at Calvary Chapel there.  From there, my wife and I were asked to take more and more responsibility for service in the church.  We were considered elders.  We helped to start a secondary Christian day school, which we subsequently headed.

About this same time, upon the Biblical background we had received through Calvary Chapel, we discovered an historical view of the faith derived out of the general experience of early American Christianity and of Christian history in general.  This view has had profound impact on my life, my family’s, and many others.  In essence, it yields Biblically and historically high expressions of the faith and applies a Biblical method of scholarship to discover the governing principles that will reproduce those same good fruits.  In a word, this view has exemplified the command to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  This means taking as due course the process of explicitly seeking the Lord’s mind Biblically on every activity in life, great or small.  It identifies, expands and gives practical models of the Biblical concept of Christian Liberty under Law–or rather, the Law of Liberty (James 1:25).

The fruit of this approach has proved its truth repeatedly in many adult and children’s lives, over many years.  It has proved to be a solid body of Biblical wisdom applied directly to the education process.  The Lord has allowed me the grace to contribute to it both theologically and practically in education, human relations at all levels, and in the arts and sciences.

One extremely important aspect is the balance and self-correction through a systematic approach to repentance–a willingness to learn from Jesus, a willingness to stick to the narrow path which leads to life.  As to balance, for example, we labor in faith, but God brings the increase.  We have liberty in Christ, but we restrain it so as not to sin presumptuously.  The Law is good, if used lawfully–the Law is for the lawless.  Discipline is practice under the right level of government.  Thus, we discipline ourselves and our children in anticipation of Christian self-government and mastery, but never practice discipline for control’s sake.  Every human endeavor ought self-consciously spring from the Two Commandments of Christ in both philosophy and practice, leading to wholeness, liberty and grace.

Another central aspect is the relational and organizational truth that comes from apprehending God’s principle of individuality–especially the truth that man is only whole in relationship with Christ.  This wholeness is of the kind God always intended for mankind and which we will finally and fully realize in His eternal kingdom, but which work by the Holy Spirit has already begun in this life.  As the central organizational truth, individuality lends its power to the teaching and learning of every subject, allowing optimum breaking down of every subject from the whole to its parts in context for learning and mastery.  Both the above principles and others taken together give a wonderful model for personal and institutional relationships of all kinds, relationships balanced between selfish complacency on one hand and selfish crusading and bullying on the other.

I would add that true Christian service, the educational process especially, is essentially relational.  “It is enough to become like your teacher.”  A balanced approach to authority, liberty under law, provides an excellent foundation for working with teachers.  After appropriate objectives and limits are established, a person assigned a task ought to have certain liberty to get the job accomplished.  Lapses ought not to be cause for condemnation nor even rebuke where self-correction is the normal practice.  The job of one in authority is to serve those under him to facilitate the work.  Outside of well-defined authority-relationships are peer, that is, hold no authority over one another, except that which is granted in the relationship through election.  Even that authority is earned.  When offense comes as it surely will among sinful human beings, Jesus’ provision for correction, reconciliation and justice where needed–that is Matthew 18–ought to be implemented.

Accordingly, I have spent the last sixteen years attempting specifically to implement the above in service to Christ.  This American Christian theology produced through strict biblicity but refined and tempered in the crucible of the trials of life has become the central theme of Christ’s work in me at every level from my own home outward.  I hope to continue to propagate this thoroughly Biblical view, this “mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity” (Daniel Webster on the Pilgrims).

Lastly, the most important grace of my history, after personal salvation, is the precious family the Lord has given me.  I am extremely grateful for my bride and my five children as they exemplify the fruit that one would expect a true godly theology and philosophy ought to produce–no gap between theory and faith and practice.  This is the work of the Lord.  Yet, far from having arrived, we rather look to Christ to re-produce the fruit, which our generation has largely squandered.  We look forward to the Lord continuing to shed His love, correct our children, and us, and to produce ever-greater character skill and accomplishment for the Gospel.


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