Biblical Higher Education: Spiritual Maturity Is Our Highest Priority

July 15, 2013

Biblical Higher Education - Spiritual Maturity Is Our Highest Priority
Charles Ware

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Charles Ware

Biblical Higher Education - Spiritual Maturity Is Our Highest Priority

BCC Staff Note: You’re reading Part Four in a multi-part series written by biblical counseling educators. You’ll enjoy great diversity in this series, not only related to the authors, but also to the topics. We simply asked a number of biblical counseling educators to craft a blog post about anything they wanted to discuss related to biblical counseling and education. Some are focusing on their teaching ministry. Others are focusing on their personal educational journey. Still others are focusing on relating important theological issues to everyday life. Enjoy! You can read Part One by Heath Lambert at Mental Illness, Psychiatric Drugs, and Counseling Education and Part Two by Howard Eyrich at 5 Tools for Making Training Effective, and Part Three by Ernie Baker at Jeremiah 17:9—Is It True of the Believer?.

Are We Missing a Critical Focus?

Every educator understands the major role that outcomes and assessments have on education. Every class, program, and/or major must have clearly defined outcomes and effective documentable assessments to assure that the outcomes are being achieved.

Are our assessments and education missing a critical focus? Biblical higher education, along with biblical counselors, has some outcomes of which our non-Christian counterparts lack understanding and the resources to achieve. Sometimes even Christian educators can lose focus of some fundamental outcomes of Christian education.

Several years ago I created a required freshman course, Building a Biblical Lifestyle, for Crossroads Bible College. Included in the introduction to the course was the following”

One may ask, “is such a course necessary in a Bible College where the majority of courses offered are Bible or biblically-oriented?” I believe that this course is necessary, even in a Bible College, because in this course we will seek to lay the only foundation that can assure that the other courses will continue to bear true fruit for years to come. This foundation is spiritual maturity. The Bible clearly exhorts and warns believers concerning a spiritually mature lifestyle.

While intellectual stimulation and finding jobs are desirable outcomes of education, biblical higher education has a more eternal perspective. Even in our institutions we must not assume, but seek to assess and enhance, our students’ spiritual state.

Educators and biblical counselors must constantly keep the following principles in mind as we educate.

Our Foundation: Central to All Christian Living Is Personal Knowledge of God

A.  A snap-shot of redemption reveals the following:

  1. Man was created in the image of and fellowship with God (Gen.1:26-28; 2:7, 15-25)
  1. Man sinned and his fellowship with God was broken (Gen. 3:1-19; Rom. 5:12)
  1. Through the sacrificial atonement of Christ the believing sinner is restored to fellowship with God (Jn. 3:16; 17:2,3; 1 Jn. 1:1-4; Rev. 5:8-10)
  1. 4.     Ultimately God will take believers to be with Him throughout eternity and remove the devastating consequences of sin (Rom. 8:28,29; Rev. 21:3-5)

B.    Our present goal is to continue growing in the knowledge of God:

  1. To know God is more than knowing about God (Rom. 1:19-32)
  1. To know God is more than believing in God (Hosea 4:1-6; 6:6;
  1. To know God is more than serving God (Mt. 7:21-24)
  1. To know God is to comprehend (partially) and conform to both His Person and will (Eph. 4:12-16; Phil. 3:10; Col. 1:9,10; 3:10; 2 Pet. 1:3)

As Christian educators we believe that our primary sources of knowing God are creation (Ps. 19:1-4; Rom 1:19-20) and the Word of God (Heb. 1:1-3). The Word of God must be our primary textbook through which the message of creation must be discerned.

Our Spiritual Nature and Our Need to Build Our Spiritual Lives

There are two concepts that a biblical educator implements in his/her attempt, by God’s grace, to assist students in comprehending and conforming to both the Person and will of God. The first concept relates to our spiritual nature and the second to the need to build our spiritual lives.

A.        Biblical concepts concerning the spiritual nature of our Christian life:

  1. We have been born (again) into true spiritual life (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-8; Eph. 2:4-6)
  1. We need a spiritual diet to grow (1 Cor. 3:1-7)
  1. We are to exercise spiritual wisdom  (1 Cor. 2:6-15; Heb. 5:12-14)
  1. We are to bear spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:16-25; Rom. 7:4)
  1. We are to offer spiritual worship (Jn. 4:21-24; Phil. 3:3-8)
  1. We are involved in spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-5)
  1. We labor for a spiritual reward  (1 Cor. 3:13-15; 9:24-27
  1. Conclusion: 1 Pet 2:4-9

B.    Biblical concepts concerning the need to build our spiritual life:

  1. Our lives are compared to a field (1 Cor. 3:6-9)
  1. Our lives are compared to a building (1 Cor. 3:9-15)
  1. Development towards maturity is expected (Heb. 5:12-6:2)
  1. Development of our spiritual lives is a process (2 Pet. 1:3-10)

Our Focus

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:13-16).

Christian educators must have a goal to see spiritual maturity in the lives of all their students (Eph. 4:11-16). We must avail ourselves of resources our secular counter-parts do not possess such as:

  • Prayer, on behalf of our students, to the living God Whom we know
  • Personally yielded to God as instrument to accomplish his will in the lives our  students
  • Dependant upon the Hoy Spirit and providential hand of God to effect spiritual maturity within the lives of our students
  • Use the Scripture skillfully and accurately as the ultimate authority in all of our education
  • Lifestyle of educators must model the maturity we desire to see in our students
  • Preparation is critical, especially as we seek to clarify creation truths, through the lens of Scripture
  • Observation of our students’ hearts and lifestyle versus merely their academic knowledge is critical
  • Rewards will ultimately be determined at the judgment seat our Christ rather than the approval of men. Educate for “that Day,” divine assessment of outcomes in the light of eternity, rather than this Day, e.g. grades, diplomas, etc.

Join the Conversation

How would you describe the central focus of Christian higher education?