The Bahamas needs Christian education

Dear Editor,

While technological innovation has its place in the overall transformation, growth and development of education in The Bahamas, the teaching of Christian values in our schools ought to continue to play a pivotal role in nation building. If we want productive, responsible and spiritual citizens, then spiritual values taught from a Christian perspective is crucial.

Unlike many developed countries, The Bahamas still has the legal basis according to the Education Act to ensure that Christian instruction continues to be a mandatory discipline in all schools maintained by the government. The Education Act in Section 17(2) declares that “subject to the provisions of this section, religious instruction shall be given in every maintained school”.

Interestingly, in light of the literal or purposive rule of statutory interpretation, religious instruction may be construed as Christian instruction, not Hindu, Islamic or some other religious instruction.

In addition, there is a subtle difference between religious instruction and religious education – at least in our jurisdiction — the former being a particular religious instruction, Christian instruction, for example, the latter referring to teaching about religion in general. Hence, there may be some maintained schools that are operating in contravention of the law.

Now the essence of a Christian academic curriculum or a Christian instruction program is biblical worldview integration.

With this philosophical outlook, every subject taught — science, math, history, geography, computer studies and so on — helps the student to know, understand and appreciate the fact that God is the source of all truth, that all are accountable to Him, that every discipline is under His Lordship, that man’s acquisition of the knowledge of His word and the world is intended to serve His purpose, all for His glory and all for man’s good.

It therefore follows that Christian teachers have the sacred duty to guide students by example and precept in forming a godly lifestyle and Christian mindset.

Christian school leaders produce and publish instructional materials (curricula, textbooks, workbooks, lesson plans, etc.) designed for the use of themes of creation, the fall, redemption and consummation.

The delivery of quality Christian education is accomplished by the work of the spirit, in and through committed and competent Christian teachers and administrators. This makes for stronger minds and a better Bahamas.

The Bahamas more than ever before needs authentic and holistic Christian education, education that will instill in our students timeless values and truths that would stand against the ever growing force of moral degradation and secular humanism.

It is true, as the late Bernard Nottage once said, that there is nothing more powerful than a mind made up and that’s exactly what biblical integration in teaching leads to – students developing such strength of character or a mind made up transformed and sustained by the power of God’s word, coupled with a firm belief in moral absolutes in order to lead a moral life and be the “salt and light” in this world.

Although church affiliations, religious instruction or biblical studies, Bible verse memorization, collective school worship and the engagement of various Christian denominations are all part of the Christian school experience, the most crucial element, however, is the comprehensive application of biblical integration that should be woven throughout every fabric of the operation and management of the school.

The product of such a work will make, in my view, the greatest positive difference in our community; a powerful antidote to the surge of violence, the breakdown of family life and criminal activity. And if we want a kinder and gentler Bahamas, then we must teach our children to think critically, “proving what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10) and doing “those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).

Lord, teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Ps. 90:12).

Rev. Perry R. Cunningham

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