BJU Press’s new Bible curriculum is a tool to help you train your children to walk in truth. Many forces in our world want to capture the hearts and minds of your children. We want this curriculum to help you teach your children to know and love God’s Word. This program provides opportunities for you to teach your children a foundation of Biblical truths. It also emphasizes equipping your children to understand, analyze, and apply the Bible for themselves. Ultimately these materials seek to bridge the gap between head and heart knowledge in your children. All of these courses are available as parent-led subject kits.
As we approach Inauguration Day, you and your children may be having regular conversations about the outcome of the elections, how leaders are chosen, and how Christians should respond to leaders who do not value God’s commands. The Bible should always guide our responses to the major events in our lives. However, our world often appears differently from the way it did in Bible times.
In Bible times, when leaders were often born into their roles, it was easy to see how God chose leaders. In a democracy, the people choose our leaders. Certainly God remains sovereign over all the choices of man, but is it possible that God intended for us to have a better leader but allowed the people to choose a worse leader? Are our current leaders not the leaders He chose for us? How should we as Christians respond to earthly leadership?
Next year, September 11, 2021, will mark the 20-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the 2,977 people who lost their lives on that day and on the days following. As time passes, the pain and fear of those days have dulled, and many young adults have no knowledge of the attacks outside of their history textbooks and the stories their parents have shared. Today we face new fears and tragedies that the whole world shares in. How can we possibly approach teaching tragedies and equipping our children to handle them? How can we even truly express the tragedy and horror of what happened on September 11, 2001?
In April, Renton Rathbun, a former college professor and current Biblical Worldview Specialist at BJU Press, joined Heidi St. John on her podcast. They came together to talk about the agenda of secular colleges and universities to undermine the faith of their students. While that agenda is very real, it may not manifest itself in the way you might expect. Christian young people are expecting to go into secular universities, trade schools, and work places and have their faith blatantly mocked or rejected. But what they encounter is something that Renton calls sophisticated unbelief.
Sophisticated unbelief is a tactic that university professors take towards students with faith-based backgrounds. They come alongside these students and appear to support and value faith while also emphasizing that that student’s faith does not apply in the classroom.
The Dangers of Sophisticated Unbelief
These professors will be genuine, likeable, intelligent, and approachable people. These men and women are not villains who will publically mock and condemn your children for their beliefs. In fact, they will see themselves as the heroes your children need. From their perspective, they’re there to rescue your children from a primitive and backwards worldview. The danger comes in when they divide what they’re teaching in the classroom from your children’s biblical worldview. They want your children to have a two-story view of the world, because if they can disconnect the secular world from the Christian world, your children won’t be able to argue about where their worldview applies. And if your children aren’t prepared to encounter sophisticated unbelief, it’s easy for them to see how this intelligent and friendly new authority in their lives might be right about some things.
As Renton points out, the best defense is to teach your children to truly study the Scriptures. Not just to know the Scriptures, but to see how they connect to all areas of their lives—math, science, history, and the English language arts. And to do that, they will need to be able to apply critical thinking skills to the Scriptures and to the subjects that they’re studying.
Studying the Bible and developing thinking skills will enable your children to defend their faith. Listen to the full discussion between Renton and Heidi for more!
As a homeschool parent, you want your children to grow in discerning between good and evil. As you evaluate your curriculum for the year, it’s important to consider not just your children’s learning styles and preferences but also how their curriculum is shaping their worldview. Biblical integration within the curriculum is an integral part to developing a Christian worldview.
With so many secular voices in education, how can you determine the quality of the Christian education you’re giving your children? We’ve created a scale to help you evaluate the quality of biblical worldview integration in your curriculum. You should be able to use your curriculum to capture your children’s minds and hearts with a love for God and His Word.
Level 0 – No Biblical Integration
Level 0 does not mean that there is no mention of the Bible. Rather, there is no connection between the Bible and the lesson materials. Curriculum at this level include Bible reading and prayer separate from the lesson, and so claim to give your children a Christian education. Since a biblical worldview has no influence on the lesson itself, it’s not really a Christian education.
Level 1 – Referencing the Bible
In this level, the Bible may be present in the lessons, but it doesn’t change or reshape learning. It primarily just reminds children that the Bible is there. It doesn’t help children to think more deeply about biblical principles or to consider how they can live out the Bible today.
1a – Biblical Analogies
Curriculums at this level look for areas where a biblical concept and a subject overlap. This desire for overlap creates analogies like a butterfly’s metamorphosis to illustrate a believer’s sanctification. Another example is using a plus sign to represent the cross because Jesus’ righteousness is added to our account. These analogies have no inherent connection to the materials. With only Bible analogies, children will never understand how Scripture is relevant to everyday life.
1b – Biblical Examples
Level 1b looks for instances of various subjects in the Bible. A curriculum might ask students to look for evidence of pi in the building of the temple during math class. They might even use the story of Joseph and Judah to study dramatic irony. Using this sublevel shows how the Bible is relevant in various areas of study. However, if a curriculum never goes deeper than this level, the Bible has not yet influenced your children’s real-world learning.
Level 2 – Responding with the Bible
This level involves using Scripture to shape the way your children interact with and study the world. The Bible becomes essential in their critical-thinking skills. Children will need to apply what they know about the Bible to their studies and their everyday choices.
2a – Serving with the Discipline
God issued a command in Genesis 1:28 to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” He also commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves in Matthew 22:39. Curriculums at level 2a show children how to follow these commands in each subject. Dominion Modeling segments in BJU Press math materials open doors for you to discuss how to live out God’s Creation Mandate. For example, in chapter 4 of our Algebra 1 textbook, these questions will prepare your children to be good stewards of money by teaching them to understand interest rates. To serve others, your children might also learn how to apply linear functions to build a wheelchair access ramp.
2b – Worshiping with the Discipline
This level turns learning opportunities into worship opportunities. You might implement worship during schoolwork time by having your children write poems praising God. They could follow the example of the authors of the Psalms, or practice a poetry form they learned recently. Teaching that God is creator of everything allows us to see His handiwork in every field of study. Once we can recognize His work, we must point the glory back to Him.
Level 3 – Rebuilding with the Bible
Level 3 is the deepest level of biblical integration. In this level, the Bible becomes the standard for how your children will study and understand every subject. Taking a secular curriculum and making it Christian by pointing out the errors can never be a level 3 biblically integrated curriculum. A secular curriculum begins with the premise that God and Scripture must be absent from education. In order to have a level 3 curriculum, the materials must be built on the premise that God is the ultimate standard for education. Materials designed with this level in mind help alleviate the burden on you to constantly help your children separate the lies from the truth while they are learning.
3a – Evaluating the Premises
A curriculum incorporating level 3a compares the content of each subject to the standard of the Bible. This process helps your children to question what is accepted as truth in secular thinking. For example, the Bible challenges the assumption that math is completely objective and certain. In science, the Bible also challenges modern scientists’ assumptions of uniformitarianism. When the Bible becomes the standard of the curriculum, your children will learn to reject the modern premise that humans are the ultimate standard for truth.
3b – Rebuilding the Discipline
The most important step of biblical integration is starting with the Bible as the foundation for learning. For example, by making the Bible the foundation, we can affirm the historicity of Genesis 1-11 as the beginning of our world and human culture. We then can build on the philosophical basis of Genesis as we study history and science. Because we begin with the truth about Creation, Fall, Redemption, we can place each subject your children study in its proper sphere, neither unduly elevating or neglecting them.
Many people in our culture want to downplay the relevance of Scripture in every sphere of life. They believe that religion is okay as long as it stays at home and at church on Sundays. At BJU Press we design our materials to show your children that the Bible is the foundation for all of life, from family devotions to playtime. Each product we produce is built from the premise of the truth of God’s Word in order to help you shape your children’s minds with a biblical worldview.