Biblical Worldview in the Classroom
TPS strives for “faithful scholarship” that integrates academic excellence and a biblical worldview in a coherent seamless approach to education and civic interaction. Of course, this is easier said than done, and it is expected that even equally faithful people (and schools) will come to different approaches. This information provides some detail on how TPS implements a biblical worldview in the classroom.
Statement of Faith
TPS teachers and staff must affirm a Statement of Faith. This statement provides the anchor points:
- Godhead as Trinity
- Orthodox (i.e., not heterodox or heretical) understanding of the nature of God (one “essence”, three “persons”) and Jesus (one “person”, with a divine and a human “essence” in perfect union not commingled), without claiming that this understanding scientifically or systematically captures the mystery or totality of God or the Incarnation.
- Covenantal (i.e., based on a divinely ordained relationship between man and God) understanding of salvation as always based solely on faith in the faithfulness of Jesus as Redeemer and not in any way on human merit.
- Bible as Authority
- We acknowledge the Bible texts in original form as authoritative from God.
- We respect that interpretation and understanding of the original scriptures is still a matter of careful ongoing scholarship by humans.
- We support the early creeds of Christian faith, with respect for the different major confessional (denominational) systems stemming from the original creeds.
- We understand that these confessions may not always fully agree with each other.
“Integrating academic excellence from biblical worldview” means that:
- The biblical content and the extra-biblical academic content are woven together, rather than treating either of them as an addendum (or contradiction) to the other.
- A truly “biblical worldview” is not a basis for (and stands in opposition to) ignoring evidence, preemptively dismissing alternative or opposing viewpoints (or those who hold them), or overruling principles of good scholarship.
Textbooks are written by humans. They have strengths and weaknesses, pros and cons. We list our textbooks prior to enrollment and insist that families research the text before enrolling in the course. When we select a text, we commit to presenting the material from a biblical worldview, and so we are careful to identify views and biases in the texts we use. Please consider the details we provide on textbook selection considerations and criteria.
These are guidelines we apply in the conduct of teaching our classes:
- Teachers are encouraged to precede and/or close class with prayer, but not to allow students to share private or personal information in the process. TPS teachers will also not share overly personal details of their own lives, being mindful that their relationship with students is one of mentorship and authority rather than mutual intimacy. The academic content of the class should be fully underway within 10 minutes of the scheduled start time.
- Teachers are encouraged to weave their Christian faith and testimony into the academic content in a respectful, non-intrusive manner that is appropriate for the age and maturity of the students. Teachers are discouraged from digressing into devotions, homilies, doctrine or theology that are not academically pertinent to the course content.
- In matters where there are alternate views within the Trinitarian framework, teachers will avoid promoting a particular doctrine. When such topics are pertinent to the academic content of a course, teachers will endeavor to consider all major viewpoints (including those outside of a Trinitarian biblical worldview) academically, with respectful explanation of why the Trinitarian framework is held to be true. Orthodox views within the Trinitarian framework will be considered respectfully and impartially, realizing that people of good faith may hold differing views while still respecting one another’s faithfulness to God and the Bible.
- TPS is not a political organization, and may not promote religious priority of any political candidate, party or platform. Political discussions are limited to what is directly related to the academic course content, and political matters are discussed academically with respect for one another’s viewpoints.
A Challenging Example
The most common “biblical worldview” question we receive is in regard to how we teach the age of the earth (a.k.a the “evolution” question), particularly for the life science courses. Please consider this explanation as a humble effort to maintain mutual respect on a potentially divisive topic.
- Applying the principles listed above, TPS affirms the authority of the Bible, including chapters 1-11 of Genesis, though these are particularly difficult passages for biblical scholars to interpret and there is considerable ongoing discussion.
- We respect the experimentally-verifiable data of empirical science as applicable within this creation, but with understanding that science assumes a closed system without divine intervention. We are also mindful that no experiment has validated the possibility of life from non-life without divine creation.
- We are in awe of God as Creator of all things, including time, space, physics and life itself. We do not expect created things to be able to fully explain the process or timing of their own creation. (The emphasis on time itself as created and operable only inside this creation is distinguished by Augustine, Calvin and others, though it has become somewhat lost in the current debate about “age”.)
- We appreciate that good work has been done and continues to be done in both the theological and scientific arenas, and respect that people of true faith may peaceably hold differing views on the details of these matters.
TPS is an academic community built on mutual respect for one another in the nexus of faith and scholarship within a biblical worldview. Therefore, the one view we cannot condone is the one which demeans or attacks the faith and faithfulness of another believer for holding differing academic or theological views in seeking to honor God and the Bible. For those who feel called or justified to disrespect the faith or faithfulness of another (student, teacher, staff) over one or more of these disputable matters, we kindly and respectfully encourage enrolling elsewhere, as TPS will not work well for that approach to academic and social interaction.