“Covenantal Education” by Rev Clarence Stam

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What follows is a speech Rev Clarence Stam held on Professional Development Day to Canadian Reformed principals in Burlington, Canada, 26th January 1979. It is as relevant today as it was then. As a teacher at the John Calvin Christian College I often had reason to refer back to this simple yet soundly reformed speech which beautifully and in practical terms explains what covenantal education is. It is important for both teachers and parents to be familiar with this material and I thank Rev Stam for allowing me to publish it here.  JN

Covenantal Education

Introduction

Greatly do I appreciate your invitation to address this enlightened Society at this occasion, although, I must admit, it wrought in me great fear and trembling, for my boldness is truly superficial and my scholarly ability questionable, especially when I noted the impressive qualifications of your previous speakers and the topics which they dared to tackle. Realizing my weakness that I respond perhaps too rashly to challenge, I nevertheless accepted your invitation and kind gesture, since the training of covenant children is also fully my concern and partly my calling. I trust that you will remind me of the fact that my training lies in a different field and discipline and if I should fail in any aspect of pedagogy or didactic, I trust that you will with Christian charity counsel me. On the other hand, I venture to trust that you will welcome some impulses and comments from my side as possibly containing some minute grains of truth for your important daily work, and in this way we may under God’s blessing MUTUALLY edify one another.

I am further comforted in the fact that we both, officebearers and teachers, are working from out of the Word of God and the Three Forms of Unity, in which the Word of God is by His  grace faithfully confessed. Within this framework of Scripture and Confession, there is room for differences, especially in practical applications, whereby the unity is not endangered but uncovered in its diversity of gifts and talents.  If the foundation is at stake, there is CRISIS, also in education. If the foundation is accepted by all, in childlike simplicity, there is growth, also in education.   It is this growth that we seek together, development in our profession, from out of our confession, based on the Revelation of God.

The ‘Principal’s Club’ (a very cosy terminology, by the way) has permitted me to speak on the topic ‘COVENANTAL EDUCATION’. It was a topic not of THEIR, but MY choosing. So please don’t fault the ‘club’ if the topic should fall flat in our midst; in that case I alone will have to nurse my wounds in silence. And I chose this topic not because you would fail to be aware of the importance of the Covenant for reformed education (such suspicions have not entered my mind). But I do wonder if the doctrine of the Covenant (and all the principle and practical implications of it) have been sufficiently elaborated upon and worked out in our midst with respect to Christian education.

I was very pleased to read the excellent speech of Dr Oosterhof, ‘The Biblical Image of Man as Basis for a Biblical Philosophy of Education’, pleased all the more when I noted the prominence which was given to Prof. B Holwerda’s views with respect to education. But whereas in Holwerda’s speech the concept of Covenant is a key matter, already in the TITLE of his speech, even though Dr Oosterhof mentions the Covenant at various places, the title here is more GENERAL: the Biblical Image of MAN: and the predominance of the word ‘covenant’ is somewhat obscured. My speech is not a correction, however, on Dr. Oosterhof’s address, but hopefully, an elaboration upon the recognition of its most basic content: the significance of the covenant for Reformed Education. Whereby you cannot expect from me to work out all practical aspects (that is not my field) but some basic directives, which you might work out in more detail.

The Covenant: A Basic Principle

In trying to find and formulate the motivating principle behind Reformed education, we should first ask ourselves this question: ‘Why do we have our OWN schools? Or perhaps: ‘What makes our children so distinctive and (in that sense) ‘special’ that they should merit and receive a different education  than other children in the same society?’ Is it something IN those children themselves which would necessitate our separating them for others and giving them an exclusive education? I do not think that any of us would dare to go in that direction.

Our children are by nature not any different from others, but are by reason of one common origin and nature conceived and born in sin and therefore subject to all misery, even to condemnation itself. So there is as such nothing ‘unique’ about our children which would reserve for them the privilege of reformed education.

So in formulating principles for a ‘Reformed philosophy of education, we should be careful, not approaching too quickly, the matter from out of the so-called ‘religious nature of THE CHILD’ . It is quite a common idea that man is a ‘totally religious being’ (e.g. J Fennema, Nurturing Children in the Lord, page 3) and therefore ‘possess an intrinsic desire to worship’, but when this idea is suitable contrasted with Scripture, it becomes ‘suspect’, to say the least. In speaking about the nature of man, does not the apostle Paul write, ‘No one seeks God, there is no fear of God before their eyes’. (Romans 3:10ff) Man may seek to appease ‘higher powers’ but that would perhaps rather be ‘superstition’ than ‘religion’. And even if ‘the child’ could be termed as a totally religious being, this would then apply to ALL children, and not imply anything distinctive about OUR children.

If we cannot find IN our children a distinctive quality, then we must need search elsewhere, namely IN GOD. At the Baptism of our children we speak of this. While on the one hand the children share a common depraved nature and misery, on the other, they are SANCTIFIED in Christ and set into HIS COVENANT.

There we find the only redeeming feature: not what is IN the children by creation or nature but what has been given TO the children in God’s Covenant. In this sense (with Rev P Y deJong, Christian Education in a changing and challenging world, page 17ff) we may speak of the ‘covenant distinctiveness; of our children. They have a distinctive position, purpose and problems, and therefore must be taught by a distinctive PROGRAM.

Our children, then, are different only for ONE reason: God has set them in Jesus Christ into HIS covenant and wants them trained in the way of the Covenant, by the Word of the Covenant. And when in the Scriptures the Lord speaks of the upbringing and training of the children, this is always done from out of the qualifying datum of the Covenant. Psalm 78 e.g. speaks of the teaching of children as an ongoing process, and what is being taught is: God’s testimony, the Law, the works of God, His commandments, in short, the whole COVENANT WAY OF LIFE. And when in Psalm 25, we read that the Lord will INSTRUCT in the way of life, we read, ‘He makes known to them HIS COVENANT’.

It would seem to me, then, that the only basic principle for our Reformed Education is the reality of this Covenant, its great riches and underserved privilege, but also its high obligation and calling.  Recognizing this also makes us more aware of the only foundation for this education, namely the WORD of the Covenant, the complete revelation of God. We then do not have to start (as C vanTil suggests) with man (Psychologically, of course, the Christian must also start with man… Essays on Reformed Education, page 78ff), but we start with God’s gift of grace in the Covenant.

There is ONE Covenant and ONE Word, so there is a common calling and bond for home church and school, and they deal with a common denominator: ‘covenant children’. This does not mean that the calling is not DIVERSIFIED. In the home basic attitudes and skills will be developed; the church will lead the children into the DOCTRINE of the Scriptures as a creedal unity; the school will concentrate on arts and skills necessary so that the children can adequately function as God’s children according to their talents and gifts. Each ‘institution’ (if we may use that word) must see its own special task, yet not loose from the others. The one Word and Covenant sets ALL under that absolute sovereignty of God.

So I conclude that the distinctive character of Reformed Education is that it deals with Covenant children, instructs in the covenant way of life, with the one Covenant revelation and therefore should be aptly called COVENANTAL EDUCATION. That is not just a matter of ‘words’, but a matter of essence and method.

Orientation

With this in mind, we turn to the various publications which have appeared during the last decades on ‘Christian Education’.  We may gratefully note that there is a growing interest in developing a Christian philosophy of education and a Christian curriculum (e.g. Shaping School Curriculum, by Steensma and van Brummelen), and we may certainly benefit from many of the worthwhile perspectives that are opened.

But sadly enough, there is very little (and disappointing) attention for the Covenant in much contemporary writing about the principles and manner of Christian Education. Without pretending to be complete, let me examine a few publications from out of this aspect, whereby I do not deny other positive aspects, but simply point to that which is lacking essentially.

In his The Messianic Character of American Education, R J Rushdoony does not mention the covenant at all, but perhaps that book, which discusses various philosophies without elaborately promoting an own philosophy, is not suited for our purpose of investigation. In Intellectual Schizophrenia, Rushdoony does, somewhat suddenly and breathtakingly, speak in strong terms of the Covenant and says, “Education is inevitable a COVENANTAL ACT”. You might be comforted in the fact that my title was borrowed from Rushdoony’s comments in this respect. He writes, “Covenant theology was a doctrine of salvation, a plan of conduct, a philosophy of history as well as the FOUNDATION OF EDUCATION”. (page 8) We could not agree more. When it comes to the CONTENTS of this education, however, Rushdoony suffices in saying that “it holds man to be God’s vice-regent, created in His image, and called upon to establish dominion over all creation and over himself” (page 11) This aspect of the COVENANT, prominent in the first pages of the book, however, plays NO FURTHER ROLE, and that is disappointing, at least in my opinion, especially when we read what he writes about the CHURCH and the SCHOOL which he equalizes when he states, ‘The Christian school is a manifestation of the visible Church’ (page 38ff).

But back to the Covenant, the prominent theologian and scholar, C vanTil in his Essays on Christian Education, writes about the ‘the reformed view of education’.  As leading principles, he suggests: the Bible and especially the doctrines of creation and providence, with as basic motivation: the presupposition of God. The only time that he mentions the covenant is when he speaks about the CO-RELATION of supernatural revelation (God) and natural revelation (man) and says that in this way man is a ‘covenant being’.  This rather ‘philosophical approach’ is somewhat confusing, I’m afraid, and hardly suited for our purposes. The Covenant as a living bond between God and man does not function here in this publication.

Other publications worth listing are CHRISTIAN DAY SCHOOLS, by DL Kranendonk: Education in the Truth, by Norman de Jong; Nurturing Children in the Lord, by JE Fennema; but all these have NO MENTION of the significance of the Covenant for Christian Education. Of the three, Norman de Jong, in discussing the ‘responsible institution’ (the state, the church, the home) makes the most interesting comments, “Scripture pointed and repeated admonitions to parents are given…to ensure that the covenantal relationship between children and God is not violated’. But he adds, ‘Reflection on this doctrine of the covenant, however, complicates the question of educational responsibility’ (page 125). It would seem that for deJong, the covenantal aspect is the inter-relationship between the parents and the church of which they are members, but has no real bearing on the school.

It is then refreshing to read P Y de Jong’s Christian Education in a Changing and Challenging World. Although he, too, embarks on the principle of ‘sphere sovereignty’, the matter of the COVENANT PLAYS A PROMINENT ROLE IN HIS VIEW. Man, created in the image of God, is a ‘covenantal being’, and is either ‘covenantally obedient or covenantally disobedient’, page 16. He writes, ‘Basically this demands of us some sound understanding of God’s Covenant with us and our children’.  As mentioned earlier, he refers to the ‘covenantal distinctiveness’ of Christian education. His ‘Biblical view’ of man is determined also by the Covenant. Man was created as a covenant being, responsible to the Covenant God, and NOW set in the New Covenant in the blood of Christ (page 38).

I may suffice with these examples. These gleanings show us two extremes: total lack of and great emphasis on the COVENANT as principle for Christian Education. It would stand to reason, then, that the place of the Covenant in the Christian School movement has been a ‘bone of contention’.  This debate concerning the place and the function of the Covenant in education has also been going on in the Christian Reformed Church and coincided with the question of the extent of the Church supervision over the school, (see point 4). Those who stressed the bond between church and school (and the supervision of the Church) did so FROM OUT OF THE doctrine of the one covenant. In his book, The Roots of the Calvinistic Day School Movement’ Donald Oppewal describes this conflict. Those holding to the ‘parochial view’ (Church and School are one), he writes, ‘tend to call the schools COVENANTAL rather than either Christian or Calvinsitic, and rather than seeking theoretical justification in the Kuyperian conception of sphere sovereignty, it is held that the need for the Christian Schools rests upon the doctrine of the COVENANT’. He adds, ‘However, this position is often STATED, it is rarely ARGUED’. I hope that I have in the above stated, given at least some argumentation to show the unity of church and school. Which does not mean that I favour the ‘parochial’ (i.e. church-supervised school system, but I do see a common basis, therefore a mutual influencing, and since the teachers and pupils are members of the church, a specific responsibility of the Consistory (compare Article 21, Church Order).

In order to complete the picture, he also adds, ‘However vocal the holders of the parochial view have been, it would be inaccurate to say that this view is the dominant one in the Christian Reformed Church and in the Calvinistic School system’ (page 24). It is my contention that because the COVENANT as unifying factor between the home, the church and the school fell away, and the emphasis came to fall on the ‘religious nature of the child as image-bearer’, the route to interdenominational schools was opened. Specific ‘denominational creeds’ were no longer adhered to in the school and soon Presbyterians and Methodists (Baptists) were invited and welcomed. Oppewal describes this whole development. It is then evident why the Covenant as motivation principle functions so little in publications out of these circles.

The Child as Image-Bearer

If we cannot find in God and His Covenant the distinctive character of Christian education, we must necessarily look to man, to the child. And this is exactly what happened. Most authors examine what the child is by creation (‘image bearer’) and seek to discover what is left of this image (the remnants) after the fall to which the educator might appeal. Based on the given fact of ‘image-bearer’, we get elaborate explanations of the nature of the child and his psychological composition.

I make this note: being created in the image of God, is not exclusively the privilege of OUR children, but MAN (in general) was created in this way.  So this approach could be used with respect to ALL children, and is not by definition to be reserved for our philosophy of education. Yet all children are not Covenant children; that is the special gift to our children.

The fact that MAN was created in the IMAGE of GOD is an undeniable Biblical truth. It is referred to not only in the account of CREATION, but also elsewhere in the Bible (Genesis 9; James 3), especially in reference to the fact that the LIFE of man does not belong to himself or others, but to God Who made him after His likeness. But does this mean that we can TODAY (in a postlapsarian situation) say ‘THE CHILD is a living creature in the image of God?’ (Albert E Greene Jr., in Shaping School Curriculum). Is that what characterizes our children? If so, what are then the implications of such a characterization?

There has been much discussion about this being created in the image of God. Some feel that this distinguishes man from the other creatures especially in his characteristics (Fennema calls this the ‘static dimension’) such as: religiousness, rationality, creativity, unity, responsibility, freedom, accountability, etc. Others feel that this represents the calling of man to be Vice-agent of God, to exercise dominion and authority (Fennema calls this the ‘dynamic’ dimension). K Schilder went into this direction, explaining it as a matter of ‘office’.

It certainly denotes that man’s ORIGIN and CHARACTER and POSITION is different from that of the other creatures. In him is the ‘breath of God’. He is suited for a covenantal relationship. He is given a three-fold Covenantal office of being prophet, priest and king in creation under the sovereign God. Psalm 8:5, sums it up by stating: ‘Thou hast made him a little less than God, and doest crown him with glory and honour’.

The Heidelberg Catechism gives a normative explanation when it says (in Lord’s Day 3) ‘after His own image, THAT IS: in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God His creator, heartily love Him and live with Him in eternal blessedness to praise and glorify Him’. So here it is: two characteristics (righteousness and holiness) plus the calling: knowledge, love, yes, COMMUNION with God.

But now the question: what is LEFT of this? Is there enough left on which to base a Christian philosophy of education?  Article 14 of the Belgic Confession states, ‘he has lost all his excellent gifts which he received from God, and retained only SMALL REMAINS thereof’.  And these small remains (traces) are no basis really, for they function, says article 14, ‘to leave man without excuse’.  All the gifts are lost. In the Canons of Dort (111-1V, par 4.) we read, ‘There remain however, in man since the fall, glimmerings of natural light, whereby he retains some knowledge of God, of natural things, and of the difference between good and evil, and shows some regard for virtue and good outward behaviour’.  True, man did not become a non-man or an animal after the fall. But let us not get our hopes up too high, for the Canons continue, ‘But SO FAR is this light of nature from being sufficient to bring him to a saving knowledge of God, and to true conversion, that He is INCAPABLE of using it aright even in things natural and civil.  Nay further, this light, such as it is, man in various ways renders wholly polluted and hinders in unrighteousness, by doing which he becomes INEXCUSABLE before God’.  We cannot appeal to these remnants or glimmerings, the gifts are lost, and if man, by God’s government and providence – and not by something called ‘common grace’ – has not become totally animal, HE NO LONGER SHOWS THE IMAGE OF GOD in this world.

Man is not righteous and holy, able and willing to do good. He does not in himself, know God, although he may intrinsically seek higher powers. He does this because he is a slave to sin, not out of inbred religiosity He does not love, but he hates. He has no communion with the heavenly Father, but is totally depraved. Instead of showing that God is his FATHER, being created in the IMAGE of God, does man not portray the IMAGE of SATAN? Is this not what Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is not truth in him”.

In this light we must be very careful as to what conclusions we draw for TODAY out of the fact of being created in God’s image, and not too quickly state that ‘the child is image-bearer of God’.  I warn especially for some conclusions drawn by JE Fennema in his book Nurturing Children in the Lord, this warning based also on the fact that I have seen elements of this book LITERALLY re-appearing in one of our Reformed school periodicals. I refer especially to these conclusions: that the child today is always so RATIONAL; that the child has the FREEDOM to choose, and is therefore ACCOUNTABLE. Freedom of choice may be said in a certain sense, of the prelapsarian state, but may we today say that the child has freedom of choice and is therefore accountable? Is he not rather already accountable by the fact he was conceived and born in sins? Is proclaiming ‘some’ freedom of choice for the child not a rejection of his depravity and moral corruption, his being enslaved in sin? Fennema works rather strongly with the distinction between ABSOLUTE and TOTAL depravity, and says that while man is totally depraved (all his actions bear the taint of sin), nevertheless he is not absolutely depraved (common grace) and still shows ‘human qualities’. There are some redeeming features, it seems. I find this terminology to be dangerously ARMINIAN and we should reject it altogether. The distinction between total and absolute depravity functions really as a vehicle for the doctrine of common grace and grants some justification to man.

A question. Does this force us into deterministic waters?  Certainly not, in covenantal terms, the child is truly accountable, and is responsive and responsible. He is accountable to the fact of his depravity, and accountable to the APPEAL which comes to him in the covenant word of God, to which he must respond and does respond, negatively or positively.

No child is free. By nature he is a slave to sin, having lost all his excellent gifts. In the covenant he is called to be responsible to God, and God does not work in him as in sticks and blocks, but renews his will to serve God. So instead of following the terminology of secular and anti-Calvinistic philosophies of education, we should seek to develop our own. And if ‘the image of God’ is going to FUNCTION correctly in our philosophy, as it should, then we must come to SHOW this image again. Covenantal education would stress not that the child IS in the image of God, image-bearer by nature, but must again become IMAGE-BEARER, putting off the old nature with its practices, and having put on the new nature WHICH IS BEING RENEWED IN KNOWLEDGE AFTER THE IMAGE OF ITS CREATOR (Col 3:10). It is IN the Covenant, and by the blood of the Covenant Mediator that we are restored to our original office, that we receive the righteousness and holiness of Christ, may come to KNOW God and love Him, having with Him eternal, blessed communion.  That is the ‘covenantal context’ and function of being created in the IMAGE OF GOD. In this education we do not seek what is IN THE CHILD, but what God has said TO the child, and WORKS in the child by His Word and Spirit. I think that this must be the essential difference between Covenantal education and all other education. Our task is to seek the children’s positive response to the promises and demands of the Covenant and constantly to place the children before both, stressing God’s underserved grace and their ongoing responsibility.

If we do not retain this prime principle, we will inadvertently slide into an Arminian and ultimately humanistic direction, seeking in the child some redeeming feature to which we might address ourselves. K Schilder has pointed out that the Covenant is the dominating actor in the relationship between God and man. Because the covenant is ‘unilateral’ in origin, the doctrine of the Covenant gives God ALL THE GLORY. Before man can come to any covenantal activity, God must ‘condescend’ to us. Because in Roman Catholic and Arminian theology ‘the effort of man’ gains emphasis, it is clear that the Covenant cannot play such a role there. The Covenant says: God acts first, therefore WE act. But such is not the viewpoint of much contemporary American theology. Therefore, all the more, we should preserve and think out this aspect of our faith. (K Schilder, Het Verbond in de Gereformeerde Symbolen).

The Covenant

If the Covenant (as Schilder said) is the dominant factor, we must know it well, also in view of the debates there have been concerning the covenant. There is only ONE covenant. In this Covenant God gives His grace and gifts, and also imparts a calling to His children to serve and glorify Him. When the gifts were lost and the calling was subverted, God set to restore this covenant relationship in Jesus Christ, renewing His children by His Spirit and Word. The function in this covenant, our children are also sent to our schools, and for NO OTHER REASON.

And I would say, this sets the climate in the school. The teachers are to regard their pupils as CO-HEIRS of the covenant who are to be instructed in the way of the covenant, one with them in sin and sinfulness, one also in Grace. The teachers are fellow-workers, whose combined goal in the different classes and subjects, is to bring about covenant awareness and responsiveness in the pupils. The pupils are to see one another as standing in a common heritage, under one calling, having responsibility to God, as His children, and to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. There shall be a good working relationship among the staff and between the staff and the board, in which the duties are well-divide and the authority is clear. There will be emphasis on Christian conduct and fellowship therefore, DISCIPLINE must be a prime factor at Covenantal schools, according to Biblical norms. The staff will strive to entertain a good relationship with the parents, and the Board will be open to the Society.  In the criticism which can arise towards one another, we shall not become personalistic, but shall strive to better the education of the children. Covenantal fellowship stresses unity in faith and therefore mutual dedication and utmost co-operation. I realise that I am making general, well-known statements, but nevertheless, I am convinced, that seeing one another as fellow-workers in Christ, and the children as co-heirs of the Covenant could use some emphasis. This will help to reduce some of the tension which normally occurs where adults and children must work together on a daily basis.

And if one thing is necessary, it is a mutual agreement on and understanding of the PURPOSE of the covenantal education. I may say it perhaps with the words of Mr T van der Leest, principal of the Reformed School Community in Rotterdam, ‘Our most important goal is to cause our pupils to choose consciously for the service of God, in acceptance of the promises which their COVENANT God, their heavenly Father has given them’.  Therefore the personal and communal relationship of the children with God in Christ must be made clear and emphasised.

We are to give the children ‘knowledge’. And Geraldine Steensma (in Shaping School Curriculum) correctly points out that in the Bible ‘knowledge’ is communion, ‘a personal relationship that COMMITS’. The children do not merely receive ‘knowledge’ (facts and relationships) but such knowledge that commits them to their Covenant God.

The ‘personal’ relationship with Christ in the Covenant, however, also means a mutual relationship in the people of the Covenant, the CHURCH. The accepting of the ‘covenant relationship’, writes T van der Leest, implicates love for the Jerusalem from above, our Mother, the Church. Whereas it is not the calling of the school to instruct in the doctrines of the Church, certainly an integral part of this calling is to stimulate love for and participation in the Church. Therefore, I cannot agree with remarks in the last edition of Clarion stating that ‘the School teaching and training is not to be Church-oriented, in the sense that the school is there to produce better church members and as a result better churches. The (Reformed!) orientation of Schools is towards Kingdom-service in the midst of this world’. I agree that the task of the school is not be a nursery of the Church, but I cannot accept a dilemma between Church-worship and Kingdom-service, the two are inseparably related. There is more UNITY here than is suggested.

Attempting to formulate the specific goal of our reformed schools, I would say that indeed the school will emphasize training in arts and skills with a view to the children’s task as Covenant children in this world. Which simply means that ALL subjects are to be approached from out of Scripture and Confession. This is not too difficult with respect to most subjects. In the sciences we will attempt to show how all the earth is the Lord’s, and was created by Him in wisdom with innumerable resources and possibilities to be developed to His glory and man’s well being. In the historical subjects, we attempt to show His providential care and sovereign government directing the history of mankind to His goal and glory in Christ, destroying all wicked designs of the Evil one.  Language shall be promoted as a God-given means and communication to serve Him and edify one another while literature shall be examined and discussed in the context of the antithesis God has set between Christ and Satan. The subject with which we will perhaps in this connection have the most difficulty is MATHEMATICS (according to T van der Leest), the most ‘neutral of all subjects. Yet here, too, we shall approach the mathematical laws as set by God, as belonging to the order of His creation, and especially (again according to Mr van der Leest) covenantal aspects will clearly emerge when we talk about the application of mathematics (in economics and science and statistics, etc). In Physical education we shall not promote the cult of the body, but certainly teach the value of physical fitness for a healthy functioning as children of God, and promote Christian attitudes in sportsman-like conduct.

In other words, in all subjects, in the use of language, in the study of literature, in the examination of creation, in the understanding of history, in the application of mathematics, the children are to become more and more ‘men of God’, complete ‘equipped for every good work’.  I just quoted 1 Timothy 3:17, which the well know Prof. Waterink used as motto for Christian education, equipping the children with knowledge and skills to be men of God, excelling in the service of gratitude. In all this we seek to prepare the children for MATURITY , for an independent life within the one Covenant of God, so that they may be ‘a new creation’, more and more being conformed to the Image of God. Independence, not in the humanistic sense that ‘man is norm unto himself’, but know his own place again, in the Covenant under God, in the communion of saints, as a citizen of his country, being as Adam, now in the second Adam, a prophet, priest and king, awaiting the full restoration of Heaven and earth.

This does not elevate the teachers to clergy, nor does this make them servants of the parents. Which does not mean that there should not be good communication between teachers, clergy and parents. But you may introduce the covenant children, as co-heirs with you of the promise, to the riches of God’s creation, to the progression of His history, and show them: THIS IS GOD, YOUR GOD, SERVE HIM.

Then I ask you: Is covenantal Education so different? This is NORMAL education, as God intended it from the beginning, normal in the sense that it is based on and seeks God’s NORMS for life, experiences His grace and works for His glory. If in our education we BEGIN with this God, we may CONCLUDE with this God.