Christian attitudes toward schoolteachers are strangely diverse. On the one hand, the warning of James 3:1—“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness”—supports a rather general feeling that teachers have a role of exceptional significance and grave responsibility. Thus education is often ranked by evangelicals alongside medicine and only just below the ministry. Alternatively, however, Christians may assess the teacher by the “realistic” standards of society as badly paid, often indifferently qualified, and of rather humble status. In the United Kingdom a third view is sometimes taken—that the teacher is divinely commissioned to “preach the Gospel” throughout, or even outside of, the statutory lessons devoted to religious education. Certainly an impressive number of Christians feel called to teach. How can they assess their work in Christian terms, especially since most of them will not be concerned with teaching the Scriptures?
First of all, there can be no doubt of the cultural significance of Education. Man’s impressive cultural development has been possible only because each human generation can stand on the shoulders of its predecessor. The teacher’s indispensable part in this process gives him social significance that cannot be denied. This is very important to the Christian teacher, for it means that his work is not peripheral but of central importance; he is making a direct contribution to the community and even to the human race.
In the second place, the Christian will set this contribution in an even wider context. The command to “exercise dominion” has been called man’s cultural mandate. The Bible teaches that man’s terrestrial supremacy ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more