At Calvin we often talk about the three main influences in a child’s life–home, school, and church–and the role they each play in the growth and development of young people. Part of the reason we admit only children from Christian families is so that we can be assured that all three of these critical influences are a part of their lives.
I often get asked about doctrinal issues and how Calvin, with nearly 90 churches represented, handles what can be divisive issues within the faith community. As a school with a Reformed worldview, we teach from the perspective that the world belongs to God in the classroom but try to leave doctrinal issues and further Biblical interpretation to the home and church. The only class at Calvin that deals particularly with doctrine is our senior Bible class.
Certain issues that Christians do not always agree on are left to home and church. The age of the earth, for example, is one of those. Some Christians believe that the earth is very old while others believe that it is very young (even our own faculty do not necessarily agree on this). Topics like these are discussed at school with an understanding that Christians have differing views. Students are encouraged to ask their parents and church leaders about issues like these to gain further understanding. Christians should agree on faith essentials but can disagree as brothers and sisters in Christ on the non-essentials.
As students mature, we believe that it is healthy for students and Christian teachers to discuss these issues but respect each other for their differing views on some of the deeper doctrinal topics. Issues like women in ecclesiastical office, age for baptism, Sunday practices just to name a few besides the many other issues that are seen differently by various Christians.
Other issues likes salvation through Christ alone, the Trinity, the seriousness of sin, the sovereignty of God, and salvation by grace are issues that are fundamental to all who are truly Christian. These help form the core of what Christian perspective in Christian education is.
So we need the church, the Christian home, and the Christian school to not only fulfil their roles as God intended but also allow for overlap in many areas to work together as we raise young people to love and serve the Lord for their whole lives.