Teaching Christ in the Classroom: Why and How?

Protestant Reformed teachers have a high calling to fulfill. Their classrooms are an extension of our homes where the instruction from mothers and fathers is Christ-centered. When parents send their children to Protestant Reformed schools, they are trusting that teachers will be taking their place in teaching their youth, not only in the academic sense, but in a spiritual sense as well.

Protestant Reformed believers have a distinct calling to instruct their children in the fear of the Lord. While children are in school however, the parents are absent and teachers are in their stead. The calling of teachers then is to help instruct youth in the fear of the Lord. As Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

It is so important today, as in times past, that our covenant children be taught Christ in the classroom. We believe that these children are God’s chosen, a part of a special people. We teach them Christ because we carry the title “Christian” meaning that we are followers and imitators of Christ. Everything we do is to imitate Christ and to glorify God. Ephesians 5:1-2a says, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us….” We teach them Christ in order that they may learn about God and what He has done for them by His work on the cross, and in His continual blessing of our lives. We teach them in order that they may truly know God, and love Him with all their heart, soul, and minds. Christ-centered instruction lays a foundation for a child’s life. A well-known verse, Proverbs 22:6, says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Teachers teach Christ in the classroom in order to prepare students for what lies ahead on life’s pathway. Imagine life without any knowledge of Christ. What a hopeless state. Having Christ is essential to life—He is the key to survival in a dying, sinful world. Teachers teach Christ in the classroom to instill in students an unshakeable faith and hope in Christ. Children are instructed and taught so that they may be able to give a good answer of the hope that lies within them.

Christ is also taught in our classrooms because the students today are the future church. What we teach there today will have its affect tomorrow. Teaching Christ brings good hope that the church of tomorrow will hold to the same doctrinal truths that we cherish today. The Lord has been faithful in the history of the Protestant Reformed Church and much credit is due to the diligent instruction in our homes and schools.

Teachers and parents do not teach Christ merely for the sake of tradition. There is a desire to watch children grow in God’s grace. A desire to see them embrace the truths of Scripture and to live out a life of thankfulness and service to God. Reformed believers say along with the words of III John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

Teachers also teach Christ in the classroom in order that students can see how Christ applies to every subject as well as every aspect of our lives. How do teachers incorporate Christ into every subject? There are several areas where the answer is obvious, such as daily class devotions, singing from the Psalter and other spiritual songs, and Bible class. These are areas where it is easy to see that Christ is being taught. However, what about the rest of the school day? How can teachers apply and teach Christ throughout every subject matter?

Teachers teach Christ in every subject by applying texts of Scripture to the material being studied. They can read the texts to the class and explain or have the students explain how the passage is applicable to the subject at hand. For example, in a science class learning about the anatomy of the human body one could read the passage concerning all the members of the body and how they represent the church and her members, each one having an important function. In a physical education class, one could teach about our bodies as temples of God and being good stewards of them. In a math class where students are learning how to balance a checkbook, a teacher could apply the idea of being good stewards of earthly possessions and how we must take out money to give to the cause of God’s kingdom. A government class can apply Romans 13 concerning submitting to authority. An English class can even center on Christ by studying the eloquence and literary structure of books of the Bible.

Yet another way to teach Christ in the classroom is for teachers to be an example of Him for the children to see. One of the most important things a person can do to teach a child about Christ is to act Christ-like. I Corinthians 16:14 says, “Let all your things be done with charity.” When teachers show love, kindness, gentleness, peace, faith, etc., it is a good example, and their students will also bear the fruits of the Spirit.

And finally, teaching Christ in the classroom is important so that these children can stand and confess with their mouths and hearts the words of Question and Answer 32 of Lord’s Day 12 in the following paragraph.

But why are thou called a Christian? Because I am a member of Christ by faith, and thus am partaker of his anointing; so that I may confess his name, and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him: and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life: and afterwards reign with him eternally, over all creatures.