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Christian Education
DR.JT. Roberson
Final Examination
December 7, 2011
Robin Johnson

1. How was Christian Education conducted for African Americans during slavery and while was operational?
Christianity and Education was of utmost importance to the African culture. Africans came to America with a rich and dynamic heritage, which they tried to preserve. Black religion, like Black people, began in Africa. In trying to find a starting point of Christian Education, many scholars believe it may be found in the sacred text of the New Testament. Africa’s contribution to Black religion is well known and John Jackson is an advocate of this position. He has cited several legacies of Egypt to Christianity. Education was an experience that was required by each person in a tribe. The community to which one belonged defined what it meant to be human. To be human was to belong to a community and participate in beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies of that community. African Education was the oral instruction that emerged through their music, dance, folk tales, rituals, proverbs, poetry, and so on. These tools served as instruction. Slaves during the Antebellum Period formed new ideas and practices on their own that pronounced longing for freedom. These meetings were held in the brush harbors and praise houses, and were thus coined the “invisible church”. Story and song were the sources of education during this period of slavery. This oral communication was used as the education structure and was indispensable.

2. What role, if any, do the following items play in African American Christian Religious Education?

The African American Pastor
Hill makes the claim “The Black pastor as teacher is the most important leader in the educational ministry of the Black Church”. I agree, to a certain extent with Hill that the Black Pastor is the most important leader in the education of the Church. However, the man of God must be teaching from the Bible. He is God’s chosen and therefore has authority over the flock. The Pastor must be flowing and functioning under the unction of the Holy Spirit. He must be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to fully accomplish his assignment. The Black Pastor cannot operate or teach what was given while in the flesh. He must be careful that what he is teaching is in order and is not a learned behavior (must be Biblical). The Black Pastor’s role is one of great importance because he must try to imitate and follow that of the Master Teacher, Jesus.

The Director of Christian Education in the Local Church
A Church needs to develop a sound philosophy for Christian Education based on the Word of God. A sound philosophical statement is not enough, however to experience the transformation of lives. What is on paper must be put into practice for it to make a difference. The Christian Education Ministry of the Church is not a one person job. It takes many people working at different levels and in different capacities. When working as a team, key leaders of various areas will have a much greater effectiveness than if they focus only on themselves and their own areas of responsibility. A Director of Christian Education certainly can provide pivotal leadership. Without the support of the pastor and other church leadership, this person can only go so far.
The Seminary
The Seminary plays a significant role in the African American Christian religious education. When a person has a call on their life they must make some key decisions. One of most important decisions is choosing to answer God’s call as pastor, minister, or teacher. This takes a tremendous amount of prayer and thought. If a person believes that they are called into the ministry but are not sure how they will go to go back to school, this is another area that takes tremendous prayer. The Seminary is very important to the rising minister. Once the person answers the call there are many options available to the student who wants to return to school.
The Public School System
The word “educate” means to bring up, nurture, or train. When referring to Christian education, the word “educate” means: “ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4) as well as “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)
The Public School System has planned education primarily as a benefit to the state, as well as society in general Education for the Christian purposes to conform the Saint to the image of Christ-“to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29) Christian education is primarily planned to benefit God, as well as the student. To become more like Christ is the goal of Christian Education. Public Education views education as something which the state must regulate and control. Because God gives parents the responsibility of educating their children for Himself, the parents also have been given the control of Education. 3. In your opinion, what impact has Black Theology had on African American Christian Religious Education.
The contemporary theological voices include those of evangelical, Pentecostal, liberation, spiritual and womanist African American theologians. J Deotis Robert is one of the most prominent theologians in the world. He earned his PhD in philosophical theology from the University of Edinburgh and later received from the University the D. Litt Degree. He was called to teach theology at Howard University Divinity School in Washington, D.C., where he educated students for many years. Black Theology is defined as a reflection arising out of the Black religious experiences of the church and resulting in faith-informed interpretations that serve to guide the ongoing life of Christians. In spite of much resistance by whites, people of color have never ceased thinking theologically. 4. Given your reading of the foundation in Pazmino, comment on how the following foundations inform your understanding of Christian Religious Education in general and African American Christian Religious Education in particular.
Biblical Foundations-Pazmino states that the foundations can be identified in the Old and New Testaments. These biblical sources provide approaches even at the basic of a common sense reading of the text He breaks down the Old Testament and provides a wide variety of historical and communal setting in which to explore the nature of teaching and learning within the faith community. Pazmino provides information on the prophets, priest, Levites, wise persons or sages, scribes and rabbis, along with people themselves as a nation. He also puts together a table as an educational agent which has distinct purpose, content, method, and institutional expression. He culminate the chapter with a proposed four-way “integrated model” for Christian Education, Schematizing Education for Education for proclamation (Kergma), education for the community (koinonia), education for service (diakonia), and education for advocacy (prophetcia).
Theological Foundations-Pazmino begins by stating that evangelical Christians have been predisposed with biblical sources in all areas of their faith and practice. Therefore, they have turned to Scripture and to biblical theology in considering various principles. Their approach to religious education emphasizes four distinctive elements that are primarily theological in nature: biblical authority, necessity of conversion, the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and personal piety. The evangelicals according to Pazmino are generally not well connected to other outlooks that term themselves “Christian”. The social sciences and religious education being one degree or another to evangelicals, other movements that Pazmino list as process, liberation, existential, neo-orthodox, natural, or other theologies are avoided and little dialogue exist. Pazmino notes that there is a divide.
Philosophical Foundations-A Christian worldview defined is comprised of those fundamental Christian beliefs that most adequately describe the relationship between God and creation, Pazmino, in philosophical foundations is clearly building on the biblical/theological base with evangelical taxonomy of disciplines. He notes “A philosophy of education, attempts to articulate a systematic and life giving scheme that can guide practice”
Historical Foundations- History is a science in that it is a disciplined and concerned with the analysis of documents and other evidence, according to Pazmino. It is also a science of persons in the sense that it is concerned with individuals and groups. Educators are forced to consider aspects of education that are more subject to change and various contingencies in different times and places. (Pazmino) Our current generation suffers from a fairly ignorance of the past, a condition that Christians in general-and Christian Educators in particular must avoid. Pazmino states that history provides an awareness of both the possibilities and complexities of education. He goes on to give a brief survey of education from the Old Testament to contemporary American society.
Psychological Foundations- Psychology is a discipline which may contribute valuable insights into the lives of students. In the case with sociology and anthropology, psychology is a discipline with many schools that are quite anti-Christian in their worldview and postulates. Pazmino quickly profiles the various major schools. However, he states the problem is to find the particular blend of insights from those schools that may be used on a foundation of Christian truth. Christians are confronted with the need to think faithfully about psychology in general and develop a Christian psychology on which to build their educational thought and practice. 5. Please provide a paragraph on what you consider the ideal Christian Education Program for your Local Church.
The ideal Christian Educational Program that my church could offer would be one that is accredited. The educational courses would be designed to help those in the church, whether lay or in leadership, reach their divine purpose in the Kingdom of God. All the courses would be offered on a semester to semester basis, just as most college programs. Financial aid would be something else to consider after putting the program together, because the instructors should be paid and fully educated in their profession. Graduates would receive either an associates or bachelors degree after completion of required coursework. This program would be like a Bible college. At present, The Potter’s House does have a two year program that they offer. After completion students do graduate. However, our program at this time is not accredited.

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