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PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION


Some students studying

Our Philosophy

The SBCE faculty is aware that the college’s educational mission is a community endeavor shared with the staff and Board. The churches of our students and their family are also participate in their preparation for ministry. Nonetheless, as a College we bear a special responsibility for guiding this process. In expressing our philosophy of education, we hope that the Christian community will affirm the value we cherish and support our commitment to live out our values with our students, professionally and relationally.

Truth and Education:  The Word of God is the sure tool for evaluating all claimed Truth.

All truth is consistent with God’s person, His word, and His work; God is the source and measure of all truth. This requires diligent and constant research and study of the Scriptures, of the witness of the church in the past and of the situation in our day to which the truth of God must be addressed. Both the Old and the New Testaments teach that God expects His people to evaluate truth claims using the criterion of the Word of God, by means of their intellect (continuously renewed by Christ), with help and gift of the Holy Spirit. God also expects His people to subject their own thinking and teaching, as well as others, to biblical and evidential tests. We endeavor to develop the capacity of our students to do the same.

Truth and Life: Education must be Experience-oriented

Truth integrates thought and life. Therefore, our experience of truth must also integrate thought and life. The Bible shows that knowledge is incomplete unless it affects actions. Therefore, we always examine our lives for evidence that the truth we teach is affecting our actions and relationships. We also seek to draw our students into the learning process so that thought and life integrated in their experiences as well. This reminds us that we can never be satisfied with simply communicating ideas without relating them to the lives of our students. In this sense, we affirm that education must always be experience-oriented.

Science and Scripture

We believe that God is the creator and sustainer of all that exists. Since we need to understand and appropriate God’s truth in creation, it is our responsibility to make critical use of the disciplines and insights developed in the social and natural sciences. It is the Holy Scriptures however, that makes us wise unto salvation. We determine above all else, therefore, to be men and women of the Word and to teach our students to be the same.

We Respect Persons

We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His own image and likeness, gifting them with a personal, social, and spiritual nature like His own. Since sin entered the race, every aspect of human nature has been warped and distorted. Distortion is not eradication, however. Every human being is still God’s image-bearer and of infinite worth. For that reason, we relate to every person beginning with our families, students, and colleagues with appropriate respect and care. If we abuse or dishonor one another through contempt or manipulation, we dishonor God.

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We Equip the Equippers

The church exists as an exhibit of God’s grace and for the purpose of extending His kingly reign to every aspect of life and society. The mission of the church has been committed to the whole people of God, to whom the Spirit gives gifts for ministry. The risen Christ gives to His church men and women who are especially gifted for equipping others to use their spiritual gifts. It is our task as a Bible College to equip these “equippers,” who then will train God’s people and lead them in ministry. Thus, the SBCE exists to serve the church, and our instructional programs must always reflect this reality.

We Model the Truth

We study the Scriptures not only to learn God’s truth; we also study them to obtain guidance in the practice of our profession. The Bible is not a textbook on education, but we find educational principles implicitly represented and explicitly modeled in both Old and New Testaments. We are impressed with the centrality of moral instruction for character development. We note the high responsibility of those who hold God’s truth to communicate it to others, and the priority assigned to the integration of truth and life by teachers and learners alike. Our Lord’s incarnation focuses the centrality of this integration, forcefully reminding us that we must be models if we are to be teachers.

Jesus, Our Ultimate Model Teacher

We are challenged by Christ’s sensitivity to the people He taught, to their prior understandings, needs, and learning readiness. We admire His creativity in relating spiritual and moral truths through concepts familiar to His listeners. Jesus did not allow His followers to be passive learners, however, but challenged them to actively consider the things they heard and to search out the meaning of His statements. We are humbled to realize that His authority never depended on affected authoritativeness or aloofness, but was rooted in His understanding of Himself and His mission, His profound knowledge of the Scriptures, His embodiment of truth, and His skill as a teacher.

We are Servants and Stewards

Jesus defined His own mission as “servanthood” both to God and to men. We recognize that elitist attitudes and ambitions are entirely inconsistent with servanthood, so we reject these. We seek, instead, to humbly relate to all whom God brings into our lives, and to serve our students as we serve our Lord and His church. Our motivation toward excellence derives from our responsibility to be stewards of the gifts, opportunities, and resources God has committed to us. We seek to discipline our personal and professional lives, and thus to honor Him in the way we administer our stewardship. We seek also to communicate these values to our students.

The Image of Christ is Our Aim

Jesus Christ was not only a model teacher, He is also the embodiment of personal and spiritual wholeness — what the Bible refers to as “maturity”. Throughout the New Testament epistles, Christlikeness is the aim of the Christian life.  Thus, it is appropriate that it should also be the ultimate goal of the educational process. As we teach, therefore, we strive to stimulate growth. Although growth for its own sake is sterile and directionless, growth into Christlikeness gives meaning to the educational task and provides a criterion for assessing progress. SBCE exists to help people grow, to develop their God-given gifts, to expand their horizons, to acquire new cognitive and ministry skills, and to sharpen old ones. But the end of our training is always Christlikeness.