Goodness, Truth, & Beauty in Education
Anyone who has spent even a small amount of time in a classical Christian school has heard the leadership speak of goodness, truth, and beauty. Why all this talk about those things and what does it have to do with education?
In the Christian tradition, we do not seek Goodness, Truth, and Beauty as abstract concepts apart from God. Instead, we find these virtues in the person of Jesus Christ. For Romans 11:36 says “For from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” He is our standard; indeed He is thestandard. Truth, Goodness, and Beauty are not mere ideals to be strived for, but rather they are the description of a person, our Lord Jesus in whose image we are being conformed.
In the Christian tradition, we are not at all confused about our purpose and for the most part we have never been. The vision for the good life that Jesus portrayed and proclaimed in His time here on earth has always provided us with much needed wisdom in classical Christian education. The Biblical worldview’s clarity on the good life necessarily informs our goals in education. Simply put, the truth that He has given us through His word, we are to teach our children. This means our education must be about more than skill acquisition. Better still, to borrow from St. Augustine, we (parents and teachers) must properly shape the loves of our children so that they will love what they love to the right degree and in the right priority.
This involves many things. In classical Christian education we apply the tools of learning to teach goodness, truth, and beauty.
Goodness. We are teaching our children that Goodness is only found in the grace of God lived out by His people. A people who have been made new and transformed by His Holy Spirit and conformed to His word. There is no goodness to be found inside of man but from regenerated hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit. Man is not inherently good but rather fallen and only potentially good until he finds his new self in Christ, where it can be realized. (James 1:17)
Truth. We are teaching our children that Truth is that which has been created by our God, spoken of in His word, and embodied in the person of Jesus Christ. Truth is true whether people think so or not. Truth is not dependent on what we think. It just is and we must conform to it. (John 18:37)
Beauty. We are teaching them that Beauty goes beyond a mere specific organization of matter but rather consideration for the purpose of a thing must be included in such judgments. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. Something being attractive or pretty is not the same thing as something being beautiful. Instead, there are objective standards of beauty revealed to us by Christ in the Scriptures. (1 Peter 3:3-4)
These transformative truths are incredibly controversial in the modern education system but this has only been so in recent times.
Outside of Christendom, confusion reigns about these most fundamental things. Only with proper Biblical understandings of goodness, truth, and beauty will young people aspire to the true good life, the life God has for us, the life He always wanted for us, Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone). For Jesus said, I came that they might have life, and that they might have it abundantly. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty bring an abundant life of human flourishing. That is God’s heart for us and his desire for all of humanity, that we would thrive.
There are many reasons you could be involved in a school like ours by sending your children, supporting us financially, or volunteering your talents. You could do so because at our school, our academic scores are high and are graduates are getting big scholarships to go to great colleges. They are. You could support us because our kids are safe from the onslaught of the leftist agenda in the government-funded schools. They are. You could even support us because we have a deep love for our students. We do. Those are all worthy things. My hope is that we are engaged in response to our understanding of our purpose and the ultimate end of education.
We are, in the words of the Psalmist, cultivating faithfulness in the next generation. We are giving them the vision for the good life that Jesus preached. We long to see students catch this vision for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty in all things and through their creative works they would join and worship King Jesus in His enterprise of reconciliation. These scriptural tenets shape our Kingdom Vision and why we do what we do, aspiring to excellence as a classical Christian school.
Headmaster, Trinity Christian School