Step 8: principle 3—America’s heritage of Christian character

The highest example of Christian self-government is, of course, Jesus. Of course He is our model and who we strive to pattern our lives after, hence the “Christian” descriptor.

To be self-governed, we must have the character to sustain it. And to do that we must have these seven principles demonstrated in our lives. To me, this principle should be listed last and be the sum of all the other principles. It encapsulates your life as you put into practice the other 5, with the first (individuality) as the basis.

The expressly peculiar stamp, mark, or character of Christ engraved upon the individual is causative. An effect is a history and heritage of those individuals whose Christian faith and life endured both external and internal conflict and trials. (p. 39)

The source of Christian Character is the Bible, a perfect combination of the Power of the Gospel and the Virtues of Christ. We need look no where else for instruction in righteousness. There is no other text that will so completely and succinctly train you to develop Christian character.

Educational application is sorely needed in today’s culture. There is a tremendous lack of true Christian self-government in America today. Some ways this principle can be applied:

  • provide curriculum “that reveals and teaches Christian character, or the lack of it.” (p. 42)
  • ensure that each subject is “rooted and grounded” in God’s Word so the student sees the standard for righteous living
  • as an educator, lead by example (ouch!!)
  • teach models of Christian character
  • provide lessons and tests that challenge and strengthen the student with reasoning, relating and recording (essays, projects, etc.) instead of fill-in-the-blank, rote memory and multiple choice.
  • afford students the opportunity to exercise authority and self-government in all subjects
  • enable the student to to take responsibility for one’s own character, instead of passing blame. They must accept responsibility for their success or failure.

Why are we so concerned with teaching this principle? Ms. Slater states

This is why it is so vital to explain to new teachers and those who are uncomfortable with thinking governmentally that “while it might look as if we were dealing with the subject of Christian government–actually, we are teaching principles which are basic to every Christian in every area of life. For what constitutes the Constitution is what constitutes the life and character of the people.” Hence, the conclusion that “The qualities of a good ruler (effect) are also the qualities of those who are governed (cause) in a republic.” (T&L, 247)

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