Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Contemporary Approaches to Christian Education (1)

Seymour and Miller in their book, Contemporary Approaches to Christian Education, describe 5 different approaches or key metaphors in understanding Christian education (Seymour, Miller et al. 1982). These approaches are listed below:

(1) Religious instruction where the main activity is the transmission of the religious information done in the context of the classroom.

(2) Faith Community is used to describe the creation of a community where a member can be nurtured to learn and develop his or her faith.

(3) Spiritual development is the various modalities that can be used so that a person can grow into maturity in Christ.

(4)Liberation is the process in which the person and the congregation are allowed the freedom to become who they are to be in Christ.

(5) Interpretation is the process where the members’ perspectives (their life stories) are connected to the Christian perspective (the Christian Story).(Seymour, Miller et al. 1982)

I shall examine these five metaphors or approaches so as to give a general overview of Christian education. As Seymour and Miller have pointed that, there are more than these five approaches in Christian education. These approaches tend to overlap and are not mutually exclusive (1982, 16). New Zealand Christian educator Allan Harkness sees Christian education as a three strand cord of knowledge, personhood, and community (Harkness 1996, 16-36). This is similar to Pazmino’s Educational Trinity of content, persons, and context (Pazmino 2001, 141-145).

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