I have had many conversations with Bible teachers in our schools around Australia and with people outside of our own system, who have interesting views about the role and purpose of faith-based schools in Australia. With increasing academic pressures placed on each subject area within schools, the time allocation for ‘Bible’ in Adventist Schools has decreased from one class period every day, to anywhere from three to six class periods per fortnight. Bible classes are too often the first option from which to withdraw students or entire classes for other purposes, like school promotional activities, photographic opportunities, mentoring, in-school excursions for other subjects, bible studies, and so on. This often sends the message to students that, in spite of the public rhetoric about Religion/Bible, it is actually not as important as these other aspects of school life. School documentation, advertising, policies and mission statements all promote the importance of the spiritual nurture and opportunities of students. This fits snuggly with the concept of Special Character within Adventist Schools and justifies their existence as a school system.
As a Bible teacher, one thing that was constantly burning deep within me was the knowledge that everything I did, said, created and encouraged within my classroom was counter-cultural, not only within Australian society, but often even, within my own community. As Bible teachers, we have been commissioned to represent Jesus Christ, boldly, unashamedly. No one ever said it would be easy or that we would make lots of friends in the process.
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16 NLT
“Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there's no getting around it.” 2 Timothy 3:12 MSG
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