Foundational Issues in Christian Education by Robert W. Pazmino

Pazmino, Robert W. 1997. Foundational Issues in Christian Education. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Christian education encompasses more than traditional teaching based on historical practices, sociological and psychological theories. It incorporates Biblical and theological truths with educational philosophical ideals. The foundation for such education is based on the fact that all people are created in the image of God, but due to the Fall have been separated from the Creator God, and that everyone in faith can be reconciled to God through the redeeming power of Christ’s death on the cross (70). The main goal of the Christian education is “passing on the commandments of God to the next generation” (20). The task is to incorporate students into the Christian community by loving others, building and sharing one’s faith, worshipping God, and actively participating in ministry (45).

In compiling a thorough book, Pazmino examines the contributions of educational, sociological, and psychological theorists. Utilizing the insights of people such as Cremin, Pazmino suggests that Christian educators should “carefully assess” the effects of secular educational institutions on their students, and to offer ways for people to share their knowledge with others (149). Christian education should incorporate ideals such as liberty, equality, and fraternity by reframing it in Christian terms. For instance, Pazmino redefines liberty as “the freedom made available in Jesus Christ,” and fraternity as “the common humanity of all persons and the unique relationships that exist in Christian community” (151).

Pazmino reminds readers that the acquisition of knowledge occurs through all modes—communities, institutions, and groups (175). However, ultimate knowledge is “transcended by being known by God and encountering God’s love” (177). Though the book contains good information regarding education, too much emphasis is given to the various theories. Pazmino dedicates a couple pages to discuss an “interactive Christian model,” but it would be better if he dedicated a whole chapter to this topic. The main educational topic of the book is true to its title—“foundational issues.”

Copyright © 2008 M. Teresa Trascritti

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