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Secondary Principal Blog

Janie Niswonger

From the late 18th Century to the mid-19th Century, a religious movement took place in America called the Second Great Awakening. During this time, a wave of charismatic and emotionally-charged preachers swept through our newly formed nation. Many people converted to Christianity and protestant churches started springing up everywhere. In many ways, this was good for the Kingdom of God, but on the other hand it created a religious culture rooted primarily in emotional sensationalism rather than intellectualism.

People were encouraged to just believe in God and the Bible, and not to question things they could not explain like God's existence, the problem of evil, or what happens to man when he dies.

Questioning appeared to demonstrate a lack of faith so the Church fell silent on intellectual matters. It failed to provide answers to man's deepest questions, so disciplines such as philosophy, science, literature, and sociology filled in the gaps. The Church, in large part, became a place to have an emotional experience with God, but not a place to think deeply, to question, dialogue, or study.

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This is why Biblical Worldview Integration is so important in Christian education today. In Matthew 22, the Pharisees and Sadduccees were trying to catch Jesus in a blasphemous lie. They tried different angles until a lawyer asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. He thought if he could get Jesus to elevate one commandment, he could argue that Jesus said the others were not as important. But, Jesus was always thinking. Jesus applied His intellect and spiritual insight to silence the lawyer.

Matthew 22:37-39 (NASB) says, "And He said to him, 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

I believe it's easy to grasp loving God with our hearts and souls, because that is more of an emotional experience. But, God is also asking us to love Him with our minds.

We are to apply our intellect in knowing and glorifying Him. We are to ask questions, to study, to dialogue, to risk sounding "stupid" to get to the Truth. We are to seek Him with our minds and use what we know to bring others to Him.

That is what we are doing here at Cornerstone. Every day, teachers are encouraging students to ask questions and make connections between their subject matter and the character of God. They are teaching students to love God with their minds.

I hope that as you read through the list that follows, you will be encouraged to think, to study, to question, and to dialogue as you grow in your own understanding of who God is and what He has called you to do.


Biblical Worldview Integration in Secondary School

By studying Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion in Physics, students learned that God created the Universe to be orderly and predictable, reflecting His ingenuity and omnipotence.

By studying social dynamics in Psychology, students learned how God has designed us to be in community and connection with others.

By studying the Spanish words for family members, students learned the way God created the family to function.

By studying The Hiding Place in 8th Grade Lit, students learned that God is faithful.

When solving multi-step equations in Pre-Algebra, students learned that God gave His people specific, detailed, orderly instructions in building His Tabernacle.

In Middle School Writing, students learned that because we are made in Creator God's image, we also have the ability to express ourselves creatively.

By studying sound and light waves in Physical Science, students learned that the human ear and eye are so amazing that they must be intelligently designed.

In Understanding the Culture, students learned the intrinsic worth of all people at any stage of life, simply because we are made in God's image and not because of anything we have the potential to do or become.

By studying different countries and cultures in Geography, students have learned about the dire need to share the Gospel.

By studying the application of percent in 7th-grade Math, students learned what God's Word says about tithing and being a good steward.

By learning how to solve systems of equations in Algebra, students compared the method of substitution to substitutionary atonement.

By studying parent functions in Algebra II students learned that we are Image Bearers of God-- created to be like HIM mentally, morally and socially, and He created us for relationship with HIM.

By studying exponential growth and decay functions in Algebra II and III, students learned the "powerful" growth effects (10, 20 and 100 fold) of connecting to God and His Word and the deteriorating effects that sin has on our lives and others around us.

By studying The Scarlet Letter in American Literature, students learn that we are to show forgiveness to ourselves and each other when we fall short of God's best for us.

By studying Fahrenheit 451 in 10th Lit/Comp, students learn and discuss the importance of relationships over technology and that we have a God-given responsibility to be active participants in our nation as well as active critical thinkers.

By studying C.S.Lewis's The Screwtape Letters in 10th Lit/Comp, students will have a tangible platform to discuss spiritual warfare and make connections and application to their daily lives.

By studying Our Town in Honors American Literature, students will learn that life must be lived moment by moment -- that it's fleeting as Scripture says -- and that we must make relationships a priority.

By studying design principles in HS Visual Art, students learned to create art that illustrates God's Word and reflects His creativity.