Metaphors of Spiritual Reality Part 4: Metaphors of the Church in Troubled Times -- By: Ted W. Ward

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 140:557 (Jan 1983)
Article: Metaphors of Spiritual Reality Part 4: Metaphors of the Church in Troubled Times
Author: Ted W. Ward


Metaphors of Spiritual Reality
Part 4:
Metaphors of the Church in Troubled Times

Ted W. Ward

[Ted W. Ward, Professor of Curriculum Research, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan]

[Editor’s Note: This is the final article in a series based on the author’s W H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, February 9–2, 1982.]

Every educational decision reflects a view of the future. Knowledgeable decisions are those in which the image of the future is taken into account consciously and respectfully.

Educators who participate in curriculum development have a special need for eschatological clarity and a concern for the linkages between the now and the hereafter. A curriculum planner, then, is one who prepares educational experiences today for the tomorrow which seems about to be.

A Christian educator, whether employed in secular education or Christian education, is keenly aware of the task of helping people prepare for that future, and at the same time he takes nothing as inevitable except the promises of God. He helps people prepare, but he also participates in the processes which change the future. He is not a fatalist.

Any education that lacks substantial contact with human reality is not worthy of the name of Jesus. Any education that lacks hope or lacks the vision to affect the future for good is not worthy of the name of Christ. Thus education in the service of the church needs to be real and to be visionary.

Faith In Relationship To Education

For the Christian, the three abiding evidences of spiritual life and maturing—faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13:13)—are not

intellectual abstractions. They are matters of one’s essential being. They guide thought, they effect perception, they are reflected in action.

Faith makes possible one’s commitment to His universe and His creatures—a commitment that motivates a person to be involved in fostering the development of people and society. Faith appreciates the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. Christians are not to be esoteric or stingy with that faith. It is shareable, Christians bear testimony in word and deed that true faith is Godward. It is thus the basis of spiritual life. Education must nurture this faith in the Lord. But this concern cannot be taken as an argument for a particular institution or some special form of education. The Holy Spirit ministers to the building of believers’ faith through all sorts of circumstances, even through persecutions and afflictions (2 Th...

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