Building a Biblical Middle-School Worldview
Contributing Author: Mr. Chris Orr, Multi-discipline Teacher
The truth of the Scriptures is the story of the world. Thus, Scripture is the lens and the filter through which we desire and hope all Junior High students will see and understand the world. Building upon the foundation of the grammar school, the Junior High navigates through the world of logic forming the bridge between the grammar and rhetoric stages of learning. In the logic stage, the students begin to develop their ability to reason and learn to answer “the why” questions of life. Worldview begins to take
shape and the students lay hold of what is true. Jesus addresses this issue with those who seek to follow Him in John 8:31-32, “... if you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
In Junior High, this takes its shape in Bible class, but filters its way through each and every subject. The students begin in seventh grade learning how to study the Bible for themselves and they engage in numerous projects to develop the tools they are learning. The students also begin to work on the S.O.A.P Journal (S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer), which challenges them to observe and understand the biblical text, interpret its meaning, and apply the text to their own lives. In eighth-grade Bible, the students begin looking at what the world says about God and compare this to what the Bible says. They explore various theological topics seeking to understand them from the biblical perspective while discussing contrary views and why they fail. The students are asked to write the “Absolute Paper,” which forces them to use the non-moral attributes of God to help a friend who is struggling with worldly philosophies and difficulties. The Armor of God summons the students to build a physical suit of armor, but most importantly it pushes them to understand its spiritual emphasis in the works of Paul. The students also learn the Apostle’s Creed (seventh grade) and the Nicene Creed of 325 AD (eighth grade) in order to recognize what the early Church fathers confessed as essential Christian doctrines.
In each of the other subjects, the students endeavor to explore central themes of God’s Word. In seventh grade U.S. History, the students look at the founding of our nation upon Christian principles. They explore the vision of the founding fathers in establishing a biblically grounded government structure as well as surveying through the idea of liberty and freedom. In eighth-grade Modern World History, the students navigate the waters of the British world power looking at their failures and successes in trying to mix their Christian views with commerce and expansionism. They endeavor to understand the philosophies of the late 1800’s and first part of the 20th century. They debate and discuss the ideas of Marxism, socialism, communism, and fascism and contrast them with what they learned in regards to the founding of our nation as a republic. The students read books in Literature that portray biblical and worldly perspectives and they learn to analyze a book from the author’s point of view and compare this to the biblical text. In Science, the students learn to integrate their faith as they look at creation and the physical world. They explore the fallacies of evolution and learn how to defend an intelligent-design perspective. The students learn phrases centered around Scripture and the early Church fathers in Latin. And last but not least, in Math, the students study God’s unique order of creation through numbers.
As we, in Junior High, navigate the wonder of a biblical worldview and allow the Scriptures to reveal the light of God, we are able interpret the magnificent pictures God reveals in creation every day. Then, we are truly able to say to our students what is our Junior High motto, “adsumite pinnas sicut aquilae.” By giving them the tools and allowing them the freedom to think rationally within the biblical confines, we offer our Junior High students the opportunity to “take wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31).
Chris Orr earned his undergraduate degree from Wingate University and a Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with an emphasis in biblical languages. After serving twelve years in pastoral ministry and moving to Prescott, he joined the faculty 2014.