Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. — Martin Luther King

Secular education seeks to make better, more effective, more successful, more intelligent people. The Christian educator aspires to nothing less than the transformation of a believer into the image of Christ.

—Howard Hendricks


In recent years, I have spent more time working with students in both the undergraduate and graduate level.  While some Christians question the value of higher-education, I think it can be a significant component for the individual believer’s ability to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Not all educators share the same values, so I thought I would share some of my own philosophy of Christian Education.


Christian education teaches students to pursue the Truth of God by informing the mind and transforming the heart so that each student can make progress in conforming their daily life into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:2)

  • Informing:  The Scripture is our foundation for right thinking which brings mental and spiritual renewal.  If you want to stand for Jesus, you must be informed!
  • Transforming:  The Holy Spirit is God working in our hearts so that we can enjoy our Father’s love forever. If you want to have peace, be transformed!
  • Conforming:  When we study God’s Word, we are divinely changed into the image of Jesus our Lord.  If you want to live right, you must choose to conform!

Implication for Teaching

  • A diverse education teaches the necessity and viability of theology in every aspect of life.
  • We teach through the lens of a transcendent reality that properly shapes our immanent reality.
  • God, our Creator, designed the human mind for coherent thought.
  • Revelation undergirds the process of reason.
  • God offers truth while Man offers perspective.
  • The mission of the eternal shapes the practicality of our temporal work.
  • We are taught by the Holy Spirit and instructed by men and women.
  • Sanctification undergirds the application of knowledge
  • Discipleship is the framework for the student/professor relationship
  • Educating the individual takes priority over educational methodologies.
  • We are God’s stewards over every resource.
  • Every human life is a Gospel opportunity.

Implication for Educational-Leadership

Educational leadership demonstrates the importance of teachers who first and foremost have a vital relationship with Jesus Christ.  Out of that Divine-fellowship, the educator must engage the students as a spiritual Big Brother/Sister.  An educational leader has a genuine concern, demonstrate compassion, and invests their life by helping students grow in faith through academic challenge.


An effective professor takes the marrow of educational philosophy, a comprehensive curriculum, and proven methodology and builds each course to prepare students for an academic and/or practical career.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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