Picnic on Front Lawn | 5pm
Ruby sat, uncomfortable in the straight-backed chair. The first words she heard amidst the chaos around her were, "today, and over the course of our time together, I am going to present a case..."
Most of us would believe Ruby is sitting in a nervous courtroom, waiting for some incriminating evidence to be presented against her. The situation I described is how many first year Hillcrest students feel as we open the school year, minus the incriminating evidence.
Every year we open the school year by promising to make a compelling case supporting the Biblical perspective of the world. Many of our instructors and staff members have explored various explanations for the world, and what we have found is that none of the world's explanations gives a holistic and comprehensive understanding of the world, apart from Christianity and the Biblical record.
As we seek to give this explanation to students we conduct text-to-text teaching. This is where we show students that God has a purpose and plan for all disciplines they will study at Hillcrest. We believe mankind can understand the character of God through the Holy Scriptures and thereby employ the Scriptures when studying the world.
For example, when studying the water table in physical science students can be drawn to understand that God is the Creator of water (Genesis 1:1-9). So the proporties of water are not an accident and therefore can be studied. Students also understand that God is the Creator of the water cycle (Job 36:27-28, Eccl. 1:7, Jer. 10:13, Amos 5:8). By understanding the core scientific content regarding water, students see that God sustains life for plants, animals and humans through it. There is a Biblical purpose for water and as students study it they are led from a cognitive understanding to an awe of God's incredible nature.
This awe of God's nature links students heart and mind, what is often referred to as text-to-heart connection. At Hillcrest this occurs as students are led to share insights and thoughts with their classmates. The classroom study of God's Word, which initiates study into God's world, sparks meaningful worship times in chapel and in the dormitories.
Many times the text-to-heart expressions are shared in community. This creates a heart-to-heart connection with the learning environment at Hilcrest. Students see that their instructors and staff members have a passion for them to not only gain knowledge in the classroom, but also to be transformed through their studies. Many teachers share their own text-to-heart realities in the classroom, often spurring on greater conversation and the type of mentor relationships that have come to be an expected part of the Hillcrest experience. This mentor relationship pushes students to achieve academically and make tangible links to everyday life from their academic studies.
These three components are part of Hillcrest comprehensive training which prepares students to defend their faith once they leave our hallways. It is our approach to the idea of giving an apologetic for the Biblical worldview. It's through the power of Christ that students comment that they have received so much more than a diploma as they leave Hillcrest Academy.
The shackles look different, but the word remains. Slavery was an outmoded idea that was abolished by the grace of God through men like William Wilberforce. The film drama Amazing Grace and subsequent biography published by Eric Metaxas both speak to the relentless work of almost 50 years from Wilberforce. This man, compelled by the redemption he received from Jesus Christ, changed the debate from if we should help the poor to how we should help the poor. Metaxas notes of an encounter Wilberforce had with the infant Queen Victoria. Metaxas writes that Queen Victoria, who would lend her name to the era to come met the man who would lend it his character. That character was drastically shaped by his conversion to Christianity.
Corban Addison is working the realm of fiction to identify a similar social injustice. Being met with the modern issue of slavery on a trip to India set to inspire his next work A Walk Across The Sun, Addison believes his life was drastically changed after seeing the sex-slave industry. Addison's book interview is included above where he notes his decision to write a fiction book and develop characters and emotion around the issue of sex trafficking.
Addison's book, while not presenting a Christian concept of redemption, speaks to the current state of society and that things aren't the way they should be. Addison's work and passion are offer a beautiful reality which shouts of God's general revelation and that God is indeed present and active in the world. Addison's own experience speaks to the need for hope and redemption, in many ways showing that when we see the most intense darkness we also recognize the need for the brightest light.
Gabe Lyons recognizes the work of Addison and others. His most recent book titled The Next Christians speaks to the creation, fall, redemption, restoration viewpoint. He notes that the next wave of Christian leaders are more apt to join hands with people who don't think the same way they do as a starting point for a Gospel conversation. He writes:
For the next Christians, the ought is the prism through which they see their mission. This includes sharing the Gospel so that men and women might enter into relationship with God, but it also goes beyond that. In the good garden there was no sickness or evil or pain. So these Christians set out to identify hurts, sickness, darkness, and evil, and then show up as a force of help, healing, and goodness. They have purposed to loose the strings of brokenness and set free God's intention.
Through his book, Lyons identifies the next wave of Christians who will be leading the Christian cause in the world. His book notes that this generation of culture redeemers are less concerned with an organization's Christian background and more interested with the long-term culture redeeming that can occur through their work. He notes that this group isn't shy to speak up for Christ, but are also not afraid to use organizations and channels that might not be overtly Christian.
One of the things we strive to teach at Hillcrest is a full understanding of the world. We teach the Creation story, the fall, redemption in Christ and the restoration responsibility we all have of participating in the world the way the Creator intended in the garden. From this framework comes passion and purpose to engage in the real world. Students are being trained to look into the eye of the individual and understand God's original design for them; to have an unincumbered relationship with God, relationship with mankind and relationship with the world around them. This framework prepares students to engage in the world and live a life of signicance, directed by the creation, fall, redemption and restoration found complete only in the Christian Gospel.