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.