THE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE APPROACH AS A PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
We feel that our calling is to clearly communicate God’s method of renewing the mind through the root, comprehensive Biblical principles that are like pillars for living a consistent Christian life. That is why we often refer to the Biblical pattern of renewing the mind and the Biblical titles to seven major Kingdom principles rather than just American historic expression.
The fact that America embraced a Biblical methodology in its education and expressed it uniquely as American culture gives a clear testimony of hope to any nation that the same method can produce the same results. Our desire is to teach both the method and principles of “the principle approach” in their root form so that other nations can have this Biblical seed transplanted.
Personally, one can deduce the principle approach to anything by clearly defining one’s topic and consistently applying Biblical principles in its expression. Through researching, reasoning, relating and recording, one can renew his mind in any subject by reflecting on what God says, creatively expressing it, and personally living it. In this way a Biblical standard can be understood on any subject, contrasting it with other points of view.
The principle approach (the consistent application of Biblical principles through Biblical reasoning) must become a practical way of life and not merely an educational tool for training our children. That is why we feel that the principle approach is a Biblical philosophy of life!
Biblically, we have deduced our own expression and application of the principle approach in the following way:
It follows God’s pattern of renewing the mind: reflection (pondering principles and absolute truth), creativity (personal expression that reflects individual productivity), and application (practical usage of which is learned);
It involves the application of key tools to implement the above such as:
- The notebook (a tool of reflection where students labor to ponder what they learn),
- The essay (a tool of expression where in oral and written form, students express their individual productivity), and
- Subject outlets (projects and practical ways in which a child’s training can be used to help others).
The principle approach is holistic, emphasizing the whole picture of a Biblical worldview that ties all subjects together and unites the concepts within a subject, and then applies the various parts to the whole.
The mastery of Biblical and academic principles (the causes and reasons of things) develop through God’s triangle of growth:
- Knowledge (the facts of a discipline);
- Understanding (the principles of a discipline) and
- Wisdom (the application of that discipline).
THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES
The principles we teach are seen in God’s original instruction to Adam in the Garden and traced throughout the Old Testament. These seven major principles help us solidify some firm pillars when applying absolute truths through the concepts of an academic discipline. The principles are also historically confirmed to us by the research of the late Verna Hall and Rosalie Slater as well as through the study of America’s Christian History and Government.
- God’s Principle of Character - Originally expressed to Adam as the command to dress the garden, we see this principle of labor as the key to character development. This causes a conforming to the image of Christ, producing such qualities as loyalty, faithfulness, diligence and other fruit of the Spirit (Romans 8:29, Galatians 5:22, 23).
- God Principle of Stewardship - Originally expressed in the command to keep the garden, this principle teaches the responsibility and accountability to preserve what one has been given or has produced. Proper investment, saving, and thriftiness reflect the value one has on his internal property (conscience and liberty) as well as external possessions, and eternal ones in the form of providing for the generations to come (Matthew 16:26; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
- God’s Principle of Government - Initially revealed in the great liberty given to Adam, allowing him to eat of all the trees of the garden except one, this principle emphasizes the need to be controlled from within in order to preserve liberty in the earth. Sometimes referred to as self-government, it is summed up in realizing that the more internal government we have, the less external government we need (Proverbs 16:32; Galatians 5:16-18; 1 Timothy 1:8-10).
- God’s Principle of Growth - Adam was clearly given the consequences of his decisions in the Garden. The principle outlines for us God’s process of growth, sowing and reaping, and why it is so important to understand the consequences of our ideas and actions. We teach students that the seeds of ideas they plant in their lives now can effect a thousand generations (Galatians 6:7-10, Isaiah 58:12).
- God's Principle of Sovereignty - God reasoned with Adam in planning, judging and executing in the decision to find a helpmate. It has always been God’s desire to reason with man and let him exercise and share sovereignty over specific areas of life. The application of this principle comes in the jurisdiction, under God, given to Adam to run the home, church and civil government (Psalm 8:6, 7, 115:6, 1 Peter 3:15).
- God’s Principle of Individuality - The stamp of approval and blessing on the variety in which Adam named the animals clearly shows that diversity and difference is a complement to Creation, not something to divide us. Students learn to understand and be edified by one another’s differences, recognizing the underlying unity that must preserve us: our love and duty to our Creator and the value of an individual life (1 Corinthians 12:12).
- God’s Principle of Covenant - Adam and Eve were called to a union, marriage and the resulting family, through which they would fulfill God’s command to subdue the earth. The need for a clearly defined unity of internal ideas and principles precedes and limits any external union in which we may engage in order to have better effectiveness (Psalm 133; Amos 3:3; 2 Corinthians 6:14).