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Conformed or Transformed?

Dr. Glen Schultz

God’s ultimate purpose for education is to prepare students to live a life that glorifies God. Key goals of education based on a biblical worldview must be pursued in the home, church, and school. One of these key goals is that education must lead to transformed lives.

Consider Paul’s challenge in Romans: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2). Paul warns believers not to be conformed to this world. Instead, Christians are to live transformed lives.

Transformation is not a minor change in one’s lifestyle. It can be compared to the changing of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. In his 1828 dictionary, Noah Webster defines transformation as “a change of heart in man, by which his disposition and temper are conformed to the divine image; a change from enmity to holiness and love.”

From Romans 12:2, one sees that this type of change only happens when there is a complete renewing of the mind. This verse also tells us why God wants every Christian to be transformed through the renewing of the mind: so that every believer can know God’s will for their life. A person can only know and discern God’s will if his mind is not conformed to worldly or secular thinking. However, all people are born with a sin nature, which means that our minds are naturally filled with carnal thoughts that are in line with the world’s way of thinking and acting. Our natural minds must be thoroughly made new so that we will think and act from a biblical worldview perspective. This must be one of the main goals of the education we give our children and youth in the home, church, and school.

John A. Hughes puts it this way: “God-honoring education will assist the Christian in this mental renewing process by providing a foundation of worldview assumptions and by cultivating logical thinking processes, habits or analysis, and patterns of evaluation that are distinctively biblical.”

The shaping of a person’s worldview is a main goal of all education. There is no such thing as a neutral education. Secular education is based on a man-centered worldview where God is either ignored or blatantly denied. Man is the ultimate authority, and every individual determines what they should become. Secular education aims to make all students function well in a completely secular society. This is exactly what King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to accomplish in the lives of a select group of Hebrew young people: “youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service” (Dan 1:4-5).

Ravi Zacharias makes a bold statement about the goal of every educational effort in his book Deliver Us From Evil: “And for centuries politics has dabbled in the deadly game of social engineering. The whole point of state-controlled education is that it gives to the government the power to shape the souls and write on the fresh slates of young hearts. This empowerment is the most important trust given to elected officers, and to assume that they accept that responsibility from a posture of neutrality is to live under the most destructive illusion. To elect one to the highest level of leadership, therefore, is to put into his or her hands the possibility and opportunity of shaping a nation’s conscience.”

This is frightening, to say the least, when one considers that the majority of Christians have given the government control of their children’s education. We can see the devastating effects of this in everyday life across the nation and around the world.

Parents, church leaders, and educators must strive to provide future generations an education that will instill a biblical worldview in their hearts and minds. This can only take place when the education our children and youth receive at home, church, and school strives to achieve the goal of biblically transforming their lives. Every subject and every activity must involve the renewing of the mind in line with Romans 12:2.

We must ask ourselves, “How does one’s mind become renewed?” Discover the process of renewing the mind in one of Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:3-5).

Consider the following questions:

  1. What are you doing to make sure children and youth are having their minds renewed so they can discern God’s will for their lives?

  2. Is the education your children are receiving at home, church, and school based on a biblical worldview?

  3. What are you doing to make sure your children’s education is focused on the spiritual formation (transformation) of their lives?

Parents, church leaders, and educators must understand that we are engaged in a spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of our children and youth. The major front for this battle is being fought on educational turf. No one involved in the education of others does so from a neutral position. One’s worldview will always be transmitted to the child in some way. Do the worldviews of your child’s teachers and their textbooks promote biblical transformation in the life of your child?


Dr. Glen Schultz has given his life to educating future generations according to God’s plan. After five years in public education, he entered the field of Christian education, where he has been a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent. He has directed the Christian school work at LifeWay Christian Resources, served as the Association of Christian Schools International Southeast Regional Director, Superintendent of Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg, Virginia, and Headmaster of Sherwood Christian Academy. Currently, Dr. Schultz serves as founder and director of Kingdom Education Ministries. He is the author of Kingdom Education: God’s Plan for Educating Future Generations and several parenting booklets. Glen and his wife, Sharon, have three children and six grandchildren and live in Summerville, SC. He is a member of the Renewanation Board of Directors.


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