A critical analysis of the concept of Christian education with particular reference to educational discussions after 1957
The first chapter introduces the thesis and explores the historical background and trends in society and education in and since the 1940s, especially the social, theological and educational scene. Chapter two shows that the term Christian Education has sometimes referred to a particular understanding of religious education. That usage is analysed and found to be unacceptable without significant qualifications. The next four chapters clarify and analyse the understanding of the term Christian Education in four further contexts where it is used: Church schools (chapter three), longstanding independent schools (chapter four), recently established Christian schools (chapter five) and the education of people in the church context itself (chapter six). Chapter seven considers the arguments Paul Hirst has made against the acceptability of the concept of Christian Education and contends that these arguments are not valid. This chapter also points out that the five contexts where the term Christian Education is used (as explored in chapters 2 -6), do not include the county schools, except that the first usage explored was the religious education in county schools. In view of this the chapter maintains that it is important to explore the relationship of Christian values and principles to education in county schools, a task undertaken in the final chapter. The last chapter asserts that Christian values and principles still have valid implications for education in county schools and that education based on these values and principles can legitimately be described as Christian Education. Aspects of a Christian view of creation and fallenness are used as illustrations and the possibility of relating a Christian View of redemption to education in county schools is also considered.