The Ponatahi Christian School Prospectus
UPHOLDING THE SPECIAL CHARACTER
“Ponatahi Christian School, the School with the Bible, has been established to uphold the values and doctrines of the Christian Religion as determined by the Consistory of the Reformed Congregations of New Zealand at Carterton.
The school reflects this by:
- Upholding the honour of the LORD in all curricula and expected conduct and work habits of both students and staff.
- Teaching young people that they are born as lost sinners and can only be reconciled to God the Father by a supernatural work of regenerating grace whereby the Holy Spirit grants faith to receive of the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Assisting young people, where possible, in developing the skills and attitudes needed to diligently use the Word of God as the means of God’s grace.”
This Special Character, above, is written into the Integration Agreement, a legally binding contract between the School’s Proprietors and the New Zealand Government. The school is mandated to teach the New Zealand Curriculum in return for full government funding on the condition that the Special Character is prevalent in all aspects of school life. For a fuller statement of the beliefs practiced and taught at the school please check the following link: http://www.rcnz.org/belief.html
What are the practical implications of the Special Character?
1. Core Christian Values: Please see the last page. These values should underpin everything we do. Any student, staff member, or parent, coming into the school community is expected to model these values.
2. How we view the child: We view the child as being born in sin, with a sinful nature that naturally chooses evil, delights in sin, is adverse to all manner of godliness, and is on the pathway to eternal destruction unless regenerated by an act of God’s grace that Scripture refers to as the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Eph 1:19,20). This state does not change in baptism, but rather baptism confirms the child’s fallen state, the need for salvation, and the sincere invitation of God to repentance and faith (Isaiah 55:1). As such every child is a potential vessel of God’s grace, and whether any student is born again is not for us to judge, but the fruits will bear witness. Nothing is more important to children than how they strive with the means of grace and respond to the sincere call of the gospel and whether they are made willing by the Spirit of God. And all who lack strength are encouraged to pray to Him who has promised to help the poor and needy (Isaiah 42:3, 66:2, Matt 5:3-6) and who has special encouragements to the young (Prov 8: 17, Mark 10: 14,15).
3. Curriculum: Any curriculum contrary to the Special Character does not have to be taught according to the rules of Integration, or may be replaced by more suitable curriculum that has been developed ourselves, e.g.: creation instead of evolution, Biblical values in health education, and a careful selection of literature which treats morals in a Biblical, age-appropriate manner.
4. Scriptures: We believe that the King James Version (1769 Oxford rendering of the 1611 translation) is the most accurate translation of the Word of God in English today. It is translated from the most accurate manuscripts (the “Textus Receptus” being 95% of the body of Greek New Testament evidence – there is little comparative controversy regarding the Old Testament), and is closest to the intended rendering of the original language (e.g.: the singular “thee” and “thou” and the plural “ye” and “you”, and the use of italics to indicate a word implied, but not actually in the original). The high percentage of single syllable words and poetic majesty of the text assists in learning and retention, even for children. For these reasons and good order in the classroom, all school work and associated Bible reading is from the KJV only. This does not suggest that we limit salvation to KJV readers only. All versions of the Bible, with their strengths and faults, do contain the basic gospel message and we hope that it is blessed far and wide.
5. Reverence during devotions: We cannot change what it is in the heart of a child. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. Yet we do insist on reverence, full participation, and outward compliance to the expectations of the teacher or principal during school and class singing, Bible reading, and prayer.
6. Peer pressure (All prospective parents must read this): The Special Character should be most evident from positive core values as seen on the final page, and not from a list of rules. However, one of the reasons this school has been established is to protect families from unwanted, secular peer pressure prevalent elsewhere. Thereby the school becomes an extension of the family home. God calls us to be a separate people (2 Cor 6:17) and to not have our mind-set conformed to this world (Rom 12:2). Drama at the movies or on television, popular music, and a lot of Internet “YouTube” content, etc., has no regard for the law of God, can be very attractive to young hearts, and powerfully takes control of their worldview (mind-set). We are aware that through these media the name of God is taken in vain, the name of the Saviour is regularly used as a swear word, and coveteousness, violence, sexual lust, and disrespect for authority, etc., are commonplace. While it is the work of the Spirit to convict of sin, it is the work of the devil to desensitise us to the horror of sin, and to “normalise” sin, while putting all manner of holiness in a negative light. The same concerns about peer pressure apply to professional sports, rock music, including “Christian rock” and “contemporary Christian music” which the Board of Proprietors regards as one of the most damaging influences of the youth in conservative churches today due to its powerful and addictive nature, and the cry of “legalism” being used to silence church leaders. Therefore movies, television, professional sport, and rock music are not be discussed at school in a manner to make it appear attractive to a young audience. We don’t regard our children as more holy, and at times, they may even be more hungry for the wrong conversation and trigger it, highlighting the importance to all parents and students to avoid the unwanted peer pressure at school.
Setting boundaries like this can be likened to placing a fence of the top of a cliff when our eyes are open to danger for ourselves and our children. But it is our hope and prayer that by faith, we and our children may overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5) and right choices become the fruit of the Spirit.
7. Dress standards: We expect modest and conservative dress fit for purpose.
It is important that all parents and students respect these points 1) to 7) in all school operations. The Board of Proprietors view this world as a spiritual battleground, with our adversary the devil transforming himself into everything from an “angel of light” to a “roaring lion,…, seeking whom he may devour,” to whom we are called upon to resist steadfastly (1 Peter 5:8,9). The battleground is especially for the youth of the church and is prevalent in a Christian school as much as any place on this planet. The Proprietors are very serious about the Special Character and will be prepared to change the long term enrolment policy if that’s what is required to preserve it. There are many former conservative Christian Schools in the western world, including Australia and New Zealand, that are now little more than “designer state schools”. Very good schools no doubt, but not what they were originally established for. Let us pray that we will never lose sight of why this school was established, namely to uphold the values and doctrines of the Christian Religion as delivered by the Lord Jesus to the New Testament Church, and who has prayed to his Father: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” John 17:15. May God help us!