Now, it may not seem clear (yet) as to why I think Christian Hedonism should be the second foundation for Christian education, but there is one grand truth why this idea ought to undergird our Christian educational efforts. In the previous section I discussed the importance of having a right theology that exalts God as the center of all things (God-centeredness). But this God-centered theology alone is not enough to have successful Christian education. We need more. We need to enjoy that truth. John Piper says it best, “God is not glorified fully by being known rightly. God is glorified fully by being known rightly and so enjoyed that our lives are transformed into the kind of lives that display His infinite worth.” The first massive reality provided the proper information needed and this second massive reality provides the important enjoyment of that proper information. This thought assumes that God is not glorified where He is only known in the mind. God is not glorified when the teacher merely passes on information to students about Him. God is glorified when the teacher passes on information to students about God and a passion equal to the material. If God is only known in the mind the teacher will produce a lifeless orthodoxy in their students. If God is only known in the heart and passions the teacher will produce an enthusiastic heresy in their students. Both are sinful, dishonoring to God, and hurtful to people. In order for God to be fully glorified in our Christian education God must be enjoyed in the heart and known in the mind of the both the teacher and the student.
The Unity of Massive Reality 1 (head) and 2 (heart)
God-centeredness and Christian hedonism go together like “peas and carrots” as Mr. Gump would say. How you might ask? By the life of the mind in the act of thinking. What do I mean? Thinking is one of the most hazardous things anyone can do. Paul warns us that knowledge puffs up, whereas love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1). But Paul also says that we ought to be mature in our thinking (1 Cor. 14:20). Thinking is therefore necessary because without thinking we cannot love God with all our minds (Mark 12:30). Mark 12:30 implies that worship will always involve right thinking about God. When our mind actively pursues right thinking about God, we’ll reap many spiritual benefits. The opposite is just as true, when we put aside deep thinking about God, spiritual benefits will lack. We must think if we’re to rightly worship God. So rather than avoiding thinking, we should think, but we should do it well. Thus, because thinking is an essential part of worship, we have need for the mind and the heart to be one if we’re to worship God as He intends us to do. What does all this mean? Joy is the essence of loving God, and thinking serves love, therefore right thinking about God serves our joy in God.