At a time when quoting Scripture has come to be seen as a virtual swear word, a new Bible school has been opened in Rochester, in the Medway region of Kent in England.
In the best tradition of the Christian faith’s counter-cultural challenge, the non-residential Tishrei school will seek to bring the Bible back to the centre of family life, which has suffered severe breakdown after the passing of a succession of laws undermining the basic building blocks of our great nation.
Tishrei, meaning New Beginning, will seek to re-establish the Hebraic nature of biblical teaching focusing on the whole of life by learning to ‘walk with God’ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
It comes in the wake of an increasing tendency among church denominations to water down their teaching to accommodate modern Western culture on key questions such as same-sex marriage.
The new school will encourage students to dig deeper into the unchanging truths of God’s Word, according to co-founder and former RAF pilot Dr Clifford Denton, who adds: “It will be a different sort of college, getting away from academic head knowledge which too easily becomes ritualistic.
“At the same time, there’s a need to understand Israel – after all, the Bible is entirely built on the Jewish people and their history, and we recognise the terrible consequences of breaking away from our Judaic roots and establishing the false idea that the Christian church has replaced Israel in God’s affections, which has led to so much shocking antisemitism.”
Built on the same foundation as the Bible school and at the same premises is the Cedars School of Biblical Family Life catering for families by helping parents both to strengthen their family on biblical foundations and to effectively enrich their children’s education. It is a new era for the Cedars Foundation, whose Christian school served the area for nearly 50 years before it closed in 2015.
Clifford’s wife Sally was a teacher there for many years. From 1968, the school was pioneering Christian education in the UK. Together, they will now be heading up the new facility.
Sally explained: “It’s about helping families educate their children at home rather than at the day school it once was. Parents will be coming in to learn together how to teach their own children.
“It’s not just a question of following the national curriculum. It’s about enriching a child’s learning experience so that it embraces the whole of life. That is a Hebraic concept so different from the philosophical Greek idea of academic study.
“The national curriculum is not the enemy; it’s how it’s taught. We are concerned with encouraging a much wider exploration of God’s creation. Indeed, creation is at the heart of what we do with a special room set aside for the purpose. We want to open eyes to something beyond what might otherwise be learned.
“We follow the biblical instruction: ‘Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it’ (Proverbs 22:6) and ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right… Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.’ (Ephesians 6:1 & 4)
“Essentially, education is the responsibility of parents. With the role of parents having been diminished by the state of late, the work at the Cedars could not be more timely. Family life is at the heart of God’s creation.”
Daily Mail columnist Tom Utley has accused the ruling Conservative Party, with its self-proclaimed reputation as ‘party of the family’, as having betrayed the institution. Despite having been in power for two-thirds of the writer’s 69 years, “far from doing anything to encourage procreation, they have chiselled away at tax allowances for married couples and dependent children, facilitated divorce, promoted abortion and forced up the costs of childcare through excessive regulation.
“At the same time, they have driven new mothers back to work, just to pay the rent or mortgage, when many would prefer to be at home with their young. All in all, it’s a terrible record of betrayal of the institution the Tories have always professed to be closest to their hearts.”
Clifford, also a former scout leader, recognises that organisations like the Scout movement have done well to address the need for teaching beyond the classroom into wider areas of education. But like so many other areas of life, much of scouting has lost its Christian emphasis. As such, the Cedars Foundation answers this major contemporary challenge to strengthen family life, including exploration of the outdoors.
The Tishrei ministry, meanwhile, has already been effective in a number of countries in recent years including Malawi, Finland, India and the United States and meets a need for a Bible School perceived by many Christian leaders in Medway.
The newly-renovated centre has excellent facilities with four dedicated buildings set within beautiful grounds. There is also a study centre, a creation room, a special Israel room, and a meeting room, accommodating around 60 people, making it ideal for retreats and conferences.
To find out more, write to email@example.com
Soon to come live is their website, www.tishrei.org
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com; To the Jew First, A Nation Reborn, and King of the Jews, all available from Christian Publications International.
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