In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul entered the city of Athens, encountered the religious and political leaders of the day, climbed to the highest point of the city, where speakers often perched, and began to reason and persuade the men of Athens. This famous speech on Mars Hill is considered by many to be one of the greatest moments of the early church. Not only did Paul boldly proclaim Christ, he did it in a winsome and eloquent way; the pagan culture of Greece was confronted and ultimately changed. This watershed moment in history took place because of the classical tradition.
What was once Knowledge, Truth and Wisdom, now became Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. This would never have happened if Alexander the Great had not sought to build a vast kingdom, or if the Greeks had not been defeated while the Jews were enslaved by the Persians. All of these events led to the blending of the Hebrew and Greek scholastic traditions. This became the educational culture of the day. And this is what made Paul successful on Mars Hill. This is what made him successful in each of his missionary journeys. This is what made him such a dangerous and devoted follower that Rome would seek his execution.
It is this same model of education that Covenant Academy seeks to employ in sending out our first graduating class into the world. We are training our students to be discerning – what argument should I use? – and articulate – how can I say this best? This is the training that the Apostle Paul received, a tradition handed down from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The classical community in Alexandria was a leading influence in the scholastic tradition which we now refer to as Classical Christian Education (CCE). We want our students to employ these same strategies, hold to solid theology and possess the ability to reason well, with grace.
Our graduates, given a strong foundation in the grammar school, the skill of reasoning in the logic school and the gift of persuasion in the school of rhetoric, will possess the tools of learning so that they can continue to learn any subject. Any school is incomplete without the most critical piece of training, Rhetoric: the ability to engage their culture, provide a biblical worldview and make an impact for the Glory of God. It is for this reason that Covenant Academy started a high school in 2012.
Colleges have recognized the impact that the Trivium has in preparing students for higher education. It is possible for our students to understand and participate in a college rhetoric class when they are just starting high school. A classical education is designed to prepare them for harder studies at a younger age. We look forward to the way that God will use these young men and women. We look forward to the Mars Hill moments that they will use to defend truth, goodness and beauty to a watching world.