Remember the movie Back to the Future, where Doc Brown makes a mythical invention called a flux capacitor, that powered the DeLorean time machine that would send Marty McFly back to 1955 to save his parents and ensure his own birth. But where do you find the 1.21 ‘jigowatts’ of electricity to send him back to 1985?

Doc recalls that a bolt of lightning struck the town clock precisely at 10:04pm in 1955. Doc says to Marty, “let’s see if we can harness this lightning and channel it to the flux capacitor for as long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely eighty-eight miles per hour the instant the lightning strikes the tower… everything will be fine.”[1]

Likewise, those who work in the current culture with children and young people often spend much time focusing on how to light the fuse of life-changing faith in them.

For centuries, telling God’s story and enacting it have been at the heart of Christian formation and the passing on of faith from one generation to the next. Creeds are articulated beliefs of our ancient story clarifying the church’s understanding of who God is; what it means to be a responsive disciple of Jesus and the nature of our hope in God’s future.

The Biblical understanding of who God is, humanity and the destiny of all creation, provided the foundation for what became an unprecedented form of society known as western civilisation. The course of human history has depended upon the transformed lives of individuals. William Wilberforce was compelled by the love of Christ and the truth of the Gospel to work tirelessly to abolish slavery and bring hope to the nation.

The word hope comes from the Greek word ‘elpo’, which means to anticipate with pleasure. The emphasis in Scripture is that hope is a confident expectation of what God has promised and a trust in His faithfulness to fulfil His Word.

As teachers, if we are to engender hope in the lives of our students it must be grounded in the core beliefs of the Christian faith which “have been handed down for two millennia that have made Christianity the most powerful life and culture-changing force in human history.” [2]

At the heart of post-truth culture and worldview is ‘choice’ where autonomy, self-fulfilment and self-creation are highly prized. The word heresy which is used to describe rejection or distortion of core beliefs comes from the Greek ‘harreomai’ meaning ‘to choose’. In today’s culture, Christians can be influenced by the spirit of post-truth culture. For some, Jesus is whoever they want Him to be as their final authority is personal experience. When we speak to our students about having a personal relationship with Christ, we must unfold who is this Jesus and what does it mean that He is Lord and Saviour. Theologian William Placher, in defending the importance of creeds says “Even if I have a warm personal relationship with Jesus, I also need an account of what’s so special about Jesus to understand why my relationship with Him is so important. If I think about dedicating my life to following Him, I need an idea about why He’s worth following.  Without such accounts and ideas, Christian feeling and Christian behaviour start to fade to generalized warm fuzziness and social conventions.” [3]

Can our students be faithful disciples of Jesus, standing firm in the current culture and swim against the tide without dwelling deeply in our distinctive God’s story?

Our students need to be surrounded by teachers who enact this story in the reality of everyday life at school, for true belief is testified to by the lives it inspires.

Therefore, as we commence the new year, may we in the presence of our Heavenly Father who communicates to us through the texts of Scripture, be committed to listening and delving deeply into our sacred story. May we find our identity as the people of God in this story as it shapes our character and engenders hope in its vision. Let us be challenged by the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Pastor, who was put to death by the Nazi regime. His life was inspired by dwelling in God’s Word:

“We are uprooted from our own existence and are taken back to the holy history of God on earth. There God has dealt with us, with our needs and our sins, by means of the divine wrath and grace. What is important is not that God is a spectator and participant in our life today, but that we are attentive listeners and participants in God’s action in the sacred story, the story of Christ on earth. God is with us today only as long as we are there.”[4]

We invite our students to dwell in this sacred story as we live it out by both word and action in our historical and cultural times where God has planted us.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not heed to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.” 2 Timothy 3:10


Grace and Peace
The TEC Team





[2] Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy, (Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 2009), 13.

[3] Kenda Creasy Dean, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, (New York: Oxford University Press Inc, 2010), 70.

[4] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community (Minnesota USA: Fortress Press 1996), 62.