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Overview

A Christian understanding of the world is a key part of Shore’s identity. The School has been founded on the belief that God’s word is trustworthy and true, making men wise for salvation through faith in Christ. Based on this foundation, all boys at Shore participate in Christian Studies throughout their time at the School. The Christian Studies Programme seeks to engage boys meaningfully in the study of God’s word and to help them consider the place of the gospel in their lives.
The course has been designed with an awareness that our boys come from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds; Christian faith is not coerced or dictated, but explored and commended. To that end, the course seeks to promote critical thinking, robust discussion and deep reflection as our students consider who they are, what they believe and the truths by which they will live their lives.

Staff

The following staff teach Christian Studies in the Senior School:

Rev Anthony Benn
Mr Ben Gibson (Head of Christian Studies)
Mr Cameron Burke
Rev Paul Dudley
Mr Robert Hughes
Mr Werner Pienaar
Ms Rachel Pickering (Master Assisting)

Years 7 and 8

Bringing together students from a variety of backgrounds, the Year 7 Programme seeks to give students a knowledge of God through His Word, His works, and His Son. The course introduces students to the gospel through a study of the Old Testament and the Book of Mark, and highlights the centrality of the person and work of Jesus Christ in understanding both.

The Year 8 Programme traces God’s continuing work through the Book of Acts and through the major events of Church History to the Protestant Reformation. The course culminates in a study of the doctrine of God’s knowability, helping students ask questions about the nature of knowledge and how we can know God philosophically and personally.

Years 9 and 10

Every person and society lives out of a narrative that contextualises our pasts, gives hope for our future, and directs our present. Building on students’ understanding of the overall story of the Bible and Christ’s place within it, the Year 9 Programme encourages students to consider how God’s story may speak into this moment in our culture and shape their own lives. To that end, boys will study a unit on the Two Ways to Live, and a unit on The Christian Life, before finishing with Jesus’ radical vision for life in the Sermon on the Mount. Particular focus is given to how Jesus’ countercultural teachings on virtue, anger, marriage, lust, money, revenge, anxiousness and Godliness challenge our culture’s definition of masculinity and offer a better one.

Having examined the nature of the Christian story, the Year 10 Programme explores its liveability and coherence. Beginning with a study on Human Desire, boys will consider how culture and the Bible offer different paths to satisfying our seemingly universal needs for relationship, significance, fulfilment, acceptance and purpose. The Programme then moves into a unit called Weighing the Evidence, where boys will consider whether belief in God and trust in the Bible can be rationally supported. The course encourages open discussions and authentic reflection; boys are encouraged to think deeply and reflect critically as they consider their own ideas and those that they encounter.

Years 11 and 12

The senior years of the Christian Studies Programme open the boys to a variety of religious and non-religious worldviews. The Year 11 Programme surveys world religions, exploring the varied nature of belief expressed in major traditions like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, in unique and unusual groups, and in growing movements like New Age spirituality.

The Year 12 Programme considers how ideas such as humanism and postmodernism have shaped the culture around us, and the course includes a study of different frameworks for ethical decision-making. While the programme continues to commend Christian faith, it does so within an open marketplace of ideas; The boys are exposed to a variety of worldviews, and the course gives them the intellectual skills and support to compare and reflect on them and to grow in their own convictions. As part of the programme boys will experience a youth service at a local church as they finish their time at Shore.

Studies of Religion

Studies of Religion (SOR) is an additional subject offering run by the Christian Studies Department. While broadly similar in content to the Year 11 Christian Studies course, SOR varies quite significantly from the Christian Studies course in aim and format. SOR is a 1-unit NESA-developed social science subject which gives students a chance to study world religions in much greater depth. At Shore, SOR is not compulsory, and it is offered in an accelerated format to boys in Year 11.

Delivering the course in an accelerated format allows students to experience an HSC examination a year early, and provides flexibility for Year 12 study by banking one completed HSC unit during Year 11. Having one of the minimum ten units completed as a boy begins Year 12 will give him additional free periods in his timetable, allowing him to more easily manage added extension subjects, prioritise any major works, and to simply grapple with the demands of the HSC year.

If you have any questions regarding the Christian Studies programme at Shore please contact Mr Ben Gibson – bgibson@shore.nsw.edu.au