Education- Something Better
ADVENTIST EDUCATION-SOMETHING BETTER |DR. R. CLIFFORD JONES
If you’ve been following the news of late, you no doubt know that Republican leaders in Congress attempted to repeal and replace President Obama’s signature health care program known as Obamacare with something else.In his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump promised to dismantle the Affordable Care Act with something better on day one of his tenure. These two words, something better, have a nice ring to them, and for many people life is all about pursuing something better.
Yet did you know that something better is the aim of Adventist education? In her classic work, Education, Ellen G. Whites writes: “ ‘Something better’ is the watchword of education … Let the students be directed to something better than display, ambition, or self-indulgence. Lead them to behold the One ‘altogether lovely.’ Once the gaze is fixed upon Him life finds its center. To honor Christ, to become like Him, to work for Him, is life’s highest ambition and its greatest joy” (Education, pp. 296, 297). Elsewhere, she writes, “The most essential lessons for teachers and students to learn, are those which point, not to the world, but from the world to the cross of Christ” (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 11).
So what makes Adventist education something better? For starters, Adventist education points students and introduces them to Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega, who is life’s Center. Getting students to fall in love with Jesus is the overarching and enduring aim of Adventist education, making it redemptive and unique. The uniqueness of Adventist education is grounded in the denomination’s self-understanding, which gives form and shape to its apocalyptic mission and significantly contributes to an Adventist philosophy of education that preserves Adventist essentials. Students graduate from Adventist schools saturated with a sense of their special place and role in a world that is in the final phase of its history.
We’ve been told that higher than the highest human thoughts can reach is God’s ideal for His children, meaning that Adventist education eschews mediocrity and places a premium on excellence. Adventist education aspires to lift to the highest level, acutely aware that whatever God does is done well (Gen. 1:1-31). Excellence in Adventist education is brought about through the integration of faith and learning.
Adventist education is something better because of the centrality of the Bible in its curriculum. In Adventist schools Holy Scripture is the lens through which all is seen and viewed, and the Bible sifts all that is taught. It is not good enough to start each day or class with prayer; all must be aligned with the Word of God. It goes without saying that the Bible is the most important text in an Adventist educational institution.
The Bible states that Jesus went about teaching and preaching, showing that the earthly ministry of Jesus did not discount the important element of teaching or education (Matt. 4:23; 9:35). As the Master Teacher, Jesus modeled for all Christians His expectations for a life of mission and ministry. Living a life of faith and balance that is built on Godly values and reflects a biblical worldview is the responsibility of all Christians, not just those who are remunerated for their service as Christian teachers.
Christocentric to its core, Adventist education is undoubtedly something better that should be embraced by every Adventist who wishes the best for their children! Our schools have always been lighthouses in a world of darkness, and the evidence shows that graduates of Adventist schools are far more likely to remain Adventist and be active in soul-winning.
Ellen White writes, “Higher education calls for something greater, something more divine, than the knowledge to be obtained merely from books. It means a personal, experimental knowledge of Christ; it means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices, that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness, and which are opposed to loyalty to God. It means to overcome stubbornness, pride, selfishness, worldly ambition, and unbelief. It is the message of deliverance from sin” (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp.11-12).
Let’s work together to make Adventist education something better, something greater!
In His footsteps . . . together!
R. Clifford Jones
[Source: Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (03/29/2017), https://lrcsda.com/adventist-education-something-better/]
March 31, 2017
March 7, 2017