Spring 2017: God's Educational Plan for the Last Days Part 1
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Summary: In 1897, an urgent and shocking imperative came to the church: “Now, as never before, we need to understand the true science of education. If we fail to understand this, we shall never have a place in the kingdom of God.”
 
 

In part 1 of this study, we read that “The system of education instituted at the beginning of the world was to be a model for man throughout all aftertime,”1 that “a model school was established in Eden,”2 and that “true education is still conformed to the Creator’s plan, the plan of the Eden school.” 3

In 1897, an urgent and shocking imperative came to the church: “Now, as never before, we need to understand the true science of education. If we fail to understand this, we shall never have a place in the kingdom of God.” 4

The same year we were advised, “A teacher should be employed who will educate the children in the truths of the Word of God, which are so essential for these last days, and which it is so important for them to understand. A great test is coming: it will be upon obedience or disobedience to the commandments of God.” 5

James and Ellen White employed such a teacher for their boys. While doing outdoor therapy at Battle Creek Health Institute, Goodloe Harper Bell helped neighborhood boys with their lessons. Edson and Willie White asked their father if Bell could be their teacher, and soon a few families hired him.

“He was open to new ideas; and, very largely under the influence of Mrs. White's suggestions, he instituted new methods of teaching, lessening the burden of memory work, prescribing persistent investigation and research, and inviting original thinking and expression.” 6 God had brought His church a teacher who was willing to follow His plan of education, while the world was going in a very different direction.

“In the final years of the last century [1800s], a great transformation began in American education.” 7 At the German University of Leipzig, Dr. Wilhelm Wundt had made psychology a new science through laboratory experimentation. Americans earned prestigious doctorates under him and started psychology labs in the U.S.

Wundt’s former assistant James Cattell became head of Columbia University's psychology department in 1891 and “directly influenced the fusion of experimental psychology and American education.” 8 James Earl Russell came to Columbia with his Leipzig doctorate in 1897, ran their Teachers College for 30 years, and made it the largest institution in the world for training teachers.

“Thus, in 1897, the stage was about to be set for the propagation of Wundt's laboratory psychology throughout American education.” 9 Psychology defined teaching as “the art of giving and withholding stimuli with the result of producing or preventing certain responses,” 10 just as Pavlov did with dogs.

“The most widely-read and quoted textbook used in schools of education in this country” 11 was John Dewey's Psychology, published in 1896, and “To Dewey, as to Wundt, man was an animal.” 12 God says, "The education of children, at home or at school, should not be like the training of dumb animals; for children have an intelligent will, which should be directed to control all their powers." 13

Parents choose the kind of education their children will have. If we were to ask educators about God's Eden School plan, they may answer as the farmer did when asked for directions, "You can’t get there from here.” The sobering truth is we must get there from here, or "we shall never have a place in the kingdom of God." 14

Two years before her death, Ellen White said, “‘Oh, how I wish … that I could go out as I used to and stand before the people. I would teach them of the great importance of training their children for God.’

"‘But, Sister White,’ Arthur Spaulding spoke up, ‘you have taught them. You have counseled them and they can read it in your books.’

“‘Yes, I know,’ she answered, ‘it is written there. But what good will it do if our people don’t read it or understand it or, most important, don’t follow the counsel?’” 15

In that earnest question, Sister White gave us three steps to success in implementing God's plan of education.

1) “Read it” in her books.

2) “Understand it” with God’s help.

3) “Follow the counsel.”

If we will prayerfully take these steps, we can get there from here.

What shall we teach, in addition to the Bible? “Teach fundamentals. Teach that which is practical.” 16 “If you are faithful in teaching the common branches, many of your students could go directly into the work as canvassers, colporteurs, and evangelists. We need not feel that all workers must have an advanced education.” 17

Our denominational schools will be shut down, according to this startling statement:

“All schools among us will soon be closed up.” 18 A bill introduced in the California Senate 19 in February, 2016 proposed withholding state funds from postsecondary schools that do not conform on gender-related issues. Language that would seriously affect our schools was removed, but attorney Jon Daggett, who has represented the church in California, said: “Some of our schools, depending on where they are located, will be in a fight for their life in the next year or two.” 20

Especially at such a time as this, “Let us determine that we will not be tied by so much as a thread to the educational policies of those who do not discern the voice of God.” 21 “We are not at liberty to teach that which shall meet the world’s standard or the standard of the church, simply because it is the custom to do so.” 22

Whether we have schools for our children or not, parents should study the Bible with them. "Christian parents, you must make provision for your children to be educated in Bible principles. And do not rest satisfied merely with having them study the Word in the church school. Teach the Scriptures to your children yourselves when you sit down, when you go out, when you come in, and when you walk by the way." 23

We can simply pray and read God’s word with our children, knowing:

1) “The Bible was written for the common people as well as for scholars, and is within the comprehension of all.” 24

2) “The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed.” 25

3) “Christ has given the promise: ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ John 7:17.” 26

1) “Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself.” 27

A final test is coming for God's people. We "shall be brought before councils and before thousands for His name’s sake, and each one will have to give the reason of his faith…. Those who have only a superficial understanding of truth will not be able clearly to expound the Scriptures and give definite reasons for their faith." 28

As this testing time draws near, God's faithful people will be giving a clear, biblical, warning message to the world. "The truth for this time, the third angel’s message, is to be proclaimed with a loud voice as we approach the great final test." 29

Children will have an important role in giving the third angel's message, but only those children who have been rightly educated. "As Jesus in the temple solved the mysteries which priests and rulers had not discerned, so in the closing work of this earth children who have been rightly educated will in their simplicity speak words which will be an astonishment to men who now talk of "higher education." … in these last days children’s voices will be raised to give the last message of warning to a perishing world." 30

This third angel's message 31 contains several major Bible teachings.

The Everlasting Gospel

• The Hour of God's Judgment in Heaven's Sanctuary

• Worship of the Creator, Keeping the Bible Sabbath

• Fallen Babylon Making all Nations Drink her Wine

• Warning not to Worship the Beast or his Image, or Take his Mark

• Keeping the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus

Children can learn these teachings simply at first, then in more detail. Consider for example the second one on our list, "the hour of God's judgment." Three Bible verses, one historical date, and some easy math establish that the judgment began in 1844. The three verses are Daniel 8:14, Numbers 14:34 and Daniel 9:25. The historical date is 457 BC, and the math is adding 2,300 years to 457 BC.

Serious Bible study by young and old is an essential part of God's educational plan for the last days. Using as primary source materials the Bible, nature, useful work and the experiences of life, we can teach practical skills and academic fundamentals. Secondary source materials such as books and teaching aids can be selectively used. As we follow God's plan, He will help us prepare our children and ourselves for this life and the next.



Judy Kjaer, is the wife of Kim Kjaer.


1. White, Ellen G., Education, p.20

2. Education, p.20

3. Education, p.30

4. White, Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 1, p. 53

5. White, Pamphlet 140, p.24.

6. Spalding, A.W., Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol.2, p.117

7. Lionni, Paolo, THE LEIPZIG CONNECTION The Systematic Destruction of American Education, Preface

8. THE LEIPZIG CONNECTION, p.25

9. THE LEIPZIG CONNECTION, p.25

10. Thorndike, The Principles of Teaching based on Psychology (1906)

11. Iserbyt, Charlotte, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, p.5

12. THE LEIPZIG CONNECTION, p.19

13. White, Testimonies to the Church, vol. 3, p.132

14. Mind, Character, and Personality, Vol. 1, p. 53

15. McFadden, Elisabeth, and Spalding, R.W., M.D., A Fire in My Bones, A Biography of Arthur Whitefield Spalding, pp. 11-13

16. White, Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p.205

17. Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p.213

18. White, Testimonies, vol.5, p.156

19. California Senate Bill No. 1146, leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

21. Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, p.255

22. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol.6, p.142

23. White, Spalding Magan Collection, p.244

24. White, Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p.23

25. White, Great Controversy, p.599

26. Great Controversy, p.599

27. Review and Herald, November 25, 1884, quoting William Miller

28. White, Last Day Events, p.209

29. White, Counsels on Health, p.506

30. Testimonies to the Church, vol. 6, p.202

31. Revelation 14:6-12

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