“In planning for the education of their children outside the home, parents should realize that it is no longer safe to send them to the public school, and should endeavor to send them to schools where they will obtain an education based on a Scriptural foundation. Upon every Christian parent there rests the solemn obligation of giving to his children an education that will lead them to gain a knowledge of the Lord and to become partakers of the divine nature through obedience to God’s will and way.” - Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, 304
God called Abraham for a special reason: to be the father of a great nation (see Gen. 12:2).
The fulfillment of this purpose was directly
related to Abraham’s domestic life in an educational
context (see Gen. 18:19).
Abraham’s main responsibility was to lead
his children in a consistent and wise manner.
The lifestyle of his descendants would be directly
related to the philosophy of education he would
give to his children.
Let’s consider the following:
I. THE CONCEPT OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
A. Russell Champlin, a North American theologian and specialist in New Testament theology, wrote: “Education is the systematic development and cultivation of natural capacities, through education, example, and practice. It includes both theoretical knowledge and practical experience in developing various skills.”1 In this definition, there are three relevant aspects: education, example, and practice.
B. The secular concept of education seeks
to reach only the intellectual aspect of man. Thus,
a person is informed but not transformed. Ellen
G. White wrote: “Our ideas of education take
too narrow and too low a range. There is need
of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education
means more than the pursual of a certain course
of study. It means more than a preparation for the
life that now is. It has to do with the whole being,
and with the whole period of existence possible
True education is that which transforms
human beings in all dimensions.
II. TRINOMIAL OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION:
FAMILY, CHURCH, SCHOOL
1. The educational process begins within the family.
2. Ellen G. White wrote: “It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin. Here is his first school. Here, with his parents as instructors, he is to learn the lessons that are to guide him throughout life—lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, self-control. The educational influences of the home are a decided power for good or for evil. They are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the right side, they become a farreaching power for truth and righteousness.”3
3. Family is the setting in which religious, moral, intellectual, and social values are developed and cultivated.
1. Church is an educational center. The worship service, in its liturgy, contributes to knowing God as a Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
2. Ellen G. White states: “The song of praise, the prayer, the words spoken by Christ’s representatives, are God’s appointed agencies to prepare a people for the church above, for that loftier worship into which there can enter nothing that defileth.”4
3. Parents should instruct their children in all aspects of spiritual life.
1. Currently, society promotes a purely academic education that is fueled by competition in the job market.
2. From the divine perspective, the education that transforms human beings goes beyond the academic aspect.
3. God had this in mind when He advised
the establishment of the schools of prophets:
“These schools were intended to serve as a
barrier against the wide-spreading corruption,
to provide for the mental and spiritual welfare of
the youth, and to promote the prosperity of the
nation by furnishing it with men qualified to act
in the fear of God as leaders and counselors. To
this end, Samuel gathered companies of young
men who were pious, intelligent, and studious.
These were called the sons of the prophets. As
they studied the Word and the works of God, His
life-giving power quickened the energies of mind
and soul, and the students received wisdom from
above. The instructors were not only versed in
divine truth, but had themselves enjoyed communion
with God, and had received the special
endowment of His Spirit. They had the respect
and confidence of the people, both for learning
and for piety.”5
III. RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
A. Through moral and spiritual principles based on the Bible, Christian education:
1. Enables a person for good conduct (see 2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
2. Transforms a person’s sense of value, transferring him or her from what is temporary to what is permanent (see Phil. 3:7, 8; Heb. 11:24- 27).
3. Develops in the learner an awareness to exercise his or her citizenship with rights and duties in the society in which he or she is inserted (see Matt. 22:21; Luke 2:1-4).
4. Shows that statutes and divine guidance
upheld in human life have an effect on social life
(see Deut. 6:6, 7; Dan. 1:8; Rom. 13:1-7).
A. The meaning behind God’s call to Abraham
was associated with the education Abraham
would give to his children.
B. Among the three educational institutions
(family, church, school), home is the one that
plays a key role. Ellen G. White concludes: “Society
is composed of families. . . . Out of the heart
are ‘the issues of life’ (Prov. 4:23), and the heart
of the community, of the church, and of the nation
is the household. The well-being of society,
the success of the church, the prosperity of the
nation, depend upon home influences.”6
1 Bible, Theology, and Philosophy Encyclopedia 2:268 (source in Portuguese).
2 Ellen G. White, Education, 13.
3 ———, Child Guidance, 17.
4 ———, Testimonies for the Church 5:491.
5 ———, Education, 46.
6 ———, The Adventist Home, 15.
Nerivan Silva is an editor at the Brazil Publishing
House headquartered in Tatui, Sao Paulo, Brazil.