Fundamentals of Christian Education


Chapter 68—A Message to Teachers

A message has been given me for the teachers in all our schools. Those who accept the sacred responsibility resting upon teachers need to be constantly advancing in their experience. They should not be content to remain upon the lowlands, but should ever be climbing heavenward. With the word of God in their hands, and the love of souls pointing them to diligence, they should advance step by step in efficiency. FE 516.1

A deep Christian experience will be combined with the work of true education. Our schools are to advance steadily in Christian development; and in order to do this, the words and example of the teacher should be a constant help. “Ye also, as lively stones,” the apostle declares, “are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” It would be well for every teacher and student to study carefully these words, asking himself the question, Am I, through the abundant grace given, obtaining the very experience that as a child of God I must have in order to advance constantly step by step to the higher grade? FE 516.2

In every line of instruction, teachers are to seek to impart light from the word of God, and to show the importance of obedience to a “Thus saith the Lord.” The education should be such that the students will make right principles the guide of every action: This is the education that will abide through the eternal ages. FE 516.3

I am given words of caution to the teachers in all our established schools. The work of our schools must bear a different stamp from that borne by some of our most popular schools. The mere study of the ordinary textbook is not sufficient; and many of the books that are used are unnecessary for those schools that are established to prepare students for the school above. As a result, the students in these schools are not receiving the most perfect Christian education. The very points of study are neglected that are most needed to prepare the students to stand the last great examination, and to fit them for missionary work in home and foreign fields. The education that is needed now is one that will qualify the students for practical missionary work, by teaching them to bring every faculty under the control of the Spirit of God. The study book which is of the highest value is that which contains the instruction of Christ, the Teacher of teachers. FE 516.4

The Lord expects our teachers to expel from our schools those books that teach sentiments which are not in accordance with His word, and to give place to those books that are of the highest value. The Lord designs that the teachers in our schools shall excel in wisdom the wisdom of the world, because they study His wisdom. God will be honored when the teachers in our schools, from the highest grades to the lowest, show to the world that a more than human wisdom is theirs, because the Master Teacher is standing at their head. FE 517.1

Our teachers need to be constant learners. All reformers need to place themselves under discipline to God. Their own lives need to be reformed, their own hearts subdued by the grace of Christ. Every worldly habit and idea that is not in harmony with the mind of God should be renounced. FE 517.2

When Nicodemus, a learned teacher in Israel, came to Jesus to inquire of Him, Christ laid before him the first principles. Nicodemus, though holding an honorable position in Israel, had not a true conception of what a teacher in Israel should be. He needed instruction in the very first principles of the divine life, for he had not learned the alphabet of true Christian experience. FE 517.3

In response to Christ's instruction Nicodemus said, “How can these things be?” Christ answered, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” The same question might be asked of many who are holding responsible positions as teachers, physicians, and ministers of the gospel, but who have neglected the most essential part of their education, that which would fit them to deal in a Christlike manner with human minds. FE 517.4

In the instruction that Christ gave to His disciples, and to the people of all classes who came to hear His words, there was that which lifted them to a high plane of thought and action. If the words of Christ, instead of the words of men, were given to the learner today, we would see evidences of higher intelligence, a clearer comprehension of heavenly things, a deeper knowledge of God, a purer and more vigorous Christian life. “Verily, verily, I say unto you,” Christ said, “he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” FE 518.1

“When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” FE 518.2

We are slow to understand how much we need to study the words of Christ and His methods of labor. If His teachings were better understood, much of the instruction that is now given in our schools would be valued at its true worth. It would be seen that much that is now taught does not develop the simplicity of godliness in the life of the student. Then finite wisdom would receive less honor, and the word of God would have a more honored place. FE 518.3

When our teachers are truly converted, they will experience a soul hunger for the knowledge of God, and as humble learners in the school of Christ, they will study to know His righteousness. Righteous principles will rule the life, and will be taught as the principles that rule in the education of heaven. When teachers seek with all their heart to bring true principles into the work of education, angels of God will be present to make impressions upon the heart and mind.—The Review and Herald, November 7, 1907. FE 518.4