Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]


MR No. 598—Study Materials in SDA Schools

Infidel arguments have been brought into the college for the purpose of instructing our youth how to argue against infidelity. The seeds of infidelity may not at once be developed, yet they will manifest their existence when temptation arises. I have been shown that doubts will enter the heart, arguments in favor of infidelity will fasten in the mind which will finally lead to skepticism as a result of this course.—Letter 22, 1889, pp. 9, 10. (To R. A. Underwood, January 18, 1889.) 8MR 279.1

I want to tell you, brethren, there are debaters among us. I warned them in Minneapolis never to put a minister in a Conference by the side of a debater. For the last twenty years the light has shown upon me in regard to debaters. They will turn light into darkness.... 8MR 279.2

God presented the case [of A.] before me. I told it to Brother B. when we were in Des Moines. Said I, “If you don't come out as Elder Canright, it is because you will be a converted man; but every soul that is connected with you, that you have educated and trained as a debater, you will wish that work were undone.” Brethren, we are not here for this work. We are not here to study infidel authors, to open our minds to the suggestions of the devil. We are here to get ready for the judgment, and we are right on the borders of the eternal world.—Manuscript 4, 1890, 2, 3. (Sermon, March 8, 1890.) 8MR 279.3

We do not study the Scriptures as much as we should. Instead of spending our time in studying the various themes of the day, we need to devote that time to the study of the Scriptures. We want to come with our Bibles on our knees before God and ask for wisdom from God to comprehend the treasures of truth. We cannot have root in ourselves unless we do this, for everything is to be shaken that can be shaken. The devil is working in a special manner with the popular churches to pick flaws with the Bible and with those who are working in Christ's lines, and infidelity prevails everywhere. It is the mystery of iniquity, the superhuman working of Satan, bewitching human minds with his power.—Manuscript 11, 1893, 3. (“Search the Scriptures,” March 28, 1893.) 8MR 279.4

We are neglecting our salvation if we give authors, who have but a confused idea of what religion means, the most conspicuous places and devoted respect, and make the Bible secondary. Those who have been enlightened in reference to the truth for these last days will not find instruction in the books generally studied today in regard to the things which are coming upon our world. But the Bible is full of the knowledge of God and is competent to educate the student for usefulness in this life and for the eternal life.—Manuscript 9, 1896, 10, 11. (“Those Who are Daily Learning,” March 23, 1896.) 8MR 280.1

True education is the inculcation of those ideas which will impress the mind with the knowledge of God the Creator and Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God. This education, which will ennoble the intellect and expand the mind, may be gained from a study of God's words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.... He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” (John 1:1-5, 10.).... 8MR 280.2

The education gained in our schools by the study of objectionable authors has not been of that order that will mark the character of our schools with religious piety and consistency. When students enter school, their minds should be drawn to the Word of God; they should be taught to feed upon the teaching of Christ. As year after year passes into eternity and we draw near the end of this world's history, increased responsibility rests upon every teacher in our schools. The results of a rich and varied experience are shining upon our pathway, and teachers need to work in harmony with the increase of light, in order that their spiritual development may be proportionate to the light given. The treasures of the Bible, which, during the last few years have been rescued from the rubbish and re-set in a framework of truth, place God's commandment-keeping people upon vantage ground. If this divine light is received into the mind, it will sanctify the soul and equip it to stand, by the grace of God, through the coming conflict.... 8MR 281.1

I appeal to the teachers in our educational institutions for Christ's sake, and their own, not to let religious earnestness and zeal retrograde. If you do not go backward, you will advance. But unless our schools rise to a much higher plane of action, their candlestick will be removed out of its place. Broader views must be held, stronger faith and deeper piety must exist in regard to the work to be done, and when this is so students will not be advised to take a course of study at Ann Arbor or any other college where the Word of God is not made the root and branch of all wisdom and all intellectual attainments. 8MR 281.2

When the converting power of God takes hold of the teachers in our schools, they will consider that a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ covers a much broader field than the so-called scholastic education does. But unless they have a much broader view in regard to what constitutes education, they will experience great hindrance in preparing missionaries to go out and give their knowledge to others. In all our education, we should remember the words of Christ, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14.) Of ourselves we cannot shine, but if the Word of God abides in our souls, we will shine, for nothing can eclipse the light of heaven or retard the truth. 8MR 282.1

Wherever they may turn, the youth will see examples of unholiness. If they go with the multitude to do evil, their influence will be cast on the side of the adversary of souls; they will mislead those who have not cherished principles of unswerving fidelity to God. Warnings will not be heeded, and in their self-sufficiency they will say, I know enough not to be misled by any corrupting influence. Not seeking safe paths for their feet, they become unguarded, and, charmed with the careless recklessness of those who pride themselves upon their knowledge of evil, they will take fatal steps in the path which leads to death, for influence is power. But one person in a school who has a conscientious regard for truth and a true conception of duty, who will make straight paths for his feet lest the lame be turned out of the way, can do much in Christ's lines. 8MR 282.2

If those youth who have opportunity to gain an education will put the Word of God first, seeking to obtain that wisdom which comes as a sacred fire from heaven, they will learn lessons highly essential for them to know. As students enter upon their school life, they are in danger of receiving from other students impressions that will endanger their principles of right, and they need to fasten their hold more firmly upon God, relying by faith upon His promises, and inquiring at every step, How can I best acquire a knowledge of God? How shall I shun the road leading to destruction, for I cannot take one false step without leading others by my precept and example. 8MR 283.1

Teachers must be qualified to be ministers of righteousness. Their pathway must be kept free from any hindrance, in order that students may find in the school which they attend, a city of refuge. They should help those whom they are educating to disconnect from worldly influences and worldly associations, teaching them to obey the word of God, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.” (2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.) What honor and exaltation is here given to humanity. Shall we not obey this invitation with grateful hearts?—Manuscript 20, 1895, 1-4. (“True Education,” November 10, 1895.) 8MR 283.2

In America the Bible has been brought into our schools to some extent, but teachers and students have depended upon the books of authors whose ideas and sentiments are misleading. When the light of truth for these last days came to the world in the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages, we were shown that a different order of things must be brought in. But it has taken much time to become aware of the changes that should be made in the lines of study in our schools. 8MR 283.3

It is most difficult to practice right principles after being so long accustomed to the practices of the world, but reforms must be entered into with heart, and soul, and will. Altogether too long have the old habits and customs been followed. The Word of God is to be our study book.—Manuscript 56, 1898, 1, 2. (“The Need of Harmonious Action,” April 27, 1898.) 8MR 284.1

There has been a departure from God among us, and the zealous work of repentance and returning to our first love essential to restoration to God and regeneration of heart has not yet been done. Infidelity to God has been making its inroads in our ranks; for it is the fashion to depart from Christ, and give place to skepticism. The cry of the heart has been, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” (Luke 19:14.)—Letter 24, 1889, p. 6. (To “The General Conference Brethren,” circa 1889.) 8MR 284.2

When any idea has been cherished by you, it finds a ready utterance, and will be caught up by other minds. Thus seed will be sown that is not true grain. But if you give yourself to God, He will lead you in safe paths. It is a very hard matter for you to part with the cherished idea that you have received from your teachers in Battle Creek. But there are things that you may and will have to learn in the future in the school of experience. 8MR 284.3

Make yourself thoroughly familiar with the Word of God. If you do not do this, projects and ideas will imprint themselves on your mind that should not be entertained, for it is not the way of the Lord. In all honesty you will come to conclusions that will need to be sifted. It is essential for your clearness of eyesight to have a more elevated direction. The common customs and practices of school life, which may be called little things, cannot be brought into the school at Avondale. Your thoughts and ideas will change by experience if you earnestly and humbly inquire at each step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” “Ye are not your own.., For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.).... 8MR 284.4

Proper education means much. Oh, that all could understand these matters in their true bearing. Physical, mental, and moral industry must be combined in proper education. Teachers who have not practiced this in their school life need to learn their lessons over again. Everything that would be detrimental to the spiritual interests of the school must be cut away from the process of education.—Letter 60, 1896, pp. 1, 5. (To Herbert Lacey, December 20, 1896.) 8MR 285.1

Very important is the work to be done. Much has been said, and too much cannot be said in regard to Bible education in our schools. The Bible is to be presented as the lesson book. I have seen that infidel sentiments would be brought from our schools where infidel authors are placed in the hands of the students. Sentiments will be expressed in regard to Scripture statements that are directly infidel and will open the way for the students, if but one chance is given them, to put a construction on the Scripture that will lead to unbelief and infidelity.—Letter 47, 1897, pp. 1, 2. (To A. G. Daniells and E. R. Palmer, June 28, 1897.) 8MR 285.2

We need, individually, to take heed as we have never done before to a “Thus saith the Lord.” There are men who are disloyal to God, who transgress His holy Sabbath, who cavil over the plainest statements of the Word, who misinterpret and wrest the Scriptures from their true meaning, and who at the same time make desperate efforts to harmonize their disobedience with the Scriptures. But the Word condemns such practice, as it condemned the scribes and Pharisees in Christ's day. We need to know what is truth. Shall we do as did the Pharisees? Shall we turn from the greatest Teacher that the world has ever known to the traditions and maxims and sayings of men? Shall we not rather make a change in this matter? This is what the Jews should have done, but did not do.... 8MR 286.1

In order to do this work there must be schools similar to the schools of the prophets to educate in the Word of God, to shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase unto the more ungodliness. This Scripture [2 Timothy 2:14, 15] is directly to the point. Those books which may contain some truth, but are intermingled with vain babblings, should not be placed in the student's hands, for they are seed sown in the human heart which in time of temptation will spring into life and lead the minds of students into paths that will lead away from God, away from truth into ungodliness. Attention should be given to the matter of keeping a pure line of study before teachers as well as scholars, for “their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (2 Timothy 2:17, 18.)—Manuscript 16, 1897, 4, 5, 9, 10. (“Principles of Education,” March 25, 1897.) 8MR 286.2

Do not allow other studies to occupy the largest portion of the time and the Bible the less. I have had presented before me that there is only a limited time given to the perusal of the Word of God. The Bible study is not to be the least but the greatest. It is to take the place of reading books and from the Word are to be presented lessons that shall crowd out as much as possible other books. The Lord's words and lessons are those which all the students recently attending school need above everything else. I write because I know that the Bible studies are not amply given, and the Lord will not sanction this. The Bible is our educator, our studybook. Please bear this in mind. It is not to be a book among books, but the Book of all books to educate. The mind must be impressed, and this must be the main study.—Manuscript 69, 1899, 1. (“The Bible In Our Schools,” June 17, 1897.) 8MR 287.1

We are to learn a lesson from the sin of Israel. The men who accept the position of educators should be men who are in communion with God. If they dare to assume these responsibilities, while they do not keep a connection with the source of all wisdom, while they trust to their own human judgment, they incur guilt upon their souls, for they bring unsanctified maxims and customs and devisings into the most sacred work ever committed to mortals. These men lead astray those who depend upon them, and trust in them. If those who learn lessons from them are not ruined body and soul, it is not because of any saving virtue in these ancients. It is because the people themselves are alarmed by the developments in themselves and their teachers. Let the teachers in our schools, from the highest to the lowest, come under the instruction of the divine Teacher, learning His meekness and lowliness of heart. Their own souls, and the souls under their care, will be in peril as long as they remain in their present position: Let every man and woman arouse to a sense of their God-given responsibility. Let not the ancients close the gates, so that the Lord can find no entrance into their families and their hearts.... 8MR 287.2

The teacher should strive to have his knowledge of the Word and spiritual truth continually increase. But he cannot do this by wedding himself to certain authors. If he would have his powers and capabilities daily improve, he must study the Word of God, and work in Christ's lines. This is represented as eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God.—Manuscript 37, 1899, 4-6. (“The Need for Consecrated Workers,” March 21, 1897.) 8MR 288.1

Released March 17, 1978.