Peter’s Counsel to Parents


Chapter 3—Sermon at Petaluma, California, Campground


Commenting on Peter's ladder of Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-7), Ellen White says, “in the Christian life we are to work upon the plan of addition. If we are faithful in working on this plan, God works for us on the plan of multiplication.” (Italics supplied.) Here God's prophet is reflecting heaven's optimism about the potential for change and growth in human beings. God stands ready to do his part, but “God is watching intently to see what kind of timbers parents and children put into their character building.” PCP 22.1

Did you know that before Christ came to earth to represent the Father, Satan was actually convinced that the whole world would eventually join him? And he had plenty of evidence upon which to base this belief. Satan had subtly convinced most men and women that God's law was unreasonable and impossible to keep. And those who did try to obey made the law a burden, and by so doing misrepresented God. Then Jesus came as living law: His life contrasted markedly with lawless individuals on the one hand, and legalists on the other. In this selection Ellen White suggests that a Christian life, imaginatively lived, will reveal the wisdom of God's law. PCP 22.2

Second Peter 1 summarizes the educational philosophy of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Adventists define education as a process of preparing for service in heaven, as well as for service in this present world. It is interesting to note that the philosophy of discipline, the ideas on the punishment of children, reveal one's fitness for heaven. In this reading Ellen White develops a related point: The role facial expressions play in educating and disciplining children. PCP 22.3

There is considerable material on temperance in this selection. Note, for instance: “We are to practice temperance on every point [why?]; For we need all the brain nerve-power that it is possible for us to have in order that we may be able to resist Satan's temptations.” It is typical of Ellen White to make a positive case for Christian standards and virtues. Here we see her enthusiasm, regarding keen minds and refined reasoning abilities, offered in support of being temperate. PCP 23.1