This devotional thought today deviates from the more traditional devotion as it presents an argument for schools of the prophets. I believe that no child should be turned away from receiving a Christian Education. I do know of our financial need, and I do know that “some have been turned back at their door”, in the spirit of Christian stewardship, yet such actions reflect on us as leaders rather than on the children themselves or even their parents. I do know this is arguable, but here we go today. This is a clarion call for every person, and every church to support Christian education in one way or the other, whether we think we individually or corporately benefit or not. If we return tithe corporately, then we should support Christian schools in the same way–the two are not indivisible. With each tithe remittance, both individually and corporately, a portion should be set aside an “educational subsidy” to the conference for the support of Christian education. I, therefore, call on pastors, churches, and leaders today to prayerfully consider these words as well as the message below
Schools of the Prophets or of the Philistines—Better or Different—The Argument for Christian Seventh-day Adventist Schools
Today in Atlanta, several schools begin a weekend of graduation celebrations stretching to the end of the month. In many Christian schools linked to a church, there is a Sabbath and/or a Sunday religious ceremony, either followed or preceded by a secular ceremony, the Commencement. In secular public schools, there is one ceremony.In Seventh-day Adventist schools, graduation is more than the fulfillment of a set of academic requirements—it represents an indication of citizenship development, and spiritual maturity and signifies an integration of the academics with each of these. A provision should be made so that all students shall be taught, and so that no child is denied a Christian education, even for lack of finances.
In Biblical times, in the days of Samuel, there were two schools, one at Ramah, Samuel’s residence town, and the other at Kiryat Yearim, where the ark of the covenant was located. The schools were started because of the indifference of parents to their Divine obligations and the surrounding idolatrous influences of heathen nations, leading to a divergent path from the education that God had defined. While the home was the main place of the child’s education, Christian schools were established by spiritual leaders to help keep the children and families on track and to serve as a barrier to the spreading influence of idolatry. It was the home and the school that were to collaborate and cooperate in the education of the child. In our modern times, one writer portrays the work of education and redemption to be one. It was in the face of general apostasy that these schools were established and affirmed. One other central purpose of the schools was to prepare leaders for Israel. In these schools, a specific curriculum was adopted consisting of the law of God, sacred music, poetry, and history as well as the tenets of pray. Further, the Schools of the Prophets were known for their self-supporting stance, where students were employed diligently in the practical necessities of life. The teachers were distinguished by their spiritual commitment to Biblical truth and the special endowment of the Spirit. Later on, in New Testament times, these schools became synagogue and rabbi schools, yet the responsibility for education remained in the home.
Each of us today has a spiritual duty. God is calling us individually and severally to support Christian education, by both word and deed, for we are preparing leaders, not merely completing academic requirements. The issue is not whether our schools are better or worse, but whether they are different in purpose, character, curriculum and teacher example.