Cherish the Freedom to Educate

Lessons learned too late are of little value.

By W. P. BRADLEY, Secretary of the Far Eastern Division

The freedom to educate is a priceless privilege, yes, more than a privilege. It is a right that should be cherished and protected, and employed for the future good of the church.

"We never miss the water till the well runs dry," is a well-known proverb, the sad truth of which has been experienced by all. The best gifts of life may become so common to us that their value is not appreciated until after they have been removed. When the summer is passed, and the fields are brown under the bite of the frost, and the trees hold aloft their naked skeletons of limbs, and the songs of the birds are but a memory, how we long again for the green of the meadows and all growing things ! But the seasons move forward as a part of the inexorable flow of time. Fortu­nate, indeed, are the insect colonies which have not whiled away the precious hours of the lazy summer days, but have stored beneath the de­structive reach of the frost an ample supply of food for the long winter.

During the past decade there has been a decided drift of opinion in many parts of the world concerning the function of education. Stealthily in some places, openly and brazenly in others, the right of the parent or of a minor­ity group to educate has been challenged, and often the privilege of so doing has been abro­gated. Concurrently with the passing of other phases of individual freedom has passed in many instances the freedom to educate children according to principles held as individual convictions. Stress has been placed upon the place of the state, its predominant position and supreme authority in realms that deal with the molding of the thought of the coming genera­tion. Formerly the churches played an impor­tant role in education, and in some cases con­trolled education completely. Or liberal-minded men, charged with the task of forming a phi­losophy of education and putting it into prac­tice, did so along generous and democratic lines. But even though education might be made a compulsory matter by the state, the right of the parent to have something to say about the kind of education to be given was recognized.

Now we see a different state of affairs. Education has been seized and is being exploited as an instrument of policy and rule. A government with broad powers over educa­tion has the best opportunity to perpetuate it­self, and is jealous of education which does not serve its own ends. Sweeping modifications of educational practice are made, not by the well-considered judgment of a group of edu­cators with the best good of the people in mind, but by governmental decrees which affect the thinking of the future generation. In Coun­tries that have formerly pursued broad policies in education, the people have complacently al­lowed privileges to be stolen under the plea that the only successful way to combat the totalitarian program is by the use of efficient totalitarian methods.

This is no imaginary picture of conditions, written to alarm. It is a sober statement of an actual trend observed in many countries of the world. It is difficult to convey to those who have not experienced it, the feeling of futility which comes as avenues are closed up, as restricting regulations draw closer and tighter, until all individual freedom and ini­tiative are gone. Finally the school is placed by force in the common groove, and any effort to develop peculiar features or a distinctive spirit is altogether lost.

Grasp Opportunity That Still Obtains

If our workers and people generally under­stood these things, would they not show a greater appreciation of the liberties which they still enjoy, and make a greater effort to avail themselves of their priceless privileges ? Shall we always be able to enjoy the privilege which is now ours of conducting schools ac­cording to the ideals of the church ? Evidently not, for we are warned that "all schools among us will soon be closed up:'—"Testimonies," Vol. V, p. 156. While we still have this op­portunity to operate schools according to our own plan and philosophy, should it not be our aim to accomplish all that we humanly can in Christian education? Is there any circum­stance that can excuse us from this supreme responsibility to our children and youth of doing for them all that we can while we may ?

The passing away of neglected opportunity is always a tragic event. No amount of re­morse can restore the losses which we sustain if we refrain from taking advantage of the present fleeting months and years. One year in a Chrisitan school may affect the eternal destiny of our sons and daughters. How much more could we all do if we knew for certain that we had just one more year of free Chris­tian-education opportunity! Lessons learned too late are of so little value in mending dam­age done. ''God speaks to His people in bless­ings bestowed; and when these are not appre­ciated, He speaks to them in blessings removed, that they may be led to see their sins, and re­turn to Him with all the heart."—"Patriarchs and Prophets," p. 470. May we be spared the sorrow of having to realize in the near future what "might have been."

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By W. P. BRADLEY, Secretary of the Far Eastern Division

June 1941

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

We Must not be "Bumblers"

We must not be bumblers in this crisis hour.

When Christ's Mediatorial Ministry Began

Biblical Exposition and Homiletic Helps

Shall We Engage in Public Debates?

As a denomination, we are one of the few who, in present practice, do not advocate the holding of public debates as a means of finding the truth or settling controversies.

The Heart of True Evangelism

Hearts everywhere are yearning for love and sympathy, and this can be imparted not only through the public address, but through the personal touch as well.

The Ideal Quarterly Service

Conducting the quarterly ordinance service is one of the most sacred duties a minister is called upon to perform.

How to Speak in Public

Reprint suggested by Elder H. A. Vandeman, of Minneapolis, Minn. Copyrighted, 1940. by the Kings-way Press, Incorporated, New York City. Reprinted by permission.

Establishing New Converts

Paying careful attention to the care of souls.

Prophetic Guidance in Early Days

The fifth part of our series on the influence of the Spirit of Prophecy examines how the early time-setting dangers were met.

Principles of Gospel Salesmanship

Our monthly larger outlook column.

Editorial Keynotes

Doctrinal Councils Intesify Division

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)