In the recorded ministry of Christ on earth, three phases of evangelism were carried forward. His burden and effort was to make men and women "every whit whole"—physically, mentally, and spiritually. The apostle Paul believed in the threefold restorative power of the gospel: "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly ; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. 5:23.
The three phases of evangelism were not recognized during the first two decades of the proclamation of the third angel's message. Spiritual restoration, as a preparation to meet the Lord, was the burden of those who might have been called spiritual evangelists; and their ministry, spiritual evangelism. In fact, those who proclaimed the third angel's message were not at first aware that any other phase of evangelism was essential to the full proclamation of the third angel's message.
In 1863, attention was called, through the Spirit of prophecy, to the close relationship between physical and spiritual life, and counsel was given which led to marked reform in the manner of life. In succeeding messages of counsel, Christ's ministry to the sick and afflicted was pointed out as a very important part of His work, in that He devoted more time to it than to teaching and preaching. This phase of gospel ministry is called "medical evangelism," and physicians, dietitians, and nurses are called "medical evangelists" in the Spirit of prophecy writings.
A decade later Seventh-day Adventists became seriously concerned regarding the mental development of their children and youth. They had accepted the responsibilities of their spiritual and physical development, but further instruction through the Spirit of prophecy revealed that God had a plan for mental restoration and development, which was to be carried on in connection with spiritual and physical development. The children and youth were to be so trained and educated that they would be fitted for the practical duties of life and have clean, pure hearts, clean, strong bodies, and clean, keen minds.
Such an education Seventh-day Adventists purposed and planned to give their children and youth. After earnest, sacrificial efforts, Battle Creek College was erected in 1874 and dedicated on January 3, 1875, to the training of ministers, Bible workers, and teachers, and to other lines of gospel service. This third phase of evangelism is educational evangelism. Parents, teachers, educators, and others engaged in this "noblest missionary work that any man or woman can do" are recognized in the writings of the Spirit of prophecy as educational evangelists.
As a result, elementary schools, academies, and colleges have multiplied in home and foreign fields. At the present time there are 2,511 elementary schools and 252 advanced schools (academies and colleges), with a total enrollment of 116,706 students, taught by 5,539 teachers. Evangelical, medical, and educational evangelists are earnestly and unitedly working together in all lands, proclaiming the whole gospel to make ready a holy people waiting for the coming of their Lord.
Educational Evangelism Literature
An abundant literature, in tracts, pamphlets, books, and periodicals, has been, and still is, being prepared to carry forward the work of evangelical and medical evangelism. But what provision has been made to provide literature to carry on work in educational evangelism?
In the year 1900 the book "Christ's Object Lessons," by Mrs. E. G. White, was published by the Pacific Press Publishing Association. It made plain Christ's principles and methods of teaching. Hundreds of thousands of copies were sold outside of the denomination, and the money secured was used to strengthen and maintain the Seventh-day Adventist system of education. This book was much appreciated by its readers everywhere.
Another book, "Education," by the same author, was published in 1903, for the purpose of making clear and plain the principles and methods of the system of education given to
Professor Cady has given his life to the cause of educational evangelism. The second and revised edition of his excellent book, "The Education That Educates" (published by Revell), is just off the press. It is an excellent missionary volume for educators not of our faith, and is an essential book for the Adventist worker's personal library.—Editor.
Israel, and adopted by Seventh-day Adventists. At the 1903 general convention, held at Union College, it was recommended that the book "Education" be given a wide and extensive circulation. Another recommendation, intended to increase the circulation of this book, was passed by the educational convention at Blue Ridge, North Carolina, in 1937.
Educational Chaos and Confusion
Probably no institution of human society has closer relations to the state or nation than the school. The kind of training and education the children receive determines the state of civilization. Education today is under severe indictment because of the undesirable product that comes from many of the schools. Among the children and youth, infidelity, lawlessness, and crime are on the increase. The blame for the first World War was laid at the door of education. This indictment was made by Doctor Holiday, an American educator connected with Montana University, in his article, "Need of God in Education," that . appeared in the educational journal, School and Society. He said in part :
"It is indeed becoming a serious question whether in reality we have great:y advanced over our distant ancestors in the essentials of civilization. We have indeed put a cultural veneer upon ourselves—we may have discovered how to arouse this or that aesthetic thrill over the merits of a musical composition or a bit of painted canvas. But in the hour of stress, in the moment of temptation, the veneer cracks or even peels off in large sections, and behold ! there underneath is the raw savage. Something has gone amiss in European education, and in its imitation in America. For nearly ten decades the new education has toiled with unsparing pains, and with colossal confidence, and has produced—a cultured pagan!
"As matters now stand, the development of mere intellect has failed. Our educational theory has developed a fatal weakness ; in the moment of our greatest confidence in it, it has broken down, and the primitive instincts and practices of savagery have gained the supremacy. No nation in history has been able to survive without God ; and it is not probable that America is an exception."—June 30, 1917.
Another World War is on, and the education needed to meet the present crisis in England is clearly and irrepressively described in the recent book, "God in Education," by Professor M. L. Jacks, director of the Department of Education of Oxford University. Following is a brief quotation from him :
"It is notorious that our intellectual advance has overrun our spiritual and moral advance, and that we, in common with other nations, are in danger of destroying ourselves with the instruments which we have created. At the risk of weakening this point, it may even be doubted whether our intellectual advance itself may not be slowed down unless it is accompanied by the spiritual and the moral: certain it is that those modern systems of education, in which all the hardness is taken out of life, comfort and interest and enjoyments made the ends, and the spiritual, with its inevitable cross relegated to the background, have not resulted in an increased intellectual stature. It appears that intelligence itself gives way when character weakens, and it may be that the continuance of our scientific progress, of which we are so thoughtlessly proud, depends on our giving closer attention to the spiritual. However that may be, without vision—the vision of God—the people of England seem likely to perish. In particular, our democratic tradition demands this vision if it is to survive."
Dr. John Dewey, recognized as the greatest educational philosopher in America, says in his book, "The Way Out of Confusion in Education :"
"It is unnecessary to say that we are in the midst of great educational uncertainty, one probably unparalleled at any past time. There is nothing accepted as axiomatic, nothing beyond the possibility of questioning, and few things that are not actually attacked. . , . It is not merely this or that method for securing educational results that is attacked ; but ideals and aims are under fire."
In the Spirit of prophecy writings, we are clearly told the cause of uncertainty, and confusion in education and in the world :
"It is because Christ's words are disregarded, because the word of God is given a second place in education, that infidelity is riot and iniquity is rife. Things of minor consequence occupy the minds of many of the teachers of today. A mass of tradition containing merely a semblance of truth is brought into the courses of study given in the schools of the world. The force of much human teaching is found in assertion, not in truth.... There is a painful uncertainty, a constant searching, a reaching for assurance that can be found only in God. The trumpet of human greatness may be sounded, but it is with an uncertain sound. . . . In acquiring earthly knowledge, men have thought to gain a treasure ; and they have laid the Bible aside, ignorant that it contains a treasure worth everything else. A failure to study and obey God's word has brought confusion into the world."—"Counsels to Teachers," PP. 439, 440.
Opportunities for Educational Evangelism
The Bible is the one infallible source of truth and authority for the true evangelist in his ministry to the bodies, minds, and souls of lost humanity. Over a half century has passed since Seventh-day Adventists were told that the Bible is to be the guide of the teacher and educator in the work of education.
"The institutions of human society find their best models in the word of God. For those of instruction [education] in particular, there is no lack of precept and example. Lessons of great profit, even in this age of educational progress, may be found in the history of God's ancient people. The Lord reserved to Himself the education and instruction of Israel. His care was not restricted to their religious interests. Whatever affected their mental or physical well-being became also an object of divine solicitude, and came within the province of divine law."—Ellen G. White, in, Signs of the Times, September, 1885.
The educational evangelist, with Bible in hand, should unfold the divine plan of education revealed in the Sacred Scriptures. The teacher or educator who makes contact with those who follow the same profession in the world should be able to awaken a sympathetic interest, for they face similar problems in the educational prograni. I speak from experience during the past year. The contacts made with State and university departments of education have been surprisingly pleasant and mutually profitable. The suggestion that the Bible will greatly aid in the successful carrying forward of our varying educational programs arouses curiosity and awakens interest. Their interest is shown by the asking of questions in regard to how the Bible can aid in the solving of educational problems.
Those who accept the Bible as the inspired word of God are at once interested, and listen attentively. They desire to take advantage of this additional Bible help in the field of education. I have often called attention to books that will aid them in this new field of Bible study, and they have secured them. What a wonderful challenge we have to take up the work of educational evangelism. There are many educators who are heartsick over the godless, Christless education in vogue today. They are sighing and crying "for all the abominations" that are done in the land. Many have not "bowed the knee to Baal," and are waiting the cheering message that should be borne by our educational evangelists. Let us take to heart the following exhortations regarding our educational work :
"Our work of education is ever to bear the impress of the heavenly, and thus reveal how far divine instruction excels the learning of the world."—"Counsels to Teachers," p. 56.
"The most important work of our educational institutions at this time is to set before the world an example that will honor God."—Id., p. 57.
"Our work is reformatory; and it is the purpose of God that through the excellence of the work done in our educational institutions, the attention of the people shall be called to the last great effort to save the perishing."—"Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 126.