Issues and Answers

Biblical Principles Of Christian Education

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Randy J. Siebold


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000426

00:02 You know, someone once said that our ideas of education take too
00:05 narrow a view and too low a range. There is need of a
00:10 broader scope, a higher aim. Please join us today as we talk
00:15 about the principles of Christian education
00:18 on Issues and Answers.
00:31 Music being played.
00:43 Hi, I'm Shelley Quinn and we are so glad that you could join us
00:47 and if you have children, grandchildren or are thinking
00:50 about having children, you want to watch this program. We are
00:54 going to be talking today about the principles of Christian
00:58 education. Returning to visit with us is Dr. Randy Siebold
01:02 who is the vice-president of education at the Weimar Center
01:06 for Health and Education. I almost got that out.
01:10 Randy we're so glad that you could come back.
01:14 Glad to be here, thank you very much.
01:15 You know, I'd like to just take a moment and just talk about you
01:20 personally because we have mentioned that you got your
01:23 doctoral degree and you did those doctoral studies in the
01:27 public school system. How many children do you and your wife
01:31 have? Just five. Just five! I was thinking you had four.
01:35 So you actually know a lot about education just from your
01:40 personal experiences with five children.
01:42 Yes, we've been blessed five times.
01:44 Praise the Lord. Now you moved out to California and part of
01:48 the family is there with you, you've got part in college and
01:52 high school. You've got them everywhere, haven't you?
01:55 What's your youngest? The youngest is seven, if you
01:58 asked him, seven-and-a-half and that's Freddie.
02:01 What interested you or why did you make the switch from public
02:07 education to Christian Education?
02:11 Well probably not so much a switch but what I had to do was
02:17 switch in my brain when they talked about it. When I pursued
02:20 my doctoral at Indiana University what I had a real
02:25 passion to do was understand education. I mean my children
02:30 were growing up, I had this deep need for understanding what
02:34 education was all about and the Lord led me into this program;
02:40 I'm real confident of that. This program greatly blessed me, but
02:45 I'll tell you what, going through this process of learning
02:51 about public education, the one thing I didn't want to do
02:57 was get off center with what was really good education. So I
03:03 ended up getting a hold of a book called Education, that just
03:08 the simple title of the book, Education, written by Ellen
03:12 White. When I got a hold of that book and read it through, this
03:15 was before I ever got into my doctoral work. In fact, it was
03:18 one of the things that made me really very interested in
03:22 education and about how we could do it better. I was absolutely
03:26 fascinated by it. So what I ended up doing was in my
03:29 doctoral work while I would research study, I would go back
03:33 and reread this book, sections of this book, to help keep me
03:37 centered on what good education was. Absolutely this book,
03:42 Education, is by far the best book that I've ever read on
03:46 Christian education and arguably education in general. Just
03:51 phenomenal. I had noticed you carry your
03:54 book with you wherever you go and that it is something that is
03:58 well marked, underlined, highlighted, you name it.
04:01 It's abused and loved.
04:03 It's abused and loved. You once told me that if you were going
04:06 to write a book on education this is the way you would begin
04:11 it and it is a quote from E.G. White in this book.
04:15 Well, think about this. Here Ellen White, she's going to
04:18 write this book on education and the book was published in
04:21 1903; so imaging writing a book on education. How do you start
04:27 it out? What is it that you really want the reader to
04:32 understand, to set the stage for reading the rest of the book?
04:37 So we're going to cut to a slide here and take a look at this
04:41 first sentence. Here's how she starts it.
04:44 Our ideas of education take too narrow a view and too low a
04:48 range. We're too narrow, too low.
04:53 That's our educational view. She continues here. This is
04:57 amazing. This first paragraph is just packed with educational
05:00 principles. There is need of a broader
05:02 scope, a higher aim. True education means more than a
05:06 perusal of a certain course of study. It means more than a
05:09 preparation for the life that now is.
05:11 So what she's done here is she's given this context. It's
05:17 not just this little box that we think it is. Go back to that
05:21 first sentence. Our ideas of education take too narrow and
05:25 too low range. Okay?
05:27 So what are the principles that she advocates. How does she see
05:33 the goal of a Christian education?
05:38 Okay. If you can't read the book Education at least read the
05:45 first four chapters. That chapter set is called First
05:52 Principles. Okay, so you read the first four chapters.
05:55 Wonderful overview of education. If you don't have time for that,
06:01 at least read the first chapter, okay. Because the whole chapter
06:06 is good. If you don't have time for that, at least read the
06:12 first paragraph. So, let's finish the last paragraph here
06:16 and in just a few sentences, she's going to give you some of
06:21 the main things that I picked up in my doctoral program. It was
06:24 absolutely amazing. We'll cover these points here. Take a look
06:28 at this. There are three major points that come out of this.
06:31 It has to do... and this is true education... with the whole
06:38 being and with the whole period of existence possible to man.
06:42 So now we have whole being; that's holistic education and
06:45 she's now talking about life long learning; the whole period
06:48 of existence, not just for school... It's the harmonious
06:51 development of the physical, the mental and the spiritual
06:55 powers... Now again she's going back to whole being but she's
06:58 saying it's the harmonious development of these things,
07:01 not putting things into components and separating them.
07:06 All right comes the last sentence here...
07:08 It prepares the student
07:10 for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of
07:14 wider service in the world to come. p. 13.
07:18 So then she's saying that education should be holistic
07:22 coving all aspects of the personality and the mind, that
07:27 it should be lifelong and then service-oriented rather than
07:33 self-oriented. And I just think it's an
07:37 absolutely stunning paragraph, because what it does is it
07:42 takes the common misbeliefs, points them out and then hits
07:47 three of the most critical principles of what it means
07:52 to have a biblical education, of what God has told us
07:56 what education needs to be about. It's holistic, not just
08:01 mind and not just memory, but the whole mind and the body
08:06 and the spirit, the whole person. So, in fact, if you just
08:12 do spiritual training, you're not doing true education, right?
08:17 So it has to be all three of these: the mind, the body and
08:21 the spirit. Now are there biblical examples
08:24 of this? There are very good biblical
08:26 examples if we take a look. In this same book if you want
08:34 a biblical understanding of education, get the book
08:41 Education. I don't want to keep saying this over and over, but
08:45 I'll probably say it more. I don't want to be a broken record
08:49 You're enamored with this book I understand, but let me
08:51 interrupt you for just a moment so that I can tell our viewers
08:55 that if this is already causing an epiphany in your mind and
08:59 the light bulbs are going on, the way you can get a copy of
09:02 the book simply entitled Education by E.G. White
09:08 is you can go to the and
09:13 order a copy through that. I know 3ABN doesn't carry the book
09:17 and Randy, you're not selling the book; you're just selling
09:21 the principles and holding them up saying these are truly
09:26 biblical principles that were extrapolated and then written
09:31 down into this book in a concise, nice way.
09:34 Well, when you find something that works, you don't reinvent
09:40 it. If you want to use this as a detailed Bible study, as a Bible
09:44 study guide for what good education is, I think that would
09:49 be a great way to go, just very, very good.
09:53 So then, let's go back to some of the biblical examples. I can
09:57 think of the school of the prophets.
09:58 Well what God started out with was the model example, the model
10:12 throughout all after time. This was the model school,
10:16 this was what school was supposed to be like and what
10:19 it is supposed to be like. We'll take a look at a quote here in
10:23 Chapter 2: This is in the first paragraph of chapter two.
10:27 Sometimes in circles we'll hear the blueprint, this ideal
10:31 education. Well this is what she says on Education, p. 20.
10:36 The garden of Eden was the schoolroom, nature was the
10:40 lesson book, the Creator himself was the instructor and the
10:46 parents of the human family were the students.
10:50 Any child that's watching right now is going, Yes, nature gets
10:55 to be my lesson book outside! But that certainly, the Lord...
11:00 This is an example, this a model school that was given by God.
11:05 Think about this. Adam and Eve were created in this perfection
11:10 and set in the perfect environment to be more and more
11:14 like Jesus, more and more like Christ their creator.
11:19 So I take away from that because idealistically we're not in the
11:24 garden of Eden and we're not all sitting at the feet of the Lord
11:29 or don't even know how to sit at the feet of the Lord to be
11:33 trained so taking away from that though is the idea that we can
11:38 now have godly instructors who are following biblical examples
11:42 to give you the holistic... I mean that's where you see
11:46 those three things. They were holistic. That teaching in the
11:49 garden of Eden, obviously he was training them for lifelong
11:53 service and intended them to be service oriented rather than
11:58 self oriented. Give me some more biblical examples because the
12:02 garden of Eden didn't last that long.
12:04 Yes that's right. Well coming out of there, there was not so
12:11 much a school, but if we think about the children of Israel
12:15 coming out of Egypt. Take a look at that group. Now here's a
12:18 ...The wilderness was a great school of education.
12:22 What a classroom. So then he raises up a sanctuary, this
12:27 tabernacle where he will dwell and then he sets this whole
12:33 learning object right in the middle of camp to show the
12:38 salvation process. I mean, there's a whole study in and
12:44 of itself, right? The sanctuary process and about all of those
12:49 things and his plan then was to put this in front so they would
12:54 questions. Why is that that way? Why is that? And when they
12:58 inquired, and you'll find this in scripture, when they inquired
13:02 that's when they were told. So it improves the inquisitive
13:10 nature, it facilitates it. If there's nothing there, you're
13:14 not asking questions. All of a sudden there's a pillar and well
13:18 why did we build that pillar there? Well this was to show
13:22 where God had led us and...
13:24 Okay, so I see what you're saying is that God's method is
13:28 that he put that inquisitiveness in us. We see it for little
13:33 children and that's the way they learn. But now the current
13:38 school model in most public schools smothers that
13:41 inquisitive intuitive way of learning.
13:45 Well and quite frankly every day struggle with that. Most
13:51 of the teachers I've met are deeply concerned about their
13:56 young people in their classrooms and they want them to learn.
14:02 Now that's not the deepest struggle, but the way we've
14:07 designed this system makes it very difficult to do that and so
14:12 they struggle between this content and developing the child
14:16 and the spiritual nature and covering the content and so they
14:21 struggle with these things. In God's methods is he put out this
14:26 tabernacle in that case. We have more cases. School of the
14:31 prophets, we can look there to find lessons for how our schools
14:35 should be run even today. We have the model of Jesus and his
14:41 school. Or Paul. Yes, Paul and his school, right. He admonishes
14:47 Timothy. We can take a peek at that, too. 2 Timothy chapter 3
14:54 and there are two verses here. We can start by taking a look
14:58 at 2 Timothy 3:15 and I'll read it here.
15:04 And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures which
15:11 are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is
15:15 in Christ Jesus. So here it is: The scriptures,
15:18 taught when he was a child.
15:20 Of course, in chapter 1, I think that is verse 5, it's talking
15:27 about it was his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice who
15:32 taught him. You know when he says that the scriptures build
15:37 wisdom; I went to church with a man who had like a third grade
15:42 education, could barely read, and when he'd just been
15:45 converted, I watched him over the next few years as he really
15:50 began to read the Bible and other Christian literature and I
15:54 saw this man develop, not only in his reading skills, but in
15:59 wisdom. He really developed godly wisdom and he ended up
16:02 being an elder of the church. It was amazing. So we see then
16:05 that the Bible is an essential component for learning.
16:11 Absolutely, absolutely and you know if we look at what God
16:17 is trying to tell us about what good education is I think it
16:20 would be helpful if we could spend a few minutes at what
16:25 are these essential components of a biblical education process.
16:32 Does that sound good? That sounds good.
16:33 All right so if we start by taking a look at this slide
16:38 here that shows this quote. Now this, again, comes from
16:42 this book education and check this out, check this out and
16:46 we're going to hit this one. The mind occupied with common
16:50 place matters only, becomes dwarfed and enfeebled...
16:55 As a safeguard against this degeneracy and a stimulus to
17:00 development nothing else can equal the study of God's word.
17:04 ...And listen how she ends this quote...
17:06 As a means of intellectual training the Bible is more
17:11 effective than any other book, or all other books combined.
17:15 To my point about this gentleman who had so little understanding
17:21 of life in itself and had very little reading skills and I
17:25 watched this man be transformed by the words of God, and so I'm
17:30 absolutely... He got the heavenly wisdom from above as
17:34 he developed his relationship with the Lord.
17:35 I believe it, I believe it and I've experienced it. I've
17:38 experienced it. I think anyone who knew me in high school or in
17:42 even my undergraduate degree would not have called me an
17:45 academician and the idea of getting a doctorate would have
17:50 been just sort of out or their mind. But as I had children and
17:55 grew and I was in construction for a while, I just opened up
18:00 and started reading and studying and the power of the
18:05 Bible is beyond comprehension to human understanding. Let's just
18:12 put it as it is. It's all God-breathed isn't it?
18:15 Think about this, think about this. You take God's design and
18:20 of course God has this ability to be separated from time, so
18:26 he sees where we're at right now he sees where he wants us to be
18:30 and then he goes back... I don't know how exactly he does it, but
18:34 just follow me for little bit... So he goes back in time and he
18:38 back and he talks with the prophets and says, Okay here's
18:41 what they need at this time. So they write that down, it
18:45 comes to us when we're right here wrestling with where we
18:48 need to be. He knows where he needs to point us, he knows
18:52 exactly what we need and he gives us that gift in scripture.
18:57 And it's something that... the way I say it is, This word is
19:01 inexhaustible. You can study the same chapter, the same chapter,
19:06 not just book, but you can study the same chapter over and over
19:10 again for a year and you're going to learn something new
19:12 every day from that because it's like you begin to develop the
19:16 spiritual discernment and if you have the Holy Spirit in you the
19:20 Holy Spirit is leading. The Lord doesn't ask us to learn it all
19:24 at once. It's so amazing to me how he leads us in baby steps
19:28 and, you know, we get the milk of the word first and then we
19:31 begin to get the solid food. I'm one of these underliners and
19:35 sometimes I underline and I can remember when I was first...
19:39 in one year I read through the New Testament 200 times.
19:43 I'd underline what was important and then I'd just start all over
19:46 and read it again. Then I'd come by the second time and think
19:49 Oh no, and I'd take a different colored pencil. This is what's
19:52 really the most important. The third time through - Oh no, this
19:55 is the most important message. How could I have missed it.
19:59 It is so amazing to me that no matter how often I'd studied
20:02 something God just keeps unfolding more and more.
20:06 So what happens... Think about this... So how does the Bible
20:13 become a center of education? I mean, we're thinking math and
20:18 science when we think education right? But remember at the
20:23 of the book Education our ideas are too low and too narrow.
20:30 I think the point that has come to me in my learning is that
20:37 God really has a deeper, much bigger picture for our
20:41 development that scripture is designed for. And actually
20:46 to look up this quote in it's context in the book Education,
20:51 you look up the quote and the amazing part about it is this
20:56 is talking about intellectual development. It's not talking
21:00 about spiritual development. The paragraph that follows that
21:03 quote talks about spiritual development and how the Bible
21:07 is good for spiritual development.
21:10 Really the Bible is an intellectual tool, it's an
21:13 intellectual development tool. Because it takes intellect more
21:18 and more to grow and to put pieces together. It's amazing.
21:23 It is amazing. So what are some of the other principles?
21:28 Okay, good point. Nature. Nature is the second textbook that's
21:33 been given to us by God. So you take a look at this first book,
21:38 scripture, the second book of God to his people is nature.
21:43 I just have to say something here because one of the most
21:47 amazing things about nature to me... We've always heard that no
21:50 two snowflakes are alike. I was studying on leaves. Did you know
21:53 there are no two leaves alike. When you think of all the
21:55 billions and billions and billions of leaves in the world
21:59 no two leaves are exactly alike. It amazes me how God is such
22:03 an artistic creator. And you see all the different birds and all
22:07 the different colors of flowers and nature is an incredible
22:12 study. It's an incredible textbook and
22:14 it's actually an incredible classroom and study, a great
22:19 textbook. And teachers know this too. Getting outside; there's
22:24 something about nature and what we've also found just through
22:29 our experience and some authors have agreed with this that going
22:34 out of doors helps to remove the focus that we have on fashion.
22:40 Sometimes we get too focused on fashion. Young people go, Oh I
22:43 have to look like this or I have to look... It's just sort of
22:47 this great equalizer of everyone and so nature just has so many
22:51 lessons that it can teach us. It's another incredible book
22:56 given to us by God for the, well I was going to say, for
23:00 the education of our children but for everyone; it's for
23:04 educating everyone. So we've good the Good Book,
23:06 we've got nature's book but certainly she was not against
23:10 your regular old textbook learning was she?
23:13 That's right. No, No. Absolutely that is, I think, a significant
23:18 part of the educational process. We may be tempted to swing too
23:22 far the other way where we get rid of the academic knowledge
23:27 and we just focus on the spiritual knowledge. And that
23:31 would be wrong. Exactly, that would be focusing on just one
23:35 and not the whole being again. So academic knowledge is a part
23:39 of that. All right. I know that I've
23:46 heard much about manual labor, that that's a good educational
23:48 process. Yes. Manual labor is something
23:53 that helps, again, the taxing of the mind that happens you know
23:57 when we get into study, and we can study scripture and study
24:02 scripture and be in nature. There's something about working
24:08 out the body in physical, manual useful labor. Now imagine
24:12 yourself running on a treadmill, which is sometimes all we can
24:16 do for exercise cause we need to exercise our bodies, but how
24:21 much better to work in a garden with your hands, planting and
24:25 pulling weeds and being active with the soil. You're learning
24:32 lessons, you're in fresh air. It's God design for manual labor
24:37 You know, I think manual labor helps develop those spacial
24:41 skills and various things. You know, you can talk in theory
24:45 from books or learn in theory, but you get out and actually
24:49 apply principles of engineering or physics or whatever or
24:53 chemistry. This is something that as you get out and actually
24:56 do, that's the application isn't it?
24:59 Yes. There's another quote that we don't have on the slides, but
25:02 she talks about that manual labor is needed also by
25:07 professional men. So an education derived chiefly from
25:13 books leads to what she calls superficial learning. That's the
25:18 same point you're talking about, getting back into the physical
25:23 hands on that has to be a part of it. Scripture doesn't talk
25:29 about sports, you understand what I'm saying? I mean, we
25:34 think that PE class, physical education, covers that one
25:39 component, but God's design is for useful, physical, manual
25:45 labor; a great equalizer.
25:46 So that kind of then ties into her final principle, I believe,
25:49 of health and body. That's something that is also part of
25:56 our learning experience of health, body and mind.
25:58 It's one of these great components, yes; making sure
26:01 that you are learning how to take care of your body, the
26:07 health, and health isn't even just of the body, it's also of
26:12 the mind. When we talk about EQ, you know, emotional intelligence
26:18 we touched on that in one of our earlier shows, the EQ is a way
26:24 of bringing health to the mind. The struggles that people go
26:29 through when someone offends them of not being able to go
26:35 to that person directly and to say, I'm sorry, I've done this,
26:40 I shouldn't have; that is so huge in the life and what it
26:45 means to be successful and be able to do that.
26:48 See, again, when you go back to the scripture I think if you
26:51 really want to develop a good EQ-emotional quotient-you find
26:55 those principles in scripture because this is something that
26:58 you learn how to deal with these things according to God's wisdom
27:03 and it's amazing how you start putting these principles into
27:06 practice and God begins to change you. You know, you've
27:09 heard all these things on personality study and people
27:12 will say, Well, I'm just choleric, I can't help myself,
27:15 or I'm sanguine, I can't help myself. and it always upsets me
27:20 to a point... If that's your thing, I'm not trying to paint
27:25 a bad light, but I do believe that God wants to recreate us
27:28 and even though we may be choleric by nature, that you're
27:32 a new creation in Christ Jesus in that he's not trying to make
27:36 us cookie cutter Christians, but that we will develop more of
27:39 the characteristics of Christ.
27:41 Fruits of the Spirit. When the Spirit dwells in you the fruit
27:44 of the Spirit will show.
27:46 I can't believe that our time has already gone, but I just
27:49 want to thank you so much for being here again today.
27:53 I'm very happy to be here.
27:54 I am going to plug your book one more time and that is
27:58 actually by E.G. White. The book is Education. You can get
28:02 it at Thank you so much for joining
28:07 us today. I hope you were blessed


Revised 2014-12-17