General Statement of Seventh-day Adventist
The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes that God, the Creator and Sustainer of the earth and the entire universe, is the source of knowledge and wisdom. In His Image God created man perfect. As a result of sin, man lost his original estate. Christian education, by perfecting faith in Christ attempts to restore in man the image of his Maker, nurture in man an intelligent dedication to the work of God on earth, and develop in man a practical preparation for conscientious service to his fellow men.
Seventh-day Adventist's believe that knowledge of this personal God can never be derived by human reason alone, but that God has communicated His nature, purposes, and plans through divine revelation. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God and contain a revelation of His will to men, and they constitute for the church the only unerring rule of faith and practice. The church membership accepts the gift of prophecy as manifested through special revelation to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the life and ministry of Ellen G White. In this respect Seventh-day Adventist's accept divine revelation as the guiding principle in their philosophy of education. They believe their SDA teachers are servants of God and the students, children of God.
The church operates a school system to ensure that its youth may receive a balanced physical, mental, moral, social, and vocational education in harmony with denominational standards and ideals which identify God as the source of all moral value and truth. His revealed mind and will are the criteria for right and wrong. The stated interest of the church is in the optimum development of the whole person for both this life and the life hereafter.
Seventh-day Adventist's operate schools, kindergarten through graduate education, for the purpose of transmitting to students children and constituencies their own ideals, beliefs, attitudes, values, habits, and divinely imparted customs. Most governments maintain a highly developed public school systems for making citizens; but in addition to being patriotic, law-abiding citizens, SDA's want students to be loyal, conscientious Christians. There is peculiar to the church a body of knowledge, values, and ideals that must be transmitted to each generation in order that the church may continue to exist. In this process the biblical principle of social transmission is recognized: "Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." (Joel 1:3)
A true knowledge of God, fellowship and companionship with Him in study and service, likeness to Him in character development, are the source, the means, and the aim of SDA education.
The educational program of the church gives primary emphasis to character building and to the development of the spiritual foundation of the life of its children and youth. Moreover, it makes abundant provision for the acquisition and interpretation of that which is appropriate from the store of secular knowledge, skills for spiritual, mental, social, vocational, and physical development.
Recognizing that all mankind are children of God, the Seventh-day Adventist schools admit students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. They do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration or their educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan policies, and other school-administered programs.
Mission Statement of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division Department of Education
The church educational program gives primary emphasis to the development of the spiritual foundations in the lives of its students. Moreover, it makes abundant provision for the acquisition and interpretation of that which is appropriate from the store of common secular knowledge.
The SDA Church desires to help prepare the students through its educational program for effective citizenship on this earth and for rewarding citizenship in the New Earth.
Distinctive Features of Seventh-day Adventist Education
SDA education is a unique system with distinctive features. These features should be studied prayerfully and carefully to understand properly how to implement them in SDA schools today. Their incorporation into the school program should be hastened that God may bountifully bless the administration, staff, and students with unprecedented spiritual and educational progress.
While many of these features have been included in SDA schools, others are not readily apparent.
The following is a partial list of unique features of SDA education:
1. Recognition and welcome will be given to the Holy Spirit in each classroom and assembly. CT 363-368.
2. Students will be taught their relationship with God through learning:
a. How to pray
b. How to approach their Creator
c. How to exercise faith in Him
d. How to understand and obey the teachings of His Spirit. CT 594.
3. The fruits of the Spirit will be manifested in the students by evidence of honesty, kindness, courtesy, obedience, and respect. 6T 174.
4. The curriculum will reflect divine structure by giving emphasis to courses in
a. Denominational literature, Biblical literature, and sacred poetry. PP 593.
b. Missionary geography. Ed 269.
c. History with a divine interpretation. Ed 173-184.
d. Study in agricultural and vocational lines.
e. The study of the function, dietary needs, mental attitudes, and care of the body as the temple of God. Ed 195-206.
f. Creationism and geology. Ed 128, 129.
g. The study of nature as the second book of God. Ed 119, 120.
5. The scholastic program will be designed to challenge the individual to develop his potential and avoid competition and rivalry between individuals. CT 270; Ed 226; FE 288.
6. Emphasis will be given in the educational program to meet the final events of the impending conflict by preparing the students
a. To witness in legislative halls, before rulers, councils and kings. Ed. 262.
b. To relate themselves properly to Sunday legislation and consequent problems. CT 551.
c. To survive in the wilderness. GC 626
d. To understand the qualifications for being a recipient of the latter rain. EW 71, 271.
e. To face resolutely spurious movements and spiritism. Ed 227, 228; GC 558, 559, TM 61.
7. Because the Sabbath will become a special identifying mark of God's people in the last days, special emphasis will be given to proper Sabbath observance. Ed 250-252.
8. Since Christian service links us to Christ and is the light of the Christian life, students will participate in ministry to the spiritual needs of fellow students and community. CT 546.
9. The social life will fit the students for membership in the society of heaven by
a. Freeing the entire school life, including the recreational program, from unwholesome competition.
b. Planning well-supervised group association with de-emphasis on personal boy-girl relationships. CT 88,100; FE 62.
c. Encouraging dress and personal grooming that will encourage the companionship of angels. CT 302, 303.
10. Music will be used to uplift the thoughts to high and noble themes and to inspire and elevate the soul. Ed 167.
11. A recognition of God's ownership and man's ownership will be developed among students by a training adapted to eliminate all narrowing selfishness and to cultivate breadth and nobility of character through a systematic giving of tithes and offerings. Ed 44.
12. The true dignity of labor will be taught through teacher-student participation in a daily work program. CT 211, 289; 6T 179.
13. Schools, whenever possible, will be located in areas that provide freedom from residential or commercial congestion and afford a natural setting conducive to inspiring a better relationship among the students and between a student and his God. 6T 137; FE 320.
14. The cleanliness and beauty of the campus and buildings will attract the angels and point the students to the beauty and order of heaven. 6T 170.
15. All social gatherings, all school programs, and all student publications will reflect themes that are sensible, sober, and ennobling. CT 543.
16. Students shall be taught the language of heaven. CT 548; FE 811.
17. In response to Paul's admonition to "study to show thyself approved unto God," there will be groups and individuals voluntarily found in prayer and study of God's Word and the Spirit of Prophecy that students may fortify themselves for the days of crisis which are upon us.
The foregoing list only identifies certain key areas of educational practice. The listed references are but samples of the buried treasure that await diligent study.
Implementation of these principles will bring great blessings in restoring Christian education to its rightful position before the world. Students enjoying an experience in this setting will not find themselves strangers in the School of the Hereafter.