Man’s ideas of education are not to be exalted. Greater heights than these are to be kept before God’s people. The Lord is waiting to bestow His Holy Spirit upon all who will hunger and thirst after righteousness. The inclination that is manifested by those who claim to be educators, to exalt and extol learned men, is foolishness in the sight of God. Paul declares, “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent . . . the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. . . .”
Again the Lord says, “. . . Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight. . . .”
Why does the Lord speak so plainly on this matter? It is because so many of the men who are exalted before the people are disloyal to Him, and therefore those who are exalting them are dishonoring their Creator. The men who use their time and talents in this work, while they claim to be working for the word and cause of God, show that they need to learn of the great Teacher, for as educators they must have the spirit of the Master of education. . . .
How important it is that the men to whom students look for instruction shall diligently search the Scriptures, that they may know the way, the truth, and the life. In the sixth chapter of John there is instruction of great importance to those who would be teachers. Let it be carefully studied by our teachers, that they may be able to give their students meat in due season. “It is written in the prophets,” said Christ, “And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. . . . I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
If these words were studied and clearly understood, they would bring joy and light, but there are some who will never see their beauty or importance. “The words that I speak unto you,” said Jesus, “they are spirit, and they are life.” Perfect excellence is found only in the word of the living God. Educators of the youth may freely feed upon this with safety, but they should know that there is danger in feeding upon other books, though there may be many excellent things in them. . . .
To those who make the Word of God their study book, some will say, You are too narrow in your ideas. You would have us separate so completely from the world that we can do it no good. This is a mistake. The evil feared will not be realized: but God would have His people distinguished from the world in all things, or they will become confused, as were the disciples who turned back and walked no more with Christ.”
This selection was taken from a letter written to the editors of both the Christian Educator and The Youth's Instructor: Letter 85, 1899. It was later published in Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 118-122. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This article was published July 26, 2012.