Seventh-day Adventist leaders from around the world will be going back to school for two days during a LEAD conference held in conjunction with Annual Council, the church’s yearly fall business session in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Their “textbook” will be the latest book from Andrews University Press, the church’s primary academic publishing house.
The theme for the meetings is “Educating for Eternity,” which is the title of a new book by George R. Knight just released by Andrews.
Knight will be the featured presenter of the meetings next week. Each of the 500 attendees at the conference will each receive a copy of Educating for Eternity: A Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Education and be assigned to read selected chapters in preparation for Knight’s lectures.
“Seventh-day Adventist education deserves to exist only when it is both Christian and Adventist,” said Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, education director of the world church and coordinator for this year’s LEAD conference. “Knight’s book is brisk, clear, and engaging. It brings the reader directly to the point of each issue discussed.”
The book’s eight short chapters cover foundational philosophical issues and then address such topics as “The Nature of the Student and the Reason for Adventist Education,” “Qualifications of the Adventist Teacher,” “Christianity and the Radical Reorientation of the Curriculum,” and “Adventist Education’s Conservative and Revolutionary Roles.”
Knight taught philosophy of education and church history at Andrews University in Michigan for 30 years. He has authored and edited almost 90 books. Now retired in Oregon, he is a widely sought speaker on many subjects at the core of Adventist identity. He began his writing career through Andrews University Press and was later director of the enterprise himself, said Ronald Knott, director of Andrews University Press.
“His very first book, in 1977, was about educational philosophy, and it was a best seller for us and is still in print after many printings, and its fourth edition,” Knott said. “Now, nearly 40 years later, after his long writing career with other publishers in church history and theology, we’re delighted Dr. Knight has returned to his original theme with Educating for Eternity. This book brings together his life-long reflection on what it really means to be Adventist when we think about education. It is a bracing, inspiring, and invigorating reminder of what serious Adventists must demand from their schools, and from their educators.”
Knott said he has particularly appreciated the coincidence that Knight’s clear call for distinct Adventist identity in education is produced by a publishing house located in Sutherland House, the original home on the Andrews campus of Edward A. Sutherland, widely recognized as the most influential Adventist educational reformer in the church after Ellen G. White.
Adventists have understood that education in church schools is the institutional engine that drives expansion of the movement around the world. The church operates more than 7,800 schools, found in almost every country, from the elementary level through doctoral degree-granting universities, making it the largest Protestant educational system in the world.
Knight’s book is a “must-read for every school board member, teacher, administrator, and pastor,” said Larry Blackmer, vice president of education for the North American Division. “Knight states candidly and pointedly that any Adventist school, teacher, or curriculum that is not distinctly Adventist is a redundancy unneeded in today’s landscape.”
Blackmer has arranged for Knight’s book to be sent to about 1,000 school principals or lead teachers across North America. He also wants to see it read by school board members and pastors.
Education for Eternity: A Philosophy of Seventh-day Adventist Education is available now from Adventist Book Centers, from the major on-line book retailers, and for large bulk distribution directly from Andrews University Press. The Press publishes academic and professional books that make important contributions in their respective disciplines and to the mission and purpose of Andrews University.