There is danger that our college will be turned away from its original design. God's purpose has been made known, that our people should have an opportunity to study the sciences and at the same time to learn the requirements of His word. Biblical lectures should be given; the study of the Scriptures should have the first place in our system of education.
Students are sent from a great distance to attend the college at Battle Creek for the very purpose of receiving instruction from the lectures on Bible subjects. But for one or two years past there has been an effort to mold our school after other colleges. When this is done, we can give no encouragement to parents to send their children to Battle Creek College. . . .
No other study will so ennoble every thought, feeling, and aspiration as the study of the Scriptures. This Sacred Word is the will of God revealed to men. Here we may learn what God expects of the beings formed in His image. . . .
In God's word alone we find an authentic account of creation. Here we behold the power that laid the foundation of the earth and that stretched out the heavens. Here only can we find a history of our race, unsullied by human prejudice or human pride. . . .
Some may urge that if religious teaching is to be made prominent our school will become unpopular; that those who are not of our faith will not patronize the college. Very well, then, let them go to other colleges, where they will find a system of education that suits their taste. Our school was established, not merely to teach the sciences, but for the purpose of giving instruction in the great principles of God's word and in the practical duties of everyday life. . . .
This is the education so much needed at the present time. If a worldly influence is to bear sway in our school, then sell it out to worldlings and let them take the entire control; and those who have invested their means in that institution will establish another school, to be conducted, not upon the plan of popular schools, nor according to the desires of principal and teachers, but upon the plan which God has specified. . . . Our college stands today in a position that God does not approve (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 21-27, emphasis supplied).
These are excerpts from several pages of one testimony, but if one reads the larger context, I think it will be seen that this is a fair representation of Ellen White’s public messages and concerns regarding Battle Creek in 1881.
- Why do you think Mrs. White was willing to publicly criticize an Adventist educational institution?
- Do you think only a prophet should engage in this kind of public critique?
- If similar circumstances would exist today as those described by Ellen White, should the church and its leaders have any role in warning its members?
- If so, who should play that role, and how should they carry it out?