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Ellen White left a profound impact on the worldwide system of Christian education. Not only in her fresh emphasis on biblically based educational philosophy, but also in her personal involvement in the formation and development of schools on three continents.

Her understanding of the goal of Christian education is summarized in her signature book, Education: “To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized--this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life” (p. 15, 16).

She believed that this fundamental purpose of education, from the earliest years through graduate studies, was to encourage the full development of each student’s personal capabilities, that this “development of all our powers is the first duty we owe to God and to our fellow men” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 329). In other words, students were challenged “to reach to the highest point of intellectual greatness … if balanced by religious principles” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 48).

Further, Ellen especially emphasized the importance of joining intellectual pursuits with “a knowledge of some trade or occupation by which, if need be, he may earn a livelihood” (Education, p. 218).

She insisted on competent teachers who were able to bridge the gap between religion and theology, between experience in any field with classroom knowledge. In fact, the teacher’s personal habits were considered even higher than literary qualifications.

She urged a well-rounded education from the early grades. Physical labor and recreation were needed daily to balance off the mental exertion required in intensive book learning. Such a balanced emphasis fulfilled her educational pattern of a student’s harmonious development of mental, physical, and spiritual prowess.

In her appeal for intellectual greatness in becoming useful to God and their fellowmen, the student was encouraged not to be reflectors of others in developing their own personal convictions. They should grasp the great facts of duty and destiny and not be slaves to circumstances.

Ellen and James were also foremost in the establishment of religious colleges, academies, and elementary schools, frequently leading the way with their own funds or bank loans. In 1872, they led out in founding Battle Creek College, in Battle Creek, Michigan.

In 1882, Ellen was much involved with the establishment of Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, which today is one of this country’s finest liberal arts colleges. And perhaps her crowning achievement was her persistent leadership in the founding of the denomination’s medical/dental school in Loma Linda, California.

Bible school
Bible school
Bible school
Bible school

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