“And he [David] took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.” I Samuel 17:40
“Now, as never before, we need to understand the true science of education. If we fail to understand this, we shall never have a place in the kingdom of God. ‘This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent’ (John 17:3).” Christian Educator, August 1, 1897.
True Education is a series of articles on the true science of education. In March, 2015, we shared about God’s lesson books—nature, Scriptures, experiences of life, and useful work. In April, we covered the five main doctrines, lessons that we need to learn from the lesson books—the sanctuary, the Spirit of Prophecy, the seventh-day Sabbath, the state of the dead, and the second coming of Christ. These are the five smooth stones that we need in the conflict with the enemy.
In this article, I will share some of my personal experiences in education along with some related thoughts from Inspiration, with the hope and prayer that it may be helpful in your life.
My parents were practical, talented, hard working, and committed to each other and their family. We attended the Methodist church, but my dad made it plain that worldly success was his priority for us. He was not as spiritual as my mother. I was the second of five boys. We stayed very busy with all the different sports, working, attending public school, television, music, movies, and similar activities.
My dad believed that a high quality education in the public school system was the key to success. He had been raised on a farm, obtained a college education in engineering, married a beautiful lady from his class, obtained a stable, well-paying job, and was busy raising his five sons.
Until the age of five I was a happy healthy boy, greatly loved by my beautiful, stay-at-home mother. At that time I was put in school. Here are some of the reasons why this should not be done and why I had some of the problems that developed.
“Many children have been ruined for life by urging the intellect and neglecting to strengthen the physical powers. Many have died in childhood because of the course pursued by injudicious parents and schoolteachers in forcing their young intellects, by flattery or fear, when they were too young to see the inside of a schoolroom. Their minds have been taxed with lessons when they should not have been called out, but kept back until the physical constitution was strong enough to endure mental effort. Small children should be left as free as lambs to run out of doors, to be free and happy, and should be allowed the most favorable opportunities to lay the foundation for sound constitutions.
“Parents should be the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age. As fast as their minds can comprehend it, the parents should open before them God’s great book of nature. The mother should have less love for the artificial in her house and in the preparation of her dress for display, and should find time to cultivate, in herself and in her children, a love for the beautiful buds and opening flowers. By calling the attention of her children to their different colors and variety of forms, she can make them acquainted with God, Who made all the beautiful things which attract and delight them. She can lead their minds up to their Creator and awaken in their young hearts a love for their heavenly Father, Who has manifested so great love for them. Parents can associate God with all His created works. The only schoolroom for children from eight to ten years of age should be in the open air amid the opening flowers and nature’s beautiful scenery. And their only textbook should be the treasures of nature. These lessons, imprinted upon the minds of young children amid the pleasant, attractive scenes of nature, will not be soon forgotten.
“In order for children and youth to have health, cheerfulness, vivacity, and well-developed muscles and brains, they should be much in the open air and have well-regulated employment and amusement. Children and youth who are kept at school and confined to books, cannot have sound physical constitutions. The exercise of the brain in study, without corresponding physical exercise, has a tendency to attract the blood to the brain, and the circulation of the blood through the system becomes unbalanced. The brain has too much blood and the extremities too little. There should be rules regulating their studies to certain hours, and then a portion of their time should be spent in physical labor. And if their habits of eating, dressing, and sleeping are in accordance with physical law, they can obtain an education without sacrificing physical and mental health.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 137. [Emphasis added.]
Because of the lack of understanding and practice in these vital principles, my physical, mental, and moral health began to decline after age five. Along with the stress of school, my diet consisted of all kinds of flesh meats, too many sweets, caffeinated soft drinks, and many other unhealthful things. At about the age eight, I had two major head injuries that resulted in terrible migraine headaches, up to once or twice a week. Then, while working with my older brother delivering newspapers early in the morning, we began to smoke cigarettes when I was about age nine.
This was just the beginning of my woes. Once again, following in the footsteps of my older brother and friends, I began drinking alcohol at age 15.
Alonzo T. Jones wrote a book published in 1903 entitled The Place of the Bible in Education. This book is available on the Ellen White CD–ROM under “Words of the Adventist Pioneers.” In the first chapter he wrote about the three great educational centers in Christ’s time. The mother of them all was at Athens. He shares in this book about the origin and basics of the Greek style of education. Following is a summary:
“It is proper to inquire, What did Greek education accomplish for the Greeks, both directly and ultimately?
“It can never be denied that mentally Greek education carried the Greeks to the highest point that has ever been attained in this world in education that was only human. The Greek language was developed by the Greek mind to the point wherein it excelled all other human language in its capacity and facility of expressing nice distinctions of thought. Of this it has been well said that ‘It traces with ease distinctions so subtle as to be lost in every other language. It draws lines where all other instruments of the reason only make blots.
“In art, whether in sculpture or in architecture, the Greek education developed a standard that has never in the world been equaled. In physical culture, the development of the human form, also, Greek education attained the highest point that has ever been reached by any nation.
“All this, Greek education undeniably did for the Greeks. But what did it do for them morally? Mental attainments that developed the fullest of all human languages, the most consummate skill in art, and the completest symmetry of the human form—what did these attainments develop as to character? Everybody knows that the results in this respect could not be truly set down in this book, without endangering its seizure by the police; and making the author liable to prosecution for circulating obscene literature.” The Place of the Bible in Education, 49. [Emphasis added.]
If this is the reality of a Greek style of education, does it change the results just to add the words “Christian” or “Seventh-day Adventist” to the school name, or to include a Bible class in the curriculum?
The following statement will shed light on this vital question:
“None are further from the kingdom of heaven than self-righteous formalists, filled with pride at their own attainments, while they are wholly destitute of the spirit of Christ; while envy, jealousy, or love of praise and popularity controls them. They belong to the same class that John addressed as a generation of vipers, children of the wicked one. Such persons are among us, unseen, unsuspected. They serve the cause of Satan more effectively than the vilest profligate; for the latter does not disguise his true character; he appears what he is.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 226.
I attended college at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where I had a front-row seat in a school described by Brother Jones. There, I made progress in the so-called “higher education,” where we got “higher” on drugs and the corresponding lifestyle than anything else. It was widespread on campus.
During my junior year I met the young lady of my dreams and we married the next summer. We were very immature and it was the last thing in the world that we needed at that time. This added to my long list of challenges.
We graduated the next year with majors in fine arts. She was an art teacher and I was a free-lance photographer. We lived in a log cabin on the coast of Lake Huron. Outwardly, we were a picture of success, but inwardly, in reality, we were both a real mess and many things were getting worse.
After all I had been through, my health was rapidly declining. My lungs hurt constantly from smoking different things that I could not give up; my lymph nodes were swollen; I had many headaches and other physical problems as well. My mental and moral condition were no better. I was greatly confused because of the bad habits and false education, along with the guilt from all my bad choices. The only solution that I knew was to try to numb the pain with all the tools that I could find, which only made it worse.
Then, one day while standing in front of our garage, a profound thought came into my mind—“There must be something better in life than all this.” I determined to shake off the fetters that bound me and find the answer. I am not recommending what I did next, but these are the facts.
I told my wife that I was leaving to find the “something better in life” that had come into my mind. I set a date, put my affairs in order and took off. I didn’t divorce my wife; I just separated for the time being.
That was in Alpena, Michigan. A few months later I ended up in North Miami Beach, Florida. While there, my car broke down, I ran out of money, and my so-called friends would have nothing to do with me. The only thing I had left was a phone number, given to me by my mother for a minister from a church that they attended before I was born.
I called him, and he came, picked me up and took me to his home. He gave me a good example of ministry. He didn’t preach to me, but rather asked questions, let me share my thoughts, became my friend, and helped me with my needs. I stayed there until I had found a job at a professional photography studio and a place to live. But my addictions were still there, along with my sick body.
This was a time when darkrooms, enlargers, and different techniques for making high quality professional photographs were used. I worked in a darkroom by myself. It was a fitting scene for that time in my life, as a close friend who was about twenty-two years old had just been diagnosed with cancer. She took the standard chemo and radiation treatments, lost her hair, and shortly thereafter was buried. Her lifestyle, for many years, was similar to mine, and I feared the same consequences.
The Lord knew that I needed to be totally separated from the influence of all my family and friends so that He could get my attention.
Then one day, as usual, I was thinking that I had cancer and would soon be dead like my friend. Until then, whenever anyone tried to share Jesus with me, I refused to listen. When God’s spirit was reproving me of sin I would always make excuses and try to justify myself. But that day was different. When God’s still small voice spoke to my mind, I simply agreed with Him that I was wrong and that He was right. There were no more excuses, no more attempts at justifying myself. I admitted that I really deserved to die. As soon as I agreed with that conviction, I realized that I deserved to be hung up on a cross. But in my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus there, dying in my place. I knew that I was forgiven through His great sacrifice, and experienced a tremendous relief from the burden of guilt and pain that I had carried for so many years. I was so thankful that I told the Lord that I was finished serving Satan and wanted to live for Him. I freely confessed my bad choices and the pain that I had caused Him and other people. New thoughts began coming into my mind. Before this, there was darkness, condemnation, guilt and confusion. Now I had hope, forgiveness, light, truth, and answers to many questions. I was beginning to see in the light of the cross.
Then I understood what the “something better” was that the Lord had put in my mind about six months before, and it was time to return to Michigan and share the good news with my wife—the solution for a better life. So I put things in order in Florida and headed north.
When I neared home, I called and invited her to take a walk on the beach. After visiting for a time, I shared my experience with the Lord and apologized for the grief and pain that I had caused in her life. I told her of my commitment to live a better life and asked her to join me. She said that she would think about it, and let me know the next morning.
When I returned, she told me the sad news—she wanted a divorce.
Some aspects of “something better” are not what we would naturally choose, but we can trust the Lord with the results as we follow Him. It was time to pick up the pieces and move on.
I decided to go to Raleigh, North Carolina, where my parents lived at that time. Since they attended the Methodist Church, I joined them there. I also worked in commercial photography for a time, but had too many conflicts with my conscience in that field. Since I always enjoyed building things, and I loved Jesus so much, I decided to go to work as a carpenter’s helper as a new start in life.
Eventually, I became dissatisfied with the level of commitment to Bible principles in the Methodist church. I enjoyed the fellowship, teaching a Sunday school class and participating in the youth group, but two topics—baptism and the law of God—especially troubled my mind. I was also convicted that I needed to work with Christians in my occupation.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” II Corinthians 6:14.
So I began praying earnestly about those things. One evening, there was an ad in the newspaper for a “conscientious carpenter.” I called the number, and to my knowledge, it was the first Seventh-day Adventist that I had ever spoken to. I was hired and began working with these young Adventists at age twenty-six.
Because we were behind schedule, the foreman asked if I could work on Sunday. I replied that I didn’t work on Sunday because it was the Lord’s Day. After a time, I asked him about working on Saturday. He said that he couldn’t do that. I asked, “Why not?” He replied, “It’s the Lord’s Day.” That gave me some homework to do.
For the next five months I went back and forth between the two groups, searching for answers from the Bible. That fall, after attending part of an evangelistic campaign, I decided to be baptized and join the Seventh-day Adventist church. That was over thirty-eight years ago.
One of my greatest challenges has been how to understand and relate to the Seventh-day Adventist leadership who have had such great light and privileges, and yet believe and live as they do. Studying the history of the church from 1844 onward has helped tremendously and the Lord continues to provide the answers. Following are a few of them.
“Satan is … constantly pressing in the spurious—to lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’ (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 48.
One of Satan’s most effective ways of unsettling God’s remnant people in the true testimony is to divorce mercy from truth and justice.
“God’s love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan’s purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God’s law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God’s plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other’ (Psalm 85:10).
“By His life and His death, Christ proved that God’s justice did not destroy His mercy, but that sin could be forgiven, and that the law is righteous, and can be perfectly obeyed. Satan’s charges were refuted. God had given man unmistakable evidence of His love.” The Desire of Ages, 762.
“Satan deceives many with the plausible theory that God’s love for His people is so great that He will excuse sin in them; he represents that while the threatenings of God’s word are to serve a certain purpose in His moral government, they are never to be literally fulfilled. But in all His dealings with his creatures God has maintained the principles of righteousness by revealing sin in its true character—by demonstrating that its sure result is misery and death. The unconditional pardon of sin never has been, and never will be. Such pardon would show the abandonment of the principles of righteousness, which are the very foundation of the government of God. It would fill the unfallen universe with consternation. God has faithfully pointed out the results of sin, and if these warnings were not true, how could we be sure that His promises would be fulfilled? That so-called benevolence which would set aside justice is not benevolence but weakness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 522.
For an excellent coverage of this vital topic, I recommend the book, What Wondrous Love, by David H. Thiele, TEACH Services, Inc. (April 2, 2014).
One of the best descriptions of the church today is found in The Great Controversy.
“When God sends to men warnings so important that they are represented as proclaimed by holy angels flying in the midst of heaven, He requires every person endowed with reasoning powers to heed the message. The fearful judgments denounced against the worship of the beast and his image (Revelation 14:9-11), should lead all to a diligent study of the prophecies to learn what the mark of the beast is, and how they are to avoid receiving it. But the masses of the people turn away their ears from hearing the truth and are turned unto fables. The apostle Paul declared, looking down to the last days: ‘The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine’ (11 Timothy 4:3). That time has fully come. The multitudes do not want Bible truth, because it interferes with the desires of the sinful, world-loving heart; and Satan supplies the deceptions which they love.
“But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support.
“Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to man in the place of God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to professors of theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to learn their duty for themselves. Then, by controlling the minds of these leaders, he can influence the multitudes according to his will.” The Great Controversy, 594, 595. [Emphasis added.]
May the Lord help each one of us to be found on His side of the controversy.
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6, 7.
Lynn Alan Humes became a Christian in 1974 at 24 years of age, and a Seventh-day Adventist two years later. Since then he has worked in many parts of the United States, doing canvassing, restaurant work, teaching, preaching, writing, building, agriculture, and whatever needs to be done. He and his wife, Lorraine (Butler) Humes, care for her father, Dr. Maurice Butler, and are involved with many aspects of Gospel Medical Missionary work, building and agriculture in rural Tennessee. He may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.