What's the Difference? Our Personal Response
My wife, Sue, was not raised in an Adventist home; but as a young girl her mother did on occasion take her to the local Adventist church. It was enough to whet her spiritual appetite.
The fall after she was baptized she begged her father to allow her to go to the little 10-grade Adventist school. "Four grades in one room—five students in one class?" he mused.
But after what I sincerely believe was the prompting of the Holy Spirit, he consented, and Sue began experiencing Adventist education—secular background, preconceived ideas and all.
She still remembers her teacher kindly and patiently telling her it would probably be better if she didn't bring all her movie star magazines to school.
Another shock for her was the realization that all these Adventist kids weren't ready for translation. There was a "missionary or two," but most were definitely "mission projects." And she never forgot that fact even years later as a successful elementary teacher.
Notwithstanding the imperfection of that little Adventist school, the students who attended or the teacher who taught, it made for a life-changing, life-guiding experience.
The Research Indicates
George Barna, the highly respected national survey authority, says, "A person's moral foundation is generally in place by the time they reach 9 years old." He goes on, "A majority of Americans make a lasting determination about the personal significance of Christ's death and resurrection by age 12… In essence, what you believe by the time you are 13 is what you will die believing."
And finally, according to Barna, "78 percent of decisions made for Christ are made between the ages of 10 and 17." 1
And, of course, for our young people it is still a known fact that a huge bonus of Adventist education is many find their life companions on the campus of one of our colleges or universities.
So, as parents, Sue and I decided we couldn't afford not to offset the impact of a sick, secular and seductive society with the influence of Adventist education, despite any foibles it might have.
Three Distinct Choices
I like to challenge educators with this thought. There is education. There is Christian education. There is Adventist Christian education. What is the difference? Let me challenge you by saying if you want a good education for your children or the children of your church, send them to a good public school. If you want them to receive a good Christian education, then send them to the Christian school across town. If you want them to get a good Adventist education with a distinctive Adventist world view and make Adventist friends for life, then the choice is simple.
Adventist Christian education, without question, does make an eternal difference.
1 Barna Update, Nov. 17, 2003 (www.barna.org)