It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.
First and constant aim of Christian education. Thus, for Christian teachers on whatever level, their “first effort and … constant aim” should be (1) to aid “the student in comprehending these principles,” and (2) to enter “into that relation with Christ which will make [these principles] a controlling power in the life.”17 Ellen White reiterated often that the “all-important thing” in education “should be the conversion” of students.18 “It is upon the foundation of the new birth experience that Christian education can proceed with its other aims and purposes. If it fails at the foundational and primary point, it has failed entirely.”
“Fatal errors” of prevailing educational philosophies focus either on intellectual attainment, temporal success, or even correct behavior, hoping to “develop the good that exists in man by nature.”14 Ellen White drove past these flattering, self-serving purposes of education with the simple clarity that “redemption … is the object of education.”
The similarity between Ellen White’s educational reform message and that of a few, clear voices of her time rests on the obvious fact that all those involved in educational reform were contending with the same problems: classic curricula rather than a more practical education; poorly ventilated, poorly lighted classrooms; direct relationship between manual training/exercise with mental vigor, even spiritual values; and education as an important factor in character development. Especially when Bible-oriented reformers attempted educational reform, one would expect general agreement on principles and practice. Ellen White understood this when in her bookEducation she wrote this remarkable summation of educational principles: “We can trace the line of the world’s teachers as far back as human records extend; but the Light was before them. As the moon and the stars of our solar system shine by the reflected light of the sun, so, as far as their teaching is true, do the world’s great thinkers reflect the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Every gleam of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world.”