Fixing Adventist Education: A Student’s Perspective

Adventist higher education may be in trouble. The sentiment that our colleges and universities are in dire straits is ubiquitous throughout campus life. For the two years I’ve attended Walla Walla University, rumors about other campuses closing, disdain for aspects of campus life, and a general notion of arrested development for Adventist higher education have been a constant recurrence. 

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Right on target. As is mentioned here, and as I have said before (Fixing Adventist Schools…) Adventist schools are meant to cocoon Adventist children. This works well for parents who are constantly in fear of loosing their kids. It’s a safety net meant for church retention. It actually works well for the elementary and middle school age group, but it starts falling apart in high school (or before) and certainly in college.

If parents have done their jobs well, and if school and church do their jobs, by the time it’s time to choose a “life path” we need to trust our kids. High school and college need to be based on scholarship and drop the role of being an Adventist advertisement for the conservative Adventist establishment; and concentrate on getting young Adventist ready to live and serve in the real world.


Now Adventist education is one of a number of choices available to students. Decades ago in the SDA community in which I was raised it was commonly thought to be the only reasonable choice.


How about asking and diving deeper into why the “interest” is shrinking from within the church? And if it is shrinking within the church, what on earth makes anyone think that many outside of it would find interest inside of it? Especially at a time when Christianity is declining in popularity in the U.S.?

Separately, Adventist higher education (HE) is and never was meant to be at or near the forefront of being popular. Adventist HE is merely meant to be different just as we are called to stand apart. If one wants a top, nationally-ranked school (by whose standard by the way?) then go and attend a “top, nationally ranked school.” In addition, let’s remember that as Christians we will become less and less popular as time passes (Matthew 24:9-10). If this is seen as bad, it will only get worse.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly important for Adventist HE’s to do as much as possible to reach as many as possible both in and out of the church. But let’s not get it twisted and remember what the intention of what Adventist HE’s are supposed to be. Different. Not popular. Different.

Maybe SDA HS and colleges should focus on “cultic deprogramming” with an emphasis on dispassionate, comparative religion and real-world, scientific alternatives to YEC and creationism?!?!

In a fair and honest world, this education probably should be offered free of charge as a penance for having done the opposite for the child’s previous and most formative years?!?!

(I know. I’m not asking much, right?)



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