Thoughts on Adventist Higher Education: The Sacred/Secular Problem — Part 2

The following graphic is what many people envision when we talk about reaching the “whole person.” It is also how we often conceptualize the term “holistic.” The spiritual dimension is portrayed as one element of a person’s life among others. The problem is that this concept is unbiblical.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Great article! It reminds me of an assignment my daughter had in one of her science classes at La Sierra. She was asked what biblical principle she associated with the topic.
If our schools can’t integrate religion into the subject matter and leave students thinking that religion is a useless appendage, then we will continue to have a difficult time justifying their existence.
People who buy into the secular/sacred dichotomy would be satisfied with Adventist clubs at “good” schools. They are likely to view our expenditures on Adventist education as a waste of resources.

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Thanks, Kim.
In my career experiences in Adventist higher education, most institutional administrators, faculty, and staff agree with your perspective and see all aspects of educational life in a spiritual context, from classroom to job to church to residence halls and beyond. But at the level of boards and church administration, there is a perception sometimes that only people with a theology/religion degree can teach about spiritual things.

Frequently, I am amazed at how thoroughly former colleagues and current friends integrate their biblical worldview with their subject matter and how well they understand, not just their own subject matter, but the breadth of human existence and thought in relation to God’s work for and in us. It’s not just faculty; it’s work supervisors and staff in every office. No, none of us are perfect. But we chose this calling and view it as an offering to the God who blessed us with these skills and provided for our needs.


What is the solution?
Close down the schools, close down the churches and have you start a new movement since you have a deeper revelation and understanding of the Bible?
A movement without organization, without structure or leaders since, according to you, all of us are everything, actually your article is not better or of any consideration then anyone else, we are all disciples.
The question is: whose disciples?
I am perplexed and in disbelieve of what you are presenting.
What I believe will help, is to remove all the unconsecrated leadership from everywhere within our denomination and go back to the simple fundamental teaching of Christ, to the word of God according to the Bible not to anyone’s interpretation, not to conform His word to any political agenda, movement, inclusiveness or whatever its being done to fit into the trend of this world. The Bible and Bible only, let God interpret His word, His word is simple and clear enough that the learned and the unlearned can understand it!

No interpretation? What does this mean? Does this mean everything is literal? If so, then it’s the snake handlers who are the true followers of Jesus, not SDAs (Mark 16:17–20 and Luke 10:19). It means there are people today on earth who are 2,050 years old (Matt 16:28). Or it means Jesus already came a second time some 1,950 years ago (Matt 24:34). It also means that the SDA food rules are not biblical (Acts 10, Col 2:16).

It is so simple and clear enough that there are thousands of denominations, all of whom understand it differently, and within each denomination, it’s rare to find two people who understand it the same.

Human language is necessarily ambiguous. Human language also changes with every generation and it varies from locality to locality (not just languages, but dialects and vocabulary). Thus to understand language requires an act of interpretation. Biblical text is no exception.

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