The 500 Year Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Have you got excited about the celebrations sweeping through our campuses, nations and world?
Our local community in Berrien Springs has been alive with amazing conferences. The Seminary took up deeply theological issues earlier last in October. The local Village SDA Church just finished great presentations on pastoral themes. The Department of Politics and History are currently (Nov 2) giving a blend of theology, liberty, musicology and socio-historical analysis related to the Reformation.
My friend Nick Miller has been very helpful helping me understand the importance of the Reformation to my own spiritual community and development. His books linking Martin Luther to Martin Luther King, Jr. and religions liberty and Adventism to the Reformation are outstanding. You should buy them.
Adventists cultivate a strong story connecting ourselves to the Reformation. See notes of a 2016 conference on this.
Last month, Nick reminded us from a video from Wittenberg about the importance of the 95 Theses.
So I didn’t want my School of Education to be left out of all these celebrations.
So I posted my own theses on our School’s doors….and walls. (I knew I had to go the extra mile because people were just passing through the glass doors unaware of the only piece of paper posted on them. This “posting” stuff is not as successful nor dramatic as I thought. We are a distracted generation!).
I have to admit. I am not expecting much from my 97 theses I posted. I plan to take them down soon.
Yes. I said 97. I picked 97 not to have more than Luther’s 95 but to match his 97 Theses from September 1517.
They touched my heart more profoundly, even though the 95 are the ones that lit the world on fire.
Luther wrote 97 theses challenged the Scholasticism that he felt permeated and had putrefied university life in the middle ages. He wanted reform. He wanted Augustinian grace and Paul’s gospel to get back into the lifeblood of his university. I love his 97 Theses even more than the 95 because it shows the theological engine that kept the Reformation going, and also gives me traction on keeping my ethics on track with my view of the gospel.
See a Ryan Reeves youtube explanation of these two theses. He targets the 97 about 19 minutes in. I consider his youtube videos on the Reformation and church history to be some of the best)
My favorite one in the 97 is #40: “We do not become righteous by doing righteous deeds but, having been made righteous, we do righteous deeds. This in opposition to the philosophers.”
I have been struggling with writing my ethics book, to be titled A Good Tree, precisely because I don’t want another legalistic book banging people over the head with what they should do. “Mere moralists” Luther calls these do gooders. I love ethics, but it can’t be a god, at least not a good god. I fear Christian Ethics has often distorted the central and radical message of Christianity: Christ as our sufficiency, both as a moral foundation and ethical builder, but also as a great friend and a true savior.
Luther’s 97 helped me see better a path forward.
So, when writing my 97, I wanted to focus on my field of education, faith in education and moral education.
First, writing 97 lines of thinking is not that easy. I had to borrow from Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr., Ellen White, and even Morris Venden (my go to pastor-writer on things related to Jesus and ethics).
I left a lot of blank theses for others to write their own ideas. Nobody has.
What is happening? Where have all the good protests gone?
I hope to start working on my 95 soon, so maybe they will be more earth shaking….
Disputation Against Traditional Education & Schooling
November 1, 2017, Andrews University.
More Choice less Uniformity in Schooling
- One size teaching rarely fits the needs of learners.
- Teaching that customizes learning to the life and work of a learner empowers learners and liberates teachers.
- One size curriculum rarely fits anyone’s needs—neither schools, teachers, learners, nor employers.
- Learners can handle choices…give them more, and then hold them accountable for THEIR choices!!!
- One size education NEVER WORKS.
- Many accrediting bodies are bringing too much heavy-handed elitism and snobbery into their work, at times pushing more for uniformity than quality. If they don’t improve their approaches to focus on quality in multiple manifestations this will destroy universities, set learning back hundreds of years and push people—learners and teachers—to find better places to do their work to seek knowledge, affirm faith and change the world.
- Universities need to be free to be different from each other, allowing variety of approaches and their own approach to creating a community of learning and ultimately serve nations and the world better.
- Creating more choices in learning liberates creativity and innovation, which are essential in learning.
- Unbridled choice is not the same as liberty and the wise find an ideal balance between choice and truth, duty and joy, my wants and your needs.
- Write Your Protest Here about choice in education and schooling here:
- Write Your Thesis About choice or university in education and schooling here:
The Centrality of Truth in True Education
- Truth is still important in the pursuit of education. Lies and Fake truth abound. Real truth however abounds more and discerning the difference is the purpose of education.
- Narratives and stories are vital in the pursuit of truth and can help frame meaning that guides learning. But some stories are better—more accurate and more redemptive. We should follow Paul’s advice “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8.
- Truth manifests itself in all colors.
- Truth crosses every border and speaks every language.
- “A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths.” Martin Luther King, Jr. http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/33E95C33-A9D1-44D9-AB5C-30C932CCC2D6/0/MiddleSchoolText.pdf
- “Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.” Martin Luther King, Jr. http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/33E95C33-A9D1-44D9-AB5C-30C932CCC2D6/0/MiddleSchoolText.pdf
- John warns us “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1). You have to really cross examine what you think is right, especially when you think it’s the Spirit, because if it is truly the Spirit then tough analysis will make it even more apparent. And if it not, you will save your life from the foolish falsehoods that grip the evil in this world.
- Write Your Protest Here about Truth in Education here:
- Write Your Thesis About truth in Education and Schooling Here:
- Life is a great classroom, and educators and learners should use it more to help others grow.
- While life is the best classroom, a godly teacher can help a person improve that life experience by making more sense out of it, making it more meaningful and purposeful and working on creating more intentional and better outcomes.
- Job-embedded learning works. Schools should fight the tendency to neglect or marginalize this learning.
- When individuals have work or jobs they must do, the goals required of their performance draw them toward development. Their work shapes them. The Seventh Commandment starts with work for a reason…. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work…..” Exodus 20:9
- Your history is important in your learning…don’t let your teachers leave it out of your learning.
- Teachers should help learners figure out how their “life story” can help them in their learning.
- God and godly teachers can help you find your calling and finding your calling will make your learning better because it connects you to the life God is working with you to create.
- Learners bring rich experiences to each new course or program that needs to be honored and used to maximize learning. How is your institution or program or course doing that?
- Write your Educational Thesis about Life influence on Learning Here:
- What is your Protest here about the absence of real experience in schooling here:
Teaching and Instruction
- YouTube has changed the world of learning. USE IT WISELY!!!
- WE WILL ALWAYS NEED TEACHERS, BUT ONLY IF THEY KEEP LEARNING
- Learning and teaching needs to adapt to the new world of rich world of mobile multimedia.
- But sometimes the best way to find a new and innovative idea is to go to the library and read an old dusty book.
- Sometimes a generation is blind to its own weaknesses and learning blind spots. That is why we need all generations involved in the teaching and learning process.
- Some of the best teachers on this campus don’t have that title. They work in food service, custodial, plants service, grounds, administration, etc.. Get around those teachers, work for and with them. They can teach you amazing stuff.
- Write Your Protest Here about Teaching and Learning:
- Write Your Thesis Here about Teaching and Learning:
- Two are better than one… group learning works!!!
- You don’t have to work with what is only in your experience or in your mind. You can listen. You can submit to another person and gain insight—new and better ways of thinking and living, in doing so.
- Don’t stay stuck with your own ideas. Seek out people with different ideas, but test to see if they really have your well-being as their concern.
- Team projects in school are difficult, face the threat of free loaders, and require “difficult” conversations about boundaries, roles and expectations. But that’s what the world of work and life requires. Why not start learning this important stuff now.
- Disagreement doesn’t have to be a barrier to learning and education. In fact, sometimes it is the only path to new discoveries.
- How can we all promote better shared dialogue in colleges
- Without fighting for peaceful and non-violent faithful dialogue and without staying committed to civil dialogue democracy and learning will die!!!
- Write Your Thesis about Learning Here:
- Write Your Protest against isolated thinking and solo learning Here:
- Training for better service is the point of education. If you are here to just get more money and power in the world, you should rethink your path: “Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” Romans 15: 1, 2 MSSG
- Everyone can learn to be a better teacher, a better leader and a better psychologist or we wouldn’t be here!!!
- Teaching is a great way to serve the world. Those who teach will be judged more closely by God and because of that, he will give them more resources to support their work. What a great deal? Think about teaching as a career!!!! (You can write theses like these).
- Both learners and teachers serve each other in the development process.
- Write your Protest here about keeping service central in education:
- Write your Theses here about how to keep service central in education:
Faith in Learning
- Taking the Holy Spirit out of learning is like taking the breath out of living being…. Eventually the only left is dead!
- FAITH MATTERS IN LEARNING—Teachers, don’t steal this important incredient in the life of learners. Learners make your faith part of learning journey and profession.
- Taking Christ out of Christian education is like taking figs out of fig newtons. What’s left can’t be called by that name. It is tasteless, joyless, and only marginally nutritious!
- WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT TO TEACH & LEARN. WHY NOT KEEP ASKING FOR THAT HELP?
- Prayer opens hearts and makes us ready to learn. Let Prayer be Offered in Schools.
- Talking with God before, during and after the learning prepares us to receive what He is eager to help us learn, helps us process what we find, gives us new ways to understand and empowers us with courage and stamina to apply what we learn.
- “I am much afraid that the universities will prove to be the great gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them in the hearts of youth” Martin Luther, http://www.covenantofgrace.com/daubigne_education.htm
- “I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.” Luther http://www.covenantofgrace.com/daubigne_education.htm
- “Every institution in which [teachers] are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.” http://www.covenantofgrace.com/daubigne_education.htm
- God can teach, he has taught, and he will continue to teach. We are never left alone in our learning and we can look to him for wisdom.
- God can teach us ANYTHING he wants. He can help you today. Don’t Worry!! Start thanking him for what he has done and will continue to do for you. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 24, 25 KJV
- “Above all, the foremost reading for everybody, both in the universities and in the schools, should be Holy Scripture.” Martin Luther, http://www.ccle.org/luther-on-education/
- “We do not see this pitiful evil, how today the young people of Christendom languish and perish miserably in our midst for want of the gospel, in which we ought to be giving them constant instruction and training” Martin Luther, http://www.ccle.org/luther-on-education/
- “The only reasons to recognize the tremendous challenge in the church and community is not so that we can try to figure out some clever maneuver or exciting entertainment to draw crowds. It is to send us to our knees to pray for spiritual breakthrough in our community and everywhere else. May God deliver us from resorting to man-made gimmicks to do His work” Morris Venden, Salvation by Faith and Your will, p 82.
- Write your thesis about faith in learning here:
- Write your protest about faith and learning here:
- “The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.” Martin Luther King, Jr. http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/33E95C33-A9D1-44D9-AB5C-30C932CCC2D6/0/MiddleSchoolText.pdf
- “Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them….Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless… There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” Ellen White, Steps to Christ, p. 18.
- “We do not become righteous by doing righteous deeds but, having been made righteous, we do righteous deeds. This in opposition to the philosophers.” Martin Luther, Thesis 40, Sept 2017, Disputation against Scholastic Theology. https://www.checkluther.com/wp-content/uploads/1517-Disputation-against-Scholastic-Theology.pdf
- “Virtually the entire Ethics of Aristotle is the worst enemy of grace. This in opposition to the scholastics.” Martin Luther, Thesis 41, Sept 2017, Disputation against Scholastic Theology. https://www.checkluther.com/wp-content/uploads/1517-Disputation-against-Scholastic-Theology.pdf
- “It is by the grace of God that one does not lust or become enraged.” Martin Luther, Thesis 67, Sept 2017, Disputation against Scholastic Theology. https://www.checkluther.com/wp-content/uploads/1517-Disputation-against-Scholastic-Theology.pdf
- “Many who call themselves Christians are mere human moralists. They have refused the gift which alone could enable them to honor Christ by representing Him to the world. The work of the Holy Spirit is to them a strange work. They are not doers of the word.” Ellen White, Christ Objects Lessons, p. 315.
- “The grace of God, however, makes justice abound through Jesus Christ because it causes one to be pleased with the law.” Martin Luther, Thesis 75, Sept 2017, Disputation against Scholastic Theology. https://www.checkluther.com/wp-content/uploads/1517-Disputation-against-Scholastic-Theology.pdf
- Every deed of the law without the grace of God appears good outwardly, but inwardly it is sin. This in opposition to the scholastics.” Martin Luther, Thesis 76, Sept 2017, Disputation against Scholastic Theology. https://www.checkluther.com/wp-content/uploads/1517-Disputation-against-Scholastic-Theology.pdf
- John has given us the simple path to moral and spiritual development. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. Jesus is Just in forgiving us and we need to let him take up the heavy task of purifying us. This is not our task. To say so is to make God a liar and put to much confidence in our abilities.
- While Micah 6:8 reminds us of the moral expectation of God, “He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” it is Micah 7:9 that gives us the path we will most likely take towards fulfilling the moral heart of God “Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness.” Doing right is great and what God wants, but seeing his righteousness brings us to a whole new level of moral reality.
- The safest criminal is the one who has been forgiven and deeply understand that. It is the way of the Holy Spirit we all need to gain the moral life he wants to give us.
- The most dangerous person in the world is the self-righteous moralist who has not taken hold of the righteousness that is free to him or her.
- Write your protest about moral education methods here:
- Write your these about moral education methods here:
- “Nothing could be more devilish or disastrous than unreformed universities.” Martin Luther, http://www.ccle.org/luther-on-education/
- “The universities, too, need a good, thorough reformation. I must say that, no matter whom it annoys.” Martin Luther http://www.ccle.org/luther-on-education/
- “I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.” Martin Luther King, Jr. Noble Speech, https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-acceptance_en.html
- “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.” Martin Luther King, Jr. Noble Speech, https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-acceptance_en.html
- “Tough mindedness without tenderheartedness is cold and detached, leaving one’s life in a perpetual winter devoid of the warmth of spring and the gentle heat of summer. What is more tragic than to see a person who has risen to the disciplined heights of tough mindedness but has at the same time sunk to the passionless depths of hardheartedness? ” Martin Luther King, Jr. https://thevalueofsparrows.com/2014/05/04/sermon-a-tough-mind-and-a-tender-heart-by-martin-luther-king-jr/
- “Few people have the toughness of mind to judge critically and to discern the true from the false, the fact from the fiction. Our minds are constantly being invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and false facts. One of the great needs of mankind is to be lifted above the morass of false propaganda.” Martin Luther King, Jr. https://thevalueofsparrows.com/2014/05/04/sermon-a-tough-mind-and-a-tender-heart-by-martin-luther-king-jr/
- “A third way is open to our quest for freedom, namely nonviolent resistance, which combines tough mindedness and tenderheartedness and avoids the complacency and do-nothingness of the soft minded and the violence and bitterness of the hardhearted.” Martin Luther King, Jr. https://thevalueofsparrows.com/2014/05/04/sermon-a-tough-mind-and-a-tender-heart-by-martin-luther-king-jr/
- “We must work passionately and unrelentingly for full stature as citizens, but may it never be said, my friends, that to gain it we used the inferior methods of falsehood, malice, hate, and violence.” Martin Luther King, Jr. https://thevalueofsparrows.com/2014/05/04/sermon-a-tough-mind-and-a-tender-heart-by-martin-luther-king-jr/
- “When slumbering giants of injustice emerge in the Earth, we need to know that there is a God of power who can cut them down like the grass and leave them withering like the Greek herb. When our most tireless efforts fail to stop the surging sweep of oppression, we need to know that in this universe is a God whose matchless strength is a fit contrast to the sordid weakness of man. But there are also times when we need to know that God possesses love and mercy. When we are staggered by the chilly winds of adversity and battered by the raging storms of disappointment and when through our folly and sin we stray into some destructive far country and are frustrated because of a strange feeling of homesickness, we need to know that there is Someone who loves us, cares for us, understands us, and will give us another chance. When days grow dark and nights grow dreary, we can be thankful that our God combines in his nature a creative synthesis of love and justice that will lead us through life’s dark valleys and into sunlit pathways of hope and fulfillment.” Martin Luther King, Jr. https://thevalueofsparrows.com/2014/05/04/sermon-a-tough-mind-and-a-tender-heart-by-martin-luther-king-jr/
- “My dear sirs, if we have to spend such large sums every year on guns, roads, bridges, dams and countless similar items to insure the temporal peace and prosperity of a city, why should not much more be devoted to the poor neglected youth? A city’s best and greatest welfare, safety and strength consist rather in its having many able, learned, wise, honorable and well-educated citizens.” Martin Luther, https://sbs.arizona.edu/news/martin-luther-and-education-reform
- “Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King, Jr. http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/33E95C33-A9D1-44D9-AB5C-30C932CCC2D6/0/MiddleSchoolText.pdf
- “The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living” Martin Luther King, Jr. http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/33E95C33-A9D1-44D9-AB5C-30C932CCC2D6/0/MiddleSchoolText.pdf
- Write Your Bible Based Protest Related to Learning here:
- What Your Well Thought Out Call for School Reform here: