Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Religion, Church History PhD

First Advisor

Jerry A. Moon

Second Advisor

John V. G. Matthews

Third Advisor

Jane Thayer

Abstract

Topic. This study focused on the evaluation of the historical development of the religion curriculum at Battle Creek College from its founding in 1874, to its removal to Berrien Springs in 1901. Battle Creek College was the first Seventh-day Adventist educational enterprise. As such, it became influential in establishing the direction of subsequent Adventist education, and the foundation of Adventist educational philosophy.

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to trace the development of the religion curriculum in relation to the purposes and goal statements of the college as they changed from 1874 to 1901, and in relation to the educational implications of Ellen G. White’s counsel. To achieve this goal, the study also necessitated an investigation of the general curriculum of Battle Creek College to provide the background for the development of the religion curriculum.

Method and Sources. This was an historical-documentary study based on published primary sources. Secondary sources were used for background, context, and perspective. The most heavily used primary sources were the Battle Creek College annual catalogues located at the Adventist Heritage Center, at Andrews University.

Conclusions. Battle Creek College suffered from a lack of clear direction and unity of purpose. From 1874 to 1901, seven presidents officiated at Battle Creek College. Each president had different notions about the purposes, which in turn affected the form and substance of the college curriculum. From the evidence gathered, this study shows that Battle Creek College did not conform to its original purposes. From the beginning, and throughout its history, Battle Creek College also faced the problem of effectively integrating faith and learning. The struggle between the classics and the Bible was central to the whole problem, and it was impossible for the college to become a truly Christian institution until this conflict was resolved. The problem at Battle Creek College was that, instead of the Bible, the classics and secular humanism provided the essential foundation and context for the educational enterprise.

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