Date of Award

1979

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John B. Youngberg

Second Advisor

Raoul E. Dederen

Third Advisor

George R. Knight

Abstract

Purpose. Christianity claims to have directly received by revelation from God a body of knowledge which has been preserved, developed, and handed down through generations. The purpose of this study was to determine what, according to Ellen White, are the major contextual dimensions in the transmission of this religious heritage and the dynamic factors involved in the process.

Method. The approach to this documentary study consisted of (1) carefully reading selected writings of White and collecting every statement related to the investigation; (2) logically arranging the information gathered; and (3) analyzing, interpreting, synthesizing, and presenting the findings in an expository style.

Summary and Conclusions. The investigation concluded that White expresses a definite concept of the nature of the Judeo-Christian religious heritage and its transmission. She maintains that the Judeo-Christian religious heritage is the depositary of truth, which, coming down from the patriarchs, prophets, and the teachings of Christ and the apostles has been accumulating through the ages. Its essentials came directly from God by revelation and are contained in the Scriptures. The plan of salvation is the ground and pillar of the truth around which all other themes cluster. Religious heritage partakes of the divine regenerating force. Under its influence, the believer becomes a transformed person ready for service and salvation. The inherent potential of religious heritage for development is measureless. Truth remains changeless, but the church constantly discerns additional facets of truth in the Scriptures which fill the needs of every generation. The major contextual dimensions are as follows:

1. The transmission of religious heritage takes place in the framework of the cosmic conflict between good and evil. The responsibility for its communication rests upon the believers. Divine and angelical powers, however, are also at work. Their participation is indispensable for the success of the task.

2. Personal and dimensional elements such as heredity, environment, physical and mental health, the imminent return of Christ, and the shortness of time to accomplish a world-wide task, and Satan's hindrances affect the transmission of religious heritage.

3. Education is a character-building process similar to the work of redemption. It is a lifelong experience which takes place anywhere. Because of its nature, objective, foundation, and process, Christian education is the most significant activity in the transmission of the sacred legacy of Christianity.

Three major dynamic factors were found: conscious teaching, celebration, and modeling.

1. Conscious teaching in the family situation is the most powerful, pervasive, and enduring influence in the transmission of parents' beliefs, values, and attitudes to their children. The Christian school offers the properly structured learning situation needed to continue the task initiated in the home. Conscious teaching in the school situation represents an intentional, systematic, and constant effort for the transmission of religious heritage. The church was organized for service and its mission consists in carrying the message of salvation to the world. The conscious teaching church, with harmony and cooperation among all its members and institutions, worships, studies, serves, and and proclaims.

2. When celebration of any event or day is an occasion in which God is honored and religious lessons are taught, it becomes a powerful factor in the reinforcement and transmission of Christian beliefs and values.

3. The modeling influence of a holy life is the most convincing "sermon" given in favor of Christianity. When parents, teachers, and ministers exemplify in their lives the principles of truth, the home, the school, and the church become centers where religious heritage is transmitted to younger generations and all peoples.

It is within the interaction of the Christian home, school, and church that the dynamic factors of conscious teaching, celebration, and modeling find their fullest development and greatest influence.

Subject Area

Religious education, Christianity and other religions--Judaism.

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