Date of Award

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John V. G. Matthews

Second Advisor

Brian E. Strayer

Third Advisor

O. Jane Thayer

Abstract

Topic. This study focuses on the evaluation of the historical development and philosophical foundation of the Religious Education program at Andrews University. The program has been instrumental in training individuals as Bible instructors, church and educational leaders, and overseas missionaries. Its challenges and advantages have led leaders to define the program and implement a biblical philosophy of religious education.

Purpose. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the development, challenges, and attempts to define the Religious Education program from its inception to the present. The investigation also analyzes the biblical basis, philosophical framework, mission, and contribution of the Religious Education program to the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Sources. Historical-documentary research for this study focused on published and unpublished sources. The majority of primary sources used in this study were school bulletins, board minutes, letters, and numerous documents in archives and files located in the Center for Adventist Research, School of Education, and Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. Secondary sources were consulted for the biblical and historical background, context, and philosophical framework.

Conclusions. The Religious Education program was founded in 1960 as an M.A. concentration in the Department of Education at Andrews University. Its history can be arranged into four distinct periods: foundation, growth, crisis, and redefinition. From the beginning, the mission and philosophy of the program were shaped by the Adventist philosophy of education which views the home, church, and school as pivotal agencies for religious instruction and the Bible as the primary source for religious learning. These four sources for religious training comprised a scriptural model employed by believers in biblical times to transmit the covenant relationship to future generations. As the Religious Education faculty faced structural and administrative challenges, the implementation of this biblical model in the program became problematic and the integrity and mission of Religious Education eroded. Starting in 1996, a series of events spared the program from complete elimination, and the process of redefining Religious Education at Andrews University began. Although this process is not fully complete, the program philosophy is once again centered in the biblical model, preparing candidates for service in the home, church, and school settings through the roles of a religious educator.

Subject Area

Education--Aims and objectives, Religious education.

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