I vividly recall the situation when I was 6 years old. It was a sunny Sabbath morning during the summer, and I was going to church. On the way, I met an elder, a very fine man admired by many who asked me what my plans were for the future. With great enthusiasm, I told him that in three months I would enroll in school for my first class. He turned to me, paused, and said: “Jiří, you probably will not even go to school, because Jesus will come soon,” and then he added, “and certainly you will not finish your elementary school before Jesus will return.” I still hear those stunning words as clearly as if he were saying them today. Well, I not only finished elementary school, but also high school, college, and university studies. In addition, I became a professor at Andrews University, now function as the dean at the SDA Theological Seminary; and in a few years, I will retire, but Jesus has not yet come. Despite this fact, Jesus Christ firmly promised: “I am coming soon” (Rev 22:20 NIV). We all know that the crucial thing in this expectation is not when Jesus will come but that He will come. Christ said so, therefore it will happen (Matt 16:27; 24:27, 30; 25:31; John 5:25–29; 14:1–3, 18)! Yes, this soon has already lasted almost two millennia, but the reality is that He will come. We may feel frustrated because we have definitely waited longer than our forefathers expected, or even longer than we expected. How is this long-term expectation related to education? Very tightly. Unfortunately, some people who believe in the soon coming of Christ are anti-education, anti-social, and anti-progress; and the problem is that this small(er) group of people is usually very vocal. For these believers, education is understood as something unnecessary, some kind of unwelcome luxury, a real detour and obstruction to mission. It might even be seen as dangerous or harmful because it may lead students away from God. So, is education, especially theological education, needed when we believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon? Why bother with biblical-historical-missiological studies and theological-practical training if the end of the world is at the door? Does biblical eschatology support or repudiate education? These are serious questions.



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