Friday, May 20, 2016

The great commission for education

Sabbath, May 14, 2016 - Andrews Memorial SDA Church - Morning service

I had the blessing of hearing one of my favourite Jamaican pastors, Pastor Lorenzo King, speak in a sermon entitled "Commission to reach: Commission to teach". One of the reasons why I like this pastor is that he comes with new or fresh statements or thoughts on what seems to be material that I have heard for decades. There are very little cliches in his sermons or recycled sayings. He is not just going to preach on what we already know, but he is going to challenge the canon of what we know and bring new revelations, doing something new with the Christian or Adventist Christian material or content. In this post, I wish to share bits from his sermon and the message that resonated well with me on that Sabbath.

King made a series of comments that I wrote down for meditation. Beginning with Matthew's Great Commission (the well known Matthew 28:18-20), King stated that the great gospel commission could be equated as a great commission to educate. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations..." is as much a commission to education as it is to preaching, King said.

He then went on to state that ignorance and belief in God are incompatible. That Christ in his commission desires us to be educated and to be educators educating others. Part of the commission, King said, is for us as believers to "go" which indicates "movement and departure from our comfort zone, both physically and non-physical".

King mentioned that as part of that movement we are not to stick to only one field of knowledge (or remain stuck in what we already know). Instead, King admonished that we must go to and fro, interacting with different bodies or fields of knowledge. In his example, King stated, "there is as much science as art in the playing of a musical instrument."

King then made the point that Jesus had a particular worldview, or vision of the world, where all the world or nations of the earth would be united around and exposed to the same teachings. "The entire world is to be held together by the same teachings, the teachings of Jesus. Wouldn't it be great if the world was united around the teachings of Jesus? "

King goes on to argue that education should not be elitist. "The knowledge of God is to be universal. The knowledge of God is for everyone (or every creature), no matter how degraded the person." As such, King concluded that education should not just be for those who can afford it, but must necessarily be universal.

"It is Jesus who first had the vision for universal education and espoused the belief that everyone can learn, and as such that everyone can be taught"

The purpose of education, according to King, is to remove the lines of demarcation among human beings, as "we are all (or should be) related to each other on the basis of our need for learning".

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