LCN Article


A Living Education

March / April 2019

Jonathan McNair

The new, member-focused educational effort of the Living Church of God has adopted a name that has meaning both for our program in general and for each of us individually. The name “Living Education” emphasizes that our efforts are intended to work within the Living Church of God, supporting the leadership of the Church—from the local pastors and elders, all the way up to the Presiding Evangelist—in edifying our members and reinforcing the knowledge of God’s Truth and way of life.

But a “Living Education” is more than just a name for an initiative.

A Living Education

When God began to work with Adam and Eve, He offered them access to a garden full of the bounty of His creation. They were allowed to eat freely from a variety of trees, including the “Tree of Life,” as it is named in Genesis 3:22. However, one tree was off-limits. That tree was called the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” Some might take this to mean that God was against Adam and Eve having knowledge, but this is not the case. God loves knowledge and wisdom. In fact, we read in Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” The problem was that this tree symbolized knowledge apart from God’s revelation and authority. In a sense, this tree placed all knowledge, whether good or evil, on the same plane, as if they are just different options, based upon conclusions drawn from our own experiences and human logic. The only fruit of this approach to life and learning is death.

But there is knowledge that produces life. There is learning that helps us to live better. There is education that is focused on living well. This is “living education.” And it should be exciting to know that God has given us some guidelines to follow in framing a “living education.”

Relevant

One of the most impressive characteristics of God’s word is that it is relevant to all people and for all time. God’s Sabbath day is as beneficial to us today as it was for the Apostles, for the Israelites, and for Adam and Eve. Discontinuing our daily labors to focus our attention on honoring God every seven days binds us to our Creator, just as He intended from the time that He established the Sabbath (Genesis 2:1–3). When we observe God’s commanded Holy Days, we learn the extent of God’s incredible plan for humanity. That means us! When we obey God’s command not to eat unclean animals, we are very actively applying His laws to our daily lives. God’s laws are not hypothetical and philosophical. They have real relevance to life.

One goal of Living Education–Charlotte is to teach godly “life-skills” through instruction and practice. So, in addition to teaching about the geography and culture of the land of ancient Israel, we teach what it means to be godly men and women. We do this within a society that has blurred the line between masculinity and femininity. And we give our students opportunities to practice these roles. Our Friday-evening Sabbath dinners are prepared by the Living Education ladies, as they take turns practicing the craft and skill of creating a delicious meal for all the students and additional guests. The men practice the role of host, participating in welcoming our guests, assisting with setup, and leading the group in the cleanup afterward. At the end of an enjoyable Sabbath evening, there is no doubt in the students’ minds that their training is relevant!

Scalable

Another fascinating characteristic of God’s word is that it is “scalable.” In other words, not only is it relevant, but it can be adapted in terms of size and scope. A person can read the whole Bible and benefit greatly from the experience. But we also learn and benefit from each page, each paragraph, and even each sentence, if we are willing to put in the time and effort to study. For example, just read Galatians 5:22–23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” You or I could spend an hour thinking about what this short passage means and how it impacts us individually.

We may be in a congregation of a dozen people, or we may meet with 250 other members each Sabbath. Either way, when we gather together as commanded on God’s Sabbath day, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25), we reap God’s promised benefits. We stir up each other in love and good works. We listen and talk about our challenges and blessings. We learn about God’s way. The number of members in the room is immaterial.

This same principle applies to our Living Education–Online program. If a person completes every part of every lesson, he or she will benefit. Likewise, if time constraints only permit someone to listen, say, to the teaching videos by Dr. Meredith, that person will still benefit. The Living Education program available online is scalable, and in that sense, one size really can fit all.

An Educational Focus

In Proverbs 22:6, we read, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This proverb simply makes clear what should be obvious. Training, systematic education, habitual instruction—such efforts establish patterns of behavior and patterns of life. We recognize that this applies to children. But do we apply the same principle to ourselves?

God provides us with the guidebook for a “living education,” but we must take the initiative to begin the journey. If we seek a “living education,” based on good and godly principles, we’ll learn to live better today, and receive eternal life in the future.