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The Great Gates of Hell

Dean Cullinane
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The second plenary will be looking at the importance of True Education as it relates to the Three Angels Message.

What is the purpose of our academic institutions today, and how can we make a difference as mere students?


Dean Cullinane

Theology student at Weimar College.


  • January 2, 2020
    6:30 PM


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Was presented at the. Kentucky for other resource visitors on. That evening g y c. I hope that you had a major blessing at the seminars today and that you're ready for outreach tomorrow Amen amen. Young people rightly train can change the world Amen do you believe this I believe that education is paramount to the success of our church the 7th Day Adventist Church has associations with over 8500 educational institutions with over 1950000 students across the world you can believe in those 2 to 6 I got them straight from Wikipedia. Of all the churches in the world that we have the largest network of educational institutions behind only the Catholic Church but friends numbers are not enough we have a mission. The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul and working within education I see just how difficult this can be this is something that we cannot do in our own strength. Many months back in preparing for this message I came across a quote by the great German Reforma Martin Luther. He says I am much afraid that the universities will prove to be the great gates of hell. Unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the hearts of the youth I advise no once a place is child where the Scriptures do not reign Paramount every institution in which men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God shall become corrupt. From the title for this evening's message is the great gates of hell let's pray Father in heaven we pray for your presence for your spirit and for your power in Jesus name Amen. I believe that Adventism is very identity can be found in the 3 angels message the everlasting Gospel can you say amen. You cannot discuss the history no the presents the present of our church without this chapter it is absolutely fundamental to who we are to what we are to when we are and why we are and I think that we would do our best at putting it to memory. For it is in the 1st angels message when the words Fear God and give him the glory for the hour of his judgment is come that Josiah Fitch was awakened that William Miller was given added impetus to preach the message of the Lord and that the hand that heralded the birth of the great Advent movement and the white stated that the theme of greatest importance is the 3rd angels message embracing the message of the 1st and 2nd angels all should understand the truth contained in these messages and demonstrate them in the daily life for they are listened to this essential to salvation what does this have to do with education. Francis to why it says that the true object of education is to restore the image of God in the Soul that is the gospel the 3rd angel's message is not a complex one it is about receiving the seal of God in the mind it is about the mind being transformed into the very mind of Christ and that my friends is also the work of education. It was in vision in $872.00 that Ellen White wrote it comprehends speaking of education the practice of temperance of godliness of brotherly kindness and love to God and to one another and in order to attain this object the physical the mental the moral and religious education of children must have attention. Friends I hope that this is not new to you but I fear that it might be the purpose of education and the purpose of school is to save souls you will soul your friends soul you will cost mate soul your teachers soul and your community so God can save by few or by many but he has blessed us with such educational institutions because his desire is to save by many. This is why the very 1st adventure schools were directed with this missionary focus yes that they offer language courses of course so that you could communicate the Gospel effectively that they offer practical trade training yes so that you can support yourself in the gospel work at dentist education had a focus a mission theme with such an army of workers as our youth rightly trained might furnish how soon the message of a crucified risen and soon coming Savior might be carried to the whole world friends I ask you does that exist today. Do all schools bear the name of this God given movement do they still have the food this philosophy built into the dorms does it bring focus to the classroom does it unite the student body in mission I fear that at times it does not. The quote that I just read concludes how soon might come the end the end of suffering and of sin. But it seems to me that sometimes the goal of education looks like it's not to get rid of sin and bring this world to an end but rather to make our experience in it more comfortable as the great reform of the Langston once said religion cannot be maintained without schools and if you're on the opinion that the church may be struggling then by default our educational institutions cannot be reaching the goals and standards that heaven desire is. A brief history mind you is littered with great schools that eventually lost their greatness some of which don't even exist anymore if you trace the lines through history if you look at places such as Battle Creek if you look at Madison if you go even before the advent movement and look at Bible school such as Opal in college and a little further back even a Harvard you will see a pattern and a trend. When these educational institutions ceased in making the scriptures their core textbook God's blessing upon them also slowly ceased friends when sociology begins to trump theology we are sliding down the slipperiest of slopes. Over time many of our great Protestant universities dispelled their Christian undertones in favor of funding and worldly acclimation and testimonies volume 5 we're told that the Lord never designed that our colleges should imitate all the institutions of learning the religious element should be the controlling power. Friends a true Christian school not only has the Bible in its curriculum Bible principles of the guise of the students life and the spirit of the Bible is the sole inspiration of the school the school must be more than a place for the distribution of information. We're told that the world does not need so much men of great intellect as much noble character just why is that character building is the most important work ever intrusted to human beings. What the world I believe needs to see today is the power of the Gospel and that is most clearly seen when the character of Jesus Christ is reproduced in his people but so what and does our education work towards today very often I believe it is towards the uplifting of self we usually go to school not for not for the Lord but for ourselves the focus shifts from salvation to success friends I believe that success in Heaven looks very different to success of. Friends I believe that God wants to bless our institutions but Heaven places no value in worldly success it cares not about our cars or our homes it has not about our income or our status it's agencies or move no more for those that have Ph D.'s than those that have never been to school heaven places value in character. That's why it's the only thing we're going to take with us Jesus Christ came to set us free from the bondage and slavery of sin but so often we enslave ourselves to wealth and material things when a fire is coming friends that is so hot that not even the purest gold will stand in its place. And if you think that perhaps we do have the right focus let me ask you a question. With all of the Adventist young people we have in schools how many Adventists businesses are we producing. You tell me whether we are truly educating people to take forward the work of the Lord or whether we are just teaching them how to make money for the world character is to be the focus of our educational institutions character My fear though is that on many grounds academics is beginning to trump discipleship I remember being in church and witnessing the return of one of my friends after they had spent 4 years in school they come back with a degree pulled up to the front of the sanctuary and given a rousing applause because they have found success the problem though and I know this because they told me this is that in the same place they found success they lost Christ. Friends it is no victory to achieve worldly status and miss out on a heavenly one. What about the students that leave the secular universities and they drop out because they just see they can't maintain their fairy their faith they are strong enough yet and they come home and they sit at the back of the church where as there are flaws. Friends there are forces in heaven. I believe it is the responsibility of all schools to place character building at the very epicenter of all that they do but for some what matters most is money. That we need to keep the school afloat. Friends With all due respects. Those that have money are not keeping our schools afloat. God is keeping schools of flows if we have schools still standing in today's world it is not just because of the hard work of staff and it is not just because of the investment of some of our faithful members it stands because God holds it up it stands because he believes that they can still be effective training centers for our young people today but if we look at our in Roman numbers and financial standings in grades friends we completely missed the point of Adventist education it is not the Lord's will that our schools be so academically rigorous that one cannot find time for prayer that one spiritual life is crowded out by text book and papers that degrees and diplomas are put before devotion and dedication to the cause of Christ. We must understand that was is admirable to have a large number of institutions across the world to have graduates becoming doctors and working for large firms if we have we have failed if we have not giving them everything in assuring that when our young people leave our schools they do so with the strongest relationship with Jesus that is possible to them can we win every soul of course not but not even Jesus wins every soul that's not the go the goal is to make an effort for every soul and so to my fellow educators I ask you. Do your students see Jesus in you are they encouraged to follow Christ not just because of how you teach but how you live to my principles in my head teaches do your staff members follow you because they know God is leading you or they follow you because they're afraid if they stand up they'll lose their position. To my president so my board members have you analyzed and scrutinized every single aspect of the institutions you oversee to ensure that this school is working towards training young people to not just work for God but to live for God. Now I don't believe that the finger need only be pointed at all schools. I think. That maybe we need to point to the little closer to home. The Bible says In Proverbs Train Up a Child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart of it from it. That is speaking about a child that is being trained before he goes to school Solomon is in a sense some icing that the success of the school 1st depends on the success of the home. It's at home that we are taught to love God It is at home that these principles are applied on these young growing minds it's every parent's dream that a child would surely confess their love for God but often times that confession of love comes because they have been taught to love. Friends I'm afraid to say that homeschooling your children is not enough. I appreciate that some mothers and even some fathers have given up their jobs and their careers to educate their children at home but simply Home schooling is not enough simply having the child at home during hours of schooling is not enough they need attention they need training and they need the love of God and they need it when it is not just convenient for their parents. Home schooling does not automatically equal righteousness some of us are so concerned with not sending our children to school yet they stay at home when all they witness is mom and dad arguing and fighting if they even witness mom and dad at school. In that case send them to school. It is the responsibility I believe of every parent that bears the name of Christ to devote themselves to the training of their children this is what I said the training of their children. Because a lot of parents are out there training other people's children and expecting the academies to train them is the problem is that by the time your children get to our academies they're already 1415 and 16 years old their characters their habits their beings are formed. And I'm grateful for a platform such as g y c So the something like this only has to be said once Adventist education was never meant to come but Adventist homes. Or pioneers did not sacrifice everything in building these schools so that our parents could make like their God given duty of raising a child in the hope that an underpaid Adventist teacher would pick up the slack. I've seen this I've witnessed it for years I've witnessed as the stars that I work side by side with give their lives trying to correct the crippling habits that have been formed because of the negligence in the home the number of young men and women that eventually reach our schools that are already addicted to movies and music and video games is heartbreaking and oftentimes they arrive more wealthy than the not Adventist How did it come to this how did we get to the point where we are allowing the Internet to raise our children. God forbid that it's because we're busy doing the lord's work raising our children is the Lord's work. There is no point being out there saving souls when the one soul that you are actually responsible for is that home at dictature movies and pornography. Friends God is not honored when we disown our children for the mission field. How do we expect our children to grow up loving the Lord and His work if all we've shown them is that the work is more important to us than them. How will they love the God that seemingly stole their parents. And I say that knowing how easy it is to fall into that temptation because it's easy to be up here and preach and best time was but it's a home with a real work is. Friends let me give you some advice is this is your problem leave the mission field. The home is your mission field goal to supply that mission fields needs but God has already supplied your children's needs he supplied you. Children need their parents so much more than they need their teachers but so often their teachers are working 2 jobs the Bible says in the 127 some as arrows all in the hand of a mighty man so children are of the youth arrows all young people are weapons if the Bible was written today might even call them bullets they were created listen to me they were created to do damage. Many new parents have recognized this already the children barely begin to walk and they're already doing damage in the home. But it makes sense our children and our students our young people you young people all weapons this is why we're told that we have an army of youth because we're going to war in one needs weapons when we go to war and I love this analogy because I don't know how many of you have fired an arrow or shot a bullet but you would have realized that once it sets out it rarely changes course. You don't see an arrow just shoot out of a bow and then eventually take a 90 degree turn because it felt like it arrows go where we aim them bullets go where we aim them. And so do young people. They hit whatever they aimed at you don't name them they go nowhere. And it makes no sense to be pointing them towards secularism and then just be completely shocked when they turn out secular that's where we pointed them the harsh reality is that many of our young people have left the Lord because that's where we shot them. They left oftentimes not because of the lack of spirituality in the church but because of the lack of spirituality at home the results of that are you always being at meetings and on visitations but no time for his sons or daughters the result of money being so concerned with cleanliness because someone told her that cleanliness is next to godliness and she hasn't realized that it's the hearts of her children that are filthy it's the result of our parents being so conservative that we as young people are far more concerned with not sinning than we always having a relationship with Christ is the result of our parents being so liberal that we think we can just come to him whenever and however we like. And then the cherry on this horrible cake is the parental pressure to achieve academic success. This could be a whole sermon. And parents please don't think this is for someone else it might be for you and young people it might be for how you're going to grow up I appreciate the friends who desire for our children to do well in life to prosper and be in good good health that's the Lord's will also but when we are extinguishing our children's missionary zeal so that we can vicariously live through them and take glory in their academic achievements to make it feel as though we have just rendered some success we have robbed the lot of a gospel worker. I might not make too many friends for the statement but young people your life is not your own but it is also not your parents. Obey your parents in the Lord. It is your duty to 1st and foremost follow the voice of your god. Friends if we get the home wrong we get the schools wrong if we get the schools wrong we get the church wrong and I know there are parents out there giving their all giving every ounce of their being to do all they can to raise children in the fear of the Lord God is with you there are single parents out there some divorced some widowed God is with you this is not an attack this is an hour long it is an hour long that we cannot keep pressing the snooze button on and I am pleading with our parents and with our educators Please take the time to love your young people because in my history of being in education that's the one thing that I've seen the most broken young people because they have not really experienced love. Friends it's my greatest desire to see revival and reformation on our Adventist campuses we have some institutions that have thousands of students imagine the work that can be done but friends revival does not just happen revival is not random We do not believe in a random We are creationists we believe in purpose and we believe in design we believe in intentionality. And I believe that something as institutionalized as education needs not just revival from the bottom down but from the top up. Friends it's not easy being a leader. Especially in the realms of education you are surrounded by Vasili intelligent people with great ideas and philosophies and sometimes their own agendas I pray daily for revival and reformation among the leaders of our institutes. But allow me to interject this on the slight charts that school principals board members and department heads might catch this message of schools do not belong to you they belong to God It is your responsibility to sit down with the Scriptures with your staff members with the spirit of prophecy and ask yourself the hard questions ask yourself if the institutions you are a part of all leading or following the light that God has given us is the Bible the main text book and I don't mean is it just in the classroom I mean is it being taught in the classes and not just Bible classes are you using the Bible to teach your math courses to teach your science courses to teach English courses. Is the education that we give our young people actually practical will it benefit their lives because most students ever learning but never come to a true learning of truth. Friends I fear for our young people because I see them all the time I see the stress I see the pain I see the struggle. Sometimes our courses and our curriculum are so challenging and rigorous academically that we knew leave no vital energy left for the students to spend in places like the garden. The greatest travesty that we see I grew cultural studies slowly being weeded out of our curriculum we have robbed our students of off the practical education and told him that the most merit is found in how much information they can memorize and regurgitate from the professors Power Point slides. What happened to not just reflecting another man's thoughts. What happened to teaching our young people to think for themselves. Friends are we producing gospel workers are we producing medical missionaries or are we just producing pastors and doctors because there's a difference. I challenge those of you that sit atop of these educational institutions to come down a little analyze from the bottom up and not just the top down revival is possible in our campuses if that's what all of us desire collectively I spoke earlier of the missionary zeal that once accompanied the early days of our schools. Friends I believe that this is surely what we need and often times to bring revival on to our campuses maybe where we should shift our focus is revival in our communities what I mean by this. For the past 2 years the school Dr attended we institute decided that we were going to take our shift and our focus off of ourselves and on to our surrounding neighborhoods and communities we came up with a program called t c I told to community involvement it's a great premise catch this for 100 day of the week every Wednesday afternoon school stops everything stops work stops and we go out into the community and we work for them in whatever room they want for free. Imagine an opportunity to be like Jesus one half a day. And it is on the campus I believe directly as a result of the of the extraneous outreach work that has been done that we have experienced revival inwardly Is there room for growth of course. But as Ellen White said the early church oftentimes forgot that strength to resist evil is best gained through aggressive service. Friends I know that not all of you are students and all of you students in the in adventurous institutions but wherever you are this is for you strength to resist evil is best gained through aggressive service and so I implore you to serve God with all of your hot. And so my friends and fellow young people holding up the banner in secular universities God is with you do not forget that the man whose prophecies are church is built upon gain his higher education in a secular university but we do not believe that your calling is any less than the rest of the people in Adventists universities done you'll change the world from inside the holes in walls of Babylon through making wise choices in social situations and spending time in prayer with like minded friends. Friends we cannot be satisfied with where we are we must go forward we must work for change and as I said last night and I repeat again you can make a difference you shouldn't associations and student leaders can make a difference you'll small groups and your youth retreats they can make a difference your conversations in the dorm holes and in the cafeteria in the classroom if they can make a difference. And I praise God because I know so many out there that are making a difference I know so many that are keeping that banner high and there are great examples and witnesses in the schools in which they study and work friends you are doing the Lord's work and we praise God for your faithfulness for your commitment and for your dedication you are changing lives because sacrifices are recorded in the books of heaven and in the changed lives of the young people who have come across your path but we need more. And so students. We must look at ourselves. We must look within. Revival will not take place on our campuses if it does not 1st take place in our hearts. We must ask ourselves why are we even choosing to become students. Because some of our priorities are really messed up. There's more to life than a degree. There's more to life than a 4.00 as a glossy as it may look don't let your 4.0 son for 4 years of studies and 0 souls brought to the Lord. Even when you were in school work for Jesus because once you're in school Jesus is working for you. So many of our young people are out here spending their health on achieving wealth just to spend their wealth already achieving health or wasting our time to what end so that we can have career is so that we can have cars and houses. So that our cars can drive themselves give me a break. You can have more than that. You can have more than silver and gold you can have more than glossy paper and a frame. Friends there's openings in the Lords on me. Students I hope you listen to last night's message it only takes 11 young solo filled with the Holy Spirit to the brim to unlock the greatest of changes and so I implore you when your school back don't just say well I'm in the 3rd year of my 4th in studies I'm going to leave eventually what does it matter matters the legacy you leave behind in matters that the school that you're in is better for you being in it. If you feel like your school has strayed from the educational blueprint that the school has been gifted then do something about it it's too easy to sit there under the proverbial pomegranate trees and blame everyone else one thing I've learnt is simple if you're not willing to do something about it then keep this closed. Because you lack the days of attitude surrenders your right to be critical. Friends we're not alone in our desires I believe that the Lord wants to transform our educational institutions a complete transformation God will fight for us so I encourage you to pray for your schools get together with your friends that are like minded and put together strategic plans to implement change dialogue with your leaders your president your student leadership your pastors board members work together to make a difference to put mission focused Adventist schools back on the map. And friends if you cannot find a school that is following God's plan build it. It was once an outlandish dream that Andrews University campus would exist that Southern University campus would exist that Loma Linda that all could that Walla Walla that you nasty that Spicer would exist that n.c. you that held the Bergen Hoffman and cologne Newbold on permanent Avondale would exist they were pipe dreams but the Lord made them happen. Maybe we need more schools. To whites as if a world the influence is the best way in all school then sell it all to the worldlings and let them have the entire control and those that have invested their means in those institutions will establish another school. To be conducted not upon the plan of popular schools nor according to the desires of principals and teachers but upon the plan which God has specified. I'm not giving up on all schools but I'm also not willing to sit down and watch as we become like other schools Adventist education should be having a marked difference in the world and in some places it is but we need to turn that dial up. Friends don't give up on our schools don't stop praying for them don't stop supporting and don't stop supporting those students. We have educators all over the world that are giving their lives for the gospel through our schools I encourage you to support them. And so tonight I have but 2 of one appeal but for 2 completely different groups of people the 1st is for all leaders. Or teaches our president our board members our pastas our parents our student leaders all of our educators. Show tonight that you to design a revival and reformation on your campuses and in your homes I don't know what that means for you I don't know whether that means revising curriculum I don't know whether that means instituting family worship at home I don't know whether that means reevaluating your staff members I don't know whether that means completely changing your school. But if today you're in one of those categories if today you sit here as a leader and I know there may not be many this is a youth conference. But if you are here my appeal goes to you if the Spirit of God is speaking to you to be a part of a movement of revival and reformation in our schools I encourage you to step forward to see. I encourage you to stand here at the front and let your presence testify to those that are underneath you that we are in this work together. I stand with you. I know the high calling that God places on parents and on educators and I want you to know that your work is not in vain. I believe that if off focus is on revival within our schools and within our homes we will be home in no time. All homes in our schools will instead be in heaven. A foretaste of Eden. Or retakes. Of Eden. Young people I want you to look up. Because as much as we as young people need to be held accountable so do our leaders. That is not to say if they mess up because they'll mess up we all mess up we need grace. But be there for them pray for them encourage them in the work that they do because very often it is safe thankless position they're the ones that we notice when everything is falling apart when everything is going smoothly we just kind of turn a blind eye when they're just doing the work that they're supposed to do encourage encourage your educators encourage your leaders friends encourage your parents and for all students and all young people I believe you can make all the difference if you want to respond to this message I encourage you to give God your education. If you want to be a missionary in your school if you want to be a part of helping your school all schools get back on track maybe you see the revival is needed in your dormitory maybe it's needed in your cafeteria maybe it's needed in your classrooms friends. You can make the difference you can be more than just a number God can work in you will be bumps in the road and mistakes will be made by young people I encourage you. I encourage all of you. Stand stand not just for yourself stand not just for your own success but stand for the success of the gospel. Stand for the success of the Gospel being used and work through our academic institutions. Stand so that we can experience the revival that we should have experienced a 100 years ago. But don't you dare stand and then revert to type don't you stand and wait for someone else to do it communication communication communication let's work together to make the difference can you say man Father in heaven put these things in your hands because we have no strength we have no power we have no ability to bring affective and effectual change long lost in change true revival and reformation but loads I've seen it with my own eyes I've seen that our schools can experience those things I've seen that we can send out medical missionaries I've seen that we can send out gospel workers that are willing to lay down their lives as the marks of the world. For the put that missionary zeal back in our hearts. Father May we live and may we learn for your glory we pray in Jesus name in. This message was recorded at the g y c conference by many or by few in Louisville Kentucky do I see the supporting Ministry of the 7th Day Adventist Church seeks to challenge and inspire young people to take a sacrificial initiative for Christ to download other resources like this visit us online at u.s.c. Web dot org.


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