W.H. BRANSON'S REPORT ON ACCREDITATION Delivered at the Autumn Council October 30, 1935 On Presentation of the Report of the Survey Commission on Education
Branson [vice-president of
the North American Division]:
Branson [vice-president of
the North American Division]:
Chairman [Elder C.H. Watson, president of the General Conference], it was
in 1931 at our Autumn Council in Omaha, the question of accreditation our
schools was given consideration, at which time it was decided we should
enter upon an accreditation program for our educational institutions.
was given at that time for junior and senior colleges to seek accredition,
although certain restrictions as safeguards were thrown around the action,
I think it was all-inclusive so far as authorizing to proceed along this
line. I think that all the brethren who were present at the Omaha Council,
when this action was taken, entered into the proposition with fear and
trembling and many misgivings; even those who were most favorable to the
plan recognized that it was confronted with great danger, and that
probably we would find that there would be some losses along the way.
was described at that time by one of our leading workers as being a war
measure. It was stated in the action itself that it was an emergency
measure. The reason for the emergency seemed to be the fact that we were
facing a situation, as we understood it, that would make it all but
impossible to go on with certain lines of training unless our schools were
accredited. This is true of the [AMA approved] medical work. They stated
that it would be impossible for the College [of Medical Evangelists] to
receive students from junior and senior colleges unless these colleges
were accredited with regional accreditation associations.
was also stated that we had reached the time when teacher training could
not be carried on in any unaccredited school in a satisfactory way. Such
requirements made necessary, they said, the accreditation of schools for
the training of our teachers.
there was also a number of us that thought it was necessary, in some
places, that the pre-nursing work be given in accredited schools. So we
felt under great pressure, as in council when we studied this question
four years ago and arrived at the conclusions I have already stated.
think it should be mentioned in the beginning of the introduction to this
report, which we bring you today, that
it was not our educational men, at least not as a group, who brought this
pressure upon us at the council; but it seemed to be the general
conviction of the leadership of the movement. We went into it together; no
one group of workers can be singled out as whom we can point the finger
and state that they led us into it. It was said that we went into it
unitedly, believing that it was the best thing to do under the
were certain safeguards. After the action authorization of the schools to
receive accreditation, we passed these recommendations, with which we
endeavored to minimize the danger we knew would attend an effort of this
sort. I would now like to read them to you.
we know full well, from observation and repeated warnings from the Spirit
of Prophecy, that by sending our teachers to the universities of the world
for advanced degrees, we are exposing them to great dangers; it is
evidenced by the number of our men who have already in this way lost their
hold upon God; we realize that there is great danger to our system of
Christian education through the molding influence of these worldly schools
on our teachers:
recommend that, in the selection of teachers to attend the universities,
only persons of outstanding Christian experience and who have been
successful in Christian work should be chosen—persons whose faith in the
Bible and Spirit of Prophecy is well grounded, and who realize that in
attending the university they are being exposed to subtle and almost
unconscious influences of infidelity —
—persons who believe with all their hearts in the superiority of Christian education.
are the safeguards the Council of 1931 endeavored to throw around this
plan. It will be noticed that it was definitely and frankly recognized
that we were facing the danger of placing those seasoned, solid ones who
would be chosen to be sent to the university, along certain lines, in
great danger. In discussing the action it was stated that a number of men
had already lost their hold upon God as the result of an endeavor to
secure standing by getting worldly degrees; and yet, understanding the
fact, it seemed as though the pressure was so great as to make it almost
absolutely necessary for us to accredit; and it drove us to the place
where we felt we should have to take some steps, and so the brethren
joined in agreeing that we would authorize our schools to seek
years have gone by since that time. These have been years in which we have
gained a great deal of experience. We were launched at that time upon an
uncertain course. No one knew much about what was involved in
accreditation. Some thought they knew a great deal about it, but it has
been discovered that some of the information that we had was not accurate.
Some of it may have been more or less accurate, but we have gained an
experience. We have revised our plans and our ideas a good many times
along the way during these four years. We have spent a great deal of
money — — —
—much more than some supposed would be necessary
—in securing the accreditation we received. It has been spent along a number of lines
—common among these, teacher training. As it was authorized at the time, our colleges have been sending their teachers to outside universities during this time of transition. The teachers were not able to go unsupported; it has been necessary, in the colleges, to help support them to get this training, and also to pay the expenses of their tuition while attending the university. Most of this has been done during the school year making it necessary to substitute teachers to take the place of those who are in training.
was also incurred in putting up more buildings and adding other necessary
equipment that was demanded by the representatives of the accreditation
board. In some places, this has become a large sum. Then other things came
to the attention of the board. There should be an endowment, an income, in
our schools, or in lieu of that, some guaranteed income above the
students tuition and above anything we had planned upon or provided for
in our schools before. In some instances, the subsidy required was at
least double the amount that had been coming to our colleges before. It
was also necessary that our schools should be out of debt; in order to
accomplish that, it has been necessary for conference organizations to
assume large indebtedness held by these institutions. In order to relieve
the institutions, and the conferences took over the burden of paying this
these four years, two of our six colleges have reached the goal and became
accredited. These are two schools in the West [PUC and WWC]. None of our
other senior colleges have reached the goal, and some of them find that
they are far from reaching it yet —
—just how far no one knows. Just what may be required in them if they seek accreditation, we are not able to discover. Representatives of the colleges accredition bodies will not tell us. They will make suggestions of this and that and say you failed here or there, but they will not tell us definitely what we must do; and when what they have said has been done, we think surely we will be accredited. But we have still been groping in the dark. We have been trying to find out what is necessary, but we find other things necessary; so we go on year after year.
struggle became so great in the spring of this year, when two of our
colleges in the central West were turned down for the second or third
time, that their boards, after some joint council, decided to appeal to
the General Conference committee for counsel as to what they should do
next. Whether or not both of these schools, fairly close together and in
the same territory, would continue to seek for accreditation has been
discussed. They asked that study be given to this by the General
Conference, through some commission appointed for this purpose. It was
also requested that we carefully study the whole question of our
educational situation in the North American field; so, at the time of the
Spring Council of this year, a commission, which is to report this
morning, was brought into being.
commission was given full power, so far as study of our educational work
is concerned. In our consideration of this question of accreditation, the
committee was asked to take up for consideration the present trend in our
educational work. What modifications should be made in our educational
program? I would like to say that our report this morning will not cover
so wide a field as the authorization would warrant. The reason for this is
given in the report itself.
the many months that have passed since the Spring Council, the commission
has been at work practically all the time in one way or another. We had
the first meeting before we left Washington after the Spring Council had
made the appointment. At the time we proceeded to appoint a fact-finding
committee of five men, including Brother Conrad who was at that time in
South America; this committee was asked to visit all of our senior and
junior colleges in North America to glean certain information the
commission desired to have before it in many lines, and to bring their
report to the meeting of the educational commission to be held prior to
this council. Brother Conrad was recalled from South America.
committee has spent a great deal of time going from school to school and
setting down a careful survey on the situation of each and every
institution, we have the benefit of the large array of facts which they
were able to secure. We believe, Brother Chairman, as a result of our
study of this situation, that the safeguards that we tried to throw around
the policy of accreditation four years ago, when we entered upon this
course, have very largely broken down. Therefore we entered upon a course
that we did not plan on, and we know that things have gone further than we
anticipated. We were facing dangers and perils, in this matter of
accreditation of our colleges, that were little dreamed of at that time,
when this action was taken four years ago.
of a few teachers being selected carefully by college boards as was
recommended (that is, teachers who
would present outstanding Christian experience, be successful in their
Christian work, and have fidelity to the Bible and Testimonies that is
unquestioned), we have found that a large class of very young and immature
people have been finding their way into the universities, believing that
it was a highway to appointment in our institutional work. They have not
waited to gain these years of Christian experience —
—the experience that comes through years of Christian service. They have not waited to be chosen by some board that would carefully weigh the question of whether or not this or that individual should go to the university. Scores of these young people have been going from the graduating classes of our colleges into the universities, believing that this would facilitate their going into our work or finding employment in an educational institution.
commission brought us information that, from one college alone, thirty had
gone into the university for further training during these years. We are
told that, for a social evening in one university, there was a
get-together of our Seventh-day Adventist students attending there; forty
present of these were at that social, and not all were reached by
invitation. We might multiply facts like this which indicated to us, as we
believed, that this thing has gotten out of hand. It has gone way beyond
anything the denomination planned, and the by-products of this are found
in the schools where boards have been pressed by the accreditation body to
put men on their faculty who have advanced degrees; they did not know
where to turn for men of experience and outstanding integrity to fill the
positions. They have felt obliged to take some of these immature men who
have not been selected but who have pushed their own way into the
university, secured their degree, and presented themselves for employment.
believe, Mr. Chairman, that in this we face one of our greatest dangers;
for instead of careful selection, we have come to the place where we have
been forced to take men who otherwise
would not have been chosen for the responsible places to which they
do not think this has been done to any large extent as yet, but we find
the tendency growing in college boards as more and more the pressure is
brought to bear by accreditation bodies; and the boards find themselves at
their wits end to know what to do to build up a faculty that will
commend themselves to these organizations.
believe, as a result of what has taken place, the wrong emphasis is being
placed on certain things in our work. We believe that undue emphasis is
being placed upon the idea of securing degrees from worldly institutions
rather than training our youth for spiritual service in the cause of God.
I suppose many of us could testify honestly that we have been hearing more
during the past four years about degrees, accreditation,
and universities than we have heard in our lifetime before. Some of us
have had to learn a new vocabulary, in the language, in trying to fathom
what this is all about and what it means. I remember a few years ago we
didnt hear such things as we are talking about now; the emphasis now is
being placed upon the importance of worldly studies and degrees, and this
is having a mighty influence. Scores of teachers believe it is alright for
them to be trained in outside universities, as a result of denominational
sanction and encouragement in advising them to do so. Many will be lost,
lose their hold upon God, and will not fill a position of responsibility
in this cause that it was designed of God that they should fill. If they
should fill positions of responsibility, many of them would bring into the
denominational work influences that would lead further and further afield
from the original purpose that was in the hearts of the men who
established this work.
commission believes, therefore, that, as a denomination, we are drifting;
that it is entrusted to us at this Autumn Council, of 1935, to endeavor to
call a halt, to retrace our course, to drive down new stakes, and
determine by the help of God that we will rectify anything that is wrong
in what we undertook to do four years ago.
was pointed out by our General Conference president, [C.H. Watson] in his
address that was read yesterday morning [Review, November 21, 1935,
pp. 3-8], other religious bodies have passed this way before us. As a
result of their efforts to secure worldly recognition, we know they made
shipwreck of their faith. There are exceptions in individual cases, but
this statement is almost universally true. I think I would like to
emphasize that fact and read, from an article, some quotations that
Brother Wilcox wrote in the Review and Herald, which I think sets
the situation clearly before us as [well as] any statement that we may
choose to read. This is from Andrew D. Harmon, the president of
Transylvania College, an article which appeared in the Current History,
hitherto undisputed claim that the church college carried a more wholesome
moral and spiritual atmosphere has been a compelling argument in its favor. But this claim is seriously questioned today. The requirements of
standardizing agencies have compelled church colleges to shift their
emphasis from morality to scholarship. This has changed the whole mental
pattern and modified the spirit of church colleges. They have not
developed, in recent years ,along lines that express the urge and soul of
vital Christianity. They have given up their natural element of greatest
strength (religion), and taken up the tax-supported institutions
element of greatest weakness (standardization) . .
forces that terminate institutions have a long drift, but they move
inexorably. Usually the change is at hand before society is aware. The
passing of the church college is now taking place, and most of its
devotees are looking upon the transition; some are even players in the
drama, and do not recognize it. [Review and Herald, October 24,
1935, pp. 3-4]
wondered, as I read this, whether Seventh-day Adventists were included in
the last remark of this statement, The passing of the church college is
now taking place, and most of its devotees are looking upon the
transition; some are even players in the drama and do not recognize it. We
have been in the period of transition for a period of four years. We
recognize, on every hand, that there has been a shift of standards, a
shift in the ideals, a shift in the emphasis, till many of our people
throughout the churches of this land are becoming alarmed. We hear it on
every hand. There is alarm, and that alarm is in the hearts of our best
leaders and laymen that make up the membership of our churches. Since, as
this man states, other denominations have passed along this way, the
universal result has been the passing of the church college, dropping the
ideals of the founders in the establishment of these schools. It seems to
us of this commission that we need to restate whether or not we are able
to follow the same course they have been following,
follow it to its conclusion, and yet stand against the tide that
has swept them off their feet. Can we maintain our ideals in their purity
and yet reach, to the fullest extent, the recognition from the world and
agree to being standardized by the world, which means that we must be
under the domination of these worldly organizations?
hold in my hand here a report that was rendered by the representatives of
one of these accreditation organizations —
—a recent report that was made concerning one of our colleges. This college was being surveyed, by representatives of the accreditation board, to ascertain whether or not their application for accreditation would be granted. In the very outset of the report, we find the following statement was made:
original articles of incorporation in this particular college definitely
state that the college was organized to provide special opportunity for
men and women to become acquainted with the mission fields and to have
education in branches and methods for the same. The school was a part of
the missionary program of the church. That ideal has persisted to a
considerable extent and has affected the spirit of the curriculum and
methods of the college; but a change in emphasis has slowly taken place,
and now education as a preparation for various careers and, most of all,
for the art of living is the dominant ideal.
we are commended here by representatives of the accreditation board; the
comment was because of the fact that we have changed our ideals, are
farther away from the idea of training men and women for the mission
fields of the world, and are coming to the place where we train them for
the various careers and the art of living. And what has been said of that
school may possibly be observed in some of our other institutions. I am
reminded of this earnest appeal in the eleventh psalm, the third verse,
where he says in speaking of the drift in his day: If the foundations
be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
want to present this question to you  in the light of what we have seen
happen to other churches,  in the light of the accreditation board, and
what they say of the drift in our own institutions,  in the light of
what we see in the way of scores of apostasies. I want to bring this
appeal from the commission that if the foundations be destroyed, what can
the righteous do? And some of us were very much afraid of what was going
on, by our own inauguration, four years ago; that is, to some degree (God
only knows to what degree), destroying the foundations of this
denomination and bringing in to us and our work an element that is
altogether unsafe —
—if our doctrines are to remain pure, if we are to remain loyal to the ideals that led to the establishment of this denomination and our institutions in the beginning.
think of the words to ancient Israel, spoken by a prophet who was trying
to speak evil concerning Israel; the Lord made him to speak a blessing
instead of a curse. And Balaam spoke these words, From the top of the
rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him. Lo, the people shall
dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Numbers
has been Gods program all through the ages. Israel shall dwell alone
and shall not be reckoned among the nations. And I believe that has a very
definite application to the Israel of God here in this last generation, as
He endeavors to convert the people and to take them to heaven. It seems to
me that Israel needs to be free from the government of worldly
organizations that know not God in these times.
read in 6 Testimonies, 145:
in many respects our institutions of learning have swung into worldly
conformity, though step by step they advanced toward the world, they are
prisoners of hope. Fate has not so woven its meshes about their workings
that they need to remain helpless and in uncertainty. If they will listen
to His voice and follow in His ways, God will correct and enlighten them,
and bring them back to their upright position of distinction from the
wonder if we have drifted step by step backwards since the years when this
earnest appeal was made to us, whether we would not have to admit that we
have drifted far from that state. Oh, I hope it is still true that we are
only prisoners of hope! I hope there is a way back to Gods plan and
original purposes that the founders of this faith had in their hearts when
they started out to train men and women into Christian service; and if we
will listen to Gods voice and follow in His way, God will correct and
enlighten us. I hope God will give us the correction that we need at this
time. We do not profess to know what ought to be done, but we have
suggestions. But somehow we know the foundation underlying this great
educational system of the Seventh-day Adventists must not be disturbed.
It must stand if we, as a people, are to stand in our responsibility of
carrying a peculiar message to the world preparing for the coming of
Christ. Worldly standards are becoming more and more apparent. No one
person is to blame, but we are to blame, for we have done the thing that
has led to the situation that we find ourselves in. There is grave danger
that our colleges will be turned away from their original design.
G. White says in Counsels to Teachers, 86:
is danger that our college will be turned away from its original design.
Gods purpose has been made known—that our people should have an
opportunity to study the sciences, and at the same time to learn the
requirements of His word. Biblical lectures should be given; the study of
the Scriptures should have the first place in our system of education.
(also in 5 Testimonies, 21
page 532 of the same book:
has revealed to me that we are in positive danger of bringing into our
educational work the customs and fashions that prevail in the schools of
the world. If teachers are not guarded, they will place on the necks of
their students worldly yokes instead of the yoke of Christ. The plan of
the schools we shall establish in these closing years of the message is to
be of an entirely different order from those we have instituted.
need now to begin over again. Reforms must be entered into with heart and
soul and will. Errors may be hoary with age; but age does not make error
truth, nor truth error. Altogether too long have the old customs and
habits been followed. The Lord would now have every idea that is false put
away from teachers and students. We are not at liberty to teach that which
shall meet the worlds standard or the standard of the church, simply
because it is the custom to do so. The lessons which Christ taught are to
be the standard. That which the Lord has spoken concerning the instruction
to be given in our schools is to be strictly regarded; for if there is not
in some respects an education of an altogether different character from
that which has been carried on in some of our schools, we need not have
gone to the expense of purchasing lands and erecting school buildings.
And, from page 534 of Fundamentals of Education, I
is constant danger among our people that those who engage in labor in our
schools and sanitariums will entertain the idea that they must get in line
with the world, study the things which the world studies, and become
familiar with the things that the world becomes familiar with. This is one
of the greatest mistakes that could be made. We shall make grave mistakes
unless we give special attention to the searching of the Word.
has been given me that tremendous pressures will be brought upon every
Seventh-day Adventist with whom the world can get into close connection.
Those who seek the education that the world esteems so highly, are
gradually led further and further from the principles of truth until they
become educated worldlings. At what a price have they gained their
education! They have parted with the Holy Spirit of God. They have chosen
to accept what the world calls knowledge in the place of the truths which
God has committed to men through His ministers and prophets and apostles.
And there are some who, having secured this worldly education, think that
they can introduce it into our schools. But let me tell you that you must
not take what the world calls the higher education and bring it into our
schools and sanitariums and churches. We need to understand these things.
I speak to you definitely . This must not be done.
a result of the study the educational commission has given these matters,
as we have reviewed them personally and collectively—this instruction
that is upon the record books for us, that chartered our course in
establishing our institutions—it has become a profound conviction with
us that we are drifting and that we have departed far from the blueprint
that God gave to this people in the matter of establishing and operating
our schools. We therefore have been led to the conviction that it is not
necessary for this denomination to accredit six senior colleges. We do not
believe the pressure we seemed to be under four years ago was all actual.
Part of it, we believe, was unreal. And we believe some of the pressure
that did exist at that time has been lessened.
have come to a time, in carrying forward our medical work, when the
accreditation boards governing medical college work have now reduced the
number of medical students that can be received by the college annually to
a hundred or less. Some of those who are accepted by our medical college
come from outside institutions not of our faith. Some come from private
Seventh-day Adventist schools. Eighty percent come from our denominational
schools, making a group of some eighty that can be received annually into
our medical college. We do not believe that it is necessary to have a
large number of educational institutions accredited by worldly
organizations in order to prepare such a small number of premedical
find, according to our investigations, what seems to be accurate
information, that many of our schools can go on with teachers training
work by maintaining what they have already accredited with State
Departments of Education and with local educational institutions. And the
question of teacher training does not loom up so large as it did four
years ago. We feel that the question of training nurses is not so acute.
The number taking pre-nursing work is not so acute that it requires
wholesale accreditation of our Seventh-day Adventist schools. But, with
the accreditation of our junior college departments and our junior
colleges, as such, in certain localitiesand few of themwe would be
able, at least for the present, to take care of the need of having some of
our schools standardized and recognized in certain courses in order to do
we believe that we should take steps, very definite steps at this council,
looking toward a very definite effort to minimize the dangers that we face
and the perils that we are facing on every hand as a result of the step we
took four years ago. We believe that if two senior colleges in North
America [PUC and EMC] were to secure accreditation of their senior work,
it would furnish us ample facilities for giving courses where senior
college accreditation is necessary. And if that is true, then, as a
people, we should set ourselves to the task of operating the rest of our
institutions without seeking for worldly recognition. We believe we ought
to send out a clarion call from this councila call to our youth who are
seeking a training in worldly institutions to come out of these
institutions and endeavor to help them find places of responsibility in
the cause of God where they can gain experience that will fit them for a
life of missionary endeavor.
are ready to admit that in our action of four years ago we went too far.
We find that we made a mistake. We believe that authority was given that
gave too wide a range to the plan of our institutions seeking for
accreditation from these organizations. And if it was a mistake, we
believe God will forgive that mistake and lead us back to the right plan,
only as we are willing to face and acknowledge the mistake and turn our
faces toward the truth and find the way out.
believe that we should endeavor to change the emphasis that has been
placed on worldly standards and degrees; that we should begin to turn the
emphasis in our educational work upon training young men and women to go
out and preach this message with power. We need young women as Bible
workers, who will also teach
this message with power. We need to train young men and women to go to the
mission fields in the world with strong abiding faith in God and this
message, without having that faith lessened or in any way minimized by
contact with worldly schools and organizations that do not believe in God
and this message. We should train them in our own schools and ignore
standards of the world to a large degreeto the degree that their
standards modify the standards of Seventh-day Adventists. Therefore I
think we are prepared at this time to bring you the findings that our
commission has prepared.
[W.E.] Nelson (president of PUC, 1921-1934, and the secretary of the
General Conference Department of Education, 1933-1936), with your
permission, I am asking to come forward and read these recommendations to
us. Accordingly the following report was read by Professor Nelson [as
published in the (Review and Herald, November 28, 1935, page 6):
OF THE DISCUSSION WHICH FOLLOWED ELDER BRANSON'S REPORT
[W.E.] Nelson [Secretary of the Educational Department, General
Conference]: Mr. Chairman [C.H. Watson], I move the adoption of this
report . .
question is on the motion to adopt.
. Just a few words by way of explanation. In choosing Pacific Union
College and Emmanuel Missionary College as the two colleges designated
here for the securing and maintenance of accreditation by the accredition
boards, we did not make this choice because we feel that they were
superior to the others. It was just largely a matter of geography. One on
the west and one toward the east and situated in about the center of the
constituency of our people in the East and the Western States.
suggesting that the other four colleges
[UC, AUC, WMC, WWC] should continue their work as senior colleges
without accreditation, we did not believe, nor do we believe now, that we
are doing them any injustice in any way or crippling them in the matter of
securing student attendance more than at the present time. Our colleges
that have not succeeded in securing college accreditation are full to
overflowing. It seems to have made practically no difference in student
enrollment of these schools . .
believe that the report of this meeting and the feelings of our own people
throughout the field will result in training a large number of young
people to these [unaccredited] institutions that seek especially to train
for our own work, and which do not undertake to give a special training
for the professions . .
Nelson, [President] of New Jersey [Conference]:
am speaking as a father of four children. I have a boy in the second year
of college and a girl starting in the academic course, and other children
coming on, soon ready for their academic work. I have been concerned by
the large agitation concerning accreditation. There has grown up a spirit
among many of our colleges to be accredited. This influence is not good
upon our young people. For the sake of my boys and girls, for the sake of
the other young people in this movement and for the future of this cause,
I am thankful to the Lord for the note of reformation sounded here this
morning, giving them the imprint of our schools and leaving that imprint
upon the rank and file of our people.
was riding on the train with a Baptist director for the State of Wisconsin
who has charge of one hundred and fifty-six Baptist churches. He told me
he had eliminated every fundamentalist preacher out of those churches
except three, and he expected to clean them up within the year. That is
what a Baptist university did for the Baptist denomination. The Chicago
University is almost entirely responsible for what has happened to the
Baptist churches of America.
answer to that man was to tell him what God has done for my soul. It was
an argument he could not answer, and when he left me he took my hand and
thanked me. I gave the one argument that will answer modernism —
—the converting power of God on my soul. I believe we started on the same road, the highway that will head to the undermining of the foundations of this movement.
believe God is at this time calling for repentance and for us to turn
about face and to take our stand and escape the consequences and turn to
the right. The Lord has counseled us not to be connected by so much as a
thread, and yet some of our schools are so bound to worldly systems that
we cannot cut the rope. It will take a decided attitude on our part to
save them. I would feel terrible if, as a denomination, we would have to
travel the same desert road that the other Protestant denominations have
been traveling and, as sure as we start on these roads, we will turn out
in the same way.
believe we are men that can face a crisis. I believe we can face it, and
under God take a stand that we should take. I know that brethren connected
with our colleges are wondering what this is going to mean to them. I
imagine they can see serious difficulty if these resolutions are adopted,
as I think they will be. I do not believe we should counsel our fear. I
think we should counsel the guiding of the Lord. As individuals we are
supposed to take our stand. When we hold [evangelistic] meetings, men who
have families take their stand and face the peril of losing their jobs.
Shall we as a church refuse to face problems? I think we should march
forward irrespective and surmount the difficulties and the burdens the
Lord has laid upon our General Conference president to take a stand, and I
am sure Gods hand will be with us.
think we all felt, in 1931 when this matter was brought to us, that we
were discussing a very important thing. I believe those men who voted
yes as well as those who voted no understood that, and that
they had a sense of their definite responsibility. We have all been
observers of that vote since 1931. I am glad to have the opportunity of
meeting so many leaders of the Work. I personally believe the vote we took
at that time was in the wrong direction. I have been instructed by the
Word and the writings of Sister White very definitely about this since
that time. The instruction is so definite. It seems to me that we have to
choose what has been so plainly stated, whether or not we will not enter
upon a course and compromise. It seems to me that we should recognize this
as we come to a discussion of these recommendations. We now face a real
choice as the brother has quoted to you from the Testimonies that have
helped to instruct and bring me to a decision that is so very definite . .
just want to say to you, Mr. Chairman and to the delegates, it is in my
heart to know that the voice of God is speaking to me in that instruction.
I think we entered upon a course wrong in principle in 1931. We committed
ourselves to a program of education that, as we have followed it, is
turning more and more the control of that program into the hands of
worldly men; I do not see how
we can maintain the ideals that God has given to us, [while] following
their program. So I believe the report of this commission calls us to the
right side. If it may work out, I feel sure this report is getting quite a
ways from wrong to right, and I believe you and I feel before God that we
should support influences that have been brought to us from the work of
this commission. I believe God has placed before us very definitely the
standards that we have, and we do not have to go to the world to inquire.
I think we have been mistaken in accepting standards from the world in
education and in other standards . .
[S.A.] Ruskjer [Canadian Union Conference]:
believe that the entire future of the youth of this denomination is
dependent upon maintaining, in the institutions of education, the
educational policies of this denomination, right principles and clinging
to the blueprint God has given to us.
very long ago I had the privilege of visiting with the man who stands at
the head of the schools of an entire denomination. During the course of
our conversation, he said that he was deeply concerned over the trend of
his denomination, stating that his denomination was rapidly losing its
youth, and I know his statement is correct. He stated that it seems to him
the way schools at the present time, colleges and seminaries, are drifting
in a worldly direction, years from now they will cease to exist if we continue to
drift in this direction. I asked him why he made such a statement; he
pointed out to me that since schools had reached out, affiliated with the
universities, and employed
teachers who have been trained in non-Christian universities, they have
come back into the schools, brought to the schoolroom a spirit of unbelief
in the Book of all books, and we are drifting.
a member of this denomination, I do not want to be a party, in that
direction, in any plan that will make it more difficult for our youth to
hold true to the fundamentals that God has given to us. I do not think
that we are throwing any halo of glory upon the two institutions that we
are recommending to maintain accreditation. I think we should pray
earnestly for these two. Decidedly, I think we should eliminate these from
the accredited class if we can.
believe we are beginning to realize the difficulties and to come back to
the right way.
am thankful, too, that we have found out our mistake. It increases my
faith in the leadership of the movement. I am very thankful for the new
trend that has been started in our midst yesterday morning and again this
morning. The resolution makes recognition of two colleges that are to have
accreditation and be supported and maintained by the denomination.
colleges are disappointed, evidently, because each one is not among the
two. It is no better for one college to be disappointed than for another.
I believe we must have accredited colleges, and two is altogether
sufficient for the needs of our small denomination . .
believe the underlying motive that is promised in this reformation is the
value of our youth and not the cost in money to our denomination. We are
burdened for the salvation of our boys and girls and their place in this
movement. We are burdened to finish the work. We are not so much concerned
with the cost as the value of these boys and girls. I wish we could have
changed the introduction to these resolutions to that effect . .
Elder [F.M.] Wilcox [editor of the Review and Herald]:
years ago I stood very decidedly against the accreditation in any form. I
stand on practically the same ground today. I was a member of this
commission, and I united with my brethren in presenting this report
because it seems to me it was the best under the circumstances.
am confronted in all my thinking on this question with two or three very
positive statements in the Spirit of Prophecy. Sister White says our union
schools, our colleges, should be prepared to furnish our medical schools
[FE 489-491; CT 479-481]. This is emphasized again and again. I must
recognize this, and I must take it and balance it up with the other
instruction that has come from her. When I read this statement, I have
been led to consent to any form or degree of accreditation of our schools.
This would require at least junior accreditation on the part of some of
our schools. It does not require senior accreditation. I believe that the
educational policies that the world has fastened upon the denomination is
like a great octopus. Its tentacles reach out to every school; and, in
this report of the commission, we are merely clipping some of the
tentacles of that octopus, and I hope in God that the time will come when
we can take our students clear away from worldly things in our schools.
we took our stand four years ago in favor of accreditation, while I
opposed it, I believe my brethren who favored it were just as honest as I,
and I was glad when we took the stand that we were being safeguarded; but,
just as Professor Nelson said in his last speech, our schools threw their
whole heart and soul into it—as we do with Harvest Ingathering.
the last few years there has been a university bias. I tell you how I
think we can protect that. I think we should enunciate the principles we
have heard from this desk, to return to our old paths; and, in our
personal influence as workers, to turn the hearts of our parents and
children away from the wrong way. I believe it would go much further than
any resolution that we can pass here . . While I favor this report, it is
a compromise; I favor it as a compromise, and I hope there will come a
time next year when we can return free from these influences all about us.
feel perplexed and confused. I cannot quite harmonize the speech of
yesterday by Elder Watson [Review, 11/21/1935] and the speeches
today in favor of accreditation. If we do not accredit our medical
schools, we fear what can happen to us, we are today told. We were told
yesterday to exercise faith. I do not honestly see how I can go back and
repeat your speech, Elder Watson; and, when the brethren ask me, Are we
tied by a thread? say Not a thread. How can I harmonize that by
what we are doing today when we authorize accreditation for all our
academies, for all of our junior colleges, and for all?
now we think we have saved the cause from these wicked things by
eliminating three from accreditation. I am afraid we will rue this day if
we go ahead with this program.
years ago we did make a mistake. We made a mistake, as you say. I stand
for accreditation. I don't want you to misunderstand that —
—for the kind of accreditation the Testimonies speak of, and it is right to accredit to meet the medical standards; and if these are to be based in the future on a three years course, then we must be ready. We cannot blow hot and cold.
do not see, Brother Watson, how I can go home and stand for your speech to
adopt and accept the motion today.
Chairman, I do not wish to appear opposed to this resolution, but I
remember four years ago when I was talking to Elder McElhaney about this
matter when the vote was taken. He said we will see the day when we will
rue what we have done. Now we have accredited two senior colleges [PUC and
WWC]. Now we propose to recommend that another college be accredited, and
that all junior colleges proceed with caution. If this is wrong, how can
it be right to recommend to accredit another? If we should not be tied by
so much as a thread, why not cut loose?
have a medical college that is giving the Cause wonderful service. I think
I shall say nothing that is not already known when I say that the medical
college has received criticism from time to time because of this and that,
but it has an encouraging record both of the work it does and the results
of that work. When I go to the mission fields and observe there the
medical missionary work that is being done and the influences that have
been generated by that work and the place and play of those influences in
the light and in the scope of our missionary work in those places; we are
bound to recognize the service that has been rendered in that work is a
service that could not possibly be rendered by any other class of workers.
have to consider the special value of this work to this cause generally.
Now, we recognize that very much of the urge of accreditation for
educational work has come from the medical college, for it can only carry
on its [regular] work on that basis, the basis allowed by the American
Medical Association. That we have met with friendliness toward our medical
college has been something we have recognized as being brought to us under
the influence of God. No matter what the character of the men might have
been, they have manifested and expressed that friendliness; and we have
recognized that God had certainly brought it to us in His own way and by
His own knowledge of our needs.
we decide to wholly discontinue that [regular] medical college, there has
to be accreditation of the schools that prepare students for entrance to
the courses in the college. There is no other way of having them enter
there. There has to be certain specialized training of at least some of
the teachers that prepare students for entrance to these schools in which
that training is given, and these schools in which that [regular] training
is given must be accredited. These must be at least junior colleges. That
is why the report holds to accredit to the status of junior college except
in the cases of two institutions.
a question propounded by Elder Verner Johns) Item number two [of the
recommendations] does not make it obligatory for any school to have any
recognition. This has placed a maximum and not a minimum on accreditation
which leaves every school free. It leaves Pacific Union College and
Emmanuel Missionary College free not to get it. It says they may. It does
not say they shall. So it is not necessary, by mandate of this body, that
Emmanuel Missionary College and Pacific Union College or the Lake Union go
to all that expense. It may if it wishes. I think that must be taken into
hope if these should feel that they don't want to accredit their
schools, the schools for which they are responsible, they will have faith
enough to stop it and show how it can be done.
Chairman, I think it should be defined here what accrediting really is. I
cannot read anywhere in the Testimonies that,
in order to meet state requirements, we shall have to join up with
the North Central Association or the Middle States Association or any
other regional body, for these associations have no state recognition.
They are not known by the state. They have no legal sanction or status.
we are obliged to accredit our schools at all, as some seem to think, to
meet the requirements of the statements in the Spirit of Prophecy [Medical
Ministry, pp. 57-58, Councils To
Teachers, pp. 480-481] (if this is the real interpretation),
why cannot we get state recognition instead? Personally, I do not believe
in any accreditation at all from outside sources. If we are going to come
out of Babylon, why not come altogether out, and not have two or three
[P.T.] Magan [president of CME]:
Chairman, I am not rising to discuss in any way the entire question. I
have not been here. I only got here late last night from Toronto where it
was my duty to attend a meeting of the Association of AMA colleges, and .
. the proposal was put forth that the medical colleges should be obliged
to go on a three-year pre-medical basis, and that means a three-year
accredited basis. That is not the law yet, but that was brought up by Dr.
Paterson, the president, in his annual address; and it seems to have met
with practically universal favor. In all probability by another year or
so, you will see that rule . . I am stating this to you because as sure as
medical schools are obliged to go to a three-year basis, then within a
year or two years junior colleges are out of the list . .
out the instruction given Monday morning by Elder Watson and the counsel
given yesterday morning by Elder Branson, I think we will be altogether
unfortunate, Mr. Chairman, to tear down anything already built up. The
value of the past two years in educational work has been wild agitation
for accreditation, giving
publicity to accreditation in our schools, and educating the minds of our young people toward
is nothing wrong in high attainment. That is held up in the Spirit of
—very high attainment. I am altogether opposed, as I expressed yesterday afternoon, to this wild seeking for accreditation and publicity attending the same . .
facts involve us in the consideration of whether or not we will continue
with an educational program that has become more and more worldly or
whether we will start an educational plan that is in harmony with the
instruction we have received from God. The plan of accrediting our
schools, adopted four years ago, has been a very strong contributing
factor during these four years to our educational program becoming more
and more worldly in its character, in its aim, in its determination to
meet the requirements of outside accreditation bodies . . These
accreditation bodies have not only shown their determination, they are
determined to control the program of our educational work and also the
methods by which that program shall be carried out. There is no doubt
seems to members of the commission that we are shut up to three courses of
procedure. All of these three views have been agitated on the floor of the
council. One is that we do nothing to try to turn back the tide of
worldliness flooding our schools, do nothing to meet or quiet the fears of
those who think we are in the wrong way . . We cannot conceive of this
council taking a stand of that kind. It seems to us that something must be
done. It is imperative that something should be done to turn the tide back
again, and to turn the great number of our young people, in our churches
who are in the universities, into the general denominational endeavor
rather than have them in the outside universities.
feel, on the other hand, that a great number of suggestions have been made
that go to the other extreme —
—to sweep aside altogether this plan for accreditation of our schools. We think these suggestions would be premature. It may come to that. It may come to the place where we shall have to close the [regular] medical college, but I join the president of the General Conference and say that, if it is necessary to do that to stem the tide of worldliness, I would be favorable to it.
do not believe that this denomination must be led into a worldly position
by any institution in our ranks. I do not believe that it is the desire of
the medical college; yet it
has been the urge that has come from the medical college, to urged us to
accredit this thing four years ago; and it will be the urge from that
school to continue on as is. I don't believe that we should be hasty in
an action to brush aside accreditation; that would mean closing the
[regular] medical college, closing all [regular] teacher training.
believe in the plan suggested by the commission, that which adequately
provides for the meeting of every need of the medical college for the
present. We do not have a three-year preparatory course yet. We do not
know that it will ever be a three-year course. If it ever comes to a
three-year course, we can accomplish that without accrediting all our
colleges, and can go on as we have .
Howell [Secretary of General Conference Educational Department, 1918-
a member of this commission, I am for the report. I opposed the
accreditation for so many years, guided by the teaching of the Spirit of
Prophecy as I believed them, and still believe them, though I find it
difficult to orient myself to the present situation without analyzing it a
bit. I believe in the integrity and loyalty of our college men in the
matter of accreditation. They have set about to do well what they are
authorized to do. They were faced with a problem new in kind and in
experience, and were compelled to feel their way as they went.
Authorization to accredit removed considerable restraint in the matter of
resorting to worldly centers of education; college administrators were
under much pressure to over-step proper bounds, and in spite of the fact
that bounds were set up in the authorization act. We must be careful, and
not be critical of our college leaders. I believe in the principle of
accreditation, but with limitation . . [Unfortunately, Elder Howell, along
with the rest, failed to see that these counsels require that a special [Medical
Ministry, pp. 61-62; Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp.
534-536; Loma Linda Messages, pp. 899-903] education should be
given to those who desire to practice as regularly qualified
[J.F.] Piper [Union College board chairman]:
whole issue is revolving around EMC and Union College. I think I am
correct in saying that, for we have been concerned. I think this question
is perhaps one of the most important that has been considered by this body
since I have been meeting with it.
The policy provided, in 1931, that we only select teachers
with definite Christian experience to enter upon graduate training in the
universities of the world. Experience has taught us that this is
impossible, for the moment we set the standards for teaching efficiency,
with a university training, that moment every young man and young woman
who seeks to reach the highest in teaching feels forced to enter upon the
training that will bring him to the highest place, and we have not been
able to control it. We have such a situation here. As a result of that
action within the last four years, forty of our young people were in one
university at the same time seeking training to help them reach their
objectives in education. If you can continue this program, which destroys
our own denominational ideals of true education, then we are wasting our
time by discussing the report of this commission. It gives some of us a
burden, for it has shown itself
to be beyond the control of the policy adopted in 1931. The medical
college was at one time the chief urge for accreditation. It is a large
part of the urge today; and, if it comes to a choice between whether we
continue the [regular] medical college or go worldly, my vote shall be
that we shall not continue our [regular] medical work; and, as a leader in
the denomination, I am calling upon you, in the fear of God, to take this
step to keep the principles of true education from being lost to us. That
is my appeal. It is silly and useless of us to go to the world with any
statement that God has given us, the principles of true education, and
then take steps that will head us toward a total ignorance of these
principles in the very near future. These are the steps that we have taken
in the last four years. We are urged to
chose between certain things. The training of educators in the
service of this denomination requires that our students shall be fitted,
whether we shall keep the doors of our [regular] medical college open or
[Herber H.] Votaw [Religious Liberty Department]:
I think Brother Watson's talk just now has risen to the
height of his Tuesday morning talk, yet we are preparing to send boys to
hell in three of our schools. If this is the plan, we have no right to set
up two colleges [PUC, WWC] — —
—already set up, going to set up a third one [EMC], and do the very thing that we ought not to do. I cannot see any difference between two and six for the whole system of schools. If this accredition is wrong, it is wrong altogether. It is wrong in two of them. I cannot bring myself up here to find any agreement between the speech of the president of the General Conference and the report of this commission. The commission says you have only two schools already in. They are accredited schools. We are going to keep one accredited and are not going to take the other out without wrecking many of our other schools. Let us face the thing
—do one thing or the other . . I cannot see it any other way, between sending boys and girls to hell from three schools or six. If it is wrong let us quit it.
but you say that we are not ready to do that. Our commission does not
recommend it. I do not know how to say this without it sounding wrong. I
wish I did because I admire these men. I love them; but, when men with
definite convictions came before the commission and pointed out the same
thing, they could not see a single place where they could alter this
report. I wonder if they had their minds made up. They all talk just
alike. I believe in the manifest difference of opinion. We had better take
more time to study before we vote. I cannot see any connection between any
speeches as the president of the denomination has made and the report of
this commission. One says it is wrong, and the commission says we will do
it for three schools. If this
comes up for a vote I am going to say, No, long enough for my vote
to register no.
feel that it is a question that has far-reaching influence. I want to say
that I do not believe that we are relieving this situation by cutting the
dogs tail off by an inch at a time. I believe the Spirit of God has led
this people. The Spirit of God has spoken to us in different ways, and we
have been able to see our course and retrace our steps. I consented to it
[accreditation] in my mind, but my heart was not with it, for it was hard
to see how it was necessary to conform to the ways of the world, the plans
of the world, and yet not be of the world.
as I listened to that elegant address, my heart was in tune with it. I
felt then and I still feel that God spoke to this people in that message;
but it is perplexing to me today. I want to say this, that I have all
confidence in this commission, and I believe that they are men of God; but
I must say my own conviction, that, if the discourse that we listened to
yesterday had been delivered in the hearing of this commission weeks
before, we might have had a different report.
am, of course, speaking my own convictions; but it is perplexing me a bit
to know how we can carry out the resolution of yesterday morning in the
face of having that wonderful address printed and sent to all of our
people [in the Review, 11/21/1935 pp. 3-8], then print the report
that is brought by this commission today, and have that given to the
people [Review, November 28, 1935, p. 6]; for our people are just
as intelligent as well as we, and I do not see how we can be consistent in
sending out that wonderful address and this report of compromising with
one or two schools.
am the president of the Union College board. My interests are there. I am
glad if this is the proper way to do—by accrediting EMC and PUC. I am
glad they have your accreditation and recognition; but, brethren, I cannot
yet see the consistency of this. I appreciated the remarks Elder Watson
made. He has clarified the situation some. Maybe it is necessary for me to
go on and allow the world to direct our movement, in connection with
fitting our young men and women for medical work. Possibly that is so, but
I do not see light in compromising with the world in any degree;
I am ready to cast my vote contrary to this recommendation because
I do not see its consistency. I do not see light in the proposition.
would like to move that it be referred back to this commission again for
the purpose of being allowed to interview the commission.
motion carried by the council that the report of the educational
commission be referred back to the committee for further study, in order
that individuals who desire to do so may come and offer suggestions or
make objections. The statement following by Elder Branson is in the
meeting after these individuals had interviewed the committee.]
night we called a meeting of the educational commission, and we had
planned not to run during the whole evening, but found it necessary to do
so; for we had invited individuals who wished to do so, and we wanted to
give them ample opportunity to present any matter they thought should be
given consideration by the commission . .
might say that, after our meeting [last night] and during our meeting this
morning, after careful study of all the representations, the committee was
also of an unanimous opinion to return its report without any material
change . . We find it impossible to change this report and yet carry out
the very definite convictions of the entire membership of the educational
E.K. Slade [Walla Walla College board chairman]:
Chairman, I do not intend to take the position that accreditation can be
abandoned now. I wish that it might be. We went into it in a way that was
not wise, and I am not taking the position that we can abandon it now,
advisedly. It seems to me we should not be hasty in reaching a position
here . . It would not be wise for the commission, the chairman of the
commission, to force upon this delegation something that is not clear to
us. It would be unfortunate to have a vote here on which we are divided so
seriously. We cannot afford to make a mistake. We have made mistakes. We
might have made other mistakes in 1931, but we don't want to make
another mistake now by hastily voting something here that we feel is not
agreeable to all.
think of Walla Walla College. Last year its enrollment was the largest. I
suppose it will be large this year. Good work is being done in this
college. We sought accreditation because it was voted. I think every
member of our board and faculty thought this is the General Conference
policy; we want to be true and fall in line without being hasty in the
matter . . We, of the northwest, have visited our own people and the
educational people of the state up there. I dont know what they will
think of us or what they will say if we go back and say we have changed
our minds; we dont want accreditation any more.
Mr. Chairman, we are placed in an embarrassing place if this
recommendation passes. I believe in our medical school . . I do not
believe we would be warranted in coming here and saying that we must
abandon our medical work. I believe it would be another big blunder for
this delegation to vote here to have Walla Walla in an embarrassing
condition that this recommendation will leave us in if it passes.
vote, the majority vote, will place us there; we could not help ourselves.
We would have to go back and bear it and get along the best we can.
Chairman, I propose an amendment that would place Walla Walla in number
one with Emmanuel Missionary College, Walla Walla College and Pacific
Union College, and that number two be changed to harmonize with it. I
would like to make that as a motion to amend . . [The end of our copy of
design of our colleges has been stated again and again, yet many are so
blinded to the god of this world that its real object is not understood.
God designed that our young men should there be drawn to Him, that they
should there obtain a preparation to preach the gospel of Christ, to bring
out of the exhaustless treasury of Gods Word things both new and old
for the instruction of the people. Teachers and professors should have a
vivid sense of the perils of this time and the work that must be
accomplished to prepare a people to stand in the day of God.
of the teachers have been scattering from Christ instead of gathering with
Him. By their own example they lead those under their charge to adopt the
customs and habits of worldlings. They link the hands of the students with
fashionable , amusement-loving unbelievers, and carry them an advance step
toward the world and away from Christ. And they do this in the face of
warnings from heaven, not only those given to the people in general, but
personal appeals to themselves. The anger of the Lord is kindled
for these things.
God will test the fidelity of His people. Many of the mistakes that are made by the professed servants of God are in consequence of their self-love, their desire for approval, their thirst for popularity. Blinded in this manner, they do not realize that they are elements of darkness rather than of light.