Modern Scholar Talks of Samuel Pollard and the Christianity Educational Concept of Self-discovery & Self-realization

Liu Junning
Liu Junning
By Ruth WangNovember 10th, 2015

Hundreds of years ago, the missionary Samuel Pollard came into the Miao nationality in southwest China and made a great contribution to local education. However,when we study his educational career, we cannot ignore his Christian faith.

The "Academic Seminar on Samuel Pollard's Education Philosophy" was held in Beijing on October 17-18. The political scientist among Chinese younger generation and a researcher at the Institute of Chinese Culture of the Ministry of Culture, Liu Junning, used the topic, "Find Ourselves and Realize Ourselves: Samuel Pollard with Christianity education concept " to share his thought.

First of all, he said, among all religions, Judaism and Christianity pay much more attention to education.Church universities have made outstanding contributions to the world and China in history. “I know the five best universities among the most famous universities in the world are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge and Oxford. All of these started out as  church schools. Without the church's contribution to education, universities will not be the same today. In the first half of the last century, especially during the 1920s, China created a lot of very good universities, such as Saint John's University, Fu Jen Catholic University, Shimen Education of which also had a very good effect. We can say that Chinese education would have been very different without church universities."

Then, Liu Junning talks about some problems existing in the current Chinese education:

For example, convergence is the most popular education nowadays,"it wants to raise everybody to be the same person, regardless of what these people are born to be."

In addition, Chinese education stresses out to be first and that has been the Chinese tradition for hundreds of years, "Of course, there is a fallacy about always being the first first; that is, just be the first, the other is a waste."

Moreover, although there is a powerful imperial examination system which has trained a lot of talent in Chinese history, "the imperial examination system in ancient China is essentially a civil service system, rather than the system of education. This examination system has not changed now. The center of the country's education is to train and transmit talents for the country."

But he doesn't think the three are the sole purpose and nature of education He thinks we can get much inspiration for today by contrast of Christian education:

Convergence education VS divergence education. "The purpose of education is not to raise the same people with the same mold, but to arouse everyone's highest talent."

Be first VS find yourself. "Everyone is the first and everyone is not. The creator has a different plan for everybody."

Serving the King VS Glorifying God

Later, Liu talks about his understanding of education, he believes that the purpose of education is to discover the three-dimensional ego. "Christian education thought is to find and realize yourself. A lot of educational thoughts also stress you to find yourself, but Christianity claims that the ego is three-dimensional. Through education, people can locate for themselves according to their relationship with time, with space, with other people and with God to determine their final location. This ego is not higher than all but is below God. It is only through this way that you can find yourself. "

He uses the thinking of "finding your talent and fulfilling the mission of God" to summarize the purpose of Christian education. That is "to help everyone find their own characteristics, special features, or their own talents, according to the Christian view. God has a plan for everyone and God creates everyone as equal. Equal but different from each other. So everyone must be equal but talent is completely different which creates the difference between people. What is the meaning of education? To find what makes you  different from others and to find your own talent and the knowledge of how to use your talent to do what you need to do in the future. Good education is for helping everyone find their talents, to determine their own destiny and realize their own destiny.."

Liu Junning believes that such an education concept has been fulfilled by Samuel Ballard in Shimen education, "There are also all kinds of talented people in the Miao fortress originally and these talents have not been found because of the lack of that kind of educational system. However, everything changed after Samuel Ballard came into nearby villages."

"Today we talk about education thoughts of Samuel Ballard, but he doesn’t write a book about his education thoughts, so how can we know the education thoughts of Samuel Ballard? I'd like to say that it is wrong if we just want to know education thoughts of Samuel Ballard through a book because Samuel Ballard presents the concept of the Christian education by the example of his life. We can find that Samuel Ballard embodies the thinking of Christianity. We don't need to read his books but only need to see what he has done."

Then, Liu talks about his understanding of Christian education thoughts from four aspects by combining Samuel Ballard with Shimen thoughts. First, education is a process to realize the intentions of the creator. God made everyone's heart and the design for each child needs to mature through knowledge, wisdom and skills. Every child shall speak, think, and write."We can see Samuel Ballard has done the following things in Shimen: first, he believes that every child can speak, think and write. God gives everyone the mind to speak, think and write, not just to eat."

Second, education is not an automatic process. If there is no one to do education, the purpose of education cannot be realized automatically. We must pursue and obtain it. Someone must actively promote education. The creator gives the human the special brain and as long as we live we must obtain new knowledge and new information. Therefore, God has given us understanding and intelligence."For example I may also have a lot of experience through the decades, but I don't have the ability to convey all my experience to my children. I might not even have the time to give children my knowledge, so they needs school to do such a thing.

Through education, the spread of human civilization, human’s understanding of nature and of God won’t be interrupted." Liu said, "There is a conservative thinker who said, what is education, education is the soul of one generation to another. Education needs someone to do and someone to promote and God gives the human the special brain that continuously accepts new information and knowledge every day, making education a continuous process. "

Third, Christian education helps people to live in accordance to the will of the creator. Everyone's heart should not be secular, but must keep to divinity. Education shall respect the nature of each person given by the creator. "What is in accordance with the intentions of the creator? Living a life according to the intention of the creator of life is different from living a life according to the will of the king or the head of state." Liu said.

Fourth, education gives people a better opportunity to understand God. For example, Samuel Ballard valued the Miao Wen Bible very much. He let people read the Bible to know characters and God. And the two is a unity of the process because God is the creator of all things. If you don't understand the word of God and can't understand or read the Bible, it’s difficult to understand the creator.

Finally, Liu said in recent years, more and more people begin to pay close attention to and study Samuel Ballard, the historical figure of more than 100 years ago. Samuel Ballard gives us a good angle to understand him from the perspective of the education concept of Christianity. “Samuel Ballard is not a national well-known figure in the UK or in China but what he had done is no less than a national-level figure. He has proven the Christian education concept."

"Samuel Ballard’s responses to God's calling to come to Shimen, not for British business, not for himself, but for his God. His heart was not in Britain, but in Jerusalem."

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