LCN Article
Living Education: Broadening Brains Beyond Books

March / April 2020

Like Ambassador College and Living University before it, Living Education provides its students with ample opportunity to read not only the Bible, but also commentaries on it, works on ancient history, and a plethora of Church literature. And that’s definitely what those students do—but by no means is it all they do. Understanding that “of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12), in the 2019 fall semester alone, students and faculty alike shared multiple field trips, each providing an enriching and educational change of scenery.

God as the Great Designer

Early in the semester, students and faculty toured North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate, America’s largest privately owned house. “The Biltmore, one of North Carolina’s highlight attractions, is only a few hours away from our headquarters,” said Mr. Kenneth Frank, instructor of Living Education’s Survey of the Bible courses. “Mr. Armstrong always emphasized quality for the Ambassador College campuses, and we try to stress that to our Living Education students as well. It really is stunning to go through this mansion and appreciate the quality of it. The experience is culturally broadening and connects students to American history.”

But taking students to such a grand location is about more than showing them human architecture. “It’s also important that our students appreciate the environment in which we live and the beauty of the world around us—that they see God as the Great Designer behind it all,” Mr. Frank said. “The Biltmore Gardens were the last great project of Frederick Law Olmsted, a famous American landscape architect. We actually went out to the gardens and got to see some of that magnificence. As we walked among these flowers and bushes, we saw the intricacy of the creation and appreciated God’s handiwork. It was a clear day and the mountains were fully visible—God provided a stunning experience. The majesty of such a property, the beauty of it, helps us look forward to an age in which many more people can enjoy things like that.”

A Journey into Church History

On another field trip, students had the opportunity to walk North Carolina’s “Waldensian Trail of Faith,” accompanied by faculty and by Mr. Rod McNair. “The focus on the eras of God’s Church really impressed me on this trip,” Mr. McNair said. “It’s so important that all of us refresh that doctrine in our minds and really understand the validity of it. This trip was a way to make that come to life.”

Described in Revelation 2–3, each era of God’s Church can teach us powerful lessons of faith that are applicable today. “We have to emphasize that the modern Waldensian group is largely removed from the Waldensians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,” Mr. McNair continued. “By the time they settled in this country, they were basically full-blown Protestants. The story of the Waldensian era, the Thyatira era, is so important because it’s about compromise, about what can happen when you have God’s truth and face persecution. We can learn from the Waldensians that we can do it the easy way or the hard way—they were persecuted, but as soon as they began to compromise, God’s protection was lifted, and then they suffered worse. The lesson of the Waldensians is very applicable for us today: Being strong, not compromising, and going through whatever we have to go through is much better than suffering at the whims of Satan as a result of God lifting His hand of protection.”

Experiences to Broaden Perspectives

To cap off the semester, students were treated to a jazz concert at UNC Charlotte, a strategically timed outing that offered a little relaxation before final exams began. “I don’t know too much about jazz,” said Arrianna Anderson, one of this year’s Living Education students, “but I could see the players’ hard work, and it actually became very interesting in the end.”

While biblical studies take priority at Living Education–Charlotte, the program’s social aspect is integral to its success. “The field trip experiences strengthen the relationships students have with each other and with the faculty, taking those relationships to a higher level,” Mr. Frank commented. “It’s spiritually beneficial to the students—we drive together, we have a picnic together, we spend the day together. They get a change of pace, a break from the routine, giving them a refreshing experience outside their dorms and the headquarters building. It certainly cements their appreciation for God’s way of living, their understanding that we have an active purpose.”

“Walking the Waldensian trail, you get to look at how very little the Waldensians had,” Arrianna reflected. “With a jazz concert, you can get more of a feel for something you might not have paid attention to before. And being able to go out and enjoy God’s creation, nature, is especially awesome for me. Living Education has things like that to help you understand history and keep your mind open to new things.”

Editorial Staff