The Southern College Saga

Speaker: Categories: Apr 11, 1992


[55min, 29sec / 29min, 20sec]


History can be horrifying It can also be enlightening and informing! Learning from past experiences, though challenging and demanding, may also be the mark of intelligence. Unfortunately, the record seems to confirm that humankind, more often than not, chooses to repeat the past rather than learn from it. Is that true in the Adventist church setting, as well?

Just a decade ago a series of events occurred which were to have far-reaching, historical significance in Adventism. Focusing attention on Southern College and the Southern Union provides an appropriate case study for, review. Understanding what took place then, identifying the "players," analyzing the procedures, and noting the conclusions reached may allow opportunity for making applications to today's circumstances, while not repeating the error(s).

How Adventist leadership, clergy and laity, acted then may be informative ten years later as new problems must be addressed.

Dr. Knittel notes, "A change in [Southern] Union leadership brought an entirely new attitude into focus -- the attitude that our church must take every off-the-wall concept seriously. This new approach in the Union leadership had strong support among corporate officers on the General Conference level, especially with Wilson, Roth, and Review editor Woods."

"It was a time, if Knittel continues to observe, "when people with money dangled their purses very visibly and rattled the cages with silver dollars. It was the time of great concern over such matters as the wedding ring - a time that a segment of church leaders joined together to "stamp out" what they perceived as heresies. The targets of the purification process were Pacific Union College and Southern College. The presidents at both colleges refused to bow to the whimsy of the times by dismissing people who became special targets."


Frank Knittel, a California native, completed his baccalaureate education at Union College and his graduate work leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Medieval Languages and Literature at the University of Colorado.

He is an experienced secondary teacher, college professor, and school administrator. He has served eight years at Andrews University as Vice-President for Student Affairs, twelve years as president at Southern College, and nine years at Loma Linda/La Sierra University. His wife, Helen Knittel, is Assistant Professor of Office Management at La Sierra University.

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