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AbstractReligious fundamentalism has played a significant role in the contemporary conserviative attack on public education. For those who are concerned to defend even the limited degree of liberal or progressive education now existing, it is essential to understand the nature and implications of this populist and reactionary social phenomenon whose appeal is enhanced by the current social and economic crisis. Using the Seventh day Adventist Church in case study fashion, the article draws upon sect literature, documents and interviews, to outline normative Adventist assumptions and practice in schooling. On the basis of this analysis, an explanation of the ambivalence of fundamentalism to education is offered. It is argued that while fundamentalism is typically antithetical to social pluralism, secular or humanistic morality and lifestyles and progressive education, it supports the unequal economic and social structures of contemporary western society. Hence fundamentalism typically seeks to control the process and substance of education, not to eliminate it.