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Rich Hannon

What Adventism Should Be Like

Several months back a website commenter asked: “why do the "non-traditionalists" think the church should exist. … those calling for change in our beliefs should at least have a clear idea of why the church should exist. If one doesn't know why an institution should even exist, it's hard to take them seriously on how it ought to be changed.” I suppose I would be classified by many readers here as a “non-traditionalist” but I don’t, of course, speak for anyone but myself.

Why Don’t You Just Leave?

Comments on this website frequently involve traditionalist and non-traditionalist[1] Adventists sparring in disagreement over various topics Adventisty.  And, on occasion, I’ve noticed a few conservative commenters asking their more liberal counterparts – those who are church members – why they remain Adventists at all? It seems to these enquirers that the views expressed by those liberals are sufficiently heterodox that they have effectively ceased to be SDA. And, if so, why remain members?  

Some examples:

Same Evidence Different Interpretation

Christians in general, and Adventists in particular, often have contentious discussions on how to understand scripture as it relates to the physical and interpersonal world. Within Adventism prominent hot button issues are: homosexuality, role of women and faith & science. The positions we form depend, at minimum, on two general categories: evidence and argumentative method (how we reason out the argument). Both can have problems independent of each other.

Moral Complexity

Adventism has wrestled with the concept of human perfection almost from its beginnings. The subject has always been controversial –is it possible or not? Some conservative Adventists believe it is achievable, while other, likely more liberal Adventists, doubt it.

El literalismo y el relato bíblico del diluvio

Una frase que se lee a menudo en los escritos de los adventistas conservadores es que "la Biblia es su propio intérprete", a veces con una queja de acompañamiento que los llamados liberales, en cambio, hacen una exégesis de manera irresponsable. Por ejemplo, recientemente un comentarista conservador en este sitio web afirmó: "Tanto la teología evangélica como la liberal se niegan a dejar que la Escritura se interprete a sí misma, lo que hacen es imponer a las Escrituras diversas construcciones interpretativas que no se pueden derivar de la misma Escritura."

The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius: A Study Guide for Adventists

This guide is one of a column series that invites Adventist readers to reflect on classics important to the Christian spiritual tradition. Each guide provides 1) A brief biography of the classic’s author and a section on historical context 2) A short outline of the classic 3) Reflection and analysis of the classic 4) Questions for personal spiritual reflection.

1) Biography of Boethius & Historical Context for the Book

Literalism and the Biblical Flood Story

A phrase one often reads from conservative Adventists is that “the Bible is its own interpreter”, sometimes with an accompanying complaint that so-called liberals, in contrast, exegete irresponsibly. For example, recently one conservative commenter on this website stated: “Both evangelical and liberal theology refuse to let Scripture interpret itself, instead imposing upon Scripture various interpretive constructs which cannot be derived from Scripture itself.”

Ends, Means and Adventist Doctrine

Adventists have always been concerned about formulating and preserving correct doctrine.  Pioneer evangelism strongly emphasized that Adventists had a clearer understanding of Biblical truth than other Christian options and consequently enquirers should consider joining this remnant movement – which had been given a central role in effecting the Second Coming.

Adventism and the Intersex Problem

The Adventist church, like many conservative Christian denominations, takes an official position condemning homosexuality. The 1999 General Conference Annual Council approved a position statement, found on the church’s website at  that states:

The local church is the hope of the world!

Over the past few weeks the Spectrum website has featured multiple articles focusing on denominational year-end meetings, both at the GC and NAD level. Because the issue of gender equality and participation was a major point of discussion at both meetings readership of these articles has been high and the comments extensive – and sometimes passionate.

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