With a couple of union conferences gathering for special constituency meetings (which are expensive, and not convened lightly) to discuss and vote on women’s ordination, there is an electric anticipation in the Adventist air right now. We may be on the verge of realizing a long-anticipated goal.
I hope, like many of you, that these constituents vote to ordain women pastors. But there’s something that could happen that might be almost as bad as losing the vote. It would be to win the vote, but not achieve what we won it for.
The gospel According to John is full of surprises. It might be better to say that it charts a course of its own, and both its novelties and language cause readers to take a second look. Reading this gospel is to sense there is something under the surface that needs to be uncovered. To interpret its peculiarities is not easy and, as a result its various interpretations are quite different.
I wasn’t at all surprised when President Obama came out in support of gay marriage. Heretofore, he claimed to be “evolving,” but now he has apparently weathered his intermediary stages and has fully evolved on this issue. I find it interesting that he used Darwinian language to define his enlightenment. Yes, I’m fully aware of the semantic flexibility of terms, but I can’t help but make a connection between the evolutionary mindset with its disdain for biblical authority and the willingness of Christian supporters of gay marriage to suppress the clear teaching of scripture.
A few years ago I would have told you, had you asked, that I had heard of Samuel Korangteng-Pipim but I had no strong feelings about him. I knew he was a darling of the Seventh-day Adventist conservatives, that he ran a campus ministry, and that he had written some books. Later, as I began to hear more about him, I looked at his website and guessed that he was a man of robust self-esteem: he styled himself an eagle, his followers sometimes calling themselves eaglets.
The gospel According to John states that Jesus is the Logos incarnate, the Son who came from God and returned to God. His mission on earth was to give eternal life to those who believe in Him. The crucifixion, the lifting up or the glorification of the Son, is the object of faith that separates those who have eternal life from those who do not.
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.”
Earlier this month, the citizens of the state of North Carolina voted to amend their state constitution to further codify a prohibition against gay marriage. One of the main groups that supported this amendment, Vote FOR Marriage NC, supported this amendment based on a religious definition of marriage.
I grew up in a mostly apolitical family. I only remember one strongly-voiced political opinion: that John F. Kennedy shouldn’t be president because he would let the papacy take charge of the country, and so would begin the persecution of Seventh-day Adventists. We had a family small business—a farm—and perhaps that’s why my father once told me, casually and without a lot of conviction, that he’d voted Republican, since the conventional wisdom was, and is, that Republicans are friends of business and advocates of low taxes.
The four cherubim with their wheels seen by Ezekiel with God’s glory (Ez. 1: 10; 10: 14) were also seen by John the Theologian next to the throne of God (Rev. 4: 6-7). Their faces were that of a lion, an ox, a man and an eagle. Not long afterwards Christians adopted these four creatures to represent the four gospels. According to John was given the eagle as its icon.