There are two broad philosophies in religious liberty that are diametrically opposed to each other. The first philosophy is known as accomodationism and is often touted by conservatives. People who subscribe to this philosophy believe that America’s constitutional framework exists to keep the government out of religion and not the other way around. Legislation can be founded on explicitly religious grounds. Religious groups should have totally unfettered rights of free exercise.
Last November we learned that a popular coach at Pennsylvania State University was alleged to have had sexual relationships with underage, even pre-teen boys for many years. Exactly who in authority knew what Jerry Sandusky was doing, who was told, and what they did or should have done when they found out, the legal system is still trying to establish.
It is impossible to read According to John and not become aware of its dependence on the Old Testament, on the Torah. In the same way in which it is taken for granted that the reader knows its content before beginning to read, it is also assumed that the reader knows well the stories of the patriarchs and the books of the prophets and the Psalms.
I’m not surprised that I wasn’t surprised by some of the responses to the announcement that Elder Dan Jackson called for justice in the Trayvon Martin case. I knew he would have an audacious amen corner, but I also knew that those among us who caucus with the raucous right would blast him for taking a stand.
Standing Their Ground
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.
It was camp meeting time in Florida. Earlier in the spring, the Adventist Review had issued a fiat that there was to be no discussion on certain issues raised by an Australian teacher by the name of Desmond Ford until he had had opportunity to share his views with the brethren. Of course such an injunction ensured a lively discussion would follow.
Interestingly, the featured speaker for the evening meetings that year was Smuts Van Rooyen. Channeling Ford’s theology almost verbatim in his sermons, he was well received by all present.
I am not a film expert, but after viewing the blockbuster movie “Ray,” I can see why Jamie Foxx was awarded the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of music legend Ray Charles. This hauntingly honest biography reveals a journey filled with tragedy and triumph, failures and faith, cowardice and courage, and helplessness and hope. Not long after witnessing his brother drown in a tub of water, the young Ray was to experience personal tragedy when his vision was cruelly snatched away from him.
In the gospel According to John the word “world” is, without a doubt, semantically rich. This word appears more than sixty times in the text, and if one does not pay attention it is relatively easy to misinterpret its message or conclude that the gospel contradicts itself. It is necessary, therefore, to do an analysis of its usage.
One of the benefits of studying church history is that it helps you see how much change there has been in Christian teachings through the years. By “church” I mean not just this denomination, but the whole sweep of Christianity that Ellen White reviews in The Great Controversy. In each era there are the faithful and the enemies of the faithful—and of course the whole point of that book is that in the end, the enemies lose and the faithful get their reward.
If woman was indeed created fully human with all the functions, abilities and inherent capacities of man including the desires, dreams and aspirations of same, and if God arbitrarily (for her own good) placed her in subjection, limiting her choices and spheres (either as punishment or more benignly for her protection) then women’s reaction to his restriction could only be submission, (using subjection as an excuse for not exercising accountable dominion) denial, (labeling her natural God-given aspirations and inner callings as evil or temptations of the devil) or rebellion (risking death ra
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions and it’s been years since I spent hours on the first day of the year calling everyone in my address book. The truth is, the annual resetting of the calendar brings me more pain than joy. I’ve long rejected the samsara influenced myth that sees the first day of January as some sort of magical reset button. Oh, I wish we did have an opportunity to do some things over, but experience has taught me that this is absolutely impossible.
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 http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat46.html that states:
I had a colleague (this was years ago) who was assigned to a small town church whose members opposed any celebration of Christmas. When December came, the church members would drive past and peer in the parsonage windows, to check whether the new pastor’s family had Christmas decorations. So when my friend’s wife insisted they have a Christmas tree for their little boy, they had to set it up in the bathtub, that being the only room the church members couldn’t readily see into!
One of the characteristics of the gospel According to John is that the main events in the life of Jesus are connected to Jewish feasts or specific times. The expulsion of the money changers and traders from the temple happened on a Passover (2:13). The feeding of the five thousand took place on another Passover (6: 4). Apparently Jesus did not go up to Jerusalem for this one. The healing of the paralytic at the portals of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem was done on “a feast of the Jews” (5: 1).