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.
I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling sometimes that I am trapped in an anarchous society. To make it worse, the very people who have been charged with administering the law are driven by their own subjective interpretations that have elevated the flaws in our legal system.
Several years ago, we witnessed the fallibility of the judiciary in three high profile cases.
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