Desmond Ford, who two days ago celebrated his 87th birthday, will speak this weekend at two events in Morisset, New South Wales. Among the topics of discussion: Ordination and the Investigative Judgment.
Ford was famously dismissed from Adventist employment in 1980 over his strident opposition to the Adventist Church’s doctrine of the pre-Advent Investigative Judgment. He recently released a book about the ordeal.
On Saturday, February 6, Ford will speak at the Uniting “Church in the Trees” Meeting Hall (the event was previously to be held at an Adventist high school in Cooranbong).
The 11:00am church service will feature interviews, topical discussions, worship music and Ford as the primary speaker. Ford will discuss his conversion, how he found the gospel and his experiences with and observations of women in ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He will also offer thoughts on the 2015 General Conference Session ordination vote in light of what the Bible says on the topic.
An afternoon program at 3:00pm (attendees are asked to bring their own lunches if planning to attend both events) will feature a Q&A discussion with Ford, focused on the Investigative Judgment. The event is titled “Investigative Judgment: Fact or Heresy?”
The event’s promoters have listed the following framing questions for the discussion:
What relevance and meaning has the Seventh-day Adventist teaching on the Investigative Judgement had through the Adventist church community's history?
How has the theological and biblical understanding of it changed over time in your understanding and in that of the church's culture?
What actually is the Investigative Judgement in both official theological statements and Adventist folk religion and mythology? How crucial is it really to the Adventist Church's identity and mission?
What would happen to Seventh-day Adventism without it's traditional Investigative Judgment doctrine?
How different are the church and you today as a result of the events of the late 70s and early 80s and the way the leadership responded?
How did the Gospel help you deal with the Seventh-day Adventist Church's Investigative Judgment on you, your theology and your career and the resulting hurt, innuendo and betrayals, and upheaval of your life, family and career?
How can we find healing and extend grace as many of us face challenges in the current state of the church? What can we learn from your experience in our way forward? What could the church, especially leadership, learn from hindsight about how to deal healthfully with change, divergence, diversity and conflict?
The event is hosted by a group including many former Adventists who call themselves NOW that regularly gathers “to share worship, music, ideas, faith, the arts and insights gained.” The group’s mission statement says the group values “inclusiveness, gender equality, creativity, a calm environment, meaningful congregational singing, stimulating spoken word, good food and conversation.”
In a Facebook video message posted on his 87th birthday, Ford seemed to suggest that leaving a legacy of a life well lived is on his mind. “You and I both know that it’s not how long you live, but how well you live,” he said in the video. “What will be the harvest from your life and mine?”
“Look to Jesus,” Ford said, “and then you will live very well indeed.”
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
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