5 June 2020 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
My friend recently sent me a link to an article on the Adventist Today website. As I looked around I saw things that disagree with the cherished beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and even disagree with Elder Wilson! I was shocked and disturbed. How do you get away with calling yourselves Seventh-day Adventists, when you question church doctrines and our leaders? Questioning truth shouldn’t be allowed. All of you should be fired.
Signed, You People Are Terrible
You are upset because some who write on Adventist Today question the words and actions of the church. Perhaps you’re unaware that the Seventh-day Adventist Church got started because people asked questions, rather than accepting the authoritative opinions of other Christians back in the 1800s. It was questioning that created our church, and questioning will keep it alive and dynamic.
When a church reaches a certain age, it no longer likes to think. It would rather repeat and reassure, because that seems like it will minimize risk. For many years, Seventh-day Adventist leaders have cultivated the notion that nothing that the church believes or does should ever be questioned. Unless the General Conference speaks on a matter, everyone else must remain silent.
While all Adventist Today’s writers and editors love the Seventh-day Adventist church, the website and magazine are not published by church leaders, and they cannot be fired by them. AT is an independent media outlet, a place for a wide variety of opinions. There are on this website both reassuring articles and questions, both devotional pieces and challenging pieces. To read Adventist Today, you have to exercise independent judgment—something Ellen White endorsed when she said that people should be “thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men’s thought.”
Interestingly, we often find that readers who are opposed to progressive points of view are willing to endorse conspiracies and unbiblical ideas, such as those of a certain popular evangelist who has set the date for Christ’s return at around 2027.
Ellen White herself not only questioned the accepted Christianity of her day, but the church leaders themselves when they became too opinionated and arrogant. She wrote,
Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible. It was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long-established traditions that proved their ruin. … Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions and ideas are crossed.… We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. Counsels to Writers and Editors, page 35.
Please don’t upset yourself, though: if you are unhappy with what you read on Adventist Today, you have lots of options, such as the Adventist Review—where everything is devoted to maintaining the church exactly as the brethren in the General Conference want it to be.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without identities. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and neither her opinions nor those of her correspondents are necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.