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  1. Steve Ferguson
    17 October 2014 @ 3:45 am

    'Wilson II is determined to return the Adventist Church intellectually and theologically to where it was at its founding: a fundamentalist sect.'

    Dr Wilson, I get what you are saying but don't you actually help Pres. Wilson by suggesting that what he is trying to do is return Adventism to its founding?  My understanding is the SDA Church really only become "fundamentalist" after Mrs White's death from the 1920's onwards.  Thus, fundamentalism is not actually what Adventism is (or should be) about.

    The early Adventist Pioneers were certainly a little weird I suspect (if we could personally know them), and certainly not 'intellectual' in the sense of educated. But they did seem to have an open spirit, at least in the sense of being open to new ideas.  Consider virtually all of our theological evolution occured during this period, and ossified only later.

    I think it important that 'progressive' Adventists be able to argue, quite rightly, that they are more 'historic' than the so-called historic Adventists.

    • Stephen Foster
      17 October 2014 @ 12:53 pm

      There is no doubt that with criticism such as that leveled in this opinion against Wilson by Taylor, praise isn’t necessary? With adversaries like this, friends are superfluous.
      As if complaining that a determination “to return the Adventist Church intellectually and theologically to where it was at its founding” is a not in a sense worthwhile, Taylor then suggests that “well-informed and educated individuals in the 21st Century” will disapprove. This of course implies that those who generally approve are the ill-informed and uneducated.
      (How we win friends and influence people. I say keep up the ‘good work.’)
      I had no problem with the previous wording of ‘FB 6,’ and think that inserting the word “recent” was not necessary; especially since “recent” is not in Genesis. I do perceive utility in “six days” as that is in Genesis and Exodus.
      I think that “fundamentalist” is a subjective label and any chronological demarcation as to when this label applied is also subjective.

      • Stephen Foster
        17 October 2014 @ 12:57 pm

        Correction: Is there any doubt that with criticism…

    • Steve Ferguson
      17 October 2014 @ 1:30 pm

      Fraudian slip on my part. My statement should start with "Dr Taylor", not "Dr Wilson." Too much of President Wilson on my mind.

      I agree with Stephen, who I think was agreeing with me, that using the term "fundamentalist" to describe our founders hardly wins friends.  I personally think the SDA Pioneers weren't fundamentalist, at least as we consider "fundamentalism" as a sociological characterisation to describe the movement within Christianity (especially in the US) arising in the early 20th Century.  But Dr Taylor is the expert anthropologist.

  2. Jim Hamstra
    17 October 2014 @ 3:11 pm

    So now we can move on to debate what is the meaning of the word "recent".  Recent relative to what?  The Big Bang?  The creation of Lucifer?  What order of magnitude if any does it convey?  Does it meant thosuands as opposed to millions or billions of years?

    This is like saying that Jesus is coming soon.  Without an order of magnitude there is no way to say what is "soon".

  3. David Barr
    17 October 2014 @ 5:04 pm

    Should there be one committee or three committees' for "literal" "recent" and "soon"?

    Wilson has been described in many ways.

    First time I've seen or heard "pawn".

    A member of a local SdA church decided to visit a horse farm that adjoins the church during sabbath preachin' time.

    Dressed in shirt, tie, etc. somebody asked who is this guy and where did he come from?

    Faster than a New York minute a reply was "from that "wacko" church".

    It appears that "sect" would be an improvement.

  4. Bugs-Larry Boshell
    17 October 2014 @ 6:20 pm

    I disagree, Ervin, a view from an "outsider." There is no "intellectual decline" in the church because it has never had an intellectual plane from which to decline. Belief is not "intellectual."


    The return to the past for Adventism is not as dire as it appears. What Wilson and his allies are doing is confirming the obvious.

    In other words, nothing really changes. Nothing was going to change. And nothing can ever change. In spite of the wishful thinking of "modifiers," who have fantasized new intellectual Adventist sky castles of "flexibility, "as a matter of policy Adventism cannot officially deviate from its foundations (Bible only, literal revealed Word of God) and still be SDA.


     "Modifiers" won't be thrilled but won't be excommunicated. They aren't going to abdicate, many enjoy the role of resistor. Most have deeply rooted, established life styles precluding exodus. Rabid conservatives will celebrate. And the mass of Adventists, most of whom subscribe to IDM, It Doesn't Matter, have little concern about the features of the Baptismal Certificate, trusting that all is well.


    Can't you all just get along? You don't have a choice. Adventist doctrines cannot flex. But you can and you will just like you always have.


    Nothing is changing.

    • Jim Hamstra
      17 October 2014 @ 7:32 pm


      I am truly amazed and deeply gratified with how quickly you are growing into your role of Curmudgeon.  It befits you much better than your prior (and somwhat strained I might add) role of Clown Prince.

      Once again I find myself agreeing with almost everything you wrote.  I do take exception to your claim that Adventists were never on an intellectual plane.  In our early days we were indeed the head and not the tail in several regards including education and health.  It is not so much our own decline as that in the Western world knowledge has risen above us on some fronts.  Though I would hasten to add that increased knowledge seems to have coincided with a general deterioration of Western culture.

      You are correct that the GC is becoming less relevant as the self-sufficiency of various parts of the Adventist world increases.  IDM is becoming more the norm in many places.  The downside of education and longevity is that those of us fortunate enough to enjoy these blessings tend to develop a proclivity for thinking for ourelves rather than being told what to think.

      If you look at the history of the early church, you find that the bishops in general, and the Bishop of Rome in particular, struggled mightlily and arguably ineffectively to exert control as Christianity spread more widely.  They solved their problem when Constantine became a Christian and they got control of an army.  But with that came the problem of defending Rome from the Barbarians which they did not handle well.

      Ben Carson for President anyone?

      Alternatively we could go with the idea that the powers of love and persuasion are more effective than the powers of authority and compulsion.

      Where we differ most is that I still believe in the power of a loving and merciful Almighty God whereas you have only your Love Guy to like, but not to depend upon for anything except a warm moist feeling. (Like wetting your pants in a dark suit, you get a warm moist feeling, but nobody else seems to notice. 😎

      Still, looking in from the outside can give you more objectivity than have we with our noses pressed right up to it.

      • Bugs-Larry Boshell
        18 October 2014 @ 3:28 pm

        Your reference to Love Guy verified my suspicion of your tempered praise and sure enough, in your next to the last paragraph, you done it. πŸ™ You slandered the God of Love with an inverse version of Superguy. I feel so misunderstood! To use language you might understand, the life of Christ was an exercise in the revelation and enactment of the God of Love.


         I know that is revolutionary in its simplicity, confounding to admirers of complexity and jurisprudence. Superguy, your guy, is committee constructed over the ages by millions of unfettered professional and nonprofessional, all self-appointed theologians, who have plastered their imaginary creation with barnacles of opinion of every sort to such a degree no one knows what, if anything, underlies such a massive load of detritus.


        "Where we differ most is that I still believe in the power of a loving and merciful Almighty God. . ." No, we actually have no difference there, except for an unintended (I think) meaning of the word "merciful." That apparently isn't enough for you, however. You like barnacles, jurisprudence, etc. I don't. If you could descale Superguy, you have nothing but a pile of barnacles. The God of Love is not a vehicle or a person so is not subject to parasitical attachments, aka, opinions. As an engineer you can't describe the four forces of the universe except by their effect. So with the God of Love. Simplify, simplify, simplify.


         I do confess that I do feel much better now than I did with Superguy eyeballing me all the time. I grew up feeling like a dog tied to a short chain and Superguy was always parking his benefits just beyond where I could reach. And worse, if I croaked with one unforgiven sin, a few minutes after confession usually, too bad Buster. At least my burning corpse, like an unquenchable pile of hay on fire, would eventually burn itself out. That made me feel better!?! As I got older I recognized the fallacy and debarked from the vessel that participated willingly in this woeful distortion of the God of Love.


        I can't join you in the court of "merciful" deistic law. Humans don't sign a contract pre-birth agreeing to certain terms or behaviors. At least I didn't. Doesn't matter to Superguy. When the doctor slapped my butt at birth, I was immediately  guilty for being human by his judicial cogitation. "Mercy" is a manufactured carrot, a ploy, created by neurotic, guilt laden humans, to salvage him with at least one attractive characteristic.


        Yes, the early church bishops struggled with Superguy and added plenty of their barnacles to his resume in their attempts to codify "God"  while reigning in the rascals. Problematical stupid humans, hell-bent, sinful, but exposed weekly to Superguy, Mass, (transubstantiation), problem solved (with a possible stop for last minute modifications in purgatory). Still, even now, mindless masses line up for Mass because the transactional version of Superguy is easily understood.


        PS. I do enjoy your sense of humor. I think I am laughing in the right places, i.e., moist and curmwhatever for instance!! I do perceive you struggle yourself with the great conflict between the God of Love and Superguy.

        • Jim Hamstra
          19 October 2014 @ 12:09 am

          Well Larry, I am still trying to understand your concept of Love Guy.  Please forgive me if we have failed to communicate clearly.

          So if you could help me by giving simple answers to a few specific questions (eg Yes or No or I Don't Know) then I might be able to understand you more clearly.

          1) Does Love Guy actually do anything specific other than give us a warm moist feeling?  If your answer is Yes then a few examples might help.

          2) Do you agree that Evil exists on this planet we call home?

          3) If your answer to (2) is Yes, do you believe that Love Guy could or would do something to limit evil?

          4) Going a bit further, if your answer to (2) is Yes then do you believe that Evil is eternal?  Or alternatively do you believe that Evil will come to an end?

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            19 October 2014 @ 9:35 pm

               2) Answer: No. Evil is a label for certain human behaviors.



               4)    Answer: Yes. The "evil" characteristic in mankind will only end when men end since it is an intrinsic aspect of being human.


               1)   Answer: I don't know what God does. No one does. There isn't one shred of evidence anywhere that "God" intervenes, has now or ever, in human affairs. Superguy allegedly has, does and will, but as a convenient manipulation of human creative interpretation and projection. If I could define, delineate, describe, detail, explain, specify or otherwise anthropomorphize the "character" or the function of the God of Love, I would become a Creator of Love Guy, a version of Superguy equally subject to barnacles of opinions to meet human expectations.  I do know what God is because Jesus identified God as love.


                3) Answer: No. The presupposition behind "limiting evil" is, I think, that there was a time when there wasn't any corruption, therefore, interventional restoration (a form of limitation) will someday be the solution (soon, of course). Outside of religious ruminations there is no evidence whatsoever for the presumption of historical perfection truncated by some anomaly (idiots Adam and Eve, as one explanation). Every smidgen of information gleaned from the far edges of historical records verifies that what mankind is now is what he/she was then.


            An application of the weak force cured me of some basal cell carcinomas. A perpetual exposure to the strong force of the God of Love and the experience generated in me, delineated by the Christ character cures me of pessimism, fills me with hope and creates an undefinable optimism that there is far beyond me, perfect answers, to every puny question I can conceive.


            The religious emphasis on achieving perfection is a conjured pipe dream without precedent. There isn't an example to be had anywhere in the universe. On earth, people have always engaged in mayhem. Animals kill and eat each other, the dinosaurs did, too. The universe is a mix master of gravity, death and resurrection (ultimate recycling), created chaos. The earth and all in it is part of the mix and will experience hell when its star peters out to become a red giant. 


             Mankind has always been on the brink of destruction, still is, by suicide or external events. The religious narrative generated over the centuries is an understandable belief solution to a perceived problem, a palliative to augment hope. But it is constructed in word and thought on a religious cosmology, not a current verifiable one. ["Religious cosmology (or mythological cosmology) is a body of beliefs based on the historical, mythological, religious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology." From <] That narrative is built on language and cosmological perceptions now demonstrably defunct.  So, in spite of the faith metaphor, a useful refuge for millions, the cold facts remain. The "problem of evil" hasn't been solved by humans in eons of existence and beyond religious hope there is none in sight.


            God is not, cannot be, what we want him to be. Superguy is us imposed on ourselves. The God of love cannot be defined, is glimpsed by us in the effect on us in our experience. Response to the God of Love is the fulcrum between "good and evil."

          • Jim Hamstra
            20 October 2014 @ 4:28 am

            Thanks for your clear and concise answers.  No real surprises here for me.

            Mainly we differ regarding the authenticity of the Bible.  If you consider the Bible to be  merely the product of overactive human imaginations then much of the rest of your responses can be expected.  In this case presumably Jesus is also mostly the product of overactive human imaginations.  It is nice that you identify Him with your Love Guy but that may also be a product of your own imagination.

            Someday we may find out whether Love Guy is more than just a diffuse positive influence?  Or maybe less?  Or possibly we may never know for sure?

        • Jim Hamstra
          19 October 2014 @ 1:10 am

          I can't join you in the court of "merciful" deistic law. Humans don't sign a contract pre-birth agreeing to certain terms or behaviors. At least I didn't. Doesn't matter to Superguy. When the doctor slapped my butt at birth, I was immediately  guilty for being human by his judicial cogitation.

          So you are hung-up on this idea of original sin?  I do not believe that we are born guilty.  I do believe that we are born alienated from God.  This is not God's doing but ours.  Guilt is a "spiritual gift" we pass along to others, not some idea inflicted on us by God.  When Adam and Eve hid from the sound of God they were afraid that God was hunting them to kill them.  They did not understand that God was hunting them to save them from certain death. 

          Evil destroys.  God saves.  Maybe you don't need to be saved but I surely do.

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            19 October 2014 @ 9:51 pm

            Guilty for being born human is not the same as original sin.


            Otherwise your theological argument is unassailable. I don't expect you to deviate from your beliefs.

          • Jim Hamstra
            20 October 2014 @ 4:30 am

            I do not hold to most of the mediaeval doctrine of original sin.  We may be victims of the messes of others but we are personally accountable only for our own.

  5. earl calahan
    20 October 2014 @ 12:39 am

    Larry, if there is no Superguy, wouldn't you think the palliative base is a useful antidote for facing the reality of living in an evil world? If so, why do you rail against the God of Love, Superguy?? You may speak to what you observe on Earth (your interpretation), however your knowledge of that beyond man's cosmic view is totally unknown; Other planets with creatures such as humans and or ?????, in our solar system, or in other galaxies, universes, perhaps interconnected by black holes or other cosmic channels, seem a great logical possibility being as we are a precursor type??

    How did our planet come to be, from nothing?? What caused living things to develop, into various types, having some basic input, yet different in many respects?? What provided the formula plan, of bone, muscles, connective tissue, blood, flesh, brain, nerves, eyesight, speech, hearing,   teeth, sensation of touch, pleasure, pain, DNA. These prerequisites for the human creature requires billions, perhaps trillions of interactive composites, infinitely TIMED, to perform flawlessly (unless damaged)??  
    What caused all of these synergestically components to develop, from nothing?? Eternity isn't adequate for this to happen time wise, from accidental occurrence!!!! Your imaginary Superguy should't be actively busy, attemping to remove the hope of billions of souls. It is evil to do so.
    It is the plan of SATAN, the EVIL ONE. Love is mankinds only logical reason for existing. Otherwise, may we get hit by a projectile as large as Jupiter.   

    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      20 October 2014 @ 1:22 pm

      To an extent, Earl, I agree that Superguy is a useful form of medicine for coping with the ugly realities of life. However, I see Superguy  as synthetic, produced by opinion of men, and afflicted with multiple unintended side effects. Like chemo therapy, bad things are done to good cells  in the process of a hopeful cure. The multiple personality disorder of Superguy places the concept of love in a mad mix of judgment and condemnation, orders for genocide (with punishment for those pushes those who didn't obey), unfulfilled promises (second advent), favoritism, absence, fickleness, as a just a few. The palliative value of Superguy is modified by these characteristics.


      So, overall, seen as metaphor Superguy has some merit for the masses who have mostly ignored the perplexing "side effects" and are content with their "relationship" with God.


      Your rhetoric about beginnings and the complexity demonstrated in the universe are ultimate questions where answers are just speculation. In a sense, I have made peace with unanswerable questions as one of the unsatisfied components of being human. I revert to metaphor in my thinking as a way acknowledging there is more out there than I know or can now know.


      I agree that Love, demonstrated by and through the life of Christ, is the reason for living.

      • Jim Hamstra
        20 October 2014 @ 3:27 pm

        So Larry, it could be argued that Superguy and Love Guy are merely two different palliative treatments that may anesthetize pain but have no curative benefits.  I am aware of physicians who have this opinion. 

        Other research slows a moderately higher statistical probabililty of improved outcomes in patients who believe in some sort of superior being, whether it be Love Guy or Superguy.

        One way of viewing this is that believing in Something is more healthful than believing in Nothing.

        • Bugs-Larry Boshell
          20 October 2014 @ 4:43 pm


          • Joe Erwin
            20 October 2014 @ 8:03 pm

            I think that literature mostly shows benefits of "a positive attitude," optimism, and confidence. Which can, of course, correlate with belief  in a positive governing force or God. 

  6. Joe Erwin
    20 October 2014 @ 2:44 pm

    Dear friend Earl, this is not intended to challenge your faith, but to challenge the concepts you attribute to others (accurately, in large part), with which I disagree.

    I do not really think that everything came from nothing. Further, I doubt that there ever was a time when nothing at all existed. I do not believe that various componants "randomly" assembled. I have the impression that all physically existing entities have properties that enable them to interact in a limited array of ways with other entities. While the proximity of two specific entities might be nearly random or chaotic, once they encounter each other, any complementary characteristics may come into play, to atract or repel, weakly, strongly, or in between. It is the characteristics that entities already have before they connect that influences (nonrandomly) how they interact. When they bond and form new entities, those entities may have "emergent" functions that nonrandomly influence how they interact with other entities. And so there are chains of nonrandom events that are based, in part, on a series of emergent characteristics that have functional consequences that lead them to persist (survive), or not. What has been determines in part what exists in the present and what can emerge in the future.

    The idea of "randomness" is kind of a shortcut for an "unknown" and is commonly used in mathematical formulas. It has various meanings, depending on how it is used. "Random" often refers to the outcome of a genetic replication error (commonly called a "mutation"). The point in that case is that one cannot know in advance whether the mutation (e.g., a single nucleotide polymorphism) will enhance survival or detract from it or be neutral (or, more accurately, whether it will increase the extent to which the individual contributes its "genes" to the "genepool"). "Unpredictable" or "unknowable" get translated as "random." Or "random" may be of unknown origin. That is, a genetic change occurs, but what caused it to occur is not known–so it is said to have occurred "randomly." But that does not really mean it had no cause–just that the cause is unknown or unspecified.

    Somehow people get the idea that "evolutionists" are claiming that every event that has ever occurred was both "random" and "independent" of all other events. Nothing could be much further from the truth. It is quite clear from all available evidence that there have been phylogenetic and ontogenetic trajectories that are sequentially dependent events. And that is true for non-living, as well as living, entitites.
    Some evolutionists emphasize "selection" (natural or artificial or sexual or whatever) as the major element of biological change. However, there must be something to select from, so variability is not just important but essential, and variability has to arise in some way. The notion of "mutation" was suggested before anyone knew much of anything about molecular biology. Now that much more is known, it is clear that there are MANY sources of variability, and that they are mostly NOT what was called "random mutation." Instead, there are insertions, deletions, and translocations that are caused by retroviruses and the residual genetic material in infected cells. Remarkably large changes with emergent and advantageous consequences can occur in relatively short amounts of time.

    So dramatic changes really can happen within a few generations–not enough to fit comfortably into a 6000 year box, but pretty well into a 6 or 60 or 600 million year box.

    None of this needs to mean that God's hand was not present in biological creation. In fact, this work only documents how and when biological change has occurred, not anything about why or who was involved.

    • Jim Hamstra
      20 October 2014 @ 3:48 pm


      Your explanation makes sense in the realm of biology where you have focused your attention.  It does not make as much sense in the relams of mathematics and physics where I have focused mine.

      To better understand this one needs to understand that there are pseudo-random events, where there is indeed some underlying causal mechanism that is hidden from our direct observation or comprehension or is too chaotic or complex, that makes the individual outcomes unpredictable (ie not readily correlated with specific causal events except perhaps retrospectively).  In the aggregate these events may be amenable to statistical analysis (ie there may be statistical correlations with specific causes).  In Physics, Brownian motion would be an example.  The biological examples you give above are also pseudo-random.  Or the proverbial butterfly in Brazil whose flutter triggers a tornado in Kansas.

      On the other hand there are truly random events where there is inherently no correlation between individual outcomes and underlying causal events.  Nevertheless in the aggregate these events may also be amenable to statistical analysis and correlation.  In Physics, nuclear decay would be an example.  The mechanisms are well understood but it is utterly impossible to predict and individual event.  Nevertheless the aggregate behavior is statistically highly predictable.

  7. Joe Erwin
    20 October 2014 @ 7:59 pm

    Of course there are events that are directly causally related, and events that are correlated, but without any discernable causal connection or even common cause. The are events that are not correlated. There are situations where opponent processes may cancel each other out, and on-and-on, like that.

    And, of course, just because we find trajectories, that does not mean that there was a "goal" or "purpose" to which the trajectory was aimed. The outcome can be opportunistic. Sort of an accident waiting to happen.

    Aren't we agreeing? I'm not seeing any sense in which we are disagreeing.

  8. Anonymous
    22 October 2014 @ 3:07 pm

    "There's only one more step left in executing the long term agenda of…[the Adventist Right wing]." 

    I understand and share your concerns, Erv. But I shy away from apocalyptic hysteria and conspiracy theories: And I'm not sure that what some right wing conspiracists might call "the long term agenda of the Adventist Left" is any more palatable. Finally, given the general contempt for transcendent religious values and beliefs among "well-informed and educated individuals," even within Adventism, I'm not sure that good standing within that community is something to be coveted by moderate Adventists, particularly when one sees the indulgence and solicitude extended to Islamic culture and values by those same "well-informed and educated individuals."

    Transformation of the Church – not simply changing or maintaining the window dressings of official positions – is the goal of both ideological extremes within Adventism. Passing resolutions and belief statments is merely laying the groundwork. If you were correct in suggesting that fundamentalists on the right will be satisfied with mere official positions that will surely be largely ignored within institutions populated and led by "well-informed, educated individuals," you would have little reason for alarm.

    As long as the Church continues to place high value on accredited colleges, universities, and hospitals; and as long as those institutions draw faculty and leaders from respected non-parochial centers of learning and expertise, the Church's patina of official proclamations, tenets, and standards, at least for much of "Western" Adventism, will function as little more than a Potemkin village to reassure the faithful and intimidate institutional affiliates within the GC's sphere of influence.

    History tells us that the ideological pendulum swings back and forth. The Wilson era will pass. The Church knows that he is not winning the hearts or minds of "Western" Adventists. That doesn't mean his agenda will leave no lasting impact on the Church. It well may. Ironically, the most distinctive characteristic to date of the Wilson era is its divisiveness. But in my opinion, the Wilson era will not significantly impact the general leftward trend within Adventist higher education ("well-informed and educated individuals"), or the standing which educated, well-informed Adventists have among similarly educated and ideological oriented non-SDAs.

    I don't believe a great Adventism schism, at least not institutionally, looms on the horizon. There's too much prestige, money, and property at stake. Enacting diktats is one thing; enforcing them is quite another. So yes, let's be concerned. Let's make our voices heard. But positing false choices and apocalyptic outcomes if we don't get our way is not only divisive, but intellectually dishonest.

    • Jim Hamstra
      22 October 2014 @ 5:12 pm

      positing false choices and apocalyptic outcomes if we don't get our way is not only divisive, but intellectually dishonest

      This is true on both lefrt and right.  They fear different outcomes, but both loudly proclaim that the Adventist "sky is falling" whenever it looks like they are not going to have their way.

  9. earl calahan
    22 October 2014 @ 5:47 pm

    Nathan and Irvin. Speaking to Nathans response. i don't share his outlook that the Wilson era's influence will pass, for a long time. His replacement from the emerging cadre will surely continue in the traditional stance of SDA. It is the rote methodology of initial education of this majority of SDA. Can the church wait 20 years for the emerging intelligencia to come up to speed in regards to "new LIGHT", through recognition of latter day knowledge?? Should the new administration come on strong re: TW's views of fundamentalism, there will be shism, and for the very reason Nathan speaks of, "PRESTIGE,MONEY, PROPERTY. 

    • Anonymous
      23 October 2014 @ 2:30 pm

      I'm not sure what you mean, Earl, by "continue in the traditional stance of SDA." More importantly, how have those traditionalist stances substantively impacted the moderate/liberal bastions of institutional Adventism?


      The membership and institutions of Western Adventism are far more liberal and open-minded than the were half a century ago, both in beliefs and culture. Church discipline for behaviors or beliefs is extremely rare compared with 40-60 years ago. Fundamentalist rhetoric from Silver Springs won't change reality.


      Church presitige, money, and power are concentrated in local conferences, univeristies, and health care centers, which, for the most part, are not owned by the G.C. The G.C. is, in my opinion, highly unlikely to precipitate schism if it means losing significant prestige, money and property. And as long as orthodox rhetoric does not translate into coerced orthopraxy, I easily see pot-stirring continuing for the foreseeable future without anything really boing over. 

    • Stephen Foster
      23 October 2014 @ 3:33 pm

      Why talk around the issue of Creationism? The schism, such as there is one over this issue, has already taken place.
      I agree with Nathan that there won’t be much more of one—over this. I disagree as to the reasons why however. In my opinion, the reasons why there won’t be are entirely demographically driven.
      The left in the church is “self-deporting.”
      Where Ted does make a political misstep in my view is in his commentary about things like worship styles; which occasionally disturb his natural theological and doctrinal allies. (Doctrine, after all, does not mean culture.) But I respect him for ‘calling ‘em like he sees ‘em,' in any case—whether anyone agrees with him or not.

    • William Noel
      23 October 2014 @ 9:01 pm

      If you're not bringing souls into the kingdom, what difference does all this discussion make?  Only to illustrate that a persion is not focusing on doing what God told us to be doing.

      • Anonymous
        23 October 2014 @ 10:39 pm

        Do you ever tire, William, of self-righteous hectoring? If I golf, am I focusing away from what God told me to be doing? If I eat ice cream, am I ignoring what God tells me I should be doing? If you read and participate in discussions and disagreements that are not at the top of the priority list God has shown to you, you obviously are not focusing on what He tells you to be doing.

        Really, what do you hope to achieve by reminding us that if our every action and word is not bringing souls into the Kingdom, we are not focusing on what God wants us to be doing? Do you think that being a pious scold on this website is bringing souls into the Kingdom?

        • William Noel
          24 October 2014 @ 12:02 am

          How is it "self-righteous hectoring" to remind people they aren't doing what God told them to do?  That they're wasting the energy and lifespan God gave them to do specific things for Him by doing other things.

          By the way, I also play golf.  Well, I make a mockery of the game a couple times a year to have some fun with friends, usually those with whom I share a positive spiritual bond and we actively nurture each other. 

          • Stephen Foster
            24 October 2014 @ 11:02 am

            “How is it "self-righteous hectoring" to remind people they aren't doing what God told them to do?”

            I think Nathan is suggesting that “[reminding] people [that] they aren’t doing what God told them to do” is the very definition/description of “self-righteous hectoring.”
            It’s like asking “How is it ‘golf’ if I am simply attempting to get the ball in each hole; using golf clubs, and as few strokes as possible?”
            Some of these discussions may benefit others. It’s conceivable that people are being ‘reached’ even when reading postings on this site—perhaps including some that you haven’t written. I understand that may seem rather far-fetched, but He can/does work in mysterious ways.

          • William Noel
            24 October 2014 @ 12:27 pm

            Jesus reminded the Pharisees and Scribes about how they misinterpreted and misapplied the law.  He rebuked them for driving people away from God instead of drawing them into the kingdom.  So, if my reminding you that you are doing the same is "self-righteous hectoring" then I am in very good company and you are making a bold accusation against the One whom you claim to follow. 

          • Jim Hamstra
            24 October 2014 @ 12:57 pm


            There are indeed many different agendas manifest on this web site, and it is clear that not all of them are animated by the same spirit.  Some of the agendas here and some of the comments here are indeed directed at driving people away from God instead of drawing them into the kingdom as you have said.

            It is no more likely that your calls to everyone to hew to your line will be well received than the calls by Ervin Taylor for everyone to hew to his line.  Jesus had the gift of meeting people where they were, and drawing them to Himself.  Paul said that he became all things to all people in the hopes of winning some of them.  Those authors and commenters here who believe in God employ different methods of persuasion, more or less effectively as it may be.

            I think you are far more persuasive when your testify regarding what you have seen and experienced in your own spiritual journey, rather than when you admonish others who are at different places in their spiritual journeys to follow in your path.  By all means do what you feel that Jesus has called upon you to do.  And by all means share your experiences with us.  But do not assume that everyone else has the same gifts or the same calling as you.  That is a fallacy. 

            There is not one simple recipe for every meal.  God must have liked variety or he would not have made us in so many different ways.  Personally I am a terrible cook but I do enjoy partaking of a wide variety of foods from different parts of the world.

            Jesus reminded the Pharisees and Scribes about how they misinterpreted and misapplied the law.  He rebuked them for driving people away from God instead of drawing them into the kingdom.

            This is indeed true.  And if you study a bit more carefully you will find that most of these rebukes were issued with tears in His voice during the last few weeks before the crucifixion, to leaders who were rejecting Him and leading those in their charge to spiritual ruin.  Not to mention that Jesus had such a powerful gift of discernemnt that He knew the heart of every man.

            Not many have the calling and the discernment that Jesus had.  There are a very few prophets who are called to rebuke others (even people they have never met) in the name of God.  Are you one of them?

          • William Noel
            28 October 2014 @ 2:04 pm


            Let's make one thing very clear: the gift of prophecy is NOT among the gifts the Holy Spirit has given me. 

            Your last question exposes one of the many misconceptions that are common in the church because of our general disregard for the Holy Spirit. What you're really talking about is the gift of discernment, not prophecy.  The Bible teaches that a person who is ministering using the gifts God has given them will be given more gifts and that has been my experience.  I'm not sure if it was there before and I began discovering it, or if it is a newer gift that God has given me, but in my experience with the Holy Spirit, I have become very perceptive of the motivations and questions behind the statements people sometimes make.  For example, just a few days ago I was in a situation where one of my most frequent volunteers and I heard the same statement and I understood immediately that the person we were helping was revealing a particular need, but the person with me had no clue about it.  Events like that have been happening for a number of years and others are recognizing it so that sometimes I am asked to observe and share my perceptions of a situation.  At times God has given me particular insights that have helped draw a person closer to God and at other times God has shown me nothing.  What amazes me about this is how clearly God shows the difference between a person who is seeking to know Him better and one who claims to know God, but who has only a form of godliness that lacks any hint of the power of God.  As a result God has been cultivating in me an intolerant pity for the "piously powerless" who defend what they believe is right while rejecting the Holy Spirit. 

            Now, let me share with you a quick story.  About two months ago a fellow church member handed me a note with contact information about a co-worker who needed help.  She had been through a bitter divorce that had left her and her 9 year-old daughter in deep financial distress in an older home where lack of maintenance was taking a serious toll.  One of the many problems I noted on the initial assessment was a spot in the middle of the kitchen floor where an old water leak had rotted the deck below the flooring.  We replaced about 25 square-feet of framing and decking.  In an e-mail to the church that evening I said something about them being able to stomp on the floor instead of falling-through to the crawlspace below.  Well, on Sunday, I was back and I learned they had not stomped on the floor after we left, they had danced on it!

            But on Sunday, I was kicking myself.  She'd been unable to bake anything for months because the lower element in her oven was burned-out.  I had ordered a replacement part and went for the purpose of replacing it only to get there and discover that I'd left the part at home!  I felt badly about that and told her that I wanted to return one day this week after work to install it.  So, yesterday afternoon I was back and after a few minutes of work we were feeling the heat the new element was producing.  As I was leaving, I told her, "Now, go bake something!"  To which she replied, "If you don't hurry-up and leave you're going to see me crying!"  God is using what we're doing to more than just improve her living, but to rebuild her as a person after the trauma of a difficult divorce.  One thing her co-worker has shared with me is how distrustful she has become because of the number of times people have said they would do something and then did not.  So the fact that my team has been to her house twice, as we promised, and that I went back yesterday to fulfill my promise is helping her learn to trust again.  I'm seeing evidence of that in things she has told me about feeling like she can begin trusting again.  Trust is essential to faith in God, so God is using us to rebuild her faith, too.

            By the say, I've not invited her to church.  But on Sunday she was asking for directions.

          • Jim Hamstra
            28 October 2014 @ 4:15 pm

            You have long ago convinced me you have the gift of helping.

            The gift of discernment has to do with understanding and evaluating people and situations that you actually confront.  Whether or not you have this gift I do not know.

            Seeking to understand or evaluate or advise regarding the spiritual condition of people you have never met and in fact know very little about would require the gift of prophecy.

          • William Noel
            29 October 2014 @ 12:24 pm

            You are correct that spiritual discernment is one aspect of the gift of prophecy.  That aspect is typically overlooked and you may be the first Adventist I have seen include that in their concept of the gift.  I have seen it it the prophets God has placed in several churches that I have observed.  If that is what God has placed in me, then I am loathe to agree because what I have seen in prophets is so much greater than anything I have seen God do through me.  Also, it would make me the object of abuse that would be willingly heaped upon it by those who are more concerned about posturing and showing others how right they are about God than knowing God and being willing servants for Him. So I think the gift in me is closer to the distinct gift of discernment, which is the ability to tell whether a person is motivated by and speaking for God or Satan.

          • Jim Hamstra
            29 October 2014 @ 1:59 pm

            What you thought I indented to write and what I thought I intended to write diverge.  I thought I made it clear that discernment and prophecy are different gifts.  I do not claim they are unrelated, but one could have either without the other.

          • William Noel
            29 October 2014 @ 7:00 pm

            We have much to learn about the Holy Spirit.

          • Doctorf
            14 November 2014 @ 11:23 pm

            So William I am to spend every bit of energy I possess trying to "bring souls to this church." Hmm, any time for eating? Any time for a good movie or book? It is my life and my time to use as I see fit. Do you really think you are going to get one more minute of life or bargain for some extra position in the after life beause you spent all of your time "doing what god wants you to do"? Your life sounds like a hellish existence.

          • William Noel
            15 November 2014 @ 12:37 am

            Oh, to the contrary, my friend!  I've never been more energized and enthused than since I discovered the ministry God wanted me to do for Him. 

            Ministry is a life focus where I take whatever opportunities God puts in front of me to share His love.  For example, I've been losing weight recently and last night on my way home from work went shopping for some clothes to fit my somewhat less fattened frame.  The young man at the checkout saw the ball cap I was wearing that reads "CIA Christians In Action" and commented that he hadn't been going to church much lately.  There were no other customers around so I took the opportunity to provide some spiritual encouragement.  We ended up chatting for nearly ten minutes, at the end of which I invited him to visit my church since he wasn't finding much at his church to attract his interest. 

            Yes, I find plenty of time for other things like my hydroponoic greenhouse (I expect to harvest the first lettuc around Christmas) and writing (I recently completed rough drafts of two new books that I hope to self-publish on  Since I began following the Holy Spirit I've become much more aware of the opportunities God gives me to share.  I'm having so much fun working with him that I don't think twice to drop what else I'm doing and go on His errands.  Let me tell you, they've been some real adventures!

  10. earl calahan
    23 October 2014 @ 6:23 pm

    Nathan and Stephen. i think you are basically agreeing with me with the exception that you don't see schism i forecast. i believe it remains to be seen of the backlash from progressives in California and other locales of how they deal with the results of GC/15. How i differ with TW is how and why he continues to stir the membership by his preferred exclusionary outlook of who is or isn't a SDA, in word and deed. His general theme of this his policy is reiterated in the current Oct/14 Adventist World isue.

  11. Bugs-Larry Boshell
    25 October 2014 @ 3:28 pm

    The church as an institution is not the guardian of "truth," but an insurer of its self-preservation. The Gospel of Christ doesn't need a church. The church needs the Gospel as its tenuous apology for survival.


    As a corporation, one of which the Adventist church is, the  denomination functions on a business model, modified slightly with club overtones, but without adjusting the overall paradigm. Profit and loss, record keeping, business meetings, CEO's, marketing, budgeting, income collection, expenditure concerns, stockholder meetings, growth, goals, employees, stockholders, accounting, future projections, development of products, advertising, are some of the concerns of business. Adventism has  the same functions with parallel religious nomenclatures.


    Wilson as CEO has a duty to preserve the Adventist business. Its future existence depends on a coherent structure combining its history with a future vision.


    Every corporation has a cadre of critics ranging from customers to investors who have disagree with virtually every aspect of its outlook and function. Chiefs are always aware of their existence, may make some adjustments for them, but accepts that a schism will always exist and that the welfare of the company is a larger concern that normally is  not served by placating the noise makers.


    Schisms are part of Adventist history from its inception. Today is no different. Belief systems are never totally acceptable to all adherents. Opinions are the backbone of belief. Forging and winnowing  them into a mainstream of consensus sidelines a coterie of individuals who have to decide their course of action. The end result is an institution with a perceived majority alliance with a dissenting minority.


    Schism. Not coming (defined as disagreement, not breakup). Already here with current variations.


    Schismatics  face the historical dilemma of "what to do." Since schism seldom leads to successful reinventions, most modifiers will maintain their reputation for staying in the organization while making noise, lots of it. That could eventually become a dilemma for the church business on what to do with the progressive caterwauling rebels. In all likelihood, the value of the income generated be the protesters will purchase peace, at a price, with the church business "lookng the other way."


    California Adventists have historically avoided  the trauma of real schism (defined as breakup) by ignoring unpleasant dogmas while acting as if all is well, while, of course, generously contributing its lucre to headquarters. Probably a viable model for all progressives.

    • Jim Hamstra
      25 October 2014 @ 4:21 pm

      California Adventists you say?  Have you ever been to Sacramento and listened to Doug Batchelor?

      Your generalization decreases in (hyperbolic?) proportion to the distance from Loma Linda.  Sacramento might as well be 6,000 light-years from Loma Linda, which is the square of the distance between LLBN and 3ABN 8-).

      PS – your Curmudgeonly insights are amazing!

      • Bugs-Larry Boshell
        25 October 2014 @ 7:06 pm

        OK, Jimbo, I think you might be calling me a curmmy guy! Oh well. I take it as a compliment!


        Everyone else  in the country knows that California is  the spawning bed of all forms of mischief, yes, any and all that can be. (And for any mischief that somehow didn't begin there, it should have). And my sacred,  gold plated, California assertion is  straight from my SDA mother's mouth who alerted me to the mechanizations of California SDA's many years ago.  I have harbored it for more than fifty years and because of its source, it is true, Sola Madre. Your Sacramento reference by accursed!  And Doug Bachelor (isn't he the SDA Salesman who has, I hear, polluted his nest with dancing)? If so, conspiracy theory verified.


        You'll have to admit, electing Gov. Moonbeam again and again, fortifies every suspicion held by us (outsiders-non CA's) that adherence to strict convictions is not a virtue of you and your people there! Hollywood, too! 


        My advice to you in the light of the present truth, I mean great controversy, I mean the Return To The Past by your chief guru, do what you have always done, act as if all is well since there is nothing left to do. And in my estimation, you are in exactly the right place to ignore, without cost, unpleasant dogmas, in concert with your Loma Linda buddies and their genus (first wrote ilk and thought it too churlish!

        • Jim Hamstra
          29 October 2014 @ 8:57 pm

          Well for the record, the longest consecutive streak I have spent in Silicon Valley is about 3 weeks.  I have never spent more than 1 week in So Cal.  I do have some dear friends and relatives in So Cal but I am not now nor ever have I been a Californian.  Nice place to visit but I don't want to live there 8-).

      • Bugs-Larry Boshell
        25 October 2014 @ 7:12 pm

        Whoops. Left out part of my advice. Keep them offerings flowing!

  12. Daniel-814
    25 October 2014 @ 11:06 pm

    In America, the phrase “Separation of Church and State” is often heard in support of the concept that America offers “religious freedom,” “religious liberty” and “freedom to worship” according to one’s conscience. In fact, there is no such law. The phrase found as the first sentence of the Bill of Rights, Article 1 in Amendment to the Constitution for the united States says:

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Significant, and pertinent to this discussion — but poorly understood — is another passage found at Article I, Section 10, of the Constitution for the united States:

        “No State shall … pass any law … impairing the Obligation of Contracts …”

    The significance of this Constitutional requirement is that a contract, lawfully entered into, is binding on the parties. There is more:

        “‘ * * The logical deduction from the precedents hitherto established is that, … The creature cannot control the creator.’ La Grande v. Municipal Court et al., 120 Or. at 112.”
            Cole v. Seaside, 80 Or. 73, 84 (156 Pac. 569).
        “You turn things upside down! Should the potter be thought to be like clay; that the thing made should say about him who made it, ‘He didn't make me;’ or the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding?’” Isaiah 29:16, HNV.

    This principle, “The creature cannot control the creator,” is a maxim of law from time out of mind. When government creates a corporation, that corporation is subject to the whims and decisions of the government that created it. The act of creating the corporation creates a contract between government and the corporation. A corporation is an artificial entity; it possesses no life of its own. For this reason, a corporation has life only through its board of directors and the officers of the corporation. Further, because a corporation is “incompetent” it may only approach government via a government-approved agent whenever there is a dispute. That government-approved agent is required to be a licensed attorney. When a “church” incorporates with any secular government, the “church” is bound by the contract and so becomes a servant to the government that formed the corporation. Thus, by offer of a “benefit” called “tax exempt status” which is a contract, has government intruded into the church. Remember Esau who sold his birthright for a pot of soup; so too does the “church” sell it’s birthright for a secular “benefit.”

    The long and the short of the foregoing is that the Seventh-day Adventist "church" is not a church, is not a sacred institution, but rather is a secular social club corporation subject to the whims of the secular goverment agencies which created the various SdA corporations within their jurisdiction. Because the SdA corporation in DC and its subsidiary corporations whereever incorporated are secular, the secular social club which it has become, and its leaders and members, are reduced to discussing the scones and coffee after "church" rather than rising to their sacred calling which is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, which is that Our Creator and Redeemer lives and beckons us to "believe in Him" and inherit eternal life. IF the "church" and its proponents would stay to their calling to Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, no one … no one … would have to be concerned about what anyone else would think of their "creation-time-schedule" doctrine because no one knows for sure, and the preaching of the Good News (thanks, Des for staying on point) would take center stage and all debates about the scones and coffee would be left at the secular table.

    Which leads me to ask: Where, in this thread, in fact in nearly all SdA "debates" whereever found, from the GC heirarchy and downward, does the discussion include anything relevant to the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom?


    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      27 October 2014 @ 2:31 pm

      I think you wandered into my garden of concerns. However,  my perspective is surely diametrically opposite of yours. Here's my statement from a previous post a couple of days ago: "The church as an institution is not the guardian of "truth," but an insurer of its self-preservation. The Gospel of Christ doesn't need a church. The church needs the Gospel as its tenuous apology for survival."  I also outlined the structure of a corporation and its parallel Adventist version. I'm an outsider, an ex SDA. There is nothing in the book of Daniel that interests me, for example.


       I do like the concept of God is love, Christ's proclamation and living example. It's an experience, present, not a theology, not subject to the "god" I call Superguy, the impossible version of God created by the whims of mankind over the centuries. Superguy is the hapless alter ego of us, an imaginary version of god that is entirely absent from our lives, the ultimate chameleon, a mythical "person" conceptualized by millions of opinions over the centuries. The result is a construction of a hopeless replica of ourselves. PO'd grandpa or maybe the ultimate probation officer. Some call him Jehovah. Christ revealed by word and deed the inadequacy of that version of deity.


      God as Love is not absent, therefore opinions are inoperable and unnecessary. God as love is not a convoluted, fickle version of ourselves, but a power that elicits response of goodness and operates in every human life, and always has.


      I see the creation of "churches" (culminating in our concept of corporation) over the centuries as a human attempt to enlist Superguy to an exclusive contract for business purposes. Conviction rooted in ego motivates men to claim they have been exclusively enlightened by  "Present Truth" and are thereby breathlessly empowered to possess and resell it at their whim. Luckily "Present Truth" is a moving target, a renewable resource for souls attempting to forever rehabilitate Superguy. It does tend to leave old "Present Truthers" in a quandary, of course.


      I have to emphasize the absence of Superguy (AKA Jehovah), not to be found anywhere, since that is my allegation that surely rockets critics to the exit arches of my garden! God, Superguy, is an unmanageable figment of the imagination. Every interpretation of his imagined presence or work or activity has alternative, legitimate explanations. Intervention into human affairs doesn't happen (you could argue that Christ is the exception, but He doesn't matter if his revelation of the God of love is ignored). A disabled auto along a highway isn't aided by an imaginary tow truck. Humans stranded in horror and stress have never, never, been rescued by Superguy. That's because he exists only as a figment of wishful thinking.


      Salvation via the God of love is here now. Response to love is all one needs. The house of a million pieces, Superguy, has a million problems, no solutions. Salvation via Superguy is a postdated check suspiciously cashable only at death. For me, experiencing the God of love tells me everything I can possibly know about "God." Experiencing love every day assures me that all is well, massive theological constructs are useless diversions, and I can trust that what lies ahead for me is peaceful.


      Christ didn't create a "church." Of any kind. 

  13. earl calahan
    27 October 2014 @ 6:29 pm

    Larry, you are quite the colorful provider of confusion. O' i know you are a straight shooter, and don't speak with forked tongue, although i agree with Jim, you are definitely a "curmudgeon" :)). The benevolent type, of course.
    Please clarify for all of us the following:

    Jesus Christ is the author, and totality in Himself, of LOVE?

    Whom did Christ refer to when He said "my Father"; "you've seen me , you've seen the Father"??

    Is the Bible a total fabrication of anecdotal tales and myths perpetrated by
    many different scribes over centuries??

    Is there no ressurection of dead believers to everlasting life??

    Is Jesus Christ God??  Did Jesus Christ actually live??

    Is this life all there is??


    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      27 October 2014 @ 11:07 pm

      Jimbo (Hanstra) hasn't called you a curmmy drasomething  yet, but I recognize one (you) when I see one! It takes one (me) to know one.


      Isn't "confusion" more interesting and stimulating than pabulum? At any rate, I deny the confusion charge!


      I want to answer last question first "Is this life all there is??" with a question. Isn't that the only "truth" we have? Everything else is hope.


      Hope implies a wish for something not present and is by nature deferred. Hope is the wish substituted for sight by a blind man walking atop a cliff. It has no effect on his passage. Upon a successful transition he cannot claim that hope saved him by guiding his steps. He can only say he didn't fall to his death. Hope is neutralized by either death or safe passage.


      The challenges of belief you toss at me are the same. We are the blind walking along the precipice. None of our beliefs can guide any steps to firm ground. Faith harbored  in mind can be regarded as an emotional benefit, but in our case, the tranquilizer of emotion won't block our descent into the chasm of death. Hope is a post-dated check marked "sometime."  That is when the deferred element of hope is realized. Or not. Death precludes the evaluation of hope.


      My answers to your questions have no value except as opinion. We are in the same boat. Neither you nor I know for a fact the real answers to the questions you posted:


      Jesus Christ is the author, and totality in Himself, of LOVE?

      Whom did Christ refer to when He said "my Father"; "you've seen me , you've seen the Father"??

      Is the Bible a total fabrication of anecdotal tales and myths perpetrated by

      many different scribes over centuries??

      Is there no resurrection of dead believers to everlasting life??

      Is Jesus Christ God??  Did Jesus Christ actually live??


      Being convinced you know the answer, the correct one, doesn't count. Belief, faith creates nothing, is only a form of hope. There is a sense in which belief is a form of acceptable delusional thinking as a coping mechanism.


      There is pass/fail implied in your questions, a pop quiz where my answers are to be judged by an answer sheet with a bad grade a possibility. I don't care what the answers are. Neither do you. You act as if you know and your belief is firmly based on that opinion.


      To avoid the possible charge of avoiding your question, my answer to each one is I don't know. No one actually does because it isn't possible. And I don't care. I don't pretend my beliefs are anchored in facts. I accept that all religious discourse is metaphor. That other than Love, God is unknowable, way past my pay grade as a human. I don't pretend that a consensus of opinions creates a viable understanding of anything religious. With these stipulations I like the story of Christ, His Death, Resurrection, His teachings, "I believe them."


      Earl, there is no eternal reward or punishment for belief. Proper or improper belief (it's actually a moot point) has no bearing whatsoever on what happens to a person before or after death. 

      • earl calahan
        28 October 2014 @ 4:04 am

        Larry, thank you. As i said, you are a straight shooter, honest and true to  your intellectual perceptions. And i don't really think you are curmudgeonly, as Jim, tongue in cheek, comically stated. i think i can put to rest my belief of your renderings as honest an opinion as any of us could have.

        • Jim Hamstra
          28 October 2014 @ 4:38 am

          What tongue in which cheek?

          Larry is truly a curmudgeon if ever I have seen or met one.  And a rather good one at that!

  14. Bugs-Larry Boshell
    27 October 2014 @ 8:47 pm

    As a departing SDA I struggled to comprehend the fascination with Ellen White. It took me about ten years (perhaps I'm a slow learner) forty years ago (during my ministry as a Bible teacher and a hospital chaplain) to conclude the Adventist church is actually the Ellen G. White Church. Its DNA and hers are intractably entwined, a symbiosis with several unholy propensities, one of which was the development of a totalitarian ambiance that had come to permeate Adventist dogma and culture.  She was transformed into an "enforcer" over the decades (her acquiescence is debatable) into a role as a prophet-bludgeon.


    Mr. Appel, I think is attempting to rescue her from her assignment as an Adventist drill sergeant and to discharge her as a civil, quaint, spiritual writer from a bygone, Methodist holiness era.  Defenders say none of the sergeant's role was her fault. Responsibility doesn't matter. Perception and experience is reality.


    Belief systems evolve. Mr. Appel's estimation of the sparse readership of her work in our time is bold evidence that irreversible adjustments in Adventist thinking are in progress. Current generations filter, reject, and modify dogma to fit its attitudes and needs. The old guard is easily abandoned. 


    It appears the attempt to rehabilitate Ellen is a fine historical exercise but without any other redeeming value for anyone, especially the internal IDM (It Doesn't Matter) SDA crowd. If the claim is true that an external admiration for her is blossoming, esteem appears to be admiration of her experience and massive productivity, not her ideas. Outside of Adventist "offshoots" I have never heard of any religious group adopting even one line of hers as a unique contribution to valuable Christian thought.


    "The bloom is off the rose" on three counts. 1) Within Adventism the dying, Glorious Guardians of Good, will admire, with a sigh of relief, this exposition because they will see it as reaffirmation of a unique Prophetical Foundation. 2)The Younguns, the IDM (It Doesn't Matter) Crowd, by far the majority, will continue their deletion of their Ellen memory banks they as they march off with their ears permanently glued to their Smart Phones and forever deaf, 3) Outside of Adventism there is no appreciation, nothing from the SDA soundproof chamber can be heard, not even a tinkle of noise, not that it would matter.


    Throughout the centuries countless talented spiritual people have been elevated above the shoulders of humanity as prophets by mere mortals. Paranormal phenomenon, in her case, visions, is the spring board to worship and stardom. Ellen was an amazing person with unique gifts which was/is not arguable. But to be label her a "prophet" is artificial, a dubious attachment by impassioned admirers  wishing to attach themselves to something, anything, that hints that Superguy might actually exist.


     [My critique is aimed at the futility of his enterprise, not to be construed as a personal attack on Mr. Appel. His exegetical skills are admirable.]