by Ervin Taylor
A contributor to an Adventist interest web site recently posted a statement on why he could no longer be a member of the Adventist Church.
Quoted below is the substance of his reasons:
- “I cannot be a recent creationist and remain sane: the evidence is just far too overwhelming in the direction of evolution and long time spans.”
- Gay people need to love and be loved, get married, be included as full members of the community.
- Caring for the poor is a massive thrust of the whole Bible and of Jesus (sheep and the goats has nothing at all to do with denominational identification, in fact says it ‘won't save you if you don't help the poor) yet I see here again and again how ‘Christians' want to side with the rich and clutch their possessions and demonise the poor.
- [W]hen I was in church while Israel was bombing the life out of the Palestinian settlements and heard prays from the front 'Lord be with your people Israel', I just about exploded. People are people, whether they're on the 'right' side or not, and again, it's the oppressed, not the oppressors, we're called on to help.
- The glee for the destruction of the earth exhibited by…Christians. The job God gave us in Eden (metaphorically) was stewardship of the earth, but burning it all down as quickly as possible seems almost to be doctrine these days.
Ellen White has some great stuff and some abysmal stuff. Sadly those who use her as a club tend to focus on the latter.
Maybe those are my doctrinal differences. But most of them are more cultural than doctrinal (though some struggle with that distinction). But they're the reasons. By all means decide they're bad reasons ‘for you’, but you don't get to decide whether my reasons are good ‘for me.’
He ended with the comment, “Truth is important”
Commentary: Obviously, we all should respect the decision of this intellectually-honest individual. My only comment is that there are number of Adventists who would agree with many or all of his points (I do, with some minor reservations). I am reasonably certain this individual could hold these views and express them openly and be an Adventist in good and regular standing in many Adventist Churches, including the Adventist Church I attend. (I realize that in other Adventist Churches he would not.) He would be especially welcomed in the Sabbath School class I attend. I realize this would be difficult because the individual lives in Australia.
I would encourage this individual and others to read Dr. Richard Rice’s, Believing, Behaving, Belonging: Finding New Love for the Church, for a perspective that suggests believing is not the most important element in an identification with a particular faith tradition, including the Adventist version. Here is a quote from the introduction of that book: "Community is the most important element of Christian existence. Believing, behaving, and belonging are all essential to the Christian life, but belonging is more important, more fundamental than the others.”