It astonishes me sometimes when I read Adventist history, how well our pioneers understood the contemporaneity of truth.
Remember the names they gave their early publications?
- Present Truth
- Signs of the Times
- These Times
The greatness of these women and men was that they responded to the world they lived in. As the years passed, their message continued to be contemporary.
- Their first message had to do with the return of Jesus. But when the expected return of Jesus didn’t happen, they refashioned the message!
- In an era with nonexistent food laws, poisonous medicines, and little understanding of health, they introduced preventive health principles. Those who understood that God wanted people to have good health created institutions for scientifically based healthcare—institutions that still exist.
- Our pioneers were advocates for social justice: almost all were abolitionists and temperance reformers. Ellen White spoke resoundingly against slavery, and contributed heavily to work for people of African origin.
- Our leaders back then knew they also had to address the tragedies of the world. The result today is Adventist Community Services and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency.
- The church grew because our pioneers mastered the technology of their day: the printing press. Later, Adventists were among the first to make use of radio and television, too.
It’s well known among social psychologists that as organizations age, they become less flexible. You and I love our church, but we also recognize that it is—at least in its official voice—not consistently speaking to the age in which we live. Too many churchmen dropped their anchor in a rigid fundamentalism after the death of Ellen White. Which also means that some people are today cast aside because they’re different.
But that’s not true of Adventist Today! We continue to speak, as our pioneers did, to these times, speaking present truth, studying the signs of the 21st century. We believe that we have to be continually studying, constantly adapting our message. We hold to the Bible’s principles, but we’re not trying to reproduce the world of a century ago. Instead, we’re envisioning an Adventist future that draws on the best of who we are to meet the challenges of this century.
In this, Adventist Today is following the counsel of Ellen White, who wrote,
God wants us all to have common sense, and He wants us to reason from common sense. Circumstances alter conditions. Circumstances change the relation of things (3 Selected Messages, p.217).
We’re right now in the midst of our winter fundraiser. Our Adventist Today board has raised a $48,000 matching fund: every dollar you give will release another dollar from the matching fund. Will you help us to reach our goal by December 31?