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  1. Pastor_Chick
    10 October 2012 @ 11:50 am

    Andy,

    Thank you for your candid review and summation of what you have discovered about the Creation Seventh Day Adventists.  While your perceptions and conclusions are somewhat in the minority among leadership, it would be a blessing to Adventism in general and Seventh-day Adventism in particular if everyone were on your page regarding this trademark prosecution and religious persecution.

    May God's best be yours,
    Pastor "Chick" McGill
    http://libertypetition.com/

  2. William Noel
    10 October 2012 @ 7:38 pm

    Andy,

    Forget the CSDAs.  They're a distraction and a symptom of a larger problem.  It is the SDAs who I am concerned about.  The ones whose churches are echoing with the absence of the Holy Spirit.  The ones who want to hold to doctrine, but who are without a clear mission purpose to drive them so they are focused on arguing about doctrines instead of experiencing them in God's power.  The ones who think they are fulfilling the Great Commission as church attendance dwindles.  The ones who claim to know God, but somehow are unable to share Him with anyone in a way that creates belief. 

  3. Bea
    11 October 2012 @ 2:31 am

    Just another casualty along the SDA highway.  It begins with an EGW quotation by Bro. Klingbeal.  Then in this century we have a 19th century concept of homosexuality, followed by Ben Schoun (we were at Andrews at the same time) who amid such chaos in the denomination says " when people hear the name SDA we hope they think of good neighbors – kind, helpful, loving people who are an asset to their communities".  A lovely thought but I had just done a blitz through history through the pen of Kerry Wynne and _____Hohmann.  The truth of the matter is that we as a SDA church have had quite a dramatic history from the beginning.  I had read other books by well respected men who made the mistake of studying their way out of the church but this work caused me to live through the experiences in a fast forward vacuum. People were destroyed along the wayside for challenging a doctrine.  I saw a documentary of the size of garbage in our oceans – the size being as large as the  North American continent.  After reading  Kerry's book I felt as though I had just visited another

  4. Bea
    11 October 2012 @ 2:58 am

    Sadly, this type of activity will continue as it has in the last 150 years.  With 300,000 people leaving (statistics from 2005) and more information available on the internet the "people in the pews" will not be as unaware or naive, that figure will increase.  Only when tithe decreases to such a level will there be any hope for change.  In this case, money talks as it did in 1919 when the decision was made to keep the real truth from the people who entrusted their tithe to their leaders to finish the work of God throughout the world. 

    • Stephen Ferguson
      11 October 2012 @ 7:00 am

      “With 300,000 people leaving (statistics from 2005) and more information available on the internet the "people in the pews" will not be as unaware or naive, that figure will increase.” 
       
      Good points Bea.  I have been giving some thought about this all lately, especially as you rightly point the number of people leaving the SDA Church, especially in the West.  
       
      The question is – why? I consider myself a 'liberal' Adventist and usually support 'liberal' positions within the Church.  However, when I look at the Church around me, and the type of comments here on AToday, it makes me wonder why the price of liberalism has been?  
       
      The aim of the Church, and every Christian, is to spread the Gospel and make disciples, teaching and baptizing in every nation.  However, the Church, especially in the West, appears to have evolved (or devoled more like) from a religion of faith to something of a culture.  Could I presume that you would likewise identify as perhaps a 'cultural Adventist', not embracing the supernatural and core beliefs of the SDA Church (and perhaps even Christianity itself)?  That worries me, because the Church shouldn't be an intellectual Salon, or a vegetarian cooking club.
       
      As much as I disagree with many conservative positions, they seem to be doing better in many parts of the world.  Thus, even if we win these battles over WO, and homosexuality and evolution, but just end up as a country club, rather than a deeply spiritual missionary movement, would it have been worth it – I doubt it? I would far rather have a more conservative Church, even with elements I deeply agree with but one that holds and cherishes its supernatural spirituality, than a liberal Church than is all so facile.
       
      In short – what has adopting ‘liberal’ positions on things actually done to better serve the core mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in helping spread the Gospel and teaching and baptizing more people?

      • Kevin Riley
        12 October 2012 @ 12:21 am

        I don't know that you can bring it down to a liberal/conservative divide.  Not only because many of us don't fit entirely comfortably in either category, but because there are very committed and active liberals and pew-warming conservatives.  The strength of any group lies in its identity, and we aren't sure of ours any more.  That applies to both liberals and conservatives.  There are conservatives who attempt to squash any discussion once it starts to look at issues where we hold different opinions because they are not sure of their position and don't want to have to re-think through any issue.  There are liberals who do the same for the same reason. 

        I believe we can be a strong church while we have both liberals and conservatives – and even a few radicals – but only if most hold positions that are the result of thought and reflection, not just following some leader or other.  When the majority of members can not defend their positions, nor explain them clearly to those who hold different opinions, then the problem is not liberals or conservatives, but ignorance on all sides.  With all the information available, it seems more members than in previous years choose not to make use of it.

        I wouldn't see posters at AT as typical of the church.  Most who post here tend to support a position towards the edges, or at least further towards the edges than most church members.  It is also a poor media in which to actually observe people's spirituality.  I would not judge anyone's spirituality solely on what they post here.

  5. Bea
    11 October 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    When I first looked for this blog this a.m. it wasn't there and I immediately thought "Oh no, I'm not the only one that was thrown off but the whole blog has been taken away!!!  I felt I needed to apologize to Andy for this, I thought maybe I need to just not stay involved with AT.  But then magically it was there and Stephen, when I read your response I felt we had gone beyond the politics of conservative/liberal to the beginning of dialog.  I think it is easy to connect the word liberal with distancing from God  – I believe it is a progression from doing to being involving our whole self, including psychological, emotional, and intellectual.  My intelligence finds it constricting to be told by our leader to only read the red books and those being sold in the ABC's.  Those of us who have read personal accounts of men highly regarded who "studied their way out of the church" and the response from leadership causes me to dig deeper.  Raymond Cottrell, one of the most highly respected theologians of our time, upon retirement came forward with his change in belief that coincides with Desmond Ford regarding the investigative judgment.  Last evening I was able to access in the archives of the GC, a copy of a speech of  Jan Paulsen, GC President where he specifically stated the name of  Raymond Cottrell – that  (I am paraphrasing here) even though RC's findings corrolates with scripture, the SDA church will continue to support the SDA doctrines to preserve its heritage. 

    In Dennis J. Fischer's site I was inspired  by the 5 Solas (slogans) which became the battle cry of the Protestant Reformation:  Wholeheartedly embrace – By Scripture alone, By faith alone, By grace alone, By Christ alone, Glory to God alone.  The gospel  PLUS ANYTHING ELSE is no longer the gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

    The SDA church needs to bring everything to the table:  Everything EGW, Cottrell, Ford, Rea, Ratzlaff, Dr. Harvey J. Kellogg, Canright, Numbers and many others.  Peel off the rose-tinted cataracts, do an in- depth study.  Above all, not to worry about what affect this could have on the "heritage" or all the tithe money that might disappear and thus cause an implosion. It is problematic what the church chose to remain secret as early as 1919.  Full disclosure and an emphasis to use Scripture that is not interpreted through the works of EGW.  If this could happen, I believe the hemorrhaging of hundreds of thousands would dramatically change.

    • Kevin Riley
      12 October 2012 @ 12:39 am

      While I generally agree with bringing SDA histroy into the open, there are better and worse ways of doing so.  A balanced approach is needed, and I am not convinced the church at alrge is ready to have our history – warts and all – just dropped on the members without any warning or any preparation.  We have too many people who would respond by either denying it all and refusing to consider it becasue they know the SDA chuch was/is right in all it said and did, or simply decide the SDA church is a fraud and give up on it without looking at other ways of viewing the material.  We don't need another decades-long debate by zealous ignoramuses on both sides.  There is a lot of challenging material in our history, and we will have to face it all eventually, but we will lose nothing if we take the time to do so compassionately as well as honestly.  But we really should do it ourselves before others force us to do so.

      I would be interested – professionally and personally – in a reference to Jan Paulsen's speech so I can read it.  Having spent many hours in teh GC archives site, I know how long it can take to find anything among all teh material there.

      • Bea
        12 October 2012 @ 6:56 pm

        Kevin – This GPS will direct you to the article you requested:  SDA GC President Jan Paulsen's "2002 Address to 45 Worldwide SDA Church Leaders".  Tread softly as you google ex SDA Pastors, double click SDA directory, Truth or Fables, Subjects, Church – pan down to Beyond Adventism the "truth" re-examined by Dennis Fischer.  p. 28, 29 – Living with Differences. 

  6. Jean Corbeau
    11 October 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    I notice that the author speaks approvingly of the idea of a "larger 'doctrinal tent.'”  Where does one draw the line?  How big can this tent be?  Shall we embrace those other doctrines that are an embarrassment to some Adventists?  Why not include a Sunday option for our services, to accomodate those for whom Sabbath is an inconvenient time, or who are used to worshipping on Sunday?  How about not being so rigid with that inconvenient doctrine about soul sleep?  The idea of loved ones being in heaven now is such a comfort to so many people.  And, in an effort to provide confidence and comfort to those who struggle with sin, why not affirm those among us who like the idea of "once-saved-always-saved?"  Why not just join the Universalists?

    Aaron was truly a great leader.  He believe in a big tent, as did Jereboam.  Worthy examples for the modern  Christian.

    • Kevin Riley
      12 October 2012 @ 12:31 am

      There is always a limit to the size of tents.  Sometimes the answer is not to increase the size of the tent, but simply to remove the walls.  Isn't that what Jesus came to do?  While we need to know what we believe, maybe we don't need to keep increasing the number of 'fundamental' beliefs.  Are we really better off with 28 than we were when we only had two, or when Ellen White listed a handful of 'pillar doctrines'?

      We also need to think seriously about what is essential and what is not.  Sabbath may be essential, but is a worship service only on Sabbath essential?  What would we lose, or risk losing, if we did have a service on Sunday – or every day?  There are still places in the world – usually in villages or small towns – where the SDA church holds a worship service every morning and evening, 7 days a week.  Does that weaken the Sabbath?  What benefits do we gain, or what do we risk, if we restrict corporate worship solely to Sabbath morning?  Has that practice largely led to a secularisation of the church, or have we actually gained by marking the Sabbath as special because that is the only time most SDAs gather, or even worship at all?

      Perhaps the size of the 'doctrinal tent' is not an issue that demands our attention today as much as some other issues?

      • Stephen Ferguson
        12 October 2012 @ 11:45 am

        "Sometimes the answer is not to increase the size of the tent, but simply to remove the walls.  Isn't that what Jesus came to do?  While we need to know what we believe, maybe we don't need to keep increasing the number of 'fundamental' beliefs.  Are we really better off with 28 than we were when we only had two, or when Ellen White listed a handful of 'pillar doctrines'?"

        Kevin, I don't understand your first two setences.  What is 'removing the walls' exactly?  Not increasing the number of FBs would appear to be not building more pillars, not removing the walls.  Are you perhaps suggesting we reduce the number of FBs we have, or make them more general and less particular?  If so, I would agree with that approach.

        "We also need to think seriously about what is essential and what is not."

        Totally agree.  As I have said before, I would be happy with 7 FBs: Bible; Trinity; salvation by grace through faith; adult baptism by full immersion; perpetuity of the Decalogue (including Sabbath); conditional immortality (including soul sleep and anahalationism); and literal, physical and imminent Second Advent.

        "Perhaps the size of the 'doctrinal tent' is not an issue that demands our attention today as much as some other issues?"

        True but much in a bad way.  We seem to spend a lot of energy debating issues that in all honesty are probably non-core, such as WO and music styles etc.

        • Kevin Riley
          13 October 2012 @ 6:14 am

          I am not sure if you are familiar with the concepts of 'gathered' and 'centred' communities.  We have treaditionally thought of ourselves as a 'gathered' community where there are clear markers of identity and one is either 'in' or 'out'.  A centred community has clear markers of identity, but it also recognises a wide band surrounding the centre where people can be moving in or out.  It would mean in practice that we would still have a core of baptised members, who accept our doctrines and who form the leadership group, but there would be a recognised place for those who are not ready to make that commitment to still be involved and take part.  Many of our larger churches are already 'centred' rather than 'gathered' communities.  I don't believe that is a new thing, but we should explicitly recognise it as a 'good thing' rather than seeing it as a problem.  If we give peopel time and space to move towards teh centre, perhaps more would actually make the journey.  And if we recognised that sometimes people may need to move away from the centre and find a space in which to ask questions and explore options, maybe more would not feel the need to move completely 'out' of our community.  That is what I mean by 'removing the walls' – making the distinction between 'them' and 'us' more porous.  That is teh reality in many cases anyway, so why not recognise it and work with it?

          • Stephen Ferguson
            13 October 2012 @ 6:30 am

            Is that similar to a sermon I just heard on 'fences' versus 'wells'.  When you have animals, especially out in the massive stations in the outback, they are actually too big to make fences.  The fences don't work, and holes always appear.  Instead, if you build wells, the animals naturally don't stray too far from where the water is.  Is this what you are saying?

            I belong to quite a large Church in WA.  We have a large number of attendees who are Adventists – many aren't even Christians.  We run the well-known Road to Bethlehem programme, which is well known in the community.  The person today who gave the sermon wasn't even an Adventist member as far as I know.  Membership seems to have become a little pointless in our Church (except as a prerequisite for sitting on the Board), and many non-members are actively involved in ministry roles.  

            Is that the type of thing you are talking about?

        • Kevin Riley
          13 October 2012 @ 6:14 am

          I am not sure if you are familiar with the concepts of 'gathered' and 'centred' communities.  We have treaditionally thought of ourselves as a 'gathered' community where there are clear markers of identity and one is either 'in' or 'out'.  A centred community has clear markers of identity, but it also recognises a wide band surrounding the centre where people can be moving in or out.  It would mean in practice that we would still have a core of baptised members, who accept our doctrines and who form the leadership group, but there would be a recognised place for those who are not ready to make that commitment to still be involved and take part.  Many of our larger churches are already 'centred' rather than 'gathered' communities.  I don't believe that is a new thing, but we should explicitly recognise it as a 'good thing' rather than seeing it as a problem.  If we give peopel time and space to move towards teh centre, perhaps more would actually make the journey.  And if we recognised that sometimes people may need to move away from the centre and find a space in which to ask questions and explore options, maybe more would not feel the need to move completely 'out' of our community.  That is what I mean by 'removing the walls' – making the distinction between 'them' and 'us' more porous.  That is teh reality in many cases anyway, so why not recognise it and work with it?

  7. Elaine Nelson
    12 October 2012 @ 5:57 pm

    Sabbath is more important than the Gospel as demonstrated by the exclusion of any alternate time of worship.  In public perception, the day is more important than the Gospel–which is unlimited to any time or place.  But Adventists have made it a time that is limited by doctrine and practice.  Paul said he would be all things to all people in order to win them for Christ.  Adventists are so fearful of offering church services on any other day but Saturday have limited millions the opportunity to hear the Gospel.  The common practice in Paul's day was to go to the synagogue to hear discussions on Saturday because it was a custom  (which they loved).  They also met by the river, wherever people gathered.  They met on the first day of the week.  They did not limit preaching the Gospel to a day.  But if meetings were held on Sunday to inform them that Saturday was the day that all should worship, then what:  it is clearly telling them that the day is of the ultimate importance over worshiping God.

    What is the message?  Is it truly a desire to present the Gospel or is it the goal to inform everyone that sabbath is being ignored and a time will come when God will decide who is His and who belongs to Satan by the day one worships?  What a cruel message!

    • Stephen Ferguson
      13 October 2012 @ 6:39 am

      "Sabbath is more important than the Gospel as demonstrated by the exclusion of any alternate time of worship." 

      Is this your view Elaine? If it is, I don't think that is a very Christian way of looking at it, and I would hope most Adventists would agree with you.

      In fact, I would hope they were see it as an absurd question.  The Sabbath is a component of the Gospel, given it is about Jesus 1st Great Commandment to love God and His second to love each other.  Thus, it is a false dichtonomy of trying to make it an either/or question between the Gospel or the Sabbath.  

      You might as well be asking whether the command to not murder is more important than the Gospel; whereas, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, whcih is the essence of the Gospel and principle to love one another, makes clear that to be angry with a brother is murder.   Likewise, you might as well be asking whether the command to not commit adultery is more important than the Gospel; whereas, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount makes clear that the lust after another in one's heart is adultery.  

      To refrain from murder and adultery are in accordance with the Gospel because they are elements of love.   The Sabbath likewise is an element of love.  That is why Jesus spent so much time criticising false Sabbath-keeping. 

      As for worshipping, there is no strict requirement to have Church on Saturday mornings.  We could have it on Friday nights – or even Sundays.  In fact, thre is no command to have Church at all.  

      However as a matter of discipline and exhortation, it makes more logical sense to meet on Saturday.  If we met on Sundays, I doubt many would be personally disciplined enough to keep the Sabbath, and soon the TV would be turning on, or a new interest in sport would develop, and then the Sabbath would become just another day. 

      The same goes for people who stop attending Church but claim they can stay at home and read their Bible.  They technically can, but we all know in all but exceptional cases – they won't.  People need people in fellowship.  

    • Stephen Ferguson
      13 October 2012 @ 6:40 am

      Sorry, that should be, "I would hope most Adventists wouldn't agree with you."

      I really wish there was an edit function.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      13 October 2012 @ 6:42 am

      I should just add, my understanding is that in many communities of the Early Church, even when after centuries they started to meet on Sundays, they continued to still see Saturday as the Sabbath.  In fact, many continued to honour the Sabbath by making it a fast day.  I understand many Eastern Orthodox communities continue this practice to this day.

      It wouldn't be my recommendation, but I would probably say that was probably a legitimate form of true Sabbath-keeping. 

  8. Truth Seeker
    21 October 2012 @ 12:36 am

    So, Hansen, what do you think Klingbeil is saying — big tent theology?