by Ervin Taylor
A former editor of Adventist Today has become part of a select circle of regular contributors to the Adventist Review (AR). He is a professor at Southern Adventist University who writes alongside another outspoken supporter of all things orthodox Adventist, my good friend Cliff Goldstein.
This colleague of Cliff’s has published an article in a recent issue of AR (Nov 17, 2011). The title of the article is, “The Only Group Jesus Didn‘t Have Much Time For.” He writes under the category of “The Life of Faith.”
In this article, we learn the characteristics of the group that Jesus is supposed to have walked away from. According to the author, they were the Sadducees.
The author says that the original Sadducees were those who would rather ‘than simply leav[ing] the faith they no longer believed in, tried to drag the faith down with them. Their only remaining interest in religion was power and greed: what they could get out of it. [They] want to be religious thought leaders apart from the Scriptures or the power of God.
The author continues with other defining characteristics of the Sadducees: they were “cultural members of the faith with no real interest in faith [who are] clumped near large institutions. [They] put up with religious practice only if it was expedient for them. [They] rejected much of Scripture…and were secular…”
One might reasonably assume the reason the author has written this article, which appeared in the flagship Adventist house journal, is to use the characteristics that he assigns to the ancient Jewish sect of Sadducees to define a modern group of Adventists. Let us call them the Adventist “Neo-Sadducees.”
Using the AR writer’s own categories, let us now define Adventist Neo-Sadducees. They are cultural Adventists. They live ‘clumped’ near large Adventist institutions. They reject much of Scripture. They are secular. They want to be Adventist religious thought leaders. That’s a list of their better qualities.
They also try to drag down the faith of others. They are also power hungry and greedy. They ‘put up with’ religious practice when it suits them. They also ask questions “without faith, without prayer, [and] without recognition that spiritual things are spiritually discerned.”
Readers of this AR article might ponder who exactly the author has in mind. How would you know when you meet an Adventist Neo-Sadducees? What should you do when you meet one?
What should happen to an Adventist Neo-Sadducee if he is found teaching at an Adventist college or university or is a pastor? Is firing and disfellowshipping him or her enough? Should he or she be publicly outed using one of the websites maintained for that purpose?
Part 2 of this blog will consider these and other important questions concerning this proposed fascinating category of modern Adventist.