A Moral Inferno

This week’s Adult Bible Study Guide lesson seems inspired by a basic Bible study written in the 1960s. The focus feels obsessed with refuting Catholic ideas of purgatory and comes out swinging against general Christendom’s belief in a literal hell. It references what the “Roman Catholic Church” believes, dismisses “Roman Catholic theology,” and kicks off Monday’s lesson by creating a foil out of a minor “English Roman Catholic priest” who devoted his later ministry to young people. Did I write 1960s? That priest wrote the children’s book cited by the quarterly in 1861. 

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/sabbath-school/2022/moral-inferno

Thank you so much, Alex–I enjoyed your take on the lesson and join you in welcoming “a paper on the intellectual genealogy of how the Adventist pioneers’ mix of commonsense rationalism, anti-Catholicism, biblical literalism, and moral sentiment got them to this belief earlier than most.”

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The Catholic church has no monopoly on using poetic fiction to promote ideas that obscure the simple good news of the gospel. We need look no further than the long list of creeds that exist in Protestant circles, including the SDA denominations.


How about John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, a Bible fiction which gave rise to Ellen White’s ‘so called Great Controversy theme’? The foundation of Adventism? There’s plenty of poetic fiction in EGW’S writings accepted as inspired.


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