Abram in Egypt and Ancient Sojourns

This week, the Adult Bible Study Guide moves through Genesis 12–14 and the beginning of the story of Abraham. After being told to leave his home country for Canaan in chapter 12, Abram and Sarai continue on to Egypt because there was a famine. In Egypt, we read the strange and disturbing story of Abram telling Pharaoh that Sarai was his sister, not his wife, reasoning that it would give Sarai a better chance at staying safe.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11780

This article describes the typical Adventist sabbath school guide habit of reading meaning into a text that is at best one possibility, and at worst simply isn’t there, and then affirming their position with a quotation from EGW.

What else is new?

Frank

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Yes, like finding the Sabbath at creation when it isn’t mentioned in the bible until the Exodus story, and also finding a “marriage” between Adam and Eve.

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Well, do your own studies on Abraham !

Pay attention to Gen. 18 : 19 or 25 : 6. !!

If you think the lesson for the week referenced was bad, wait until you read this week’s lesson. Among other things, whoever wrote it claims that Abram was caring toward Hagar; nothing in scripture suggests anything of the sort. He goes further and describes the heartbreak of infertility and forced surrogacy as ‘chapters that resonate with human sensitivity and warmth’. He then tries to contrast Eve and Sarah’s ‘active’ behaviors along with Adam and Abram’s ‘passive’ behaviors and how God was disapproving (can you say Headship Theology). Then he wants to connect circumcision with sacrifice because ‘the shedding of blood is involved’. He also tries to conflate the contract/covenant between God and Abram for descendants and land with Christ’s sacrifice…and it goes on and on. I have suspicions about who wrote this quarterly, although an author is not actually identified for the daily lessons…his favorite word is irony/ironically, which appears in this lesson 7 times, including the Teachers’ part of the quarterly. To me, this suggests someone lacking in theological degrees or studies.

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Cliff approved it. It’s unreal. A bunch of distorted nonsense.

Bottom line, for all its boasting that Adventists are people of the book, the denominational literature to teach the Bible and how to read it is awful. Adventists and the denomination itself seem afraid of reading the Bible in context for what it’s really saying,

It messes with tradition, the prophet, and indoctrination.

Frank

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I’d be surprised if all Clifford Goldstein did was approve it…he probably wrote it. The lessons are sort of in his typical judgmental style, don’t you think. I wasn’t even going to teach to this lesson because I wanted to address some other topics, but felt I had to stick to the lesson because there is so much that’s erroneous or misleading in it.

And I totally agree with your observations.

Thanks Frank

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I didn’t wanna go that far and say he actually wrote it, Linda, but it wouldn’t surprise me. He’s a super intelligent, indoctrinated, company man. He pushes the party line, and goes after anyone who doesn’t toe it.

Wherever I taught sabbath school, I would largely ignore the quarterly, and just teach right from the biblical text, or a main one that I would choose from the morass of proof texts. Much more clarity and power in that!

Frank

Yes…I usually try and choose some kernel and use that as the focus of the lesson.

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Abraham’s sojourning in Egypt is a purposeful foreshadowing of Israel’s later experience, just as God separating light from darkness in the creation story foreshadows his separation of the Israelites from the Egyptians, becoming light to one and darkness to the other, as he liberated Israel from Egyptian bondage.

Genesis is just as much a story of the origins of Israel under the rule of YHWH as anything else. The creation story, the separation of the faithful from the nations, the Abraham story, including his sojourn in Egypt and return to the land of promise, and finally the recapitulation of this cycle in the story of Jacob, Joseph, the brothers, and the Exodus, all point to this aim of the Torah’s grand narrative. God was creating a people for himself to bless the world through his grace and creative power, within and through their vicissitudes and their struggles.

The sabbath school quarterly misses the whole point of the story while moralizing out of context what Abraham did, and focusing on an instance of disobedience that the Torah never terms as such.

Frank

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