Good question.Also, do they still teach it?
The Path of the Law was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in 1897. Ellen White did not read this essay. She did not attend law school. She never came to an understanding about what law actually is. Consequently, because she remained throughout her entire lifetime uninformed, historically conditioned, and naïve, she unwittingly embraced what we now call legal formalism. Legal formalism has been discredited and has stood rejected for well over 100 years.
Scripture strongly testifies in favor of legal realism as opposed to legal formalism. God’s law is not immutable, as simply evidenced, for example, by the stark difference between God’s law of divorce for the ancient Israelites and God’s law of divorce for the disciples of Jesus. God’s law changes as society changes, because He shapes and molds His demands and expectations in response to the spiritual needs of an ever-changing society. God’s law is historically conditioned; we can say that God’s law is a transcript of His character but we must also recognize that His law is also a reflection of sinful humanity to whom He counsels.
Ellen White as a child of her time believed that God’s law is written in a book somewhere up in heaven and that God took that book and presented it to the ancient Israelites on tablets of stone. There has never been such a book of laws up in heaven that sufficiently and comprehensively comprise God’s law in a realistic sense of the term. Think about the rules for your children. Do you write all of those rules in a book? Most rules are never even mentioned, because you expect your children to know what they are without you ever having to mention them. And the rules change as the children change. In the household, as in heaven, legal realism predominates.
In order to accurately interpret Ellen White’s writings, we must identify and deal with certain historical and cultural presuppositions that conditioned her and her writings. The Seventh-day Adventist Church will remain stunted in its understanding of God’s law, so long as it is unwilling to grapple with that endeavor.
Really? God writes stuff down as a reminder?
Thanks, Kathy Beagles Coneff.
Excellent, thought-provoking essay.
WOW, you made an extremely interesting point.
Do people in our days need to learn about the Jewish system before they receive any other Bible study? It could take a while to become apt to get that piece of paper… Hmmm…
So, is the statement on the science of salvation being inexplainable or is the picture of Jesus clothed in priestly garments pleading “My blood, Father, my blood, my blood, my blood.” the metaphor, @RonCorson? As Sister (her preferred title) White is noted to have personally confirmed, “We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible” as Seventh-day Adventists.
Of course, Sister White also in the same link made clear, “In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible.” And, “We are not to accept the opinion of commentators as the voice of God; they are erring mortals like ourselves. God has given reasoning powers to us as well as to them. We should make the Bible its own expositor.”
The good news here is that Seventh-day Adventist history needs not be rewritten for the Seventh-day Adventist faith to repossess its highly organic first century as well as its pre-denominational roots and spirit. Our history is our source of divinely intended life as Seventh-day Adventists, it seems. Now in my eighth decade of life as and among those who are Seventh-day Adventist, this feels ever the more hopeful. And, by at least one person’s reading of the Three Angels Message of Revelation 14, everyone’s destiny.
R – What age group are you thinking about? when you asked the question?
I think the “Older” age group probably will mention the IJ either directly or indirectly.
And probably DO have in the back of their SDA religious thinking Ellen’s statement
regarding the “perfectly reproduced” then “Jesus can come”. AND when thought
or stated mean the SDA church members.
…there must be some principle to the law that is much bigger than “keeping the commandments.
I have been grappling with this all week. God’s law must be much larger than keeping a set of rules. This is IF God’s law is universal and everlasting. The 4th commandment is a case in point. If as, Adventist believe, the Sabbath is a memorial to God’s creative power then what was its purpose BEFORE the earth was created, or on an inhabited planet that did not revolve in 24hr. increments? Beyond that, why would immortal beings need to track time as we do on earth as mortals? There must be a much larger principle involved to the law and especially the 4th one. This article does give me some ideas to consider.
I think the “Older” age group probably will mention the IJ either directly or indirectly.
The Investigative Judgment
Hi Lehel, are you a Seventh Day Adventist?
Hi! I am, just English is not my native language, and I’m fairly new on Spectrum.
Welcome to Spectrum Lehel!
Hope you enjoy the conversation. But be aware that sometimes some people can go a little roughly on you, especially if you are open minded or if you dare to ask “difficult questions.” It;s just an Adventist tradition I guess…
But don’t worry, it’s all doable.
I did not know the science of salvation was “inexplainable”, I know they often say that sin\s origin is unexplainable salvation however was always based upon the love of God which seems to be a pretty clear explanation. I am pretty sure the reference to my blood is a metaphor for Jesus death, or better yet His life and His death. What do you think the word Father is a metaphor for? What do you think the metaphor for “pleading” is. When inserted into the context of the paragraph does you meaning of metaphors work?
The true gospel of grace saves from our sins, not in our sins.
Interesting article and refreshing perspective here at Spectrum, thank you! I believe the doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary and Investigative Judgement (IJ) is a precious truth that, although foreshadowed all throughout the Old Testament and exposed in the NT (Heb. 8:2) had not become evident to the Reformation and was revealed at the perfect time. The beautiful part is in how it shows the true work of Jesus in saving us from our sins and the infinite cost of mankind salvation to God.
Upon reading the Book of Hebrews, is there anything new being added to it by the SDA Church?
I just speak for myself and my opinions are based on my own reading and understanding of Scriptures. You recently mentioned in a separate blog tat you received the training of an SDA pastor, (MA in Divinity if I recall right) so how do you read Hebrews 8 and 9?
Thanks @RonCorson for the follow up. Getting into the details of imagined conversations continues in the realm of speculation. Here is the reference that I am attracted to, the one which suggests that our ability to understand the divine mechanism of our own salvation, is, like our creation, beyond not only science, but philosophy, and human reasoning, and thus will ever remain a mystery because both creation and redemption cannot be explained. These are truly acts of god.
“The only way in which we can gain a more perfect apprehension of truth is by keeping the heart tender and subdued by the Spirit of Christ. The soul must be cleansed from vanity and pride, and vacated of all that has held it in possession, and Christ must be enthroned within. Human science is too limited to comprehend the atonement. The plan of redemption is so far-reaching that philosophy cannot explain it. It will ever remain a mystery that the most profound reasoning cannot fathom. The science of salvation cannot be explained; but it can be known by experience. Only he who sees his own sinfulness can discern the preciousness of the Saviour.” DA 495-496.
Rereading Paul’s thoughts in Ephesians today, he confirms the mystery by declaring that we have ‘put our hope in Christ.’ (1:12) We hope (actually, trust) because our salvation is utterly beyond our potential to explain, and will be for eternity. Like Job, we do well to say, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know." (ch 42).
When we get down to hope, we truly have something indisputable to share. And we truly have the basis for loving one another. In fact, there is no difference between sharing hope and loving one another. It is the arguing over explanations that is the barrier to discipleship, which is uniquely confirmed by our love one for another. The great commission reads, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28 And what did Jesus command? Ah, to love one another as I have loved you. That is, to make disciples indiscriminately, and then to baptize them, and then to continue to love them into disciple makers.
Or something like this … and your experience will be your very own … I like comparing notes on our experiences. Many thanks …
Me too: I just speak for myself and my opinions are based on my own reading and understanding of Scriptures.
No I don’t have a MA in Divinity, I only have a BA in Theology. I then went into Psychology instead.
Regarding Heb 8 and 9, I read what is written, without attempting any interpretation to make adjustments to make it match what the SDAC has developed/taught regarding Jesus’ return to Heaven. For me the book of Hebrews is key to explaining what happened in Heaven when Jesus ascended. It tells it all plainly, unlike one obscure verse in Daniel (8:14).