Crisis — What Crisis? Ted's 10 Theological Threats

A key moment at the 2021 General Conference Annual Council meeting was GC President Ted Wilson’s presentation of 14 theological threats to Adventism, or in his words, “Aberrations that so blatantly and grossly misrepresent God and His Word.” The 14 points, given in Wilson’s sermon, were later reduced to 10 by Mark Finley during the business sessions. The table below provides a list of these threats. Attempts to add more to the list by some participants at the meeting could be an indicator of its subjectivity and bias, which means caution is needed before globalizing it. The danger is in eloquently describing or identifying a crisis that happened under your watch, then positioning yourself as the best one to fix it. The fact that there seem to be differences in what are perceived as threats exposes a possible crisis of confusion.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11469
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“Make Adventism great again…”, does that remind of us a recent tactical use of the phrase?

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Perhaps it’s just a longing for the good old days where things were simple, authorities were respected and accepted, and some people were satisfied with a static set of beliefs.

Also, there may also be a contagion of leadership style from business organizations, where leadership calls the shots, and those that don’t agree, can leave voluntarily or be “kicked out”. I have often wondered why some/many? ASI members are very conservative in church matters, and it could be because they run their own companies along tightly managed lines and want the church run that way also.

But I believe that the church should not necessarily be run as a business. I see it more as a heterogeneous group of individuals, with a wide range of needs and skills, seeking a fellowship with others not only socially, but in their respective spiritual journeys, which are not in lockstep with each other, but rather providing mutual support to each other wherever they are.

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Would definitely call it a ‘contagion’! I also feel the current political climate is ‘allowing’ GC leadership to go further down the road of conservatism. I hear much concern over the ‘loss’ of nameable enemies to instill fear and promote ‘endtime’ events. Interesting that good old days were never as good when actually living in them!! Enjoyed your article, spot on!

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A wonderfully Ironic illustration at the top of this piece.

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The question about the relevance of the leadership is central. IMHO, inbreeding is inevitable when leaders come in exactly the same shape, ship and mold. 18 year olds go into seminaries, work in the churches, get funnelled into administration, get into presidencies, become chairman of all the church and non-church boards.

What else do you expect than irrelevance in an age of multi-polarization of ideas and preferences. I am not saying everything is right. A lot is going wrong in this world. But to even begin addressing them, leaders must have a sufficient broad exposure in education, work and experiences outside of the cloak.

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As read the article it again causes me to question my fit within the Seventh-day Adventist church.

These are the things that Ted Wilson and Mark Finley consider most important to Adventists? Not love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself? Instead it’s evolution and sexuality?

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I hear you. The whole thing is pathetic. A pathetic, fundamentalist mess.

Frank

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I can’t help but wonder if having more female voices in the room would help keep focus on the gospel work of love, caring for the orphans and poor, making community welcoming and keeping our youth in the church. I realize this is a generalization but think there may be some truth to it.

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Agreed!! This is the same old “salvation by works” fundamentalist ethic that has been roundly condemned by the majority of informed and compassionate theologians. Yours and Jesus’ summation of requirements for being a citizen of the Kingdom of God are eloquent, simple, and unencumbered by the meaningless drivel promulgated by Ted Wilson, and others of his ilk.

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Don’t you realize that “women are to remain silent” and should have no expectation or right to think that they can aspire to ascend to the level of elder/pastor/conference president/division president/GC president, etc., and etc.? Femininity has no place in this “patriarchal organization”. It would without question weaken the pillars of faith for the masses. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Oh TW would make the church “grate” again, for sure.

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I feel too tired to even join these kinds of discussions. And it seems, I am not the only one. But I would like to state that it is not “Advent fatigue” but “Adventism fatigue” - perhaps not even that … as I don’t want “Adventism” to be defined in Silver Spring - but in any place where the rubber hits the road.

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First, of all, like with the other media, you have to take this article with a grain of salt. What is the writer’s agenda? Is the story slanted or biased? Etc…

Second, it is important that you pay attention to what the article is saying. What Ted Wilson and Mark Finley presented were the “theological threats to Adventism.” As far as I know, loving God and one’s neighbor is not a threat to Adventism, right?

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I have posted this before but it bares repeating: There should be more to qualifying for the position of President of the SDA General Conference than simply being the son of a previous president. Out of 25,000,000 members, this is the only choice we could have come up with? REALLY?

Nymous, what is a “theological threat” to the church?

Do you want a definition or a list?

The idea of theological threats to Adventism is even off base in and of itself. This paints Christianity as the preservation of an institution that regards itself as the custodian of all truth over and against everyone and everything else. It sounds like the early Jewish Christians who wanted to confine the gospel to their tradition.

Sorry, but the gospel blows these walls apart. The gospel is not about an exclusivity based on doctrinal knowledge, esoteric apocalyptic calculations, and remnant chest beating. It’s about dying and rising to new life as part of the universal body of Christ, that finds its greatest expression in local faith communities. Communities that express love for God through their love for one another and for their neighbors. It’s not about the promotion of a world wide denominational institution and its peculiar theology.

So yes, ecumenism in its truest form is a threat to Adventism, and to all who would divide the body of Christ over such issues and through a fortress mentality. And, rightly so. God works through those dedicated to him and to the good of others…whatever the affiliation.

Where Christ’s love is lived and shared is where God lives.

Frank

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A definition would be nice.

I think you got it wrong here. You think that the idea of theological threats is off base? Well, tell that to Paul, for example. In many of his letters, he presented several theological threats. Peter did too. James too. In fact, even Jesus did.

Aah, love! You know, even the Pharisees thought that they loved God. Jesus was not convinced. Nowadays, a lot of people are talking about the love of God but talk is cheap.

You are right, the gospel is “about dying and rising to new life”… but it is also about “doctrines, apocalyptic calculations, and remnant chest beating” (in the sense of showing regrets and remorse for our personal states or the state of the church or of the world at large). Some people like to make artificial oppositions like law versus grace, work versus faith or doctrines versus “new life” and ask you to choose one or the other but these oppositions are not found in the Bible. Indeed, it is law and grace, faith and work, doctrines and new life.

You are right. We are here to promote Christ and His message.

Wait!!! Didn’t Jesus have an apocalyptic message???

Jesus was always peculiar.

Really?

This is true but, again, even the Pharisees thought that they loved God.

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