When Desmond Ford speaks, Adventists still listen. In fact speaking with people who heard Dr. Ford's presentation, it became clear that much, if not most, of Adventism is aligned theologically with Desmond Ford where atonement is concerned. Imagine that! Adventism and Desmond Ford in agreement.
The live updates hit a slight SNAFU amid my running to and fro at Loma Linda today. Namely, my computer decided to wipe all my notes from Dr. Ford's presentation. You know what they say about the best laid plans...
So I'm now sitting alone in the balcony of the Campus Hill Church as more crowds gather ahead of the 8:00 presentation by Dr. Ford entitled "This I believe."
Reminiscing on Dr. Ford's presentation earlier today, what really struck me was the force with which he demands that the forensic view of atonement (that a sacraficial death was necessary and Jesus was that sacrifice on our behalf so we do not have to pay the penalty for sin).
Dr. Ford spoke eloquently and passionately with a pastor's heart. He filled his homily with zippy one-liners:
"It doesn't matter who you are but rather whose you are."
"You don't have to be good to be saved, but you must be saved to be good."
Following Dr. Ford's presentation, Drs. Fritz Guy and Kendra Haloviak of La Sierra University and Pastor Larry Christoffel and Jon Paulien of Loma Linda extended the conversation in a panel discussion.
When pressed about the necessity of a blood sacrifice, Ford was adamant that Jesus "must, must must" die. Just as the serpent was raised up on a pole, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.
Questions from the audience brought some poignant moments. Particularly when an audience member asked whether the Adventist Church had ever apologized for Glacier View and its aftermath. Dr. Ford responded that the Catholic Church has made numerous apologies, but the Adventist Church does not apologize. Strong words!
One memorable point of discussion among panel members centered on the metaphors used to describe justification and atonement. Desmond Ford acknowledged that "it is not always forensic" and panelists agreed that there are a multitude of metaphors used in Scripture.
Jon Paulien asked whether the metaphors used more often than others (referring to the substitutionary metaphor) deserve prominence because they are mentioned more frequently. Dr. Ford replied that he feels it necessary to emphasize what God emphasizes; "When God shouts, I shout...when God is quiet, I am quiet." His response drew applause.
Next, I am headed to a get together for members of the Good News Tour where they will share food and (hopefully) their thoughts in interviews with yours truly.
UPDATE: Found this video clip on YouTube of the presentation Dr. Ford shared--I think it is from the 3:00 meeting.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/942