This startling article has implications reaching much beyond merely Adventism, but the writer was kind enough to narrow his concerns to this niche. The last points in this article are particularly important to Adventists. Can’t wait for the next part!
Some quotes that struck me:
“Because people are finite, any objective relationship they have to the truth is only approximate.”
–I suppose the kind of “truth” discussed here would be the “highest” truth(s), which a concept like “God” brings to mind. The idea that “God” is a higher or more important “truth” than the cereal I’m eating for dinner is pure fanciful opinion. Perhaps more correct to call these “infinite” truths “speculations.” Certain scientific “truths” can perhaps be quite exact and don’t depend on subjectivity? We might just call these observations.
“Faith … is this paradox: that the single individual is higher than the universal, though, note well, in such a way that the movement repeats itself, so that therefore, after having been in the universal, then, as the single individual, he isolates himself as higher than the universal.”
–Many people in insane asylums have incredible faith, by this standard, more than any of us. Or psychopaths. Christians would be loathe to be compared to such people, but they sure do abuse their mental faculties and tie themselves up into all manner of knots and imagine all manner of insanities, devils, demons, doomsdays, conspiracy theories about persecution, zombies coming back from the dead, celestial virgins, talking donkeys, tongues of fire, etc. A whole dark phantasmagoric landscape that one wonders why it appeals them. I haven’t seen any of that myself, personally. I suppose that stuff might be “real” to you, subjectively, in which case I’ll be praying for your poor soul, which is already living in a personal twisted hell, woe is you.
“If this is not faith, then Abraham is lost, then faith has never existed in the world simply because it has always existed. For if the ethical—i.e. social morality—is what is highest, and nothing incommensurable remains in a person in any other way than this incommensurability being what is evil (i.e., the singularity of the individual who must be expressed in the universal), then we need no categories other than what Greek philosophy had or what can be logically derived from those categories.”
–A real possibility.
“Last Generation theologians believe there is no need to suspend the ethical—obedience to God’s law—to achieve a higher purpose or telos, because obedience to the law is the telos or aim of history.”
–Right, and they might believe that but since they can’t prove it, what’s that figure to do with others?
“No doctrine is objectively certain, because no one can prove facts about God or our duties towards him.”
“On this point, the Last Generation Theology commits the same act of hubris as Hegel’s philosophy, which Kierkegaard criticizes.”
–Though I guess for Kierkegaard “hubris” is allowed and natural and “good” when it comes to the individual placing himself above the universal? If he claimed that that doesn’t count as hubris then I wonder how that differs.
“The second consequence of distorting the meaning of faith is literalism.”
–When I was a child, I thought like a child, I understood as a child, I talked like a child, but when I became a man, I put away such childish things as literalism.
“Faith, if it takes its symbols literally, becomes idolatrous!”
“When faith is understood as the paradox in which the individual is higher than the universal, then no universal law can comprehend the individual’s responsibility to God.”
–This mindset could lead the church into a refreshing period of “judge not, lest ye be judged”. Truly baffling to me that we allow our leaders to be the worst swine among Adventists. It’s not just a Ted Wilson and company problem, it’s a community problem.
“If the Adventist church will move beyond the distortions of faith and their consequences, it must reject any doctrines that perpetuate these wrong assumptions. This means it must repudiate the Last Generation Theology in favor of a doctrine of sin and salvation that recognizes faith as an individual, subjective relation to God.”
–There you go. At the end of the day, we all have the power to decide what we identify with, so stop identifying with all this nonsense. At best it’s a waste of brain-space, at worst you’re creating your personal hell.