By Alexander Carpenter
Blogger and pastor Bill Cork writes two posts after returning from the Questions on Doctrine conference.
I’ll have a lengthier post about the content of the weekend (that might not be for a few days). The highlights of the conference were first, that it happened. Two young scholars, Julius Nam and Michael Campbell, succeeded at something that an older generation never attempted: bringing together a wide diversity of protagonists to talk face to face with one another about subjects they have spent years writing about (often very emotionally). The background to this includes Julius Nam’s 2005 Ph.D. dissertation (Reactions to the Seventh-day Adventist Evangelical Conferences and Questions on Doctrine, 1955-1971), and the publishing in 2003 of the annotated edition of QOD (through the efforts of Ron Knott, Director of Andrews University Press, and George Knight, recently retired from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary). It was evident throughout the conference that all the participants benefited from the historical research done by Julius and George, which has given us a common understanding of what happened 50 years ago, and what mistakes were made by people of all sides.
Reflecting on this from the perspective of having been away from Adventism for over two decades, having studied at Lutheran and Catholic institutions of higher education, it seems to me that the different parties have more in common than I think they realize or want to admit. All agree Christ was fully human and fully divine, and that his humanity was affected by heredity, and was the weakened, mortal flesh we share. All agree he is substitute and example. All agree as a high priest he is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. They all agree he could have sinned (something Catholic and most Protestant theologians would deny), but never wavered. All agree that while we are born separated from God, his relationship with the Father and the Spirit was never broken. All agree that Seventh-day Adventists are fully Arminian. All agree that Jesus is coming and that there will be a time of trouble and that those who live through it will have a very intense experience that will require them to cling closely to Christ. All agree, I think, that the Holy Spirit will continue to uphold them.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4059