I would like thank Spectrum for the opportunity to present this article. I am reluctant to do so as I do not want to increase controversy. However, in the aftermath of recent events in Collegedale (see “Pastor Passes Out While Preaching – Twice”), it has become apparent that those who have never participated in the Come and Reason Sabbath School class have false concepts of what we (and others who value a healing model) teach and believe. Rather than seeking to understand our position, many who disagree with us falsely label us believers in the Moral Influence Theory (MIT), and then dismiss us out of hand. This article seeks to shed light on this situation by clearly articulating the ideas and concepts that are discussed in Come and Reason class. Since the subject of the atonement has often been at the heart of this debate, I have used the term “Healing Substitution Model” (HSM) in this article in an attempt to clarify misconceptions. Within a few hundred years after Christ’s ascension, the Christian church was corrupted by pagan influences. The Reformation gradually eliminated pagan concepts from Christianity. It is our hope and prayer that the Adventist church will carry the Reformation forward and take the final message of God’s loving character to the world. To that end, we offer what we believe to be a next step in completing the Reformation and ushering in the Second Coming of Christ. We claim no corner on truth. Neither do we believe that we possess the “final word” on truth. Rather, in the best Seventh-day Adventist tradition, we believe that truth is progressive and ever unfolding and we eagerly invite our brothers and sisters in Christ to assist us in further developing, refining and purifying this message. (COL 128.1). All to the glory of God, may He be praised! Contrary to what some erroneously allege, we believe the MIT inadequately explains God’s plan of Salvation. The HSM recognizes sin as a terminal condition, a condition out of harmony with God, His law and, therefore, incompatible with life and thus requires divine remedy. The MIT only provides evidence refuting Satan’s lies in order to restore the terminal sinner to trust in God, but leaves the sinner terminal, dying in sin. In other words, MIT provides no remedy. Similarly, we also believe the Penal Substitution Model (PSM) is laden with pagan ideology from the Dark Ages. The PSM shifts the sin problem away from the sinner’s terminal condition, which is in need of healing, to an offended and angry God who needs appeasing. We believe the next pagan misconception to be removed from our theological understanding is the angry/wrathful God construct. In this view, God (or His law) requires payment or appeasement for sin in order to vindicate His justice. As a result, He inflicts pain and suffering upon his unrepentant children as punishment for sin. While HSM retains the essential elements of Christ’s substitutionary role, it eliminates the pagan belief that God must be appeased by the blood of His Son or that God is the source of death and will one day punish sin by inflicting pain on His unrepentant children until they die. The result of eliminating that belief is that one is left with a clearer knowledge of God. The importance of God’s character cannot be overstated. Mankind fell when they first believed Satan’s lies about God. Ellen White wrote: "It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy and truth…The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is the revelation of His character of love” (Christ's Object Lessons, 415).
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/news/2010/06/07/healing-substitution-model