Hermeneutical Community and Invisible Remnant? Jerald Whitehouse’s Response to Chapter Seven in “Where Are We Headed?” by William G. Johnsson

“What is a ‘hermeneutical community’?”

“Who constitutes the ‘Invisible Remnant’?”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2017/08/18/hermeneutical-community-and-invisible-remnant-jerald-whitehouse%25e2%2580%2599s-response-chapte

Excellent presentation and very informative analysis by Jerald Whitehouse of Chapter Seven in “Where Are We Headed?” by William G. Johnsson’s book. I appreciated three specific points Jerald emphasized:

  1. Kingdom Focus and our Remnant Theology were highlighted and integrated into a more coherent and useful focus.
  2. The reality based on Whitehouse’s own experience in the field and his life’s work and study, that to try to bring about “structural/organizational unity” with some religious groups may be impossible, while “spiritually” there can be much good understanding. Goodwill and mutual respect can happen but “organizational unity” is highly unlikely.
  3. “The truth about God” as Adventists is our focus and should remain,in building a hermeneutical community.

Is anyone out there listening?


Starting from the beginning, if God’s purpose for the first item on the list, CREATION, is “relationship”; and because, that relationship was broken, the rest of the list is all about “restoration of relationship”. God’s purpose has always been restoring the relationship. It took a while since mankind has always thought it can do that with his own willpower and effort. Just as Israel wanted an earthly kingdom, and God acquiesced, God also gave us a bunch of basic changes that needed to be made in order to repair the relationship. But more than that, He had to teach us that we can’t repair that relationship - and so He had to do it for us.

The “church” is simply A PEOPLE WHO RECOGNIZE GOD’S EFFORTS, AND RESPOND. It has ever been “invisible”. The bells and whistles we add to enhance the relationship, only confuse us - diverting our attention from God to our own efforts to heal the brokeness. The true church is invisible.

The 144,000 are the churched that are still following “the Lamb” wheresoever it leads, no matter what our self-constructed churches mess up. They are the ones “not defiled by women” (to stay true to the imagery of the book of “Revelation”).

It’s not just the “other religions” that harbour members of the invisible church, it’s invisible even in the Christian churches. Man-constructed churches will never accept that analogy, despite Paul’s declaration that “God does not dwell in houses made with hands.” This takes humility and a clear vision of our brokeness and inability to repair our relationship with God. It takes faith that God is able to accept us just as we are, and help us grow into the relationship He intended for us originally.

Like it or not, God’s “kingdom” is made up of members of the invisible church.