Justin Kim in Consideration for Adventist Review Editor

Thanks, @kjames.

Even more than, and before, this, it forms an incorrect exegesis on the remnant and who they are.


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“…further cement a hierarchical system - where all the decisions come from the top, never to be questioned.”

That will not be true without fracturing the church. The independence demonstrated by unions and conferences in voting to ordain women is a signal that the so-called authority of the GC is a figment…unless uncourageous leaders let it be so.



PUC and CUC certainly showed a lot of courage when they first stood up to the San Antonio vote and its aftermath…Ricardo Graham and Dave Weigley deserve a lot of credit…they’re real adventist heroes…


I appreciate your contextual review of the two verses SDAs utilize to make their case of being the remnant. Our manner of reaching certain conclusions to serve our need to have identity in the world has left out the bigger picture found in Revelation all too many times and thus the loss of blessing the book is there to provide us.

Thanks for your thoughts on my essay, @kjames.

I agree with you, and I think you’ve said it well.

The issue of remnancy was, for me, the “crack in the egg.”

It started the end of my belief SDA doctrines were all perfect and true. However, it certainly wasn’t the end of that disbelieving process.

Also, I should note: I say this as a lifelong, tithe-returning member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in good and regular standing.


What is the subscriber base to the Review? 15,000? 20,000? I would say it is largely irrelevant.


I believe this to be a bit overstated, Tim. I can understand what you are getting at, but I am not convinced it is the correct interpretation of the passage. Especially saying the serpent "didn’t lie to Eve AT ALL. The serpent did lie. Let me explain.

As to their not dying, God says as much about their dying at least a couple of times: from dust you have come and to dust you will go. Death. Too, unless the man eats of the tree of life and live forever, man was banned from the Garden of Eden. That meant death. And death is seen in the fact of animal skins for clothing given to the man and woman in exchange for fading fig leaves. The serpent lied in distorting the truth of what God said in order to get the woman to engage him in conversation. His initial hale of the woman was, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” God had said, in fact, that " You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." The distortion worked and the woman straightened the distortion out jumping to God’s defense only to go more deeply into the grasp of the serpent’s deception in order to get her and the man to disobey God.

While it is true they didn’t die right way we find God implying someone would so that they wouldn’t in the enmity promise and in the death of an animal instead of theirs. Yes, the serpent was correct that their eyes would be open, but his suggestion was with a lie implying that God wanted no competitors, when in reality God didn’t want the man and woman to experience evil. The devil implied eating would bring them into godlikeness, (eternal living) but again their “being like one of Us” was only in the sense that they had now experienced evil for which God only wanted them to know good. And that knowing evil was unlike God in that they were going to die. God can’t die.

I believe the passage does point out that the serpent lied because he distorted the truth, distorting God’s words.


My issue has been more of the narrowing of the meaning of the text in the pursuit of doctrine that makes us “unique.” I found your interpretation of Revelation 19:10 intriguing and having merit. But the testimony of Jesus is a phrase first introduced to us in the opening chapter of the book. That testimony is clearly connected with a message from God through Christ in the hands of an angel given to John. John was a prophet and considered the word he was sharing in revelation to be prophecy. Hence, the “spirit of prophecy” includes an office or gift of prophecy as much as the essence in conveying witness of Christ. I can see both in the phrase.

In Revelation 12:17 the emphasis of Christian obedience is unmistakable and is an obedience that conveys witness to Christ and a witness like Christ. Hence, in Rev 14 where the keeping of the commandments of God is attached to the faith of Jesus. The spirit of prophecy would be manifest in a remnant in the end of time as the spirit of prophecy has been attending God’s faithful people, many in the category of a remnant, through all time.

Unfortunately, as I have shared earlier, we take the identification markers of the remnant and tend to make ourselves an elite group of Christians that only have the truth. The truth as it is in Jesus isn’t a set of doctrines as in having the right doctrines makes us the remnant. It is a loving surrender to a Person and in the Person we become witnesses to Him in being more like Him.

A vote…
It will just a “façade vote” since Ted Wilson already made his choice known. Only the naive and the neophyte keep talking about the voting process. Nothing but a joke.


Thanks, @kjames.

I’m not sure if 1) we’re in pursuit of doctrine that makes us “unique” — I call this Adventist exceptionalism in the essay — or 2) if our self-perceived uniqueness causes us to read certain texts in a certain way.

In other words, I’m not sure what’s leading, here.

Correct: John gives it as the reason he has been jailed on the Patmos Island penal colony in Revelation 1:2.


I speak to this in the essay, when I summarize the angel’s retort: “What you’ve just seen is the story of Christ the Lamb, the meaning of His sacrifice, and the unscalable heights of His triumph.”

Prophecy by the fact of his forth-telling, that being what prophecy is.

Said another way, the moment a prophet speaks on God’s behalf, his statements becomes prophecy.


I’d argue your former meaning cannot be derived from Revelation 19:10.

My tertiary, summary statement of my essay says:

The angelic pronouncement in Rev. 19:10 — that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” — affirms Jesus is the prophetic impetus in human form — prophecy “in the flesh,” so to speak. This divine messenger redirects worship to Christ, that refocus being an ongoing theme in Revelation. The seraph is not making a statement, indirect or otherwise, about past, present, or future manifestations of the prophetic gift in people on Earth, or implications of the same.

Earlier in the essay, I also state:

I’m aware, by the way, that the translation I’m encouraging more or less renders the Rev. 19:10 term “spirit of prophecy,” as we’ve tended to use it, both a misquote and a misnomer.

If the above are true, I do not see how “an office or gift of prophecy” jumps out of the Rev. 19:10 statement. Maybe you can elaborate.

Such behavior is Adventist exceptionalism in a nutshell.

Jesus never said, “I am the Son of God.”

Yet a blue-collar Roman soldier, perhaps during an unremarkable day of crucifying, said it about Him.

I see being the remnant as akin to being sexy: If you’re the only one saying you are, you aren’t.


It’s probably a minority view in these parts, but I actually see a theme in the Old Testament of describing Yahweh in exactly these terms–that he would tolerate no competition or threat to his absolute authority. Aside from the frequent calls to have no other Gods before him, Yahweh also seems to react strongly whenever a human or humans assert too much (think of Yahweh’s speeches to Job) or become too powerful.

I think one of the most interesting examples of this is the Tower of Babel story in Genesis 11.

The whole earth had a common language and a common vocabulary. 2 When the people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” (They had brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar.) 4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people had started building. 6 And the Lord said, “If as one people all sharing a common language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other."

8 So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why its name was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the entire world, and from there the Lord scattered them across the face of the entire earth.

Despite the common descriptions of Babel as a city full of sin and even human sacrifice, that is not in the Bible. We might read some amount of pride into the tower builders’ motivations because the text says they wanted to “make a name” for themselves, but Yahweh’s following statement does not reference pride as the reason that he takes action. The stated reason for confusing the languages was that otherwise “nothing they plan to do will be beyond them.” I don’t think this should be surprising. Of course people attempting to reach the sky would threaten a certain kind of deity. The Yahweh in this passage almost seems nervous that these folks might come knocking on his celestial door, and he’s not in the mood for visitors… or threats to his power. So he literally disperses the crowd before it becomes too difficult to control.

I think this fits very well with the Yahweh of Genesis 3. The reasons for expelling Adam and Eve from the garden are given more or less explicitly. Yahweh says that now that they have become “like us” knowing good and evil, they can no longer be allowed to eat from the Tree of Life, which would continue to give them immortality. God restricts access to the garden in order to keep Adam and Eve from becoming too powerful. Genesis 3:

22 And the Lord God said, “Now that the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God expelled him from the orchard in Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. 24 When he drove the man out, he placed on the eastern side of the orchard in Eden angelic sentries who used the flame of a whirling sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

Anyway, that’s just my personal reading of things, of course. I’m not any kind of Biblical scholar whatsoever, but it seems like an intuitive reading of both of these passages. I’d also point out that if the original authors of these documents did have these kinds of views of Yahweh in mind, it does not necessarily mean that they thought he was in any way “bad.” My (extremely layperson-y) speculation is that these folks would not have seen these attributes of power consolidation and control as negative. It may not neatly fit our modern view of what an all-good Omni-God should be, but of course that’s not the God they worshipped. Imposing our modern views on these ancient stories might be our mistake, not theirs, seems to me.

(P.S. The references are NET and the emphasis is my own.)


Well, that’s not how I read the text. For one thing, the tree was named “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, which doesn’t in any way indicate it was evil or that it caused one to experience evil.

And, also God confirms as much when he says, “behold mankind has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.” Not experiencing evil. Not being harmed by evil. Just knowing the difference between good and evil.

And then God says, “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” Which is somewhat odd, since presumably they’d been eating from the tree of life all along. Perhaps they had to keep eating from it in order to live forever, as the story goes?


The new Young Adults study guide - Inverse has been an amazing resource for the young adults in our conference here in England. I know of numerous other groups who have been incredibly blessed by it.

This article seems to reflect a bias, mentioning some more conservative organisational connections but not other parts of his bio.
It doesn’t share that Justin Kim was educated at a Catholic High School, a Jewish University, at Harvard University and also at the Seminary, thus likely giving him a broader world view than many of us

The Tree of Life

Well, this is a little confusing.Why was there a need for a tree of life in the Garden? Adam & Eve, and everyone else had plenty of food, but they still needed to eat from that special tree in order to stay alive?

They were created sinless, right? How often they needed to take a bite from that tree in order not to die? Something is suspiscious and odd in this story. WDYT?


I wonder when were all the animals given permission to leave the Garden of Eden, thus going everywhere. Did some of them remain in the Garden, or were all of them expelled at the same time as well so that the Garden could be abandoned and extinguished?

I wonder what A&E could see when they walked by the limits of the Garden? Could they see anything inside?

And what about Abel & Cain? Were they told what happened and why they could not get inside the Garden even for a short visit?

There are more interesting questions, but I will leave it here at this time… :wink:


Again, #NotAnExpert, but the Adventist view of a perfect sinless creation is certainly not the only theological perspective in Christian history. Creation is called “good,” not perfect, and many commentators point out that Adam and Eve appear to have had conditional immortality. They were created as mortal, dusty, beings, but were granted conditional access to the Tree of Life. So on this view Adam and Eve might have lived in the garden eating of the Tree of Life forever, but after they gained the “knowledge of good and evil” access to the garden and tree was restricted and they were doomed to live out their mortal lives.

As I pointed out above, I think that’s the natural and straightforward reading of Genesis 3. This is also a typical view for non young-earth creationists (the majority of Christians worldwide). Genesis never says that there is no death before the fall, and as you observe Adam and Eve were evidently eating and living in the garden, functions that, so far as we understand, require death. It is impossible, for me at least, to even imagine a possible world where death and decay are entirely absent. If such a world could exist, it seems to me that it would necessarily be so incredibly different from our own as to be unrecognizable. And, of course, this kind of view of Genesis fits much better with our observations of the world around us, as it poses no difficulty for the long ages of evolution and death that we see in the fossil record.

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