Official Adventist Allegorists

The Adult Bible Study Guide begins the week with a reference to The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come, the 1678 allegorical novel by Paul Bunyan. It quotes from a section where the protagonist, Christian (a Christian), prepares to battle a destructive dragon named Apollyon (Greek: destroyer). Adding to the allegorical allusions, Christian dons discrete pieces of armor, referencing Ephesians 6:10-20. Although the lesson covered the exact same passage last week, it goes over the panoply (full armor) of God in exhaustive detail again, spinning out a variety of spiritual applications. In doing so, this General Conference product reverts to a methodology that reveals an Achilles heel in the so-called “safe Adventist hermeneutic.” 

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Adventist hermeneutic has a problem from the get-go. Where to begin - context never matters, which has obvious problems for any serious student. This results in putting the cart before the horse - a theory (inspired or otherwise) goes in search of biblical validation - (1) as in 1844, as the end point, goes in search of the starting point; (2) a predetermined “Roman beast” sailes to Greece on a western cloud to sit on the head of goat - ergo: “little horn” is ancient, non-papal Rome, later to become the sought-after beastly papacy.

Related to context, the next hermeneutic problem - all scripture has equal value. God may be “the same yesterday, today, and forever”, but our understanding is not. What was relevant in the Old Testament, is not applicable in the New. If Jesus didn’t change anything about our understanding of God, then what’s the difference between a faithful OT Jew and a Christian…

As Christians, we should be reading the OT through the NT lens; not the other way around, as does Adventist hermeneutics… True, OT gives us “context” for the New, but is not constrained by it in application. The OT focuses on DEEDS; the NT focuses on the INTENT of the deeds.

That’s progress, I guess. Where I taught, the school library didn’t recognize “novels” as a permitted genre in a SDA school.

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A metaphor gone wild can evoke strange allegories.

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I’m still mad, @Sirje, that, back during the '79-‘80, Blue Mountain Academy Christmas school break, while we weren’t there, Mr. Loney searched the boys’ dorm and confiscated material he deemed offensive.

This included my collection of MAD magazines, and especially my prized issue #187:


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I think I can empathize, @Harry_Allen

I ordered a copy of National Lampoon in the early 70’s which I thought would make for some entertaining reading.

But the dean at SVA was not amused and confiscated my introductory issue before it was inserted into my mail box.


At Union College it was Life Magazine with a woman in a swimsuit on the cover, which was torn off by the Dean of Men before putting it in the mail boxes.

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My weekly subscription to Sports Illustrated never hit my in box, either, whenever the swimsuit issue came out…


Was it censored, or permanently “borrowed”?

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