Thank you, Aage, for this sociological analysis of the “life cycle” of “sects” and “churches”. I agree with Tom, that this is both “well written and reasoned” account of the “evolution of Adventism” (though I see a few details here and there differently than what you describe, but that’s OK and to be expected).
I disagree, however, when you project this cycle onto the “future of Adventism”. Though I agree, there are a number of voices in Adventism… including those of our present GC President… which make this projection quite plausible.
But this, IMO, does not take into account several factors… not only present, but past as well.
For starters, the concept of control of individuals was so foreign to the thought of Ellen White that she used some of her very strongest language in opposing the idea of one person controlling the mind of another. For those who are not familiar with this, check out the book Ministry of Healing and look for the section called “Mind Control”.
But even more important is the state of the world-views that abound in the world today… especially that of postmodernism… which, while it means many different things to different people… is actually a great… maybe the greatest since the time of Paul… opportunity for introducing non-believers to the real Jesus Christ Who is God Incarnate… and who is in Himself the Answer to all of the longings of the human race… not merely those who already call themselves “Christian”.
But meeting the challenges that postmodernism presents does take definite “re-framing” of our concepts of how to do Evangelism… not merely in style and form, but in language and metaphor and authority base as well.
I will not attempt to describe this here. What I will do is point to a series of five presentations given at Oxford University, published on Youtube, Feb 23, 2015, by Tim Keller, pastor of a large church in Manhattan which specializes in the same types of University students as does Oxford.
The Series is called “Uncover”. The first presentation is entitled, “Uncovering Meaning” and those that follow address in turn, the universal human needs for “Satisfaction”, “Freedom”, Identity, and Hope.
At the beginning of this first one, Keller introduces the whole series.
I hope that not only you, Aage, but also a number of other conversationalists here, will listen carefully, and thoughtfully, to the whole series.