Response to “Can This Be Adventism?”

That’s a terrible thing. But, given that Adventists are taught the it’s perfectly proper to lift any collection of random sentences out of the bible and use them to support their views, it’s awfully easy to do!


Absolutely correct. I would also add that we need to rethink our convictions about the source of biblical authority.

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I am afraid you don’t understand Schleiermacher’s hermeneutics. He stresses that the author is the object of interpretation. This is regarded as a very conservative approach to hermeneutics, championed later by ED Hirsch, Jr., who is the favorite hermeneutist of evangelical Christians. Schleiermacher’s theology has no relation to his hermeneutics, because the focus of theology is truth whereas the focus of hermeneutics is meaning. Gadamer was a non-believer, but no one seriously argues that his hermeneutics has any relation to his non-belief.


What really puzzles me is the fact that Charles Scriven tried several times to contact Jiri Moskala on this subject not really getting a substantial response-(here I take his word for it) but as soon as his article was published in Spectrum, Jiri Moskala hurried to write a lengthy answer. Would it not have been common courtesy to answer Charles‘ questions earlier?


No! In the present climate, one must speak for themselves not through a scribe or an apologist. He could have replied what is your concern and I will write a response to be published without editorial comment. Which is what he did.

I realize that. But who has that ultimate objective abilitiy? Is it only relative or absolute understanding of the author. When do you get into the “hermeneutical circle” and there is really no final understanding of the author. Is it so complex that only our “new hermeneutic gurus” can speak with such clarity that all can understand? This is the problem I see created in which we can have no confidence of any objective biblical truth, which is where S. ended up.
Schleiermacher seems to have drowned in his own making that ultimately never arrives at meaning but only 'relative meaning" needing to be experienced.
Does sound biblical exegesis really demand such gymnastics?
I suggest Juri’s comments above,
“We were focused on building Christ-centered, as well as Trinity-centered hermeneutics, and made clear differences between literal, literalistic and figurative meanings of the biblical text. The theological metanarrative rooted in history and the context of the studied text with its literary structure formed our framework.”
That, I suggest is the best way to find out the Biblical authors intent.

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James J Londis
"…the source of biblical authority."

What do you have in mind; Edward W.H. Vick’s ‘take’ in**From Inspiration *
to Understanding?
(Vick was at Andrews years ago.)

Not the way the church does business. I’ve emailed several of my conference officials, and one at the NAD, using their published email addresses. I’ve never received a response. Total radio silence. Super-rude, but then I expect they don’t really know how email works. Sort of new-fangled for them.


**… Adventists are taught the it’s perfectly proper to lift any collection of random sentences out of the bible and use them to support your views …"

Fair enough, given your past experience Tim (and that of many others).

There may be some change for the better though, as some user-friendly directions in recent Teachers editions of the SS lesson pamphlet seem to indicate:
"*Present learners with biblical information …Such information could include facts about the people, the setting; cultural, historical, and/or geographical details; the plot or what’s happening; and conflicts or tension of the texts you are studying." *
Regards, E.


In my circle of Adventist friends, the quarterly is widely derided as something to keep the masses indoctrinated and passive. And worse. It’s generally seen as corporate-speak at it’s worst. One of the regular contributors, known personally by some in our group, is quoted as saying, “When the quarterly comes out, it’s always interesting to find out what I wrote.”



Tim –
Years ago [can’t recall if it was in Academy or College] I heard one guest
speaker and in the discourse stated he wrote a S.S. Lesson Quarterly.
When it was published was different than what he turned in.
Unfortunately, that statement has allowed me to view the Author of each
Quarterly in the same way. Not necessarily THEIR work and words.


[quote=“phil, post:8, topic:18701”]
Schleiermacher turned all of this upside down. He correctly bemoaned that Scripture, the Classics, and law each have different kinds of hermeneutics. And he correctly bemoaned that each of these “special hermeneutics” was little more than a collection of fragmentary rules of interpretation. He envisioned a “general hermeneutics” that is a universal theory of understanding. Most important, he recognized that nothing is clear, nothing is plain, and consequently, hermeneutics should be indispensable to our interpretation and understanding.

Because of Schleiermacher’s influence, hermeneutics has since become a multi-disciplinary undertaking. Whereas the natural sciences are governed by the scientific method, the human sciences are governed by hermeneutics. Hermeneutics does not merely address methodological considerations in the interpretation of a text but also focuses on how we understand, and more fundamentally, how we function as humans. [/quote]

Thank you, Phil, for the hermeneutics history. The above paragraphs are particularly instructive, especially the sentence, “Whereas the natural sciences are governed by the scientific method, the human sciences are governed by hermeneutics.”

My interest was piqued by this particular characterization, because I think it is accurate. In the same way that the Scientific Method has become revered for providing, not exploration but, determination of the natural world, those in Hermeneutics may seek to be similarly revered for providing trustworthy answers to ancient texts.

I suspect that neither physical scientists (in general) nor hermeneutists (in general) embrace a humility regarding their own human limitations in ‘knowing’ in these areas, or if they do, their writings do not demonstrate such humility. It’s a competitive world and those who claim to ‘know’ are preferred to those who ‘might expect’ something to be true.

The arrogance of ‘knowing’, shown by many if not most, that use the scientific method regarding ancient & far-earlier natural processes, is sometimes astounding when there is also so much evidence that the certainty (in some theory) of just a few years earlier has been widely replaced by a more current certainty (in the latest explanation).

While I believe that there are great goods to be accomplished with the physical sciences & hermeneutics, and have been, it will be (maybe has been) even more devestating to the general population if hermeneutics garners (deliberately, willingly, or by coincidence) the same arrogant ‘knowing’ displayed by their science cousins.

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It’s not a question of “take,” but what the canon itself can legitimize. Some years ago, George Reid, then the director of the BRI, wrote a paper on hermeneutics, inspiration, and biblical authority in which he alluded to Paul Achtemeier’s small volume on Inspiration and Authority. In one short sentence he said (not quoting, since am away from my office): “Adventists cannot accept this.” No reason given, though I suspect I know what it is. As I recall Vick’s essay, he challenges the notion that a doctrine of inspiration (close to verbal or strongly plenary) must be true to the texts themselves and are not “self-authenticating” in any strict sense. If the authority of the Bible does not come from a supportable doctrine of inspiration in which God is the source and the writers are God’s “penmen” (EGW), where does it come from? I suspect that the near-furious resistance to moving the “dime” on this issue is tied to defending EGW’s “inspiration” as the basis of her authority.

Thanks, appreciated your explanation. Very helpful.

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James, thank you for your reply which covers a number of issues.

Tim, yes, derision is an understandable response to ARROGANCE.
But are there more constructive responses, if we are genuinely interested in
learning from Scripture and contributing to the wellbeing of a spiritual community
to which we belong?:thinking:

Well, Scriven challenged Moskala’s explanation, and said that he attempted to contact him several times - unsuccessfully.

I hope Moskala is following this conversation and will (soon) respond to Scriven’s allegation. We want the truth to prevail, dont’ we? Moskala knows that this is written on the Czech President’s flag, and as a good Czech he will respond accordingly. At least this it what I, also a good Czech, expect from him.

"Truth prevails" (Czech: Pravda vítězí , Slovak: Pravda víťazí, Latin: Veritas vincit) is the national motto of the Czech Republic. … Before the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the motto was the motto of Czechoslovakia and appeared on the standard of the President of Czechoslovakia as well. (Wikipedia)
@c_scriven -


It may be Language deficit. Maybe they are not acquainted with the meaning of “REPLY,” and are scared to push on a key they are not sure what it is. Benefit of the doubt??? :roll_eyes: :laughing:

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Steve… I once wrote a SS lesson. When it was published years later, I could not recognize what I wrote. Not even my name appeared as the author; they put someone else’s name… :sunglasses: :innocent:


Scriven is on a mission to advance an Christocentric hermeneutic for the Adventist Church. That’s his one fish, and he’s bringing it to every fish fry he can find. Moskala is trying to fry 30 fish at once, and he’s not even his own boss.