What is the relationship status between Adventism and fundamentalism?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/news/2019/shall-adventist-fundamentalists-win
What is the relationship status between Adventism and fundamentalism?
" It’s complicated."
Everything is “complicated” in the world today.
Result being, we can’t accurately define anything and everything is obscure and without any definitive understanding.
Especially the bible for the liberals, but also for the hyper-conservative that also “wrest the scripture to their own destruction.”
So religion and spiritual matters must be determined by the “experts” and this is equally applied in civil government.
The bible calls it all mass confusion about the obvious and labels it “Babylon”.
The SDA church is no exception and if the SDA church is not “Babylon” today, then neither is the Roman Catholic church.
The obvious has been obscured and all we have left is “Duh?”
Obviously, how you define fundamentalism vs. liberalism is left to anybody and everybody. So, in the end, we can say “Nobody is right, but neither is anybody wrong.”
How about the words of this song…
“There are no good guys,
There are no bad guys,
There is just you and me,
And we choose to disagree…”
Of course, the bible is “out the widow” as it can neither be defined or understood…
I am puzzled that a discussion of what Adventism has in common with Christian cults did not proceed the discussion of Fundamentalism, which one identifies with conservative Christian churches of the 20th century. If it is defensible to place Adventism on a continuum which progresses from the clearly cult-like to main-line Christian, the comparison of Adventism to other American homegrown religions such as the Latter Day Saints, Christian Science, and Jehovah’s Witness churches and a discussion of how they have dealt with and are dealing with change and self-identity seems to me necessary and appropriate. By opening a discussion with Christian or Adventist Fundamentalism, one could infer that the author places Adventism further along the continuum (if a continuum exists) than it may actually be.
That reminds me of a poignant quote from Terry Pratchett that’s about as apropos here as anywhere else.
“‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth.”
Adventist Fundamentalism was JUST VOTED at the NAD year-end
Where they Ratified the GC proposal regarding “The Bible”.
Where they Ratified the GC proposal regarding “The Role of Ellen
White in the church.” Where ONLY ELLEN in her writings knows
what the Bible is saying, and determining if a comment about the
Scriptures is Correct, or if the comment is Incorrect.
Scary thought that the Bible contains multiple snap-shots, and one cannot collect all the biblical texts about a random topic for always knowing eternal God’s will about all aspects of life. Scary to live with mystery once in a while. Scary thought that story has many layers of meaning. Scary thought that story isn’t law. Scary, huh?
Or refreshing. Refreshing that we don’t have a relationship with a book. The book is actually a tool for our relationship with God. This wonderful, amazing book points beyond itself to our God, and to the diverse relationships former generations had with Him. Refreshing to allow all their experiences to let us find our experiences with God, too, and let us being shaped by their wisdom. And in between all of this to encounter God, the whole way through ups, downs, doubts, questions, answers, mystery.
As Proverbs loudly proclaims we can have a Brain chock-full of
BUT, if we don’t have Wisdom – the ability to put knowledge to
right use – we are going to end up being failures in living lives
that are satisfying.
So like the psalm writer who meditates from sunrise to sunset,
and from sunset to closing eyes in sleep–
In what ways can I love God?
In what ways can I love myself?
In what ways can I love others?
The words of Proverbs are practical suggestions.
The damage that Ted Wilson, a fundamentalist, has done to the Seventh-day Adventist Church is incalculable. By next summer, we will have witnessed ten years of Seventh-day Adventist moral, intellectual, and spiritual decline. I don’t think we as a faith community will ever be able to recover.
The first crackpot conspiracy theory I ever encountered is that the world is under the control of the Illuminati. I was there as a child in PMC when Roland Hegstad discredited the idea. What he said is all that was needed to be said. Thereafter, no one talked about the crackpot conspiracy theory again.
What Hegstad was able to accomplish could not be accomplished today with respect to any of the many crackpot ideas and conspiracy theories that have found strength in our faith community during the last nine-plus years.
By all that is rational, Kate, what in thunder are you saying or talking about? Your post has no meaning or definition but simply reflects what I stated before.
Or, “We all believe anything we want and have no basis for unity or definition or identity as a church community.”
In fact, Kate, the bible is very definitive about the law, who God is, who we are and the exact and precise relationship God has stated for fellowship with Him and each other.
Yes, you are right, we can not know everything about God. But that does not equate to the false conclusion we can’t know anything universal about God. There are objective givens that everyone can know and find unity in what we do know, not what we can’t know.
Small wonder the SDA church is in chaos as your theory is the major spirituality of the church community of today.
Or simply, “Since we can’t know everything, we have no objectives for self identity as a church community.”
Obviously, there can be no discipline of church members based on this bogus spirituality. It is imperative for any church community to define itself and the objective givens that all must agree on to be members.
Unity for the sake of unity is not unity at all. It is total chaos.
Liberals are not more guilty than phony conservatives like Ted Wilson who was elected to lead the church, and not from behind like most politicians of today. If he can’t do his job, he needs to bail out and go home.
If he falsely identifies church teaching, then he must be confronted for this false teaching and shown where and why it is false.
Failure in church leadership does not equate to abandoning the principles of leadership.
Well, the church will “self destruct” just like our country and we know by way of prophecy the outcome. Mr. “Nice Guy” the Pope is all over the world and will agree and patronize any group he is with to win confidence in his church’s ability to bring stability and avoid total chaos to the world.
The bible says so, and EGW only affirms it. She is not the final authority but subject to the bible. And some of us see she is in harmony with its affirmations. If you don’t, you need to consider your options.
How I see her 2 paragraphs is:- Poetry form.
Two contrasting Views of the way we approach the Topic of God.
Two contrasting Views of the way we approach God through The Book.
Kate appears to find the 2nd View the more Emotional approach to
finding and enjoying God. Enjoying God as a Traveling Companion through
ups, downs, doubts, questions, answers, mystery.
What a great article by Matthew! If you haven’t been a listener of his podcast ‘Adventist History Podcast’ you are in for a treat.I have been blessed immensely and learned so much that I never heard all the years in SDA schools. So much of what I was taught as an Adventist growing up was in many respects what Matthew is describing in this article. Question–how much of our evangelism has led to making folks Seventh day Fundementalists? I would guess that it is overwhelming and continuing. Thanks Spectrum Editors for this article–john
Well I certainly can agree Kate. I might add that exclusivity (fundamentalism) caused the failure of the Jewish nation to accept the universal Christology which Christ taught. History repeats.
Bill, if you don’t understand them, maybe excoriating Kate’s words is not the best course of action.
Kate, beautiful insights. Your thoughts remind me of Alden Thompson’s book, Inspiration with his distinction between codebook and casebook. You are describing a bible that is minimal codebook and maximal casebook. Personally, I think it is the place to be.
“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Methinks Jesus words to Nicodemus might be applicable right here.
Perhaps the author will tackle this in a follow-up article…would be fascinating.
Glad that you could recognize the more “sophisticated” way Kate was approaching the issue. It really does help to have more than one way to “see” and “experience” God and the Bible. Some simply cannot see it in a more nuanced fashion. Thank-you, Steve.
Thank-you, thank-you, for this historical overview of Adventist Fundamentalism!
"Edward John Carnell, the evangelical former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, famously claimed fundamentalism was “orthodoxy gone cultic."
What more needs to be said over voting in language into “official” Adventist documents to seal this into being? Truly…“Orthodoxy” has passed through the gates to complete and utter “Cultism”.
"The Adventists who prop up the fundamentalist corpse have meant well; they love their church and they have been right to warn us of giving everything up in order to make peace with modernism. But it’s over. And we’re never, ever getting back together. Like, ever."
From your lips/fingertips to God’s ears…I really hope and pray that this is true. Otherwise, Adventism is turning into something really ugly if it continues down this Fundamentalistic pathway.
Thank you, Steve! You found beautiful and better words to describe what I wanted to say.
And thanks also for the reminder of what wisdom looks like in your first post.
edit: Also thanks, Spectrumites, for your various aspects:
@ForgeAhead Yes, we see history repeating itself because of an inflexible mindset in the name of the book.
@ereifsnyder I was indeed thinking about Alden’s book when I wrote my post
@JohnCarson Can’t rationalize or catch the Spirit, right?! This is a beautiful metaphor.
@cincerity You already know that I love and adore you.
You made me listen to the podcast. Thank you for pointing this out!
The whole approach of the proof text evangelism is stuck with many members, and they are afraid when they discover that the Bible may not work in this way. Being angry is the result, or losing faith. It’s so sad because there are other approved ways. This article and the podcast may equip us with tools at hand for those situations where we face desperate brethren.