The Adventist Evangelistic Dilemma

@Sirje, thanks for your commentary regarding fruits. I took GC down from the book shelf and read some of the symbolism of what constitutes “current historic prophetic interpretation”. I’ve always had difficulty “present truth’ing” where I (we) stand along the prophetic timeline … to me this specifically ties into the “apocalyptic inset of time and space”… which leads me to the reality that EVERYTHING prophetically ties into a socialized “context”.

SDA “evanglizing” is not related or tied into a call into the Kingdom of God, but to alignment and preparation out of fear.

If people are brought in “out of fear” then what flows out of the fear… is the tainted “fear” fruit. Being prepared for heaven is evidenced by “much fruit” because of he vine that someone is “attached to”… namely Jesus/Christ.

Bringing this current to today’s socialized context (unless you live under a rock and have no access to social media), the fear tactic and multiple contradictions of belief (abortion, WO, EGW sourcing, et. al)… water down “make of none effect” the fear mantra still followed in evangelization.

If SDA’s have the truth, and they are the train… going to the back of the caboose, picking up a cigar, and reading the paper, in the lounge car… doesnt really make sense in today’s world.

with kind regards,



Of course, this conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus about being born again/from above has been shown by linguistic analysis to have not occurred; indeed, it could not have occurred. Oh well…

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Perhaps, but there are other signals where the conversation fits. “Whited sepulchres” pointing to an outward religiosity vs. heart religion - the whitewashing of the visible without the deeper change. The “sermon on the mount” itself points to a rebirth without which no one could make those precepts work. “Turning the other cheek” is not a natural reflex; nor is giving the clothes off your back especially to someone pointing a weapon of sorts.

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So we are agreed? This isn’t historical. The writer was just making up stories with pious sounding teachings.


Yes, there is a very good sized Biblical Scholars Group that took a long
time to look at the Gospels.
They spent a lot of time, a lot of meetings at different times deciding
about the Gospels.
Jesus ACTUALLY said this.
Jesus Probably DID or DID NOT say this.
Jesus DID NOT say this.

But there are ALSO Biblical Scholars who are NOT in agreement with
this group’s findings.

SO! what do we do as individuals with these 2 groups???

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I know, it’s a kind of upsetting to find out that things aren’t as clear cut as we would like. It’s about having faith, but it turns out our faith has to be in those who wrote the Bible and put the it together, deciding what to leave and what to discard. The very faithful conservative ones simply declare that God guided it all and so we don’t need dig into all of that. The more scholarly types need to know “who, what, when and how”. There are various facets to the story (Jesus’), when put together, gives us enough of a picture to make a decision of faith. The earliest manuscripts seem to be the most reliable in detail.

Of course, Paul writes totally from faith, weaving the Christ story into a belief system. Coming from a staunch Jewish traditionalist, something drastic had to have happened for him to make a 180 as he did. The story itself, has characteristics of a true story - there isn’t 100% consistency in the eyewitness accounts, meaning, it isn’t concocted. There are small details that speak to the truth of the events. One major one, for me, is Jesus’ dealings with Peter, as Peter denies even knowing Jesus - three times (as Jesus predicted) - but it’s not the prediction that stands out (that could have been inserted); but Jesus, after the resurrection, asking Peter three times if he loved him. That conversation gets sneaked in there, and speaks volumes.

One more aspect about the two groups - everyone agrees to the basic story. How much detail, and how much miracle do we need? Men died, maintaining their faith.

When we READ and STUDY ALL the New Testament, we are ONLY READING
Someone Else’s Mail.
Not written to us, BUT they DO have instruction to us because we are human
beings with similar issues that plague ALL humans no matter in what time or
culture one lives.
So that is WHY they are valuable to us as we declare our desire to have a
relationship with God.
SAME with the Old Testament “letters” to human beings. Have instruction to
us, for us because of the same reasons. We desire to have a relationship
with the Ruler of the Universe/Creation and have a relationship that is
pleasant with all humans we encounter.
And have instruction for ALL humans no matter the time period or the culture.

Revelation is a Letter. It is written for all those who became Citizens of the Kingdom
of Heaven [God]. They are captured in the Empire of this world. It is a call to
not live by the ways of Empire. It is a call to live by the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven.

In OT Israel we had EMPIRE Living, EMPIRE Administration. The Israelites wanted to
be LIKE the other nations. And THIS is what the Kings and Rulers gave them. With
the onset of EMPIRE Living we had the oppression of the people THE SAME as was
happening in the other nations.
The prophets continually called them to God’s Kingdom Living by saying over and over,
“Thus Saith The Lord…” Coming Sunday reading from Micah [6:8] says God calls
Kingdom Living as “doing justly, loving kindness, walking humbly with God.”
These are the SAME messages of the New Testament, of Revelation.


Adventist evangelism’s best case scenario, that it is simply a collection of ancillary beliefs and doctrine that aren’t central to Christianity, shows just how much of a muddle the whole belief system is. More on point is what this article wasn’t really dealing with, that the entire theological structure is a mess, an edifice built on bad biblical interpretation at its foundation.

I recall what Jesus said would result if one built a house on sand. Over time, the results of a system of belief built on biblical sand are no different. We have been seeing them play out within and through a variety of situations and circumstances for years.




Three comments on this insightful and penetrating article:

Personally I believe that “core Christianity” is absolutely essential to the whole salvation scheme. The critical moment of belief in the free gift of salvation through the work of Jesus is the whole deal! I also believe that the “uniqueness of the historic Adventist message” is not essential to the salvation scheme. Thus if one option is essential and the other isn’t, where should we put our focus, talent, financial and human capital, and energy? We may have the cart before the horse.

Perhaps the “uniqueness” angle is a feel-good thing for us. But I suspect that every day we move further from the mid-1800s, the less relevant our uniqueness becomes and the more essential “core Christianity” becomes, both for us and for those we seek.

The implications of this statement are huge! We live in a society - and world - where the Bible is increasingly not normative. In spite of that fact, we should desire to help those people - for whom the Bible and religion are not normative - to see Jesus with eyes of faith. I believe something different than the prophecy-and-doctrine approach are required to attract this growing secular and unchurched population. (By the way, it is a little-known fact that the secular and unchurched are the target audience for Faith for Today. That’s why you hear so little about it. I appeal for support for that ministry because of its target audience.)

In truth, I fear our evangelistic strategy writes off the secular and unchurched because they just don’t fit into how we want to do evangelism. We are committed to our product, not our prospective customer.



I’m reading John Barton’s History of the Bible and if it is to be believed, a number of stories in the Bible never occurred. But the psychological insights are worth paying attention to.

Even some rabbis do not believe in the creation story. They claim that the creation story is the story of how men developed a relationship with a God. No element of piousness involved only an earnest attempt to connect to a higher power, a normal developmental phase hardwired in our brain by our Creator.


It is. :slight_smile: 


absolutely it is…i see it all the time…and we can’t get too much of it…it’s what we have to offer to the world…

Gotta love the dramatic “fall” from the torch! :wink:


When Shawn was at the former Simi Valley Media Center we heard him speak periodically at local SDA churches. He was the best speaker of all of them in my and my husband’s opinion.


"it’s what we have to offer to the world…"

If this is true…Adventism will continue to shrink in Post Modernism like it has been already.

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the pure form of adventism isn’t meant for the masses…in the same way jesus was rejected, adventists can expect to be rejected…

"the pure form of adventism"

Jeremy…what is this??

it’s the egw version…

Whether one believes John Barton or not probably depends a lot on their leanings.

The EGW version is as clear as mud. It was a face saving last day theology used to wipe the egg off the faces of those who got disappointed that Christ didn’t come on Oct. 22, 1844.