The Pneumatological Turn

Adventism proposes both a noble and potentially legitimate version of an end times scenario. However, it is not the only possible one. It would be contradictory and paradoxical to want to subordinate the end times as such to the historic Adventist vision. Both would lose. The end times itself, because only one version of it would be given—an Adventist view—but Adventism would also lose because it would be left holding a distorted version of the end times, and therefore finally inadequate. The important thing here is the eschatology, not Adventism. Adventism will be important only to the extent that it best testifies about the end times.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11638
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Well written… much to digest!

Adventism is strongly attached to the social and political “spirit” of the19th century when it was hatched, so perhaps it can be forgiven its omissions. It is OC - centric as Christ replaces the slaughtered lamb but God remains in the “sanctuary”.

Adventist theology produces the “remnant” through sanctification, while the NT creates “it” through the infusion of the Spirit. It was the Spirit that made Christ our elder brother and us - God’s children, permitting us to pray, “Our Father…” Nicodemus wasn’t told to better keep the commandments but to seek to be born of the Spirit.

The Sabbath, the jewel in the Adventist crown, is ultimately realized through the Spirit - the Spirit that was missed by the Children of Israel perfecting themselves for Canaan. There always remained the Sabbath “Rest” for the children of the OC. Christ completed the command to “enter that Sabbath REST.” It is only through Christ that we can truly be at rest. Even the judgment loses its threatening aspect as it “pierces the soul and spirit” revealing the “intentions” of our hearts. The “end time” becomes superfluous as the Spirit, infused with ours, makes us always the remnant in a temporal and pragmatic world.

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Some statements from Sister White to consider in light of the fact that the author would lead us away from believing the inspired writings:

Satan is … constantly pressing in the spurious—to lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.—Letter 12, 1890. 1SM 48.3

I was shown that many had so little spirituality that they did not understand the value of the Testimonies or their real object. They talked flippantly of the Testimonies given by God for the benefit of His people, and passed judgment upon them, giving their opinion and criticizing this and that, when they would better have placed their hands upon their lips, and prostrated themselves in the dust; for they could not appreciate the spirit of the Testimonies , because they knew so little of the Spirit of God. Testimonies for the Church 4:443. 5T 672.3

The minds of many have been so darkened and confused by worldly customs, worldly practices, and worldly influences that all power to discriminate between light and darkness, truth and error, seems destroyed. … Yet now when I send you a testimony of warning and reproof, many of you declare it to be merely the opinion of Sister White. You have thereby insulted the Spirit of God. … If you seek to turn aside the counsel of God to suit yourselves, if you lessen the confidence of God’s people in the testimonies He has sent them, you are rebelling against God as certainly as were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 5T 66.2

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“Some statements from Sister White to consider in light of the fact that the author would lead us away from believing the inspired writings:”

Guess we reading two different articles!

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This is a noble effort to save EGW’s/Adventist eschatology. The article basically renders it beyond recognition.

EGW was very definite that issues of life and death in the end were tied to truth and error…as opposed to what this article concludes. That truth and error was tied specifically to law and most prominently sabbath vs. Sunday worship. Adventists themselves speak of the message as the truth and acceptance of it as coming into the truth. Out of this issues life or death.

I would appreciate Adventist scholarship that finally comes clean. Either say that she was wrong, or just toe the party line, but it should stop trying to rescue her writings from themselves, and redefining them beyond recognition.

Personally, I think they are a house of cards, based on a misreading of apocalyptic, the covenants, and the gospel itself. But, that’s for another day.

Frank

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You know why that can’t happen. These revelations come with age and experience. At middle age, how does one find another job - with retirement looming, etc. This is a real problem. It’s easy to demand honesty when you don’t work within the denomination; but in these situations we tend to lie primarily to ourselves.

I taught mostly English - some time, within the SDA system. At times, I ended up teaching the “religion” class. At some point, that became a problem. I used to get around it by focusing on issues that by-passed the “unique” elements of SDA theology; at other times I would focus on the text, saying “according to the book”… At some grade levels it’s not hard to get around this, but when it comes to university classes, and research, etc. it does become a matter of conscience. Pastors have a particular problem dealing with this. At some point you do have to make a decision. We know what happens next…

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It’s an attempt to do with EGW what scholars have done with the bible. A number of silly things were written by biblical writers; so we try to “save” the biblical texts by interpreting them away (e.g. Jesus’ command to the young ruler to sell all one has to give to the poor; Jesus’s promise that His followers could drink poison and handle snakes without injury; Deuteronomy’s and Psalms’ promises that following the commandments will bring about certain material success and prosperity; statements in Isaiah about the earth resting on pillars; the notion in Genesis that the earth pre-dated the stars; etc.). In an effort to protect and defend the myth of the text, we “interpret” away the problematic passages.

It’s harder to do with EGW, since (a) EGW wrote in English, so we can’t blame translations for her silly passages; (b) we know only too well the cultural context in which she wrote, rendering it more difficult to contextualize away the silly passages; (c) she foolishly went too specific with her eschatological predictions so that when she is shown to have been wrong, it stretches credibility to claim that she didn’t mean what she wrote.

It would be better to acknowledge truth, but within SDAism, too many careers are built upon, and depend on, asserting the myths. It’s usually only after retirement that SDA clergymen will speak and write truth.

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Yes, this happens so often. But not only are careers built on the myths, but the whole system/denomination.

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Is that ego or what?!

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