Thinking about Fritz Guy, the Adventist Christian

On July 25, at age 93, Fritz Guy died. His life was so closely tied to the Association of Adventist Forums and Spectrum that our loss of him has implications for our journal’s masthead. In addition to his significant awards—a doctor of divinity degree, honoris causa, and Alumnus of the Year from La Sierra University; a Weniger Award for Excellence in Adventism; and an Association of Adventist Women’s Champion of Justice award—Fritz Guy holds a Spectrum world record. 

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you, Alexander, for this excellent portrait of a clear-thinking scholar, a gifted writer, an inspiring teacher, and a compassionate leader. Fritz Guy truly represented the best of Adventism.


So sad for a great loss. The legacy lives on.


R.I.P. Dr. Guy.
Fritz was a great voice for the Christian faith, an irreplaceable icon in Adventism. His brilliance always obfuscated those who did not appreciate his brilliance!

By the way, let’s not forget that another Adventist legend died on the same day, Ronald Numbers.

Two great voices have been silence in one day. Sad.


He had a delightfully subversive impact on La Sierra University and the Adventist church and perhaps to an extent Christianity by turning away from the so-called “distinctives” and more toward comity with secular thought. From Genesis to Revelation, creation to the second advent, he redefined what a generation of Adventist scholars believed and taught. Gospel became not so much about the personhood of the Christ-figure and more about community and discovery of the potential in each of us who are open to that concept. He recognized the emergence of further “present truth” not as rooted in the mythological or miraculous but rather as revealed through science and contemporary reason. A true progressive.


Wow, Alexander, you have done a beautiful job–on short notice–in drawing on Guy’s own words and on the words of others to give tribute to this Adventist giant. Thank you! Fritz earned his advanced degree from perhaps the leading theological school of the nation, then throughout his long life devoted his considerable critical knowledge to wisely draw on his sectarian faith to carve out a credible, even exciting Adventism.

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Thank you, Alex, for revealing the heart, soul, and mind of Fritz Guy. In my experience he was, above all, purposeful. He lived life with such admirable focus, energy, depth, and discipline. Moreover, he created bridges in Adventism where few or none existed.

May his tribe increase.


Fritz was not only the intellectual leader you write about but was always there as my friend. We worked together at the Loma Linda University Church where I was director of the Child Care Ministry so attended pastoral staff meetings together. He studied for over a year with Bruce, my fiancee before his baptism. He was a dear supportive friend and colleague I will miss deeply. One day on a ride to a pastors retreat we discussed as a woman why I wanted to leave a “sick” Adventist denomination. He entreated me not to leave but stay and in my corner make it the healthiest ministry with God’s help I could. No big words just soul to soul authentic talk.How I will miss you, dear cherished friend. RIP Fritz.
I remember him as a Christian

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Fritz Guy’s “Thinking Theologically” is a gem of a book that opened my mind and heart in the best ways possible.

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In my experience, Fritz always quoted the most progressive statements about thinking and openness in Ellen White’s writings, reiterating the “truth” that insisting her words were “final” in theology and policy violated the underlying spirit that truly animated her. How else could he or any of us do rigorous thinking to buttress the faith once delivered to the saints. He was a light misunderstood and unappreciated by many, many, who preferred their darkness East of the Mississippi River.

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