Surely, the Adventist conscience capitulated to the Zeitgeist within Nazi Germany!
Yet I do not believe that your larger point does not follow from this. You assert that believers and promoters of the soon coming of Christ surely cannot see themselves in the “remnant” description of the apocalypse. You conclude that the momumental failures of such believers and the those within the German Adventist organizational infrastructure invalidate such an ascription. You, like Hartiapp see this ascription as “[a] claim to exclusivity [that] has been invalidated by life.”
I beg to differ even while I accept that “the church” in Germany caved into the zeitgeist because the so-called fundamentals had lost their fundamental weight. Our church in Germany faced a crisis to which it responded by silence, acquiescence, and denial. The problem was church-wide, that is in Germany.
I wish to make the following point:
- You object to the term “remnant church.” I do too. Yet I wholheartedly value the apocalyptic remant theology. And I see real value in the term “emerging remnant” as it is used by both Charles Bradford, and before him by Fernando Canale. The term “emerging remnant” places the emphasis where it belongs, on individuals who experience and demonstrate a quality of faith amid apostasy and on an emerging collective of faithful individuals. The emphasis is not on the Adventist institutional ecclesial body, as represented by the GC of SDA’s or any of its sub-divisions. The SDA organizational machinery is a key mission driver that will involve such faithful people. Yet there are many who names are on Adventist church membership lists who have not as yet joined this ‘remnant.’ The gospel net the ‘remnant’ use collects fish both good and bad.
In my writing and in my speaking I have for some years now attempted to avoid using ‘church’ terminology that would reference God’s people as an institutional entity. We must in our speaking and writing begin seeing the remnant as an emerging collective of faithful believers characterized by action as well as by deep faith commitments to their soon coming Christ…
The above re-envisioning of the remant then may avoid the pitfalls of a “theology of a self-described prophetic end-time movement.” Hans La Rondelle in his exposition of the doctrine Remnant in the Handbook of SDA Theology also avoids falling into this pitfall by speaking of the Remnant and its mission and not the Remnant and its organization.
I do not believe that the claim that you and I may be part of the remnant in its mission to the world is a claim to exclusivity.
The General Conference sees itself altogether too much as an institution, and altogether too little as a driver of mission in the world. Such institutionalism is one of the root causes of the present ordination impasse among Adventist people.