Two Theological Worlds to Collide in Loma Linda


(system) #1

The Good News Tour won't be the only show in town September 5 & 6.

At his newly refurbished blog, AdventistExpressions.com (a reincarnation of Progressive Adventism), LLU professor of religion Dr. Julius Nam writes that Dr. Desmond Ford will present two lectures at the Campus Hill Church in Loma Linda that weekend. Des Ford, a popular if controversial figure in Adventism, will offer a view of atonement that varies from the Good News Tour's perspectives--just across campus.

Dr. Ford's presentations come courtesy of the Adventist Today Foundation. His lecture titles: "The theory of Forensic Atonement in light of the Gospel" and "This I believe."

It is an odd coincidence (certainly nothing more) that two divergent models of atonement will converge on Loma Linda during the same weekend. Concerning this mash-up of ideological options, Dr. Nam writes:

"What to do, where to go? One key question is whether one wants to be affirmed or challenged by the presentations. Go to one who thinks similarly as us, or very differently?

My issue is that I’m uncomfortable with both. In my view, Maxwell’s views aren’t possible without a certain manipulation, or explaining away, of the biblical data and the writings of Ellen White. Also, I’m not comfortable with the selective literalism that his views involve. This “picture of God” theology feels nice, but I can’t wipe away the sense that it involves creating God in human image. Why must divine love always reject violent intervention? I think this view arises from the modernist preoccupation with consistency and a certain idea of what God must be like. I don’t know if I want God to be so antiseptically consistent.

At the same time, I just don’t like the substitutionary/propitiationary view that is expressed of Scripture. The Bible teaches it, but I don’t like it–and reject it. I think this metaphor was powerful in the New Testament and apparently effective in describing the cross event for Paul and his readers. But it doesn’t work for me. Yes, I too am engaging in my own selective reading (influenced by my problem with Paul)."

Read the full article here.

Wouldn't it be fascinating to see a dialogue between the proponents of both theories take place in an engaged faith community like Loma Linda? They may not be in the same town at the same time again...


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/899