Why Adventism's Next Big Disagreement May Be Over Biblical Literalism

You need an update:
We already reached 1920. Next stop is train station 1910. Will be in station 1844 pretty soon now since SA confirmed that we are going in the right direction! :wink:

“Stay tuned!” …


I’m not in any way a theologian or biblical scholar.

What I will say is an observation. I think humans are unique in the animal Kingdom. They are self aware and can think beyond themselves. They have imagination and can create hypothesis or even fiction. Human thinking, in my opinion cannot be brought into a narrow or even broad hermeneutic.

The thing about humanity is that it uses rules and methods inconsistently based on principles rather than prescriptive methods.

We shouldn’t lie, but sometimes it is right to do so. We shouldn’t kill, but sometimes it is right to do so. Etc, etc.

We often sacrifice the few, to save the many {consider going to war, we sacrifice soldiers to save the mass population). But often we don’t. We don’t, for example, kill a healthy adult to harvest his organs to save multiple unhealthy people.

So in life we have an innate sense of what principal is appropriate at any point in time.

So, as regards to the cirrect hermeneutic to use, I seriously doubt there is one best version to use. There probably isn’t a finite group to use either. We can make up all kinds of intellectuals methods for analysing the Bible.

It could also be thought of as grossly limiting to God’s inspiration , to prefer a limited set of hermeneutics.

That doesn’t mean we should not continually seek to progress our understanding. But to set a limiting hermeneutical preference {in stone) will in the long run, limit our ability to glean new insights into the Bible.

But the church needs to keep its theologians active doing “busy work” so the members can see how studiously they analyze this subject. Then when the results are not what TW wanted, guess what will happen. To the Deep Six Bin.


OK…I will make my first “official” prophecy on Spectrum:

The Adventist church will split over irreconcilable differences into “conservative” and “liberal” branches. When the split occurs the “Conservatives” will herald it as the “Shaking” and will continue to grow only in the Second and Third World countries. The “Liberals” will develop a more tolerant and “Social Gospel” message and grow mostly in the First World.

The “Conservatives” will say the the split is the “Shaking” and continue to preach LGT and Perfectionism. The “Shaking” will last indefinitely and many more generations will come and go without seeing Jesus.

But I don’t think that you need a gift of “prophecy” to see this one coming…I could say more but it won’t change the trajectory of things.



Great prophesy. The only thing I would disagree with is ‘indefinitely’. The conservatives will ultimately just die out (literally). The perpetuity will end.


See here for evidence that this split has already occurred.

Trust God.

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One basic principle of this approach is that “Scripture interprets itself.” Once again, the Reformers did not want any tradition or council or priestly interference to tell them that the Scripture must be interpreted by the Church, a reality connected with but external to the Scripture itself. Scripture (correctly I believe) must be the final authority, not the Church. On the other hand, the Church’s effort to interpret the Bible must utilize ever possible resource, many internal to Scripture but some external.


Watch your back, @GeorgeTichy. Here comes Kim! :laughing:


Yes, and we have precedent of a female prophet. So I’m going with Kim.



OK. Good point. Equal billing. I’m with Kim @cincerity too. Count me in.


'where two or three are gathered… ’


Are you sure, you and the other Andrew @StumblingBlock are not the same? Both of you seem to share the same ideology.

I think @cincerity should write a book. How about the title ‘Matriarchs and Prohetesses’?


Just make sure she does not use “red” book covers. That’s taken, so is white, I think. @GeorgeTichy had mentioned using white book covers once. Could be because of “purity?” :laughing:


I don’t know @StumblingBlock. But he comes from Australia. So I would say ‘the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree’.

Or for a cricket analogy, the ball doesn’t fall far from the stumps. (or in the case of the Australian cricket team, this is a bit of a stretch)


Brazilian and purity is certainly an interesting combination.

Perhaps a rainbow would work for @cincerity.


Phil: Davidson does reject using many historical-critical tools because he argues in the article I referenced above that these “tools” depend on presuppositions which assume the Bible is like any other ancient literature and therefore is properly studied as an ancient literature. Davidson concludes this means that God is disregarded, which I profoundly disagree with. He further argues that human reason, distorted by sin, cannot properly interpret the Bible with the Spirit (agreed); therefore, human reason cannot make any judgments about the Bible which might call into question certain Biblical claims. As you point out, historical critical approaches may question certain elements in the Scripture we have received, but does that mean it cannot be utilized at all?

Dozens of examples are possible which I may try to organize for a future blog on this question. For one, take the Book of Job. Can one really argue that the events of this book happened precisely as they are recorded? That this is “historical” fact? Speeches in perfect poetry after days of sitting in a circle saying nothing? This is the work of a literary genius who wrestled in ancient Israel with the problem of suffering and comes out with a “solution” to it that is regarded by both the Hebrew people and the Christian church as insight from the mind of God, as essential to the teaching of God’s people in every age.

You are quite right that hermeneutics is a difficult discipline to master. The philosophical analysis behind the concept of how one interprets ancient texts of any kind, especially those born and nurtured in very different cultures, different languages, different streams of texts, and so on, has challenged the most brilliant minds we have. Hermeneutics, as you point out, affects Supreme Court Decisions (how do you interpret the Constitution?), literary theory, and so on. I suspect that more than 10 Adventists have studied this topic assiduously. They have read Hegel, Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Gadamer, Ricouer and so on, along with others. No one pretends this is easy when you drill down, but I think it is necessary even if most will not understand why so much “fuss.”


The good news, Kim…if your prophecies fail, you can always claim it was conditional, and still keep your prophet status.


[quote=“jjlondis, post:60, topic:9048”]
Scripture (correctly I believe) must be the final authority, not the Church.
[/quote]This concept is problematic, as I see it. As long as “Scripture” always has to be interpreted and recontexualized, in different times and cultures, how can “Scripture” itself be the final authority? “Scripture” itself is steeped in culture; in a great span of different cultures spanning more than 2000 years. Those who claim the dichotomy of culture vs. Scripture is blind to the fact that Scripture itself is “contaminated” by culture, from Genesis til Revelation.

Culture is the inescapable fact that every human being is situated and conditioned in time and space, and that includes every writer of Scripture also. That’s why everything we might claim to know about the Almighty is in the language of incarnational truth.


George’s “keets” will be valued assistants!