Why I Love Adventism

As we come to the close of another year, I’m willing to admit that this year has been a tough one for me in Adventism. From both a personal and institutional perspective, things happened this year that troubled me with regard to how this church treats the least of us. These things trouble me because I have a long history with the Adventist Church. I was born into the church and baptized at 8 years old. While I was in college, I took some time to explore other religions and denominations but stayed with Adventism. When I left my legal career to become an academic, the first thing I did was get a Master’s in Religion from the Seminary at Andrews University. Now I’m sure that my archive on this website will prove that I don’t love everything about Adventism. However, let this be abundantly clear. I do love my church. I don’t think there is any other religious movement in Christianity that has the potential to be as dynamic as Adventism. It is my love of the church that leads to my criticism. I thought this year would be a good time to remind myself (and maybe some of you) of the reasons I love the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

  1. We attempt the one thing most Christian denominations avoid – unification of the Old and New Testament. This isn’t what I like the most, but I think it is the most telling. Most Christian denominations have tried to de-emphasize the Old Testament even as they say they are upholding it. Adventism takes a very unified look at the church of God. Hence the seventh-day Sabbath, the health laws, etc. You don’t find many other Christian denominations who believe in so much of the Old Testament.

  2. Adventism is more dedicated to truth than other denominations I have known. Adventists want to get it right. That’s just a fact. It doesn’t mean we always do, but we’re invested in the effort. The church has spent almost two centuries combing through the word of God in order to discover the truth. You have to respect that. Therefore….

  3. Adventism’s theology is the most consistent of the Christian denominations that I studied, both biblically and within itself. Because of their dedication, Adventism has done a better job of filling in the gaps. As a friend of mine once said, “Adventism just makes sense.”

  4. Adventism holds a lot of truths in tension. Faith-works. Law-grace. Some of the oldest disputes of Christianity, in which faiths have split on the question of either-or, Adventism has historically answered by saying, “both.” I like that.

  5. The doctrine of Present Truth – I love this doctrine. Adventism realizes (at least abstractly) that our understanding of truth is dynamic. So we have left space to revise the truth as we understand things better.

  6. System and Order – The Adventist Church is organized … is it ever organized. I appreciate this because it does give you the sense that you are involved in a worldwide movement, which we are of course. It’s great to know that there is a system that is supporting Adventism around the world, and that your contributions (monetary and otherwise) can go to assist your brothers and sisters in Christ from all over.

  7. Adventism has a positive effect on society – whether it’s humanitarian aid, hospitals, schools, or local efforts, Adventism makes a determined attempt to influence societies where they are.

There you have it. Seven reasons why I love the Seventh-day Adventist Church. When things in your religion aren’t going the way you think they should, it’s important to reach back and remember why God led you here. That’s why I love this church and have no intention of leaving it.

Jason Hines is a former attorney with a doctorate in Religion, Politics, and Society from the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He is also an assistant professor at Adventist University of Health Sciences. He blogs about religious liberty and other issues at www.TheHinesight.Blogspot.com.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7811
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I too was born of Adventists, and by about six years old was conducting the Junior choir. Baptized at eleven, so I have a strong emotional linkto the SDA , but attended an Anglican High School for boys(Anglican girls were integrated as co-eds, when I was about to graduate). I was the only boy among the 2000+ who was “seven-day” and so was attacked regularly and had to fight sometimes almost daily. For a longish time , till say 16-17, the SDA church was my only place of support, and I nwas at church almost daily -sunday night service, monday evenings pathfinders, tuesdaynight choir practice, also thursday nights, Wednesday night, prayer meeting at church, saturday night social get-together, and so on. I sought refuge in the church but also read quite a fair lot and developed a very curious mind about religion and Christianity in particular . I was not allowed to even talk to my teachers or friendly school mates on saturdays. BOys would waylay me to steal my Bible and songbook while i walked to church , not wanting to drive with the rest of the family, Teenage independence what?. They would play catch with the books . So I would fight to get my Bible and hymnbook back. Nevertheless I loved my church and always defended it and would snub teachers who called Genesis creation stories simple-minded myths and so on. I read EGW’s books, at least some of them, and liked some of them ,but rejected others. I could not see how American citizens living in a democracy would allow their day of worship to be made illegal by a Sunday Law. Also In heard that EGW was a racist , as were many rural semi-educated people of her time, so I just ignored her writings for the most partor read others for entertainment, such as the testimonies where she suddenly accused pastors of living a double life and so on (if memory serves me right). I did not like the bloody descriptions in the Great Controversy. So I read it once and lay it aside. I hated the Roman Catholics esp after I stole a copy of Maria Monk from my Mom’s night cabinet. I was indeed horrified. I read about the Crusades and bloody religious wars . Itb is almost impossible to break the emotional links nwith the SDA church esp as my current wife is a staunch member. Well i became a businessman teacher then a writer. Due the the latter I came across the only explanation of the Elohim, Yahweh(God) and heaven that makes sense to me. I believe that a certain man has really been to the planet heaven and he has described having dinner with Jesus,(his half brother) Elijah and yes Yahweh (his father he claims) during a one day trip.

I am curious what do you think the doctrine of Present Truth is? How does it work. for example can you name one thing that Adventist held as truth and now no longer do, so we can see the actual dynamic of this so called present truth.

Just so you know where I am coming from a few years ago I wrote this blog article on Present truth http://cafesda.blogspot.com/2010/09/defining-and-redefining-present-truth.html

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Present truth as defined by Herbie Douglass et al is a killer of rational thought and thinkers. Dire consequences do abound. TZ

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One more about the “present truth doctrine”:

  1. Is there someone on Spectrum who could tell me which doctrinal chapter or paragraph has been significantly changed in last 100 years of Adventism?
  2. And the other question is for the same experts: Do you know any significant new belief or change of mind in the Adventism in the last 100 years?
    As much as it regards the “present truth doctrine.”
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There has been EXTREME resistance to these issues except in small here and there “hot spots”.

  1. The Priesthood of ALL Believers – so it is appropriate for Women AND Men to be appointed to Church Offices and Positions without regard to Gender.
  2. That ALL believers in Christ and his atonement and acceptance are allowed to participate in the Community of Believers.
  3. The conflict between the Last Generation and the Jesus Only crowds by Church leadership.
  4. George led me to Stuart Tyner’s book – Searching for the God of Grace. In it he discusses the varying views through the Centuries of Justification and Sanctification. The tension between the belief systems of “God accepts us as if we had not sinned” --vs-- Justification and Sanctification are a duel working of God and also man by his works. We do “bad” God won’t like us. If we do good, God WILL like us.
    At least these 2 views are in our local church communities.
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The ironic reality of Adventism is that the fundamental historic message brings in new converts. It is up to the rest of us to be there when/if these converts discover the paradox’s of Adventism and consider leaving the faith. We also need to be there for our children raised in the faith as they too come to question the incongruence of the faith in which they were raised. We all know the convert or a former schoolmate raised in the faith, who have joined the millions of missing members. What could we have done to help these people find a safe place, not based on a cold lifelsss theology but based on acceptance and inclusion? The SDA denomination has a lot of potential but of late seems to have been held hostage by a faction of church leaders that seem content with repelling its own converts and children. We all need to be like Paul, who when the prison doors were shaken open by an earthquake, chose to stay in bondage as an example of freedom that lead to the conversion of the guard. So many of us have had this earthquake experience, when the prison door was shaken open and the chains (of legalism) unfastened. It is so tempting sometimes to abandon the faith, escaping from the prison and the hired guards. Paul chose to stay in bondage. Are we acting in love and praying for the conversion of our leaders to the true faith? I can honestly say myself that I need to pray for the conversion of our leadership and not boast of my freedom while in bondage, which is just a stumbling block to those leaders still drinking the milk and not eating the meat of the faith. May we be found like Paul and Silas in prayer and singing hymns of praise.

25But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” 29And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

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Those new or long time SDA can, have, or will “change the channel” anytime they feel like it.
Ted Wilson, Neal Wilson, Dwight Nelson, Doug Bachelor, Heppenstall, Ford, Douglass, Randy Roberts probably are not their local pastor or SS teacher.
Out of 7000 weekly waking minutes…what influence do any of them have compared to the other daily influences they expose themselves to? 75-90% of SDA have never read the whole bible. Many, if not most don’t look at their Sabbath school lesson.
I dare any reader to do a survey at your local church and see what % of SS members will have read even the book of Job by the end of the year.

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And there is a witch hunt now to punish women in spiritual leadership. Sadly, a war on Spirit-blessed women. This is so disheartening.

It’s also amazing the attack on the Spiritual Disciplines. How can God’s “true” Church oppose pursuit of scriptures, Sabbath, simplicity, prayer, fellowship, and so many more? It boggles the mind and brings up lingering questions about what the Adventist church focuses on.

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Can’t afford SDA education, can’t afford SDA health care for my family…So the SDA church is really rather irrelevant to me in a practical sense.

But I’m very happy for those who are rich enough to benefit from these services.

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Hi Ron,

May I suggest the unsealing of Daniel 8:9-11 would be a good beginning. cf below.

Is The Unsealing of Daniel 8:9-11 Important Today

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel12:4.
“And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” Revelation 5:4

“It was the Lion of the tribe of Judah who unsealed the book and gave to John the revelation of what should be in these last days. Daniel stood in his lot to bear his testimony, which was sealed until the time of the end, when the first angel’s message should be proclaimed to our world. These matters are of infinite importance in these last days. . . . The book of Daniel is unsealed in the revelation to John, and it carries us forward to the last scenes of this earth’s history.” {CTr 334.5}

"The book that was sealed was not the book of Revelation, but that portion of the prophecy of Daniel that related to the last days. . . . When the book was opened, the proclamation was made, “Time shall be no longer.” {CTr 338.4} cf. Rev. 10:2, 4, 6, and 8.

• As Jesus told the disciples they were to understand the book of Daniel, Matt 24:15, it appears the book of Daniel is not “the book,” that was sealed in Dan 12:4 and 9.
• Rev. 5:4-5 reveals there is a book, or scroll, in heaven that contains information regarding future events, and that God has released information contained therein to prophets such as Ezekiel, Daniel, and John, through repeated sealing and unsealing of the book.
• The explanation of the 490 year prophecy, Dan. 9:24, associated with the mar’eh vision of 8:14 was given to Daniel for the benefit of the Jews to the time of Christ’s First Coming, cf. Dan. 9:22-27; Matt 24:15. However Daniel did not understand the vision that applied to the time of the end, the 2,300 days of Dan 8:14. Daniel saw the events in vision, he heard the words of the book, 10:14, but he was told to “shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end,” “until the voice of the seventh angel shall begin to sound, — finished.” Rev 10:7, cf. "Hold Fast To The Truth — " MR vol.17, pp. 11, 12.
• The symbolic bleeding lamb of Rev 5:4 is consistent with Dan. 2:41, 7:7, 8:9-11, 25; 9:26; Rev 1:18. Passages that historically were applied to the actions of Rome, (the LH of 8:9), the crucifixion, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the earthly temple, cf. 4BC 842.
• Current church teachings that apply Dan. 8:9-11, to the actions of a Papal host in heaven, 12BC 394-395 is a new theory in the continuing conflict between truth and error today.

“In history and prophecy the Word of God portrays the long, continued conflict between truth and error. That conflict is yet in progress. Those things that have been will be repeated. Old controversies will be revived, and new theories will be continually arising.” Manuscript Releases, vol.17, pp. 11, 12.
“And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again.” Revelation 10:10, 11."

Conclusion

• As Daniel says “the wise will understand,” it appears “we must wait until that better day,” before passages such as Dan. 2:41; 7:17; and 8:9-11; are clearly understood by the wise.
• “Read the book of Daniel. Call up, point by point, the history of the kingdoms” L 57, 1896.
• Neither Daniel, John, nor History, reveal the little horn of Daniel 8:9, nor verses 10 and 11, apply to the Papacy, or to the actions of a Papal host, cf. TM 113-115; GC 380 (1888); FE 474.

Our unification of the OT and NT has been selective. We have embraced clean and unclean foods making them a part of our baptismal vows. Yet we totally ignore all the other conditions that God has declared make us unclean. Perhaps we should learn from Jesus, who believed Moses was mistaken about the condition of uncleanness. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.’ In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.” Mk 7.

Touching an unclean animal makes us unclean: Lev 5
Food that touches anything unclean shell not be eaten: Lev 15
We are unclean if we touch the carcass of a pig: Dt 14
We are not touch a dead person, human bone or a grave or you we become unclean for 7 days: Num 19
Menstrual impurity last for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Whoever touches anything on which she sits shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening: Lev 15

Groucho
It seems to me that Jesus went out of his way to de-establish Moses’ teaching. He touched a bleeding woman, he touched the dead and the sick with running sores–all forbidden by Moses. In John 8 he taught in the woman’s quarters of the temple where he could be easily deviled by a menstrual or nursing women (this being the reason why men and women worshiped apart). Jesus swept aside Moses teachings on clean and unclean as traditions of men, something that His Father did not honor.

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If truthful, most who profess Adventism have adapted their beliefs to a DIY religion as the majority either add or reject certain portions.

The futile attempt to claim to combine the OT with a new religion: Christianity, is a farce. Only certain portions from Judaism and the Torah are chosen while others are considered archaic–who has determined what is now obsolete and those which are permanent? To date, who has given the rationale for such impossibilities?

As for being right and having “Present Truth” that should be determined by non-Adventists, not the church who continues to make such impossible claims.

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Thanks, @JasonHines.

Beyond the question of whether your seven conclusions are actually true or not, or even how one would determine the same, I have another, slightly different issue, and it’s this: I’ve never understood people expressing “love” for entities like "The Seventh-day Adventist Church."

Statements like that, or like this one—“I love my country”—are truly confusing to me.

From one view, “a country” and/or “a church” seem like abstractions that would resist emotional connections; like loving, say, a complex Lie group.

From another perspective, they appear as hyper-complex phenomena which, cognitively, could never be sufficiently reduced to support a meaningful, non-self-negating, sentimental bond; like saying, “I love all the points on a line,” or “I love the direction that termites in Africa walk.”

Indeed—though certainly not in your case—I tend to think, more, that what people actually often mean by statements like these is something akin to this: “I like the feeling I get when I think of my ideas about X.”

Further compacted, of course, that statement becomes, “I like my thoughts.”

To which, I reply, “O.K. What do you want me to do about that?”

HA

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Thank you for the thoughtful, heartfelt summary. I agree with these points, but would like to add one more:

I love Adventist Christianity because the dedication to God and Truth first results in one of the few truly diverse communities and organizations in the world. We rank up there with the US military for having a real blending of racial, cultural, national and economic groups. Far from complete, or even satisfactory, but FAR beyond the increasingly isolating, segregated and disheartening world we currently live in.

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I like the way patting myself on the back lifts the stranger out of the gutter.

Lord, have mercy.

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I can’t understand how someone can write such a thing after 1979, i.e., after the Glacier View fiasco, how the Church dismissed Desmond Ford. The details of that event are just horrible, and contradict what the author wrote here.

The author is either too young and completely uninformed about the SDA history in the 1970s and 1980s, or is just denying facts that happened in those days and are very well documented.

To be a Christian doctrine a belief needs to,

  1. Be clearly defined.
    This term, “Present Truth,” appears to impress people but what does it really mean? I would love the explanation of its meaning.

  2. Be demonstrable using the Bible only. Use as many Biblical texst as possible to substantiate this ghost that keeps being acclaimed as some “Adventist Secret,” or some exclusive “key to salvation” that SDAs have. I am a SDA for over 60 years, and not even my college professors in the SDA School of Theology could come up with a Biblical support for the ghost.

Any comments on “Adventist Politics” and how ugly it becomes close to any election process?

Tom, rational thinking and asking questions, are not welcome guests among Adventists. Only neophytes or those who deny the facts will refuse to acknowledge it.

Salvation by reading???

Well, I bet some people believe in the “Doctrine of Discrimination of Women.” I am afraid they are an easy target for the Muslims, and would easily convert…

You proposition may not be liked by either non-Adventists or Adventists… :wink:

Well, Trump LOVES everyone and everything, and he won the electoral college election. So, using the word in church may be a winner as well… :innocent: :wink:

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Adventism has come to stay. It has done great good. It should be favoured as long as does good, but it should be sharply checked when it reacts too personal to truth when every Catholics that Adventism knock down. The Catholics have rights to knock Adventists down for it.

The SDA Church stays in its own sectarian compound not losing confidence in the love for Adventism.

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“The SDA Church stays in its own sectarian compound not losing confidence in the love for Adventism.”

“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!” Luke 18:11

Amen…

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Fifth generation Adventist. Grandfather ordained in 1908. Catholic environment - in the definitely “Black” = conservative, Catholic - dominated college, one of the best in the city, state - owned (“Bundesgymnasium”) I never was in scholol Sabbath FIve to sx classes !), yet is was a happy time. Church : Friday evening, Sabbath moring, Sabbath afternoon. Hostility around. OK. It wa s a happy time.

Learn, hear and accept : All you acquire - is a necessary contribution to the Church ! - And then you are neglected, because it does not fit into some recent Church policies. (“THe crazy one, who said things twenty years before everybody in Church says it!”)

“Present thruth”, changes ? Well, since I was fourteen I am confronted with the Sanctuary doctrine, up to Roy Gane and others in AUSS. Or - for the same time with glosslalia - well, sorry. study Greek and its poets - and you find this unarticulated speech - expression abundantly ! But at last since Hasel it is a dogma : Foreign languages.- - - a language studied by its authos, historians, poets - NOOO !.

Or Sabbath : What Ed Christian found out I also years before had studied with a Jewish friend, a Sabre: ( = Israel born) Do you remember the readers responses to this new insight ( Sabbath Pleasures) in “Adventist Review” ?.Ot Sabbath is a HAppy ADy" , published in the Journal of th DAventist Theological Sciety ? NOOO !

“Truth” : Just now I m collecting the papers out of my files about clusters of white lies. “Medical Science and the Spirit of Prphecy” - -Cheap coffetable literature to “proof” a foreknowledge, easily refutable - - Adventists live ten years llonger - well, read Fazer carefully and just wonder - - Czechowski, did he die as a Cahtolic ? The coroners remark ? - NO, two other, reliable documents note him as “Protestant”, so why question his faith to the Message ? (Nathan Gordon Thomas, historian of PUC)

Why this boasting and bragging ?

But I love my Church and am happily forelooking for nex Sabbath and our being together and sharing our belief. And I already am preparing my Easter sermon : “From Nard to Myrh”. And every Sabbath I learn a lot from those young newly converts and their uneasy questions. A blessing.

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