A response to Matthew’s article on my FB page, with permission:
posted below about Matthew Quartey’s article on Spectrum today:
Remarkable and brave admission of some of the reforms that are required.
In fact there are at least 4 Fundamentals that need rewriting and modifying and one that needs removing altogether having nothing to do with any Biblical concern.
One that need rewriting is Creation, which needs to be more flexible as a general statement of belief. Another is the sanctuary teaching and judgement teachings which need to be completely rewritten in harmony with Hebrews and the Apostolic kerygma. It also needs to be in harmony with the Gospel and Jesus’ teaching on judgement, especially as found in John’s Gospel. The traditional position opposes John’s Gospel, Hebrews and Jesus and is anti-Gospel. It has to change. So IJ and 1844 has to go.
The Article relating to justification and sanctification is a pig’s ear of a mishmash and confusion. Justification and sanctification are not defined correctly. We are still in the case of the latter suffering from the error of John Wesley and his teaching of eschatological perfection, which being a Methodist Ellen White would have believed. She never really understood Justification, though in 1890 she did believe it was imputed righteousness, but still gave it a legalistic thrust, which is not what Paul taught. The 16th century Reformers knew better as do mainstream Biblical commentators like John Stott.
As for Sanctify or Sanctification it really means in both Hebrew and Greek to be ‘set apart for God’. All believers are called, so all believers are in Christ sanctified already, that is set apart inside Christ. The erroneous doctrine of progressive sanctification needs to be brought into harmony with the finished work of Christ and Paul’s point that we are already justified, sanctified, and glorified as one now in Christ. That would remove idea that we have to progress to a certain point in our sanctification before we can be saved. It’s not Biblical so it needs completely rewriting. It would also remove the Gospel of terror that our youth are raised on. No wonder they leave.
As for Article 18 that didn’t exist till 1980 and has to go because it has nothing to do with the NT faith or teachings of Jesus. It merely elevates Ellen White to near canonical status and as a final court of appeal trumping the final authority of scripture. So long as this article of faith exists the Adventist Church cannot claim to be a Sola Scriptura Protestant Communion. It makes a false cultic claim for Ellen White and bases the validity of the Communion in her rather than Scripture and Christ alone. In this sense it is heretical verging on blasphemy. For her writings cannot be regarded as the ‘Spirit of Prophecy’ as found in Revelation 19. We also have to admit that all the works she copied from and weaved into her writing without acknowledgement, as well as those written for her, but published under her name, are also examples of the ‘Spirit of Prophecy’.
This requires a complete re-think of the function of the Holy Spirit in relationship with all believers as members of the priesthood of Christ and their prophetic calling in Christ, by which the testify to Christ. All of this is seen as prophecy inaction. And Christ is the True centre of prophecy.
The Traditionalists in the Communion and the Leadership will fight over this because they have been mis-selling her writings and making millions from them for decades, while supporting the power of the White Estate. This has to change, and Ellen White has to be put where those in 1919 saw her as a founding figure of the Communion, but no more. That is, she is not an authority on history the Bible or health let alone anything else. And they personally knew her. Further that everything she wrote has to be judged by Scripture. The position taken in 1980 that she was as inspired as any of the Biblical prophets, placing her behind Scriptural judgement is not just risible it is a very dangerous teaching when it’s clear that not all she wrote can be harmonised with scripture. Such a position makes the Church a Cult and not a true part of the wider Christian Community.
We also need to do something which has never been achieved. That is to bring the entire Apostolic Faith together under one roof. If Adventism is to achieve anything it has to ask the question, ‘What was the Faith given to the Gentiles?’ It’s the Reformation question. By 1563 the entire Apostolic faith had been recovered, but it was scattered through the many groups in Reformation Christendom. We need to bring the Apostolic kerygma and the Gospel under one roof and that means dispensing with unbiblical claims and a view of prophecy, including Daniel and Revelation, that also requires serious revision in the light of what it really meant to those who first received it and the ever changing, developing and reoccuring prophetic issues that flow through history that the Ekklesia of Christ has to face.
To do all the above we require another 1919 type Bible Conference that is open, brave and above all honest, even if it splits the Communion, which it all but did in 1919 had they not decided to bury the minutes and airbrush it out of Adventist history for almost 5 decades.
And will again if what is proposed in the Spectrum Article is attempted. The Traditional forces supported by Ted Wilson are at the moment too strong to accept such a radical explosive Reform despite the need for serious reform of this ‘Rome type’ Communion and a reversal of the way it has been heading since Glacier View.
If Matthew Quartey is serious about doing what his article suggests then he has to be prepared for schism.
Do I believe that anything will change after Ted Wilson has gone, no I don’t. I think they will vote on someone of similar ilk unless there’s a real Divine intervention like a visionary appearance of Jesus at the next GC Session in 2025 to put everything straight.