Extended Studies

FOREWORD

The Adventist faith can be and has been defined with its special doctrines and beliefs to a good degree. Within these beliefs of which 27 have been asserted as foundational, we enjoy a fairly balanced defense from confusion and distractions. The Sabbath issue is well defended and we enjoy many victories in the prophetic domain as well as the state of the dead issue etc… But what happens when differences of opinion vary within the confines of those doctrines which have been defined as foundational doctrine. How much right does any member of the Adventist church have to take a stand on debatable points? Does anyone really have the right to wiggle within those definitions? Has God granted anyone the authority to police the Adventist members within these boundaries? While we ponder on that, let’s also ask ourselves if anyone has been given the right to police others on testing the fundamental points as well! What if a member of our church sees some way to improve on a doctrinal point? Is the time for improving our Adventist ideas over with? Do we have all that we need and will ever need? Do we have a patent on "All truth"? Many Adventists would say yes to this, but they may be surprised to read the following from Sister White.

We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.–The Review and Herald, July 26, 1892. {1SM 37.3}

Of course, this opens the Pandora box and every bird can nest in that doorway… Furthermore it would seem that Sister White is actually saying that we should not hold to our own opinions and that compounds the difficulty. So, whose opinions should we hold on to, then? Or could it be that EGW is actually talking to those who stubbornly hold on to the traditional ideas? The truth is that truth advances with time and if we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed. When truth advances and some lag behind, holding on to traditional views, the unity suffers and that is very much our Adventist experience today. As it turns out we have much disunity, but we have made no advancement since the Pioneers left us, so there is little to complain about.

There are those who are critical of anything that does not agree with that which they have learned to date. Before understanding takes place in their minds they are quick to judge and cry out "Heresy!". They are filled with opinions and have a staunch confidence in tradition that would be an exemplary confidence were it a confidence in God and His advancing truth. Instead, they cry out fears and apprehensions attempting to warn people that they have discovered something inconsistent with what they themselves believe is the right interpretation of truth. With no regard for truth or God’s people, though with much pretense to care, fear is poured into the foundation of their doctrines as if there was something to fear, God being our champion. But truth must always suffer until understanding takes place or God puts the fire breathers out of the way. My advice for this is to recognize that God has brought us over far greater hurdles to this point and He is not so slack as to allow some ominous danger to seep us away into oblivion suddenly. God is not dead dear friends!

The documents that we present to you below are intended to raise and try to answer some difficult questions. Some are within the boundary of our doctrines and some deal with specific doctrinal points that have been neglected over the years and which have come under fire in these days. None of these documents are meant to suggest that you should leave your church and wander somewhere else. We love our Adventist church in spite of the self appointed Cowboys who take it upon themselves to police everything according to their own will. Furthermore we do not ask for any donations. But we do not sit and warm up the church benches either. We are a team of Adventist friends who think and talk things out. Some of our views are radical, but our goal is to improve the fine points of our Adventist doctrines and deal with the difficult issues which our brethren often cannot face on their own.

Of course we are not without critics. Our primary critics, as expected, are traditionalists. Those who hold on to traditional views perceive advancing truth as an ominous ever present danger. The only danger is that they will have to adapt, but that, of course, is asking too much of them.

For the rest, however, we hope that you will enjoy these documents and give us some feedback. If you agree heartily or feel critical about any of these views or ideas, please let us know. For the critics, please remember that it is polite to first tell people what troubles you, before you sound the alarm. Any other form of complaining is slander no matter how it may be wrapped in fine and eloquent speech. If a brother offends you go and tell him, first… Our intent is not to offend or upset anyone, but we realize that such lofty goals are rarely achievable once a word leaves the lips.

For comments feel free to contact the staff. If you wish to discuss anything you may have read in any of the articles we offer you here, please feel free to join our forum.

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