Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, June 30, 2006

Pacific Union Recorder Does Tom Mostert know history at all?

This is from the Pacific Union Recorder online edition editorial; President's Perspective:

I’m Almost Afraid to Ask — Is This the End?
Dear Pacific Union Member:
Ever since Jesus left the earth with a promise to come back again, His followers have watched for the signs that it would happen soon.
• The evils of secular society and the apostasy in the church within the first 300 years after Jesus left had believers certain He would be coming back soon.
• During the Middle Ages (a time so bad we call it the Dark Ages), you could be killed if found with a copy of the Scriptures. The faithful certainly thought Jesus' coming would be soon.
• In the early 1840s, there was such a revival of spiritual interest, it has gone down in history as the Great Awakening. Some even set a time for Jesus return.
• Through two world wars with their unprecedented destruction and pain, it seemed Jesus would surely come soon.
But Jesus did not come!

Where to begin, Paul the first of the Christian authors we have wrote about apostasy before the year 100 AD. It was not secular society that he was referring to either. From the very time of the Apostles they thought they were in the last days and Jesus was to soon return.

During the Middle Ages few had copies of the Bible in any language. They were not killing people because they had a Bible. They were chained to pulpits because they were so valuable. There was a time following John Wycliffe English translation from the Vulgate that the Pope did not like it and dug up his bones and burned them and the Roman Catholic Church did not like Tyndales English translation any better. But that is a far cry from saying that you could be killed for having a copy of the Bible. Their were quite a few Vulgate Bibles around as that was the first book ever published on the printing press.

Oh and I almost forgot, why did they call the period from about 476 AD to 1000 AD the Dark Ages?
Wikipedia: Most modern historians dismiss the notion that the era was a "Dark Age" by pointing out that this idea was based on ignorance of the period combined with popular stereotypes: many previous authors would simply assume that the era was a dismal time of violence and stagnation and use this assumption to prove itself.

In Britain and the United States, the phrase "Dark Ages" has occasionally been used by professionals, with severe qualification, as a term of periodization. This usage is intended as non-judgmental and simply means the relative lack of written record, "silent" as much as "dark."

The Great Awakening is not a reference to the revivals of the 1840's:
Series of religious revivals that swept over the American colonies about the middle of the 18th cent. It resulted in doctrinal changes and influenced social and political thought. In New England it was started (1734) by the rousing preaching of Jonathan Edwards. Although there were early local stirrings in New Jersey in the 1720s under the evangelical preaching of Theodorus Frelinghuysen of the Dutch Reformed Church, the revival in the Middle Colonies actually began in New Jersey largely among the Presbyterians trained under William Tennent. His son Gilbert Tennent became the leading figure of the Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies
--The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

He would have been closer had he said the Second Great Awakening which is often dated from 1820-1900

Maybe I am being overly critical but it seems to me that the President of the Pacific Union Conference should be a little more historically accurate. With an opening like that it is hard to take him to seriously when he gets to the point of his editorial if it indeed has a point.

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