Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Adventist Pulpit on the magnificent Disappointment

The Adventist Pulpit is doing a series on the older book the Magnificient Disappointment by C. Mervyn Maxwell. From the most recent post:
Maxwell finds such an answer inadequate because, as Maxwell states, the Dispensationalists believe that Christ is coming soon and they are not Adventists.2 Instead of seeing Adventists as simply those who believe Christ coming soon, Maxwell sees 1844 as the reason that we are called Adventist.

This is kind of strange if you think about it. It is sort of like saying all those verses in the Bible about Jesus coming back are secondary to the presumed 2300 hundred day prophecy where a day is symbolic for a year. While it is true that the Millerites focused upon the cleansing of the sanctuary as meaning Christ return and taking His children and burning the earth. Thus the term Adventist was born out of the preaching of the second Advent. When nothing happened on any of the various dates set, the Millerites gave up the 2300 day prophecy except for Seventh-day Adventist founders who redefined the event. And interestingly enough the Baihai faith see 1844 as important as many Seventh-day Adventists do however with different meanings of the importance.

From the Info Website:

Birth of a New Revelation

Bahá'u'lláh's mission began in a subterranean dungeon in Teheran in August 1852. Born into a noble family that could trace its ancestry back to the great dynasties of Persia's imperial past, He declined the ministerial career open to Him in government, and chose instead to devote His energies to a range of philanthropies which had, by the early 1840s, earned Him widespread renown as "Father of the Poor." This privileged existence swiftly eroded after 1844, when Bahá'u'lláh became one of the leading advocates of a movement that was to change the course of His country's history.

The early nineteenth century was a period of messianic expectations in many lands. Deeply disturbed by the implications of scientific inquiry and industrialization, earnest believers from many religious backgrounds turned to the scriptures of their faiths for an understanding of the accelerating processes of change. In Europe and America groups like the Templers and the Millerites believed they had found in the Christian scriptures evidence supporting their conviction that history had ended and the return of Jesus Christ was at hand. A markedly similar ferment developed in the Middle East around the belief that the fulfillment of various prophecies in the Qur'an and Islamic Traditions was imminent.

By far the most dramatic of these millennialist movements had been the one in Persia, which had focused on the person and teachings of a young merchant from the city of Shiraz, known to history as the Báb.4 For nine years, from 1844 to 1853, Persians of all classes had been caught up in a storm of hope and excitement aroused by the Báb's announcement that the Day of God was at hand and that He was himself the One promised in Islamic scripture. Humanity stood, He said, on the threshold of an era that would witness the restructuring of all aspects of life. New fields of learning, as yet inconceivable, would permit even the children of the new age to surpass the most erudite of nineteenth-century scholars. The human race was called by God to embrace these changes through undertaking a transformation of its moral and spiritual life. His own mission was to prepare humanity for the event that lay at the heart of these developments, the coming of that universal Messenger of God, "He Whom God will make manifest," awaited by the followers of all religions.

There are also those in the Bahai faith who see Ellen White as a prophet. One such person wrote:

We have heard the story of The Bab's coming fulfilling William Miller's prediction, but the story doesn't end there. After The Day of Disappointment, Ellen White began having visions. Her first vision that the Miller's revelation was true and that the Millerites should continue to look for the Messiah came as The Bab was proclaiming his ministry in Mecca. She had several visions that the door to salvation was closed to those that did not accept the return of the Messiah. Then in June 1850 as The Bab was being transfered to the prison at Tabriz she had a vision that "Time is almost a few months" July 6th the Millerites began getting new converts, the door to salvation had opened again. Three days later The Bab was executed. After that Ellen White taught that the Messiah was not on Earth but had entered the sanctuary in Heaven. She never knew about The Bab, but her early visions parallel The Bab's ministry

Interestingly also as related to the title of the aforementioned book the Bahai reinterpret the prophecies and instead of the Great Disappointment it is the beginning of their world religious movement. From Soc. Religion Bahai:

In the nineteenth century, many Christians throughout the Western world expected the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecies. Some even ventured to conclude from the Scriptures that Jesus would return in 1844. This widespread expectation is well known to historians and culminated in what has been referred to as 'the Great Disappointment.' Yet in the very same year, a dynamic religious movement swept across Persia which heralded the advent and swift emergence of the Bahá'í Faith, the only religion born during that time to become a global faith. Its founder, Bahá'u'lláh , claimed to be no less than the fulfillment of the very biblical prophecies that had so inspired the hopes of the Christian adventists. _Prophecies of Jesus_ offers a thoughtful, verse by verse exploration of Jesus's greatest prophetic sermon in the light of Bahá'u'lláh 's extraordinary ministry and teachings and of nineteenth century Christian beliefs and current Christian interpretations.

Isn't history fun! Several years ago I had written several responses to material in the Magnificent Disappointment so I will also post a series of articles based upon the book along with the Lesson quarterly comments for this quarter.

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