Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I was just reading over at Progressive Adventism.com the remarks about William Johnsson's retirement Bill Johnsson’s Final Plea
Julius writes on his blog:
In addition, I wonder what he meant exactly when he stated, “the Fundamental Beliefs draw the boundaries, and so long as any Adventist assents to them, he or she deserves respect and fellowship.” What if an individual Adventist has a problem with one of the 28, or one line in one of the articles? Does that person cross of the boundaries and become undeserving of respect? I doubt he meant to say this, but what are the implications of what he said? I’d love to engage in him in further conversations and learn from his wisdom and erudition.

Johnsson had written:

I leave with you three burdens on my heart:
1. Racial diversity: This family flung into earth’s far corners, this amazingly diverse Adventist movement—it’s wonderful, a creation of God. But unity is fragile. We must never take it for granted, or we may lose it.
I am convinced that we have a long way to go to achieve the harmony the Lord intends for us. Pride of race needs to be crucified. We must learn to value our diversity, to treat one another with respect and dignity. We must spend a lot of time talking to each other, face to face. Not about each other, but with each other, listening, seeking to understand, praying silently as we converse.
2. Theological polarization: Sound theology is vital; it must never be compromised. But the Fundamental Beliefs draw the boundaries, and so long as any Adventist assents to them, he or she deserves respect and fellowship. Points of doctrine not spelled out in the Fundamentals must not be allowed to divide us.
We know in part; we understand in part. A little humility can work wonders. And, as Paul says, knowledge puffs up but love builds up (1 Cor. 8:1).
3. The Scriptures our safeguard: One of my first editorials called Adventists back to the Bible (“The Bible—Our Heritage,” October 30, 1980). Let that be my last word also. Let the Book be the man of our counsel, our constant companion. For in it we find the Man altogether lovely, our Savior and Lord.


I am not so generous as Julius. I would submit there was a very specific reason that Johnsson used the term "Fundamental Beliefs," capitalized to emphasize that he is referring to the current 28 Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs. The Traditional SDA gives little thought to the idea that there are indeed Adventists who do not accept the details of the creedal 28 statements, let alone the expanded meanings given in the book the 27 Fundamental Beliefs. There is in fact very little theological polarity within the confines of those who accept the 28 fundamental Beliefs. A bit about the fallen or unfallen sin nature of Jesus perhaps because Ellen White writes both ways on that subject. It appears to be one of these areas where "Points of doctrine not spelled out in the Fundamentals must not be allowed to divide us."

But this is how the leadership of the SDA church chooses to hide their heads in the ground. Denying the very foundational differences that are present in growing numbers within the SDA church. This was clearly pointed out by the large participation of many in regards to last Quarter's lesson study guide on the investigative judgment and 1844.

Yes there are theological differences, they are real and they are being ignored by SDA leadership and I doubt the next Editor of the Review will acknowledge them any better then the last editor.

Did you notice the last statement, number 3. Why would not the borders be set by the Bible rather then the Fundamental Beliefs? The reason is that the Bible does not teach and Investigative Judgment or 1844, the Bible does not portray the SDA church as God's remnant church and the Bible does not even teach a need to accept a literal 7 day creation. But the 28 Fundamental Beliefs do.

5 comments:

Elaine said...

Johnsson had only one word that could have made all the difference.
He wrote:

Points of doctrine not spelled out in the Fundamentals must not be allowed to divide us.

Had he written "Points of doctrine spelled out in the Fundamentals must not be allowed to divide us" would have demonstrated the reality.

world religions said...

Merry Christmas

Love said...

Happy New Year

world peace said...

Season's Greetings

Julius said...

Thanks for the reflections, Ron. I did notice the third point about Scripture which was in the back of my mind as I commented on Johnsson's reference to the 28. I do think that point about Scripture being the "safeguard" provides the counterbalance to the creedalization of the 28 that Adventism can fall into. But you may be right that I'm giving Johnsson the benefit of the doubt. Frankly, I want to because I like it. Isn't it funny how we cut slack on people we like, and are willing to jump on those we don't. May the Spirit of justice prevail in 2007!

Happy New Year!