Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, February 23, 2007

SDA Internet Forums

What follows is some information about SDA Forums, it was originally written about 2 years ago and a couple of forums have disappeared most notably the "Voluntary Online Adventist Forum", those defunct forums are deleted from the article posted here.

The Advent of the internet brought many changes to our world; the amount of information freely available is staggering. For those of us in the SDA church the internet has allowed extensive dialog between people near and far away. There are a number of SDA forums which operate exclusively for the purpose of discussion of issues of interest to SDA and Christians in general. So far it could be said that SDA forums are underused considering the SDA population in English speaking countries compared with the small number of users of these forums. Hopefully many more people are reading the messages (posts) on the forums but that is difficult to access. One of the biggest problems with using forums is that the user must type out their message. What may seem as something fun to do for many a writer is looked at as something of a depressive chore to many other people. Technology may someday help overcome that problem, for now most users of SDA forums still use their keyboards to type out their posts. For whatever psychological reasons, some of us love to discuss the things of Christianity so much that electronic forums seem the perfect method. For those of you like me who love to discuss Christianity in its many aspects here is a brief exposition of some of the most popular SDA forums on the internet or sent to your E-mail.


One of the first and probably the oldest active SDA forums is Its purpose is;

“To discuss practical issues of relevance to the Adventist subculture and the world in general.” This is the first SDA Forum known to many of us. Like many of the forums it has had a decline from its best days when there were some 40-50 messages posted per day. Now I would estimate 5-20 posts with an estimated 500+ members. While this site can be viewed online it is mainly an E-mail oriented forum where posts are sent by and received via E-mail. This allows for personal archiving of interesting posts as well as allowing the subscriber to keep up to date by just reading their email. SDAnet offer a digest for those who don’t want to receive the individual messages. As with several of the forums you can also receive SDA news reports sponsored by the Official SDA church. SDAnet offers a searchable index from 1990-2004 by thread, author, subject and date. However it often does not work and best results require that you know pretty closely the date of a post. It is easy to subscribe or unsubscribe to the forum as it is a totally automated system which allows one to post and receive messages the day after subscribing. Compared to the discussions on some of the other SDA forums the diversity of opinions is fairly well represented. Currently the discussions are pretty middle of the road on SDAnet. At times the moderators or the board of SDAnet behave in less then fair ways, but that could probably be said of many forums., “The Un - OFFICIAL WORLDWIDE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST FORUM”, is a bulletin board style forum which boasts the largest membership 1070 users. The bulletin board style means that one does not post or receive posts via E-mail but instead post and view posts from the website. Its moderators have not shied away from taking on tough SDA subjects such as the recent subject titled: “1844 - neither the year nor the event can be supported from scripture”. My personal view on forums is based upon how well the forum handles debate and controversial ideas which are often not represented in any other church outlet. Unfortunately this site requires payments to maintain full posting privileges. So the number of registered users probably does not reflect the number of people who really post since many like me feel that such forums should remain free. However there are still a few sections of the forum where a registered user who does not pay for the service can still post messages but they can’t create new topics [Sadly that is no longer the case however, it is pay or nothing now]. Club Adventist says they charge “less than 10 cents per day to cover the expenses related to the forum (Advertising, Hosting, domain and support expense.” This is not outrageous and in line with such radio talks show websites like Bill O’Reilly. Of course Bill O'Reilly donates all his earnings from the website to charities.


Sabbath School Network (SSNET) posts are distributed to the group in two formats: note-by-note (ssnet) and daily digest (ssnetdaily). There is no web site view of the discussions like SDAnet. It has an automated subscription process for ease of subscribing. SSNET’s website introduction says: “Anyone is welcome to join SSNET. We have over 600 members from around the world (from at least 36 countries) and from many faiths.” However their guidelines state:” Ellen White is accepted as a messenger of the Lord in the SDA church, and her status is not up for discussion on this list”. It is hard to imagine that the “many faiths” accept that condition. Since so many aspects of the SDA doctrine and issues do or will end up relating to Ellen White or her views. This condition has greatly reduced the diversity of discussion on this e-mail group. By visiting you can also access the SDA Adult Sabbath School Lessons.


The Homepage states: “ADVENTIST FOR TOMORROW a VERY independent discussion forum for Members, Former Members, Friends, Supporters, Detractors, and THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE. Who desire more freedom of expression than is usually found in cyberspace.” From the previous members of Adventist’s Discussion group ATomorrow formed. With very open discussions and members ranging from Atheists and Agnostics to very traditional SDA’s and several Progressive SDA’s, and many former SDA’s. About 150 members estimated by the administrator. This is another Bulletin Board style website which also carries some of the old AToday archives. However as with the extensive archives of SDAnet it is not always an easy task to find something in the archives. But they are usually stimulating reading. Many have said that this is the most liberal SDA forum which is probably true due the diversity of opinions of the posters to this forum. From traditional SDA’s to ex SDA agnostics, with some other denominations and some Atheists thrown into the mix.


Maritime SDA Online is a more traditionally oriented SDA forum. Their website states:”You must be a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to have access to some of the private forums. Exceptions may be granted under special circumstances…You must either believe in or respect the 27 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church…You must also either believe in or respect one of those 27 fundamental beliefs regarding Ellen G White as a messenger of God for both her time and our time.” This Bulletin board website is run differently and somewhat confusingly with public posting and private areas which you must ask permission to view.

The web site states; “As a private Christian Message Board, primarily for the Black/African-American Adventist church, we welcome people of all Christian denominations and ethnicities to post here.” About 230 registered members using a Bulletin board style. A pretty free flowing site with a representation of traditional SDA to Progressive SDA’s.

Conversations about God (CAG) is an E-mail forum which posts a daily digest of the previous days posts on their web site. The web site states; “The purpose of Pine Knoll’s “Conversations About God E-mail Discussion Group” is to use electronic mail as a tool in taking another look at God in light of the great controversy over His character and government. We have a special focus on the weekly Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School lessons.” CAG has some 300+ subscribers most of whom are followers of Graham Maxwell. This forum emphasizes unity of thought and has a fear of discord and debate. If you can fit into its parameters it offers a close family atmosphere, though at the cost of growth and free thought. One might expect to hear from Graham Maxwell on this forum since it is on his web site however I have never seen anything posted by Graham Maxwell either when I was a member or afterward as I have monitored the conversations.

A newer Forum this is another in the Graham Maxwell family of discussion forums. The Website states: " is more than a website; it is an epicenter dedicated to proclaiming the truth about God's character." You can get the idea from that rather gradiose statement that they think pretty highly of themselves. This is also a fairly restrictive discussion group, if you fit it they like you if you offer contrary views they are not so friendly. They do have posters from an atheist to a conspiracy nuts however, you just have to learn what sacred cows not to poke.

The Spectrum message board is another newer forum. The Site says: "Welcome. The Spectrum/AAF Message Board is provided as a service to members of the Association of Adventist Forums and guests, all of whom are welcome to post messages after registration.
In accordance with the purpose of the Association of Adventist Forums, the Message Board exists to promote discussion of important and timely topics." The board has subjects which deal with articles posted on the Spectrum Website as well as related to the Sabbath School Lesson Study Guides and the related articles posted on the Website. This is an under utilized site which should be visited more often. The discussion is free from the limitations which some of the other discussion forums use.

Christian Forums is a large Christian Website with forums for many denominations. The site has a Progressive SDA, a Traditional SDA and a general SDA section and many rules. But they are generally not too restrictive, you simply have to learn in what forums debate is allowed and what forums it is not. It is beginning to have much more activity in the SDA section then in past years.

Feel free to check out any of the forums and if you know of any others please post them in the comment section.

1 comment:

Johnny said...

Well done!
Happy Sabbath,