Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Deconstruction of Adventism and Christianity

Paul Whiting who also writes a blog asked the following question:

Thank you for this post. I agree so much with what you say. This is one part of "traditional" Adventist theology that makes me cringe. Actually, too much of it makes me cringe! But for some reason, I have become a part of SDAism and feel that is right presently for me to stay.

I would like you to post on why you chose to continue to be identified with Adventism. What positive aim lies behind the deconstruction you engage in on this blog? --from comment on Our Context Regardless of Context

My deconstruction is not limited to Adventism, there needs to be serious changes in the attitudes and philosophy of Christianity itself. Adventism is just the starting point for me because that is the denomination I am most familiar with. This is why I choose the name for my website. The Reformation was a call to return to reason over tradition and we are very much in need of another Reformation. I would hope that with Adventism’s history of going against traditions that we would be a good place to start a reformation of Christianity. Some Adventists have felt that the church is a continuation of the Reformation. In many ways this is a self serving idea but there is still the possibility within the denomination to really be a reformation movement

Deconstruction tends to be the most effective way to arrive at any type of reform. As we can see in this C.S. Lewis quote:

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. . .There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake." C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1952), Book I, Chap. 5, p. 22.

Deconstruction is the process whereby we acknowledge our mistakes and make a change in the path we take. The deconstruction would have to take place in any denomination in existence today. If I became a member of some other denomination it is likely they would say that I don’t understand the denominations position enough to deconstruct it and lay out a path toward a more reasonable theology. Adventism can’t say that because I was raised and schooled within it. While I could choose a denomination that is more correct on some element say for instance the Atonement there would still be other areas of concern. Trading one problem for another problem is not really the answer, we in Christianity have to change the way we think to really progress.

Unfortunately religion is so intertwined with tradition that deconstruction is a very painful process. Yet it was a very important factor throughout the Judeo-Christian history and it must continue. The Old Testament prophets were reformers, Jesus Christ and the Apostles were reformers and reformers have arisen regularly throughout the Christian era. Today with technology as it is we don’t even need the charismatic leader to lead a reformation just the information and that may make our reformation even more effective because it will not be based upon what a couple of charismatic people think is important it will based upon using our God given reasoning abilities. The scary part for a lot of people is that in some things our reasoning will have to admit that in some things we don’t have answers or there may even be different answers for different people. That maybe there is such a thing as unity in diversity.

1 comment:

Paul W said...

Thank you for responding to my question.