Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, April 25, 2008

The 5000 Music Group

I received some promotional Material from The 5000 Music Group a few months ago but had not found the time to present anything on them on this blog and then I found the following article from the Mid-America Union Outlook paper April 2008. The article is entitled Discipling Musical Missionaries by Van Hurst Here is the first part of the article:

Local churches throughout Mid-America are blessed with musicians whose ministry is of such a spirit and quality that Adventists everywhere could be blessed by them. But how would they record and market their music?

Chris McConnell has a plan. He and his wife, Candice, have founded the 5000 Music Group—a new kind of music company to locate, develop, record and promote Adventist musicians. Making this possible is the wonder of digital music, downloaded and marketed over the Internet.

The need is great for what Chris and Candice offer. Until now, no matter how skilled a musician, it has been difficult to get the music out to those who would appreciate it. Record companies are understandably reluctant to take a chance on an artist and commit to a contract for recording, producing, marketing and distribution. Frustrated with the process, some musicians mortgage their homes to self-record and produce a CD, then try to book concerts to promote and sell their product. Often they end up stuck with thousands of CDs that nobody wants to buy and no store will sell. Not because the music isn’t good, but because it isn’t known.

That’s where the McConnells can help. Their 5000 Music Group offers Christian musicians and fans a variety of resources and opportunities: Directly • presenting the teachings of Jesus Christ through music • Embracing new technologies and revenue streams • Being inclusive and supportive of developing artists • Fair profit sharing between the company and artists • Sharing profits with other worthy causes • Being and promoting Christ-like role models The McConnells’ Web site,, features a variety of professional and independent music and is looking for more.

I wish him success as it is difficult to start any new business and probably doubly difficult in the music business. Visiting the website I was hoping to find some groups from our Adventist Colleges but unfortunately their were none. I wish I could have found someone on the site that I could say I liked a lot but most did not seem ready for prime time. Which is kind of the problem Christian bands have today as they need to perform to build up their abilities and finding that experience is often difficult. It is solved by larger churches with worship bands who have given us some of the best music of recent years from England’s Delirious? and David Crowder and Chris Tomlin and even one of my Northwest favorite Telecast (who I see is releasing their third Album on the 29th of this month)

If you know a Christian band give them your local congregation support, host a community picnic and give your local artists a chance to perform. I have no doubt that the talent is out there and hopefully the 5000 Music Group can help them record and offer downloads and more. Myspace is great to hear music artists but sometimes they need a little more help on the road to success, even if success is not measured in record sells but in spreading their enjoyment of music.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Recent Interview with Milton Hook

Here is an interesting exchange from the Christian Forums Adventist discussion forum. This is posted with the permission of the reviewer (Icedragon) and Milton Hook. First the review of Milton Hook's book "Flames over Battle Creek" followed by some questions and answers with Milton Hook. (I did correct some of the spelling to make it a little easier to read):

"Flames over Battle Creek" -the George Amadon Story by Milton Hook

"Flames Over Battle Creek" by Milton Hook was released in the Mid 70's by Review and Hearld ,is the story of George Amadon. Amadon was the Head of Review and Hearld Printing. Amadon was a first generation adventist who joined adventism during the 3 years in Rochester New York. He became a printing assistant at the newly formed Review and Herald press. George Amadon is an over looked figure in Adventist history but an important one. He was editor of the Youth Instructor, wrote numerous books and articles, but worked mainly behind the scenes. His wife was the founder and the Charter member of the Dorcas Society. He is unique because of insight to the live of other Adventist. James, Ellen, Uriah, DM Canright, Kellogg, Jones, Waggoner. Because he was 2nd tier leader and not the center of the action, he was able to see thing that other were not, because no one knew he was looking.

The book "Flames over Battle Creek" is a small book 130 pages, but very valuable for the insight and the details of things that happened to the SDA movement. Major figures there is too much info to get into details, but with George Amadon the detail seep in to every aspects of his life. We find out in FOBC for example that....

1. In 1908 O.R.L Croiser attended the SDA campmeeting and that there was a fight. Croiser apparently up set about being linked with the SDA'S

2. James and Ellen White, Left Battle Creek for about 3 years because of the abuse heaped upon them by the Church members. they accused them of being greedy, worldly, demon possessed and insane. So much for respecting the prophet

3. James White at one point kicked out over 370 member of the Battle creek SDA church and took the membership down to under 20 people, all in a fit of rage.

4. States that Kellogg was obsessed with the pantheistic view of the soul as early as 1875, although this may be the writers bias.

5. James was under investigation for illegal business practices, and was eventually cleared, but the charges stuck for the rest of his life.

6. George Amadon was one of the people who conducted the Kellogg exit interview. He and Kellogg was were neighbors and very friendly even after Kellogg's membership was dropped.

the more disturbing aspects of the book was the denomination blatant misrepresentation of the proceedings with Kellogg stating that the the transcript was written under false pretenses and Amadon was not aware that it was happening.

Another disturbing aspect of the book was the continual portrayal of D.M. Canright as an unstable man. Innocent actions were twisted out of there context. Canright in his mid 20's, had written a young girl, whom later would be come his wife, and was waiting in anticipation and for to she if she would return his affection, when the letter took longer then expected he began to despair, hardly a crime, but a normal reaction. He also question the harshness of James White and withered under his brutality. these normal reactions were deemed character flaws. that is disturbing.

The title of the book comes form the Numerous fires that were set during the 1890's and early 1900's. As late as 1910 fire were being set in battle creek. Some have attributed the fires to divine judgment, but this is unlikely, do to the fact that the fires continued long after the the SDA church had moved it's headquarters to Washington DC and it's College to Berrian Springs. This another aspect of SDA history that would do well to have scholarly research done one it. to answer the question Who set the fires?

Over all Milton Hook did a good job and he should be commended for his efforts. the flaws in the book are indicative of the denominations policy of "white washing" the difficult facts, but if rightly understood, can be over looked. Amadon's life gives important details and Hook while giving a Pro SDA bias does a really good job, especially for the size of the book, More work from Hook would be nice.
Milton Hook's response to the above review:

From the Author

Hi. I'm the author of Flames Over Battle Creek.
Readers may be interested to learn how the little book came into existence.
In the mid-1970s I was doing a church history unit at Andrews University. The late Dr Maxwell was my lecturer. He required each student to write an eight-page research paper. While fossicking in the University archives I happened on the diaries of George Amadon and found that no-one had written about them. My subsequent research paper ran to 40 pages but I submitted it nevertheless and Dr Maxwell patiently ploughed through it, giving me a straight A.

Later, when it came time for me to consider writing a major thesis for my MA degree my advisor, Dr George Akers, suggested I develop the Amadon paper as a book manuscript. I forget all the finer details regarding the further research but I do remember interviewing some old identities of Battle Creek and digging into files at the Battle Creek library.

In the meantime Dr Akers contacted editors at the Review and Herald office. They expressed interest in the project and soon published it. The royalties helped to pay my expenses during doctoral studies.

In hindsight I recognize the book is chiefly eulogous. It is a characteristic of popular-style SDA histories to be eulogous. Most academic theses, dissertations and articles published in the better semi-independent magazines possess a more objective tone.

I have always regretted the fact that I did not insist on the full documentation being included in the book.

Flames Over Battle Creek was my first attempt at serious historical research. Since then I have published 2 books, 32 monograms, and a number of book chapters and articles, all on SDA history in Oceania. I like to think that my work demonstrates an increasing level of objectivity. It is a personal opinion. I must leave the real assessment to other trained historians.
I am happily retired in Sydney, Australia, and still sleuthing through church archives with the view to write more history.
Milton Hook

Here is the interview, edited so that the answers follows the questions:

“Who set the fires?” a hot interview with DR Milton Hook:
An Online interview about “Flames Over Battle Creek”, Church history, New Projects, & New Challenges,

First of all let me say thank-you for you time and your willing ness to respond to the questions. I was not in any way expecting to here from you when I wrote the review of your book. Let me first tell you why I wrote a review of you book. I have been studying SDA history for the Last 2 years. I have read literally thousands of pages. I was given your book at church and said why not. It’s small enough it wont hurt, It probably won’t contain much use SDA history. Boy was I wrong. For such a tiny book it pack a historical punch. My goal in writing the review was to get people who are on this site interested in reading SDA history and I felt that this book was a very good place to start. Thank-you for stopping by. SO let me ask you Why did you choose to respond to the review?

Your questions are excellent. I'm always happy to respond to earnest questions rather than flippant ones. It was a friend who alerted me to your kind review.

I. About Milton Hook
For those not familiar with who you are tell us about yourself give us a brief overview of your Origin, educational schooling, and career overview
Weather you are a critic or a supporter of Adventism SDA church history is extremely fascinating. Tell us how you got into church history: What are your notable literary accomplishments regarding Church History and why do keep writing? As an Australian how is your view and approach of Adventist history different then say some one in America where Adventism originated, what unique perspective do you bring.?

A little about myself, as you requested: I'm a third generation SDA. Born 1939. Baptised at 17. Taught elementary school for 2 years then attended Avondale College to graduate with teaching certificate and a BA Theology. Mission work for 3 years in Papua New Guinea. Bible teaching in New Zealand. Ordained. Then to Ohio ministry and studied part-time at Evangelical Lutheran Seminary to transfer credits to Andrews University. At Andrews did MA and Ed.D in Religious Education, thus joining the 2 disciplines of theology and education. Back to Australia for further Bible lecturing and church pastoral work. Now retired but still doing a bit of preaching and teaching in Sabbath School.

Other literary work: "Avondale: Experiment on the Dora." (Written for the centenary of Avondale College). And a series of 32 monograms on aspects of SDA history in Oceania (for use in teaching SDA history in Australasian academies).

There is a view that Adventists cannot write objectively of their own church. My own view is that if the proper guidelines are followed in historical research then Adventists are the best qualified because they are most familiar with the church and its identities and know where to look for the information.

II. About “Flames over Battle Creek”
You have already given us a some background ground on how “FOBC” came into being is there anything else you would like to add about it’s origins. As you were studying what was the most interesting thing about Amadon that you think most people don’t realize? What was the most disappoint thing about Amadon that most people don’t realize? assess Amadons over all contribution to the church?
What do you see as his greatest professional success and what was his greatest professional blunder.
For you personally what was the most fascinating part of the research, what was the most disappointing? what did you not include that you wanted to include. What did you not include that you could not include because of denominational restraint. What do you wish you could do differently and what do you wish you could take out.

Regarding FOBC: Amadon, as a long-standing printer in the denomination and leader in the headquarters church at Battle Creek, was ideally situated to know what was going on behind the scenes. His diaries therefore reveal a lot of anecdotal data. He was not an academic. He was a workhorse. In retrospect I don't think I would have written the book any differently. I experienced no severe editing in order to "airbrush" it. Any improvements the editors made were beneficial to the literary style.

III Controversial History
Controversy sells and raises interest and we here at like controversy. Give us something about to think chew on. I want to bring up the subject of denominational “air brushing”. It is no secret that that denomination has at times engaged in “air brushing” and “halo enhancing” of church history to “protect” it’s members from the realities of human failings and “shielding” itself from criticism for the failures of the church. I have notice how this has changed over the years. In your book, I was presently surprised to find , you seemed to able to crack that mold a bit and allow information to escape, that prior to that people would not have known. I would like to ask you about some of the controversial things that were and where not air brushed or appear to be air bushed.

"Airbrushing":Yes, I think it has been done, and still is especially in the church magazines. These are a poor source for historical research. The better sources are letter collections and committee minutes. Even the latter are often deliberately vague. It is very difficult for a perfectionistic church to admit their own human foibles.

1. You wrote in your book that members thought Ellen White or James were insane or demon possessed , this was one of the most shocking statements in your book. That is not the standard view I grew up with. What is your source for that? Why would anyone think James or Ellen were Insane or demon possessed? What does that say about the credibility of her writing when people who knew here did not seem to respect her? How are we, over 100 years or more removed from the events ,supposed to give her any more authority then they did? How might a critic view such things?

Accusations of EGW insanity: The White Estate itself has the papers on these, together with their replies. You may read them and make up your own mind. Some of the accusations were made by medics of her day.

2. You mentioned ORL Crosier and 1908 camp meeting, Much has been made in recent years of his unhappiness with being linked with the SDA church from your research tell us why was he unhappy and what actually took place in 1908? What is the source of this. On a side note, ORL Crosier supposedly wrote a biography about himself as result of being associated with the SDA church, any idea where we can get a copy?

Crosier's unhappiness: I cannot add anything to this. I did not pursue research into the cause because it was peripheral to my book on Amadon.

3. I only bring this up because a Professor told me, when I informed him that I was reading your book, that Amadon had and Affair. You mentioned in your book that he had a happy 50 year Marriage and that he denied having an Affair when he was accused. Is this a case of deformational “air brushing” ? Could you set the record straight did he or did he not have an affair.

4 Much speculation as been made over who set the fire. In the Movie “Road to Wellville” the fires were attributed to a bad child of JH Kellogg., EGW attributes them to God, other say it was competitors with the publishing industry. Tell us ,Who you think set the fires and Why? Why would fires continue to be set long after the SDA have abandoned Battle creek? What would have been the purpose.

Who set the BC fires? Conspiracy theories abound. My own opinion is there were natural causes. Wooden buildings and internal heating systems are prone to disaster. Kellogg wisely insisted on a brick building for his San. In 1896,97, when EGW was advising on the building of Avondale College, she advised wooden buildings be constructed. There were cost reasons and everyone expected the Advent soon. In retrospect, this was probably short-sighted.

5. I recently read “I was Canright’s secretary”, Canright testimony and Norman Doughty’s book on Canright. The denomination approach to Canright has changed in the last 20 years, see “George Knights books on AT Jones and “Angry Saints” While not friendly, they can admit that he left not because of glory seeking, but he was not convinced of the truth of Adventism. What do you think is the motivating factor for denominations change? What is your take on Canright and has it changed over the years?

Canright: I think time and better historians have caused the church to mellow in their criticisms of him. My reading of his 1867 diary caused me to think he was psychologically troubled but I am really not qualified to make a clinical assessment.

6. You said the roles were purged from the Battle Creek Church, Why was this done and who did it?

Purging of BC membership rolls: I don't think I ever discovered who or how many were at the cause of it all. It was certainly someone or a group who were works-oriented in their view of life and very judgmental.

IV. New projects
1. Tell us about what you have been working on? Is the gossip true??? Are you writing on “Desmond Ford”??? If true, Why? What is your purpose in writing on DF what do you hope to accomplish? What are the benefits and challenges of writing on a person while alive? What input has Ford had on the book. What is the denominations input on the book? How will that effect the content or the approach. If you had time what project you would like to write on and why. Any Chance of republishing the book or putting it on line for easy access for a new generation.

My current book: It is a biography of Desmond Ford. When the event of Glacier View happened in 1980 I realized something monumentally significant had occurred so I began to gather documents with a view to publishing later after a period of historical reflection. A number of people eventually donated their own collections of papers. And Des himself, who had kept most of his correspondence including letters during his courting days, graciously filled a car-load which I brought home and analyzed. There has been no denominational input. Adventist Today have published it. It can be purchased through their website or Good News Unlimited. There are no plans to put it online yet but that may occur in the future.

V. Views on Development in Church History ?
Since you wrote FOBC the church’s approach to history had dramatically changed. What do you think of the changes. What could you do today that you could not do back in the 70’s? As far a the scholarship of the church what to you think needs to be improved and what to you think the future holds.? If you could set the record straight on one thing in Adventist History what would it be and why?

I think the church has learned from some of their reactionary responses of the past. Men like Dr Ron Numbers and Dr Graybill and Elder Walter Rea were poorly treated. Scholars who rose to their defense have had some impact but unfortunately there is still no official "Sorry" expressed. Perfectionists find it difficult to admit mistakes and say "Sorry."

What record would I like to set straight? The traditional account of the 1888 GC Session. Why do perfectionists call for a return to the theology expressed by Waggoner and Jones? Because W and J preached a message germane to perfectionism. It wasn't the apostolic doctrine of righteousness by faith alone. My reading of their Signs of the Times articles, 1884-1890, convinced me of that 2 decades ago. Where did Robert Brinsmead source his perfectionism theory in the late 1950s and 1960s? He admits it was W and Js writings.

There are many people talking about SDA history, both positive and negative. On the positive side is the denomination has release some excellent history biographies in recent years. What is your take on them? What do you wish could be written that has not been written.

What needs to be improved on the SDA history horizon? I have come to the realization that too much research is done on Ellen White. As a church we have over-rated her contribution when in fact so many other gifted individuals played important roles, e.g., Uriah Smith, James White, WW Prescott, AG Daniells, etc. Too many research papers have been done on every imaginable aspect of her life and they are still being churned out. I am of the opinion that it was a mistake to locate the various EGW Research Centres on college campuses. They would have been better located at Division headquarters. At present students spend too much time researching her writings when they should be researching Scripture. And EGW is given academic credibility by the very association with our academic institutions.

On the Negative side Ellen Whites Critics have amassed much history that the average Adventist might not know of or had accessed to, how has this helped the scholarly community and How has it hurt it. The church is now being confronted with information that is troubling, embarrassing and challenging, what do you think of this information and what do you think the churches response should be? What effect will it have on the on the role of Ellen White in the church.
Have you heard of the play “Red books” by Mei Ann Teo
It is about the conflict between scholars and the church and the struggle to be truthful facts and loyal to church.? What do you think about this play? What do you think about this approach to history?
Thank-you for you time.

The "Red Books." I am aware of the production but have not read it yet. I will do so.
EGW's advice was that her writings were meant to lead us to Scripture. That has been my experience. They led me to Scripture and that's where I'm happily at today. I am enjoying my study of Scripture. I have not read her writings for approx twenty years simply because my study of Scripture leaves me no time for much more.
Blessings in Christ
Milton Hook

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Good Article on the Immortal Soul Concept

I was referred to the following article by a post on a discussion forum that has just formed. (Progressive/Moderate/Former Adventists) The article goes on after the introduction I will post here with a review of the Early Churches views on the subject:

The Doctrine of Immortality in the Early Church
by Dr. John H. Roller


Most modern evangelical Christians believe that every human being has within him (or her) a naturally immortal soul which, being separated from the body at the moment of physical death, continues to exist forever, either in the enjoyment of God’s presence or in the everlasting torment of hell-fire -- in the latter case, in particular, consciously experiencing the pain of burning, but never actually being burnt up.

This position is well stated by the popular evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham, in his book, Peace With God, chapter 6, paragraph 25, where he says, “The Bible teaches that you are an immortal soul. Your soul is eternal and will live forever. In other words, the real you -- the part of you that thinks, feels, dreams, aspires; the ego, the personality -- will never die. The Bible teaches that your soul will live forever in one of two places -- heaven or hell.”

In the same chapter, in paragraph 28, he adds, “The Bible teaches that whether we are saved or lost, there is conscious and everlasting existence of the soul and personality.”

This belief is actually written into the Statements of Faith of many Protestant denominations -- for example, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, the American Baptist Association, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and the Evangelical Free Church of America (to name just a few). Thus it is held to be both Biblically supportable and doctrinally essential by those churches that so include it.

On the other hand, a small but vocal minority, who refer to themselves as “Conditionalists”, believe that the soul (by which term they mean, the “whole personality”) is naturally mortal, not immortal, and consequently cannot, and will not, live forever (in any condition) unless immortality is granted to the individual by God -- and that God only grants immortality to those who trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and follow Him as their Lord.

This position is well stated by Dr. David A. Dean, of Berkshire Christian College, in his book, Resurrection Hope, on page 83, where he says, “Nothing in the Bible teaches that the wicked are immortal. Such expressions as ‘to live forever’, ‘to exist forever’, ‘never to die’, ‘to be immortal’, nor any equivalent expressions, are ever applied to the nature of the soul, or the destiny of the lost. They are only applied to the destiny of the righteous. Death is the inevitable wages for sin. Eternal life is God’s gift to only those who believe in Jesus Christ.”

In the same book, on page 84, he adds, “The second death destroys the whole person completely and irreversibly. Jesus said, ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell’ (Matt. 10:28). In the second death there is a complete and never-ending destruction of the total personality (or personhood) of the sinner. One’s life is taken away and eternal life is withheld.”
This doctrine is called, by those who hold it, “Conditional Immortality”, and those who believe it have often been driven to form churches and denominations of their own -- for example, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Advent Christian General Conference of America, the Christadelphian Church, the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith (and others) -- because they feel unable honestly to sign the Statements of Faith of other churches, such as those previously mentioned.

In my opinion, however, the beliefs of present-day churches are no valid standard by which to judge the truth or falsehood of any doctrine. We are now as far removed in the stream of time from Christ and the Apostles as Abraham was before God spoke to him in Mesopotamia -- and God has not spoken to anyone, by way of inspired Revelation, in over nineteen centuries! On the question of human immortality, as on every other subject of spiritual interest, we should not ask, “What do modern churches teach?”, but rather, “What does the Bible say?” and “How did the early Christians interpret its statements?”

With this principle in mind, then, I would like to discuss this question: What can we learn from the writings of the early Church Fathers as to the position(s) held in their times on the subject of human immortality? Specifically, we will want to see whether the Apostolic, Sub-Apostolic, and Ante-Nicene Fathers of the first, second and third centuries held a view similar to the popular modern view, or one more similar to the Conditionalist view.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Jesus' Divinity, A Philosophical Necessity

Since I am presenting the Sabbath school Lesson this week I thought I would put in the blog as it does reflect upon some of the subjects presented here over the last month.

The Subject for the quarter is Jesus and this week is the mystery of Jesus’ Deity. Last week our leader went over the historical controversies that divided the Christian church for the first 500-600 years. It is important to remember that the battle over who Jesus is not solved because the ruling churches at that time or subsequent say they have figured it out and presented a creed. The winners of histories battles can claim their victories but that does not make their victories truth and that became the problem of orthodoxy. The winning Christians declared their beliefs as orthodox and anything else heresy. Thus began the decent into traditionalism and away from reasoned faith.

So the mystery of Jesus’ deity may not be so much a mystery as much as simply making sense of what we have and then putting it together in a reasonable fashion.

For Christians as for anyone else dealing with philosophical ideas the first question is what do we need to know about God once we have determined that there is a need to conceive of a God. Assuming the Jewish Scriptures to be inspired we see a God who has a special people He raises up through no part of their own. The writers present a God who is loving and forgiving, cruel and ruthless. Who will kill His own people if they disobey (death sentences for Sabbath breakers, Adultery and rebellious children) and will tell His nation to wholesale kill other nations. Who said in the 10 commandments don’t murder and then told the Israelites to kill all of a people including the children and animals.

(1 Sam 15:3 KJV) Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

We are left with a picture of God which is frankly very confusing, even more confusing with our modern sensibilities but then our modern sensibilities are shaped by material which presents God in a less confusing light then that of the blood and guts of the Old testament stories. (see Judges 21 for a horrible story of cruelty by Israel,

(Judg 21:11 KJV) And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.(Judg 21:12 KJV) And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.)

So our natural question is what is God like and how do we relate to this God?

At Sinai the Children of Israel pleaded for Moses to talk to God and stop the fearful voice of God

(Exo 20:18 NIV) When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance (Exo 20:19 NIV) and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."

From then on the messages were relayed through prophets. Until New Testament times.

(Heb 1:1 NIV) In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (Heb 1:2 NIV) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Heb 1:3 NIV) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

What is God like is the most important question we have to ask, is He worthy of worship, is He worthy of trust? Any being with enough power can enforce worship, respect can be produced out of shear fear but love never can be produced that way and trust is never obtained through fear.

Anyone could have come and made claims about God, people or angels but that would not have revealed the character of God it would have only been what someone was saying about God maybe true maybe not we would either have to take their word for it or not. In reality the only one who can reveal the character of God is God. It was the question that we had to ask and the only answer could come from God Himself.

Our question is philosophical and our question was philosophically answered by the book of John in the first chapter. It is an answer to the questions that were being asked at the time the book was written who is Jesus is He the Spirit that brings secret knowledge as the Gnostic claimed, is He the God who is in opposition to the wrathful God in the Old Testament as Marcion put forth. Or one of those other views we discussed last week. John presents Jesus as the Logos. We translate that as the Word but it had a much more specific philosophical meaning. Logos:

  1. In pre-Socratic philosophy, the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos.
  2. Among the Sophists, the topics of rational argument or the arguments themselves.
  3. In Stoicism, the active, material, rational principle of the cosmos; nous. Identified with God, it is the source of all activity and generation and is the power of reason residing in the human soul.

The source, the principle governing the universe, you really can’t miss what John is saying Jesus Christ is God. He is the argument for God revealed to humans, the argument that answers some of our important questions. Only God can answer the question of what God is like, not a man, not an angel, not a man who lives a perfect life even if he depends upon God for everything he does. That would not be God only God as God reveals His character.

You may think the debate about who Jesus is was completed a long time ago. But in fact even in the Adventist church today there are people who want to remove God from Jesus who want to stress the man Jesus as separate from God, someone who really lived as a man to show us that a man can live a perfect life if he depends upon God. These people destroy the whole philosophical argument of the New Testament. They are simply teaching a different gospel.