Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Deuling Errors now known as posted the fact that there will be two competing ideologies on The Loma Linda Campus. The article begins:

Crossfire on LLU Campus

The weekend of September 5-6 will feature a theological showdown of a sort on Loma Linda University campus.

At the University Church (the larger of the two campus churches), the “Good News Tour” will arrive on Friday evening and all day Saturday. A key objective of this program is to highlight a certain picture of God that emphasizes God’s kindness, compassion and non-violence. GNT is said to be Inspired by the teachings of Graham Maxwell who provided a strong reaction against the penal substitutionary atonement theory. In essence, Maxwell saw the cross as a showdown of governing principles between God and Satan, and a divine expression of unconditional love. In that expression, there can be no violence.

Over at the Campus Hill Church, the Adventist Today Foundation is hosting two lectures by Desmond Ford, probably one of the most significant (and controversial) theologians produced by the Adventist church. The two lectures entitled “The Theory of the Forensic Atonement in Light of the Gospel” and “This I Believe” will take place at 3pm and 8pm which means the first lecture will go up straight against all the afternoon sessions of the Good News Tour. My sense is that Ford will defend the substitutionary understanding of the atonement which has been a centerpiece of his theology.

Of course I am not near LLU so I won’t have to make a choice. In fact I disagree with both speakers. The Good News Tour people use an irrational method of accepting Ellen White ideas and rejecting Ellen White ideas. Holding to the prophetic guidance of Ellen White while ignoring many of the things Ellen White says on the subject. It is too bad that they are so inconsistent and focus so much upon the idea of no violence. Because factually Ellen White was very supportive of the Penal/Substitutionary view of Atonement and secondly the Bible is full of violence with much of it being attributed to God. Holding to Ellen White while ignoring Ellen White is certainly a formula for failure. The sad part is that they are on the right track but being so indoctrinated with Ellen White they don’t have the courage to leave her and her nineteenth century views behind.

Desmond Ford on the other hand holds a traditional Evangelical view which is that Christ suffered our punishment for sin, God poured out His wrath upon Christ so that He could forgive our sins. Nothing new here, just the basic stuff that Protestant religion has produced since the Reformation. This is the view of most of the Protestant Christian world.

So which one would I choose to go to? Probably the Good News Tour because I continually hope they will make a break through past their Adventist Ellen White dependence. It is holding them back from reaching both Adventists and the outside world. Any knowledgeable person attending their lectures would immediately see that they are heavily dependent upon extra biblical sources and that the sources are used as the primary basis for propositions. But then again that is not much different from the Penal theory which main claim is that it is the accepted tradition. When people see the verses in the Bible that speak of atonement they remember how the Penal theory uses those verses and assume that the Bible was written using the Penal Atonement theory as a reality. Not according to the facts that the Penal theory took over a thousand years to appear in Christianity.

For more see: Response to Graham Maxwell's Great Controversy View

Church History of the Atonement

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