As many have predicted the Adventist church has committed itself to a return to Adventist traditionalism. To this end Ted N. C. Wilson “was appointed by the church's 246-member Nominating Committee and confirmed by the General Conference Session delegation…” as president of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination; as the Adventist News Network reported.
What this appointment, quasi election demonstrates is a return to Adventist traditionalism and an open opposition to Progressive Adventism. Here is a section from the ANN report:
"This is not just an organization, this is not just another denomination. This is God's remnant church,"
said in an address to delegates after his appointment. Wilson
"I do not know everything, but I shall seek wisdom from counselors and from the Bible and from the Spirit of Prophecy," he said, referring to the writings of church co-founder Ellen White.
"The Spirit of Prophecy is one of the great gifts God has given to the
," Seventh-day Adventist Church said. "It applies to the past and to the future. And, we are going home soon." Wilson
J. David Newman, Editor of Adventist Today further reports:
“Another priority will be to lift up the Spirit of Prophecy to be more than devotional-level reading, and to employ them for instruction and counsel. Another issue he addressed was the use of Scripture. In interpreting Scripture, we must make sure we are not following the historical critical approach, he warned.”
What these brief excerpts demonstrate is a return to historic/traditional Adventism. They can be summed up by these three points which are foundational to the interpretation of Traditional vs. Progressive Adventism.
- Adventist church is the Remnant
. churchof God
- Ellen White as more than pastoral or devotional but as an authority on truth.
- Biblical interpretation limited to Ellen White’s method of Bible interpretation, her version of historical grammatical approach.
If we looked further at the above 3 principles we see that they are contrary to Progressive Adventism. Progressive Adventism does not see the Adventist church as the Remnant but that it makes up a part of the Remnant. The Remnant being found throughout the numerous denominations of the Christian world, that the Remnant is the people not any denominational organization. See To be the Remnant or to be part of the Remnant
Ellen White is viewed by Progressive Adventists not as an authority on the truth but as a pastoral writer. Someone whose writing contain errors in theology and science and history, that even if one accepts her writing to be derived from the gift of prophecy that does not equate to being a Prophet of either Old or New Testament standards.
Regarding Wilson’s intention to avoid the historical critical approach in favor of the historical grammatical approach favored by Adventist Traditionalist like Dr. Samuel K. Pipim. “The historical-grammatical method distinguishes between the one original meaning of the text and its significance.” What this means is that “The original passage is seen as having only a single meaning or sense. As Milton S. Terry said: "A fundamental principle in grammatico-historical exposition is that the words and sentences can have but one significance in one and the same connection. The moment we neglect this principle we drift out upon a sea of uncertainty and conjecture." (Above quotes from Wikipedia) Of course there are a number of assumptions here as well. For example if we take the Genesis creation chapters using the historical grammatical method we would assume that the author thought that what he wrote down was how events happened and that the first hearers would have understood it in the same literal fashion. Thus the single meaning of the creation story is the literal story. I alluded that this is based upon assumptions of history but also assumptions of traditions. For example the Isaiah 14 text about Lucifer was neither intended by the author nor was it understood by the first people to hear the text as a reference to Satan, but that will still be the interpretation of those holding the historical grammatical method of exposition.
Progressive Adventists see the value and the application of using the historical-critical method. Unfortunately it appears that some of the abuses of the historical critical method such as assumptions that there is nothing supernatural have affected
’s understanding about how the interpretations can be useful within the Christian community. Wilson
It appears to me that the shift in leadership will serve to force out Progressive Adventists and seek to perpetuate 19th century Adventist Ellen White dominated theology.
So the exodus begins.