Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Monday, April 22, 2013

Symposium on Atonement shows no change for Adventism.

Adventist Today Website gives us a report on the recent event in Loma Linda University where the Adventist Theological Society (ATS) held a symposium upon the subject of Atonement theories.

The article is written by someone who agrees with the Substitutionary theory of the atonement and keeps calling the ATS centrist. In one paragraph he writes the following:

Moskala was careful to point out the positive contributions of each of the theories.  He stated that Christ took the penalty of sin upon himself, citing 2 Corinthians 5:21.  “When we come to Jesus, He took our sin and gives us His righteousness.”  Jesus became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).  The presenter  cited Romans 1:16-18 and mentioned that both the Righteousness of God and the Wrath are revealed.  “God’s truth is paradoxical.  God’s love and justice need to be related.”  He mentioned the Biblical Flood as an example of God’s grace and justice. He also stated that “Substitution should be taken seriously,” and that the death of Jesus was a punishment for sin.  Jesus experienced God’s wrath.  Isaiah 53:4-6 presents Calvary as a punishment—Jesus was “pierced for our transgressions. … Here is the plain image of the Substitution. God’s character is revealed, with both love and justice included in the law.  The God of the Bible is a God of love, truth, justice, freedom and order.”
Notice his most affirmative statement that Jesus experienced God's wrath. For that he uses a foreshadowing statement found in Isaiah, not anything from the New Testament actually written after the event. The reason for that of course is that there is not one verse in the New Testament where it says that Jesus experienced the wrath of God. And you really can't take all of the things that Isaiah says in those sections as affirmations about Jesus, read it some time and see.

Dr. Jiri Moskala also says that Jesus took the penalty of sin upon himself. But what is the penalty of sin? Well it is the second death as recorded in the book of Revelation. The specifics of the second death is that it is eternal resurrection. Jesus was killed by human means, the Crucifixion was a human torture and death devised and preformed by humans.  He was also resurrected from the dead on the third day. Of course if you listen to Adventist they will claim that Jesus suffered the second death, though they have no Biblical reason for this but as the article state the ATS holds Ellen White as inspired. As their statement says: "“Adventists believe that God inspired Ellen G. White. Therefore, her expositions on any given Bible passage offer an inspired guide to the meaning of texts without exhausting their meaning or preempting the task of exegesis..." It does not take much to realize that the statement is a fiction and that the dependence on Ellen White very much stops exegesis. The whole second death thing is ample proof of that. In fact if you go back to the texts that Moskala uses 2 Corinthians 5:21 which is the paradoxical conclusion to a rather convoluted argument Paul makes it is very much equivalent to a proof texting technique. But we still sin and we aren't all that righteous so just what does that even mean. It is hard to take such things serious as if they are meant to tell us that Jesus paid in one person the penalty for all people. This idea that Jesus paid the penalty of sin denies the very nature of forgiveness. Because you don't have to punish someone to forgive them. Jesus' Message was that of forgiveness not penalty.  The substitutionary atonement theory degrades the gospel. It encourages pagan ideas about God and it is not something that Paul taught. It was not an accepted idea until the 11th century and it grew out of Anselm's Satisfaction theory of the atonement.

It is sad that such poor analysis is preformed by the ATS. But as long as they must agree with Ellen White they have no other choice because their inspired prophet was very much a Penal theorist.  Which could well lead to a second article on why the followers of Graham Maxwell ignore what Ellen White actually said and so often claim she was not penal or substitutionary in her view of the atonement. In my view Adventism is doomed to failure and innovation because of Ellen White. No one who continues to accept her as an inspired interpreter of the Bible can ever disagree with Ellen. Even though Ellen was very much a person of her times and should never be given the authority that Adventism has done with such things as calling her the Spirit of Prophecy, pen of inspiration, messenger of the Lord etc.


J.D. Gallé said...
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J.D. Gallé said...
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