Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, February 23, 2013

No need for ordination traditions

Perhaps Unwittingly John McVay of Walla Walla University has presented us a way out of the women's ordination mess that has caught up with the Adventist church once again. In McVay's article he quotes 8 points from William Tyndale. They are in general the points of the Reformation against the abuse of the Roman Catholic Church in it rulership of the people through Priestly abuse. He points summarized simply are these:

1. Ordination is not a sacrament
2. The various orders and titles are simply names of offices and services.
3. Faithfulness matters
4. Christ is a Priest forever none other is needed.
5. A new testament Elder is the counterpart of a old testament priest and is nothing but an officer to teach.
6.Taking advantage of people is condemned by the Bible
7. No Office or "ordination" bestows any special status before God.
8.There is no special ceremony at all required in making of our spiritual officers than to choose able people.

For years I have said that there is no Biblical instruction for our practice of one person in charge of a church. That we are simply taking the Old Roman Catholic tradition of one Bishop per city which then became one Bishop per church and instead of calling them a Bishop which simply means Elder we called that Elder in the SDA church a Pastor. We then followed those practices and developed our whole ordination system. 

Perhaps it is time for the ordination system to stop and fall by the side of the road and begin a new tradition more in line with the Bible whereby a pastor is someone that looks after other people. As in its word predecessor the shepherd. Of course people are not sheep and just because a small flock may have only one shepherd to push the animals around in a certain direction we should take the concept into the meaning of someone one guiding and directing, teaching and caring and comforting people. Just as we don't have one teacher in a church there is no need to be limited to one pastor. This allows people who have the ability in the church to exercise their particular gifts to their follow believers in the church. 

So does the Adventist church need to allow women to be ordained and become pastors and divide the church between the contemporary Western world and the rest of the world. ( I am refusing to use the terms first (aligned with the United States), second (aligned with the Soviet Union) and third world (unaligned) as they are obsolete terms when the Soviet Union collapsed, the unaligned 3rd world is no longer a valid concept). Would there be any question in the cultures of the non westernized world that a woman can guide and direct or teach and care for other members of their church. Of course not that is perfectly acceptable. What was not acceptable was to go against the Westernized traditions accepted in those cultures of a male dominated clergy. Sadly taught to them by a poorly thought out tradition produced by a less then credible Roman Catholic church tradition. 

The Reformation gave us so many great ideas and most of them were lost as the people simply formed sides for or against the church organizations at the time. Reformation ended when they accepted that they could start new churches who would then create concrete traditions as unmovable as their fore fathers they rejected.

The Adventist church stands at a point where it can break with it's own mistakes and traditions and create a contemporary and more relevant and thinking religion. Or it can attempt to continue with the mistakes of yesteryear. When it speaks of God made sacraments that are simply man made traditions.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What is the first prophecy

I keep reading the Adventist Today Blog, though I am constantly amazed at some of the material that Stephen Foster posts. For example he has an article entitled the Purpose of Prophecy. In it he writes:

"Prophecy is the God-inspired revelation of what He wants those who claim/believe Him to know. In the 66 books that comprise the canonical narrative, the first prophecy we come to is the one which encapsulates the entire remaining narrative writ large—Genesis 3:15. It is the prophecy describing God’s plan.

Is the first prophecy the prototypical prophecy? Does it reveal to us what prophecy is all about in terms of purpose? It tells us what will happen and why; but not how it will happen. Subsequent prophecies, particularly those of the prophet Isaiah, certainly do reveal, or detail, how. (Isaiah 7:14 comes to mind for example.)"

If the first prophecy is some kind of prediction of what will happen then it is certainly not Gen. 3:15 all though that verse is frequently cited by ill informed people as being a messianic prophecy. It of course is not and is never referred to in the rest of the Bible in anyway to the Messiah. But as with much of the first chapters of Genesis people read into it what they want.  But let us assume it presents a predictive prophecy, is it the first one? No it is not we read the following in Gen. 2:17

 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not 1eat, for in the day that you eat from it ayou will surely die.”

So what if it is meant to be Stephen's prototypical prophecy. Well that is open to question. It goes back to the old canard that the first use of a word in the Bible is supposed to be the key to understanding any and all uses of that word.

When ever I read Stephen I think how sad that there are so many Adventists who think so little and talk so much. They regurgitate their traditions and don't have a clue when their traditions are errant at all because as a tradition, they rarely question what they already believe. That is the biggest problem in Adventism and in religion in general.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Important speech by a famous Seventh-day Adventist at the President Prayer Breakfast. It is nice to see some intelligence from a prominent Adventist for a change.

For more see:

Longer version: