1. Conrad Clausen  July 23, 2015

    A very thought provoking book. I was intrigued and perhaps a bit dismayed by the emphasis on creed and “creedal Adventists”. While this term may only have been used for pragmatic purposes it gives the incorrect impression that the SDA church has a creed (that is in addition to the Bible). If we take Ellen White seriously the only creed the SDA church has is the Bible. This means the 28 Fundamental Beliefs are not a creed which in turn means that they are not “infallible” and are open to discussion and change. Our Fundamental Beliefs are an interpretation of the Bible at a particular time, in a particular place and culture. Much effort has been involved in making sure our interpretation is correct. Nonetheless, our understanding of the Bible must be progressive as knowledge and culture change. (Slavery was acceptable in Biblical times. That does not mean it should be acceptable today in our present culture.)
    Our emphasis on getting the precise wording of the Fundamental Beliefs “correct” may essentially be turning the Fundamental Beliefs into a creed which then becomes set in concrete. Do we really desire to have strict uniformity of belief or is it more refreshing to have significant diversity of beliefs yet all working together for a common goal and treating each other with respect and kindness. Harmony at a certain level can exist among individuals even when they have different perspectives as long as love and respect exist among us. The early Christian church certainly had leaders that saw things from different perspectives and could speak out strongly about their differences. Perhaps there is even a place for the “variant Adventists”.

    “When God’s Word is studied, comprehended, and obeyed, a bright light will be reflected to the world; new truths, received and acted upon, will bind us in strong bonds to Jesus. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be our creed, the sole bond of union; all who bow to this Holy Word will be in harmony. Our own views and ideas must not control our efforts. Man is fallible, but God’s Word is infallible. Instead of wrangling with one another, let men exalt the Lord. Let us meet all opposition as did our Master, saying, ‘It is written.’ Let us lift up the banner on which is inscribed, The Bible our rule of faith and discipline”.– The Review and Herald, Dec. 15, 1885. {1SM 416.2}

    “There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.” (White 1946, p. 35).

    “The Lord designs that our opinions shall be put to the test, that we may see the necessity of closely examining the living oracles to see whether or not we are in the faith. Many who claim to believe the truth have settled down at their ease, saying, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.'” (White 1946, p. 36).

    White EG. 1946. Counsels to writers and editors. Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing Association.

  2. sdaconvos  September 10, 2016

    Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I apologize for the long delay in responding as, for some reason, I was not notified when the comment came through.

    Unfortunately, I am not aware of a better term I could have used in place of Creedal to denote Adventists that are in agreement with the denomination’s fundamental beliefs.

    Our fundamental beliefs are not a creed in the sense that other denominations have a creed which is set in stone. Our beliefs are dynamic in that, as the church continues to grow, they can be updated by the church in GC session.

    However, for a movement to be effective, there has to be some sense that there are certain parameters in place or otherwise people end up working against each other. Like when players on a sports team are not used to playing together and end up getting in each other’s way. There are certain points that are important or fundamental and there has to be agreement on that to move effectively. If there is a problem with any of those points, the church as a whole can be convinced of it, the point changed, and the body can continue to move forward unitedly. If however church visitors go from church to church and hear contradictory perspectives on essential topics, the movement is bound to fail.

  3. Arlene Campbell  March 17, 2017

    Thank you for coming up with the descriptive terms creedal and variant. They are very helpful as we consider the rest of your book.

  4. Lisa Reynoso  September 24, 2018

    I recently read the Dissertation (also a published book, but the pdf was free online) that argued for a small-group model of church as the ideal way to get back to our historic Adventist roots and revive churches (or plant new ones). In fact, when I read your recommendation of creating “Model Churches,” I expected to see a reference to the book, “Rediscovering an Adventist Approach to the Life and Mission of the Local Church.”

    This site is already several years old. I just wish those in leadership in our church could catch the vision. It makes perfect sense, all of it. I’ve been part of an independent Adventist Church for a few years, and I’ve seen the limitations. A small Congregational church simply cannot finish the work. Trouble is, many members have serious concerns with the organized Adventist Church. I’m not sure how to address it. We just moved, and are looking into the local churches. But while we like certain things about several of them, none of them are even close to the “model” that needs to exist to finish the work.

    I think that in general conservative “credal” Adventists (such as myself) have been too segregated. A lady from another independent church asked me if we had decided where we would be attending. I told her we had visited 3 churches, named them, then said we hadn’t made up our mind. She instantly told me that “you don’t want to go to _______”. I didn’t bother to tell her about how a woman pastor was introduced that week, and that I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to befriend her. We are both new to the area, and she has a huge job as associate pastor just out of grad school. That whatever I thought about the ordination of women (I’m not exactly for but not militant against it either; my position is hard to explain and would probably get me attacked from both sides if I tried to articulate it), I was to set my ideas aside and pray for her, befriend her, and support her.

    My husband asked how conservatives could influence the churches if they never went to them. This book made the same observation.

    I think it’s time for reform. I believe that if the people are willing, God will be able to use them. We just need to stop getting in His way!

    • sdaconvos  September 25, 2018

      Thank you for the comment.

      Yes, there is much to be done, and it cannot be done if we’re not part of the process.


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