Thursday, October 26, 2006

Luther's spirit and historic Adventism

I was watching the interviews on the Luther movie and something that Sir Peter Ustinov (Frederick the Wise) said struck me. He said that Luther was too good a Catholic to remain Catholic. This is profound to me, because I feel that many of us were just too Adventist to have remained Adventist. Huh? Yes. Adventists were reformers. We were searching the Word for truth. We were known as a people of the Word and boldly declared that we had no creed except the Bible (oh that we had remembered that one). We were zealous for truth and fervent in our desire to grow and to know.

Adventists ostensibly threw out everything and started over allowing the Scriptures to speak truth to us. Unfortunately, we too quickly calcified our beliefs and stopped studying. And we had a “voice” that once it had offered support to an idea, that idea became a fundamental belief.

In the 1950’s our scholars at the Adventist colleges admitted that the peculiar doctrines under the umbrella of the Sanctuary doctrine could not be fully sustained from Scripture alone – doubtless an idea that the modern inquisitor Clifford Goldstein would object to. Yet they were unanimous in the thought: the doctrine simply could not be sustained by Scripture. True, this is not to say that they all denied the veracity of our Daniel 8:14 ideas. I personally heard ministers say that they had no idea how to support from Scripture our doctrines, yet they knew them to be true because God had approved them and had sustained this church all these years.

Today there is a growing sentiment among Adventists that something is wrong with the theologies, and judging by the increase in polemic published by the official houses they sense it also. Many today are approaching the subject with more open minds and are investigating truth for themselves both through the Bible and looking seriously at the objections to their theology and history. We today do not have the barriers to investigation that the Germans had in Luther’s day. Then most theology was written in Latin and the Scriptures were only available in Latin or in the original Greek and Hebrew. Today we have a plethora of versions to choose from. We have searchable version of the Bible, of Ellen White and of many other documents. And we have history available in many forms. There simply is no barrier other than time and energy to the fervent student who searches for truth. So: are our Adventists going to be true Adventists and open the word and become the Bereans that they once were?

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