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Sabbath School for a New Generation

Among Seventh Day Adventists, Sabbath School is a time for discussion and learning. It is the belief of this site that Sabbath School should be an exciting venue for the discussion of new ideas, instead of rehashing old arguments. So welcome to a virtual Sabbath School, a Sabbath School for a new generation.

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I am an Electrical Engineer, working at Intel in the Portland area. I received my undergraduate degree from Walla Walla College and graduate degrees from the University of Southern California. The views expressed on this website are my own and do not reflect the viewpoints of anybody else. I reserve the right to change my mind at any point in time.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Another voice against litmus tests

Bob Rigsby writes on Spectrum Magazine's website:
Of all the comments made in the midst of a doctrinal disagreement, (the 1844/sanctuary doctrine, this quarter’s Sabbath School topic, perhaps the biggest one of all) ones like this puzzle me most:"If you don’t believe the doctrine as traditionally held, it might be best—more honest even—just to leave the church…go someplace which is more closely aligned with ’your’ beliefs." (For examples, see the Adventist Review, July 26, 2001, 28; Nov. 28, 2002, 13; July 24, 2003, 29; and April 28, 2005, 17.)

Amen. I also like his concluding paragraph, but I highly recommend the whole article.
The tension thus generated also illustrates well for me why I take seriously the fact that I am an Adventist. Accepting that label obligates me to the process of wrestling with truth in ways that both remain loyal to the work and struggles of our spiritual forefathers, while at the same time remaining true to the vision of truth as perceived in my own conscience. Loyalty to the people and the process of early Adventism, however, need not obligate me to their every conclusion—as they themselves often demonstrated. Thus, the task of being an Adventist is, in large measure, to participate respectfully in an ongoing quest for ever broader and deeper understandings of truth, but undertaken with a humility that recognizes our fallibility and yet honors our God.

Let's not forget the past, but let us move forward. Most Adventists of the more liberal persuasion like the moving forward, but we have a tendency to want to forget the past. The Great Disappointment, investigative judgement, and Ellen White are a large part of our history and we shouldn't sweep it under the rug. I would perfer instead to reinterpret in a way that makes sense to us today. I think Sherman Cox expresses some of these ideas very well on his site Adventist Pulpit. For example you should read what he has to say about the Sanctuary Message. But as we move forward, let us also remember that we will make frequent mistakes along the way. And that's okay.

The end never justifies the means

Those who know me, know that I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings. One of the major themes that runs through the whole series is that the ends never justifies the means. This was lost in the movie, but the cause of the downfall of Saruman and Denethor was their use of the tools of evil to bring about good. It was also a constant temptation for Gandalf and Aragorn.

I strongly believe in this as well, which is why I am very strongly against torture under any circumstances. No matter how bad that person may be. It is also why I am concerned when religion becomes involved to closely with politics, especially political parties. A point that was made quite well in this article onTalk2Action.org.
As a grinning Ralph Reed has stated many times publicly, it's not important what people think about you, only that you operate quietly in the background and achieve your goals by any means necessary. What American Christian voters should be asking themselves is, "Are our values truly being heard, or are today's Republican Right simply pretending they are hearing us in order get our votes, remain in power, and instead continue their pro-corporate and pro-militaristic agenda?"

There are many more examples of people who instead of working for Christ are now working for the Republican party. It is also a cautionary tale as those of us who are progressive and Christian are banding together and working to effect change in America.