Another voice against litmus tests
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.