I write this blog as a life-long Seventh-Day Adventist who has been raised with the full panoply of traditions and concepts – many of which I have completely rejected. I have very strong distaste for our use of categories such as ‘conservative,’ ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ – but we have to begin somewhere. I self-identify as a theologically-conservative Adventist, who believes in both sola scriptura and also in the Spirit-inspired canon of EGW writings (although I refuse to use the rubric ‘Spirit of Prophecy’ for theological reasons that should be self-evident to any Bible-believing Christian). I am vegetarian, but not vegan (although I try to be vegan when possible). I’ve been to lots of universities, studied lots of things, and I have never been clearer on how little I know. I read and study from the NASB, the NRSV and the ESV on a regular basis. I preach in most Adventist settings from the KJV, and memorise Scripture from the KJV as well.
You also need to know that while I often agree with the ‘bottom-line’ conclusions of many Adventist conservatives, I utterly despise the usual method of argument that they use. And so it is no surprise to me when these guys end up talking foolishness – because the right answer from a wrong argument is still the wrong answer – and one day you may reason your way to the wrong side of judgement (Matthew 25, anyone?!).
Conversely, while an increasing number of bottom-line conclusions from more liberal Adventists would not be endorsed by me – we can frequently have a much better conversation, because the rational quotient is much higher in general terms. As far as I am concerned, liberal theology exists precisely because of the weak, specious, unbiblical anti-intellectualism and pseudo-intellectualism that conservative Adventism has now made into an art form.
Seven years ago, I turned 30, and I had a funny feeling that God had plans for my own ministry to begin, just like Jesus’ began at this age. I was a doctoral student in theology, but there were massive institutional problems at my university that were beyond my control, and that project would not be completed as I had dreamed (in time I would come to know that it was NEVER God’s will for it to be completed, but that’s another story).
My sister had also recently died, but that was having a massively positive effect on my relationship with God. Sadly, my secular and non-Adventist friends were more there for me than my own. Only in the last five years has this now become more balanced…
In this maelstrom, I had the conviction to begin writing. I loved blogs, and I wanted to begin my own little community and bring people together. And I hoped that blogging would be the catalyst for other things.
And so it proved – but not at all in the ways that I had hoped. And yet, I now see that blogging – and indeed, writing – is the most important way in which I can serve my beloved church – a church that has frequently not been good to me, but whose message I believe with all my heart. We have not been mandated to keep the message but separate from the church members, so given that my blogs are read by more non-Adventists than Adventists – but Jesus IS coming soon – I have decided that I need to add one new blog that is just for Adventists, who will have the usual presuppositions. I know that it will be read by more than just Adventists, but this is by an Adventist for Adventists – because I have written some SDA-specific posts elsewhere, and that’s been okay, but this is the only pulpit I have with no restrictions – and so, I plan to preach, teach and exhort from this platform in the name of Jesus, our only Lord and Saviour.
I do apologise to those who may find the contents of this blog more emotionally and cognitively bruising than they are used to. But God Himself has given me a fantastic education and kept me in this message, and I publicly REJECT all the calls that I have endured over the years to dumb things down for ‘the brethren.’ I am a work in progress like all of us, but God HAS given me a message and sadly, it is NOT for everyone! As such: whosoever has an ear, let them hear.
God bless you all.