Why All Adventist Books
Say the Same Thing!
is the name of magazine published by Seventh-day Adventists, many of them highly educated, who believe it is time to move beyond the 19th century and question some of these beliefs and practices, and indeed if it is deemed necessary improve on them. On their web page is a BLOG, a modern web-site feature that allows write-in comments from viewers, and if deemed thought-provoking and appropriate, SPECTRUM publishes some of them and elicits comments from viewers.
| Eddy Johnson
The Closing of the Adventist Mind
Whenever a threat to officialdom is perceived, the members of the inner sanctum tend to form a defensive circle that is ready to take on the "enemy", sometimes willing to use means that will maim intellectually and emotionally if not physically and will attack reputations. This has produced an ethos of silence, which effectively prevents church employees or members from expressing their true opinions about issues.
In a subtle manner the church leadership is closing the Adventist mind by what it publishes and more to the point, by what it refuses to publish. Our publishing houses have for decades been mostly printing books that deal with doctrinal issues and precious little else. The titles and format vary but the content remains similar. An Adventist scholar friend of mine shared that many of his peers are wary of publishing their research for fear of being labelled. For instance there was quite an outcry when Dr. Alden Thompson’s book Inspiration: Hard Questions, Honest Answers came off the press. The book was original, refreshing & stimulating, opening the Adventist mind to new concepts.
In contrast, the French Catholic intelligentsia recently organised a symposium in Paris that was designed to deal with present day problems that confront the world. My brother who lives and works in that city attended and was astounded at the number of scholarly papers presented under the title “What does the church have to say? They dealt with and suggested morally-based solutions to world-wide crises such as the present financial crunch, the AIDS pandemic in Africa, the wars of liberation, the unequal distribution of wealth, climate change, social issues, all of which have a direct bearing on the lives of millions of people.
If and when some Adventist authors venture to write on these same issues they invariably take the “fulfilment of prophecy” approach, which in the end suggests no solutions for the here and now. I would suggest that many Seventh-day Adventist members would not be able to give a well-thought out opinion about these questions except to say that they were signs of the end time. This indicates the paucity of our thinking. Furthermore our church periodicals will rarely publish articles that go counter to the official stand on issues.
The Sabbath School quarterly is another publication that has had a closing of the mind effect. The long-standing format (questions, Bible texts, EGW quotes) excludes the possibility of intelligent conversation. No appeal is made to engage the intellect and certainly no room is provided for the sharing of alternative opinions. Sitting in and observing the dynamics of a typical Sabbath School class easily verifies this. The general attitude is mostly quiet acquiescence. The same assessment can be made about the multitude of Bible study guides. The proof texts and short notes format indoctrinate, but do not teach the student to think and evaluate.
ADDED NOTE by Dr. Bob Holt, MD -- I have no problem with not having the time nor energy to read everything EG White wrote, nor even with the idea that she had trouble separating her own opinions from her genuine paranormal conversations with divine beings. Once I became acquainted with the Essenes and Bible Codes I discovered that her first visions were indeed genuine and predicted actual historical events that took place 40 - 100 years later. When Adventists strayed from the "path" Jesus had laid out for them to follow, Jesus, through her, led them down paths of their own choosing. See Isaiah 66:4 "I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not."
If you missed the link on James and Ellen White's separation and want to read it, click: "The Marital Separation of James and Ellen White."