All in unity
Thom Rainer recently published a new episode on his weekly podcast Revitalize & Replant that caught my attention. For those unfamiliar, Dr. Rainer is the President of LifeWay Resources, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. Rainer is well respected across…
A recent Advent Christian Voices exchange captured my attention. It began with a four-part series by Corey McLaughlin covering four aspects of “theological fragmentation” in the Advent Christian Church.
There has been a great deal of confusion surrounding BILD and its philosophy and it is my prayer this clarifies the matter helpfully regardless of whether one remains a proponent or opponent of their unique system.
Corey McLaughlin has put forth a monumental effort in his four-part series...After reading these articles, I found myself agreeing with most of them, so much so that it has ironically led me to disagree with the basic contention of the series, that we are in fact fragmented along the lines Corey describes.
As we come to the end with this last post we have covered the problem of fragmentation by…well, fragmenting the problem into four parts and offering suggestions for how to put humpty dumpty together again in each section (see previous posts Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and the end of the article for a link to the full pdf). This final contribution will not rehash or summarize the previous posts, but will instead add a more practical tool to tie the major concepts together.
1987. This was the year campus operations ceased at Berkshire Christian College. At that time, Berkshire was the primary means through which pastors were trained and developed within the Advent Christian Church. It had been more than a decade since pastoral studies programs had ceased at the Advent Christian Church’s other college, Aurora College, so with Berkshire’s closure, the Advent Christian Church was left without a clear avenue through which pastors and key denominational leaders could emerge.
The title of this article is punctuated with a question mark because of the embryonic stage at which it is being put forward. In his latest two-part series, “Advent Christians in the 21st Century”, Corey McLaughlin has set before us what is in my estimation one of the most pivotal reflections on Adventism in late Advent Christian history. Conditionalism has dominated Advent Christian identity in the latter part of our history, but McLaughlin has reminded us of our other hand, in fact what was once our dominant hand, which is our Adventism.
The passionate, zealous, spirit of the Second Advent movement is still sought today by many in the Advent Christian denomination who pant with drought stricken desperation for the same radical demonstrations of faith as our early brethren. David Platt’s challenging call in Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream, and John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life capture the essence of this spirit many seek while avoiding the pitfalls of fanaticism and abuse.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” says Søren Kierkegaard. This is all the more crucial for the new generation of Second Adventist leaders as they ponder the four stages of social movements and apply them analogously to our denomination, noting that we are currently in the final stage of decline and therefore soon failure. The grave is dug, the tombstone is written, but the body has yet to fall. Is there yet still vibrant life in this mortal frame? In order to understand who we are, we must first look back:
When I was invited to write this paper, there was a discussion about the possibility of coming to “one mind” about any issue in the AC churches. Is this possible? We all know that if three Advent Christians have a debate, the outcome is four opinions--at least!
The reason we are talking about unity is because we have a sense that we are lacking in unity.
Before I get on with what I am about to write, I want to first dispel any narrow association that might be assumed in my use of the word “mission”. Very often when we hear the word “mission” we think “missions”, and more specifically “foreign missions”. This is to be expected since the sort of talk in our churches that typically involves words that sound like “mission” are usually in association with short-term missions trips and supporting foreign missionaries.
Original Post: Identity: What does it mean to be an Advent Christian?
Answer: With the passing of our new Statement of Faith we have given ourselves a much greater sense of identity. Advent Christians are Evangelical followers of Jesus Christ who seek to make Christ’s name known throughout the world with a longing for the imminent return of Christ, finding our only hope in Him.
Something is happening in the Advent Christian denomination. There has been a pain that we have been carrying within us, the sharp hurt of hopelessness, the heavy burden of futility, a bitter irony for a denomination conceived in hope. If as Bob Dylan says, “He not busy being born is busy dying”, until now it has seemed that we made the latter our business, sauntering our way to a denominational dustbin. There has been no reason to believe anything else.
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19)
We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Philippians 2:6-11; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:9; Matthew 26:64)
Is “No Creed but the Bible” actually faithful to the Bible? It is a simple question that can spur a lot of debate, but it is worth asking and trying to answer so that our churches and the denomination as a whole can become biblically stronger, healthier, and more unified. Here are 10 reasons we should pull a Frozen and “Let it go!” (If I had hair, I’d sling it back while I sang the song, but you will just have to imagine that for yourself!).
I have wondered about the vocal promulgation of creedalism within the Advent Christian Denomination. I want to share some thoughts regarding what I understand are two of the major arguments in favor of adopting a statement of faith and present what I feel is the greatest weakness to the presentation.
Any observer of the American political scene would likely judge that the battle over same-sex marriage is a thing of the past; marriage has been redefined in the United States and religious conservatives, inasmuch as they disagree, have largely accepted this political reality. The new front for the battle of redefinition has been planted squarely upon the issue of gender identity, with efforts appearing across the United States to give persons access to the gendered bathrooms and sports teams that match the gender by which they identify. Coincidentally, the central headquarters for the Advent Christian General Conference and the location for the 2017 Triennial Convention are found in the state of North Carolina, a notorious battleground for this issue. North Carolina’s decision to reject what has been called the “Bathroom Bill” has caused many organizations to spurn the state and to refuse to host their company events there.
Before I launch into my feelings relative to the proposed NAE Statement of Faith to be considered by the delegates to the 2017 Advent Christian General Conference Triennial Convention, permit me to share a bit of my personal history as an Advent Christian and pastor of 40 years.