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David Hamstra
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When I think about this problem, I'm reminded that Jesus is the savior of the world, because clearly the USA cannot be. It's not our job to fix everything. We try to do good when and where possible in the spheres available to us. Every war—yes, it's a war if we use our military to attack, regardless of the euphemisms deployed—every war requires moral justification. Even wars undertaken for the highest ideals are ultimately co-opted by self-interest and sullied by unsavory means. War is also the most unpredictable of human activities—the outcome almost never a forgone conclusion. The unintended consequences of war are often greater than the immediate conclusion. The above being true, war of choice ought never be undertaken unless there is a clear threat, a clear desired outcome, and a clear path to that desired outcome. The proposed air campaign against Syria meets the first, falters on the second, and fails on the third. If it were America's job to save the world, we should go in with a full scale land invasion. That would have the greatest chance of stopping the use of chemical weapons. But that would likely end up like the time we tried to save Iraq. Thankfully, it is not our job to save the world. We need to think more about we can realistically do to improve the situation with the abundant but also limited tools God has given us and less about zapping bad guys.
Some might argue that your interpretation ignores Paul's statements about the creation order in 1 Cor 11. I realize your specialty is Old rather than New Testament interpretation, but surely in your studies you must have considered that passage. How do you harmonize Paul with what you have convincingly laid out here?
By Richard M. Davidson Genesis 1-2 constitutes the foundational biblical passage both for those who support and those who oppose women’s ordination. Does this passage uphold God’s ideal of the full equality of men and women, both in value before God and in egalitarian (non-hierarchical) male-female interrelationships, as those who support women’s ordination claim? Or does this passage present a creation order of ontological equality (in value before God) but of functional hierarchy (different roles involving female submission to male headship), as opponents of women’s ordination insist? In this blog, distilling some 30 years of personal research on this passage,... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2013 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By David Penno The concept of present truth is a key part of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Our belief is that God continually reveals new light and understanding as we act on truth that we already understand. So in the 1830s and 1840s the Millerite movement built on the truths that were established in the Reformation and increased the understanding and knowledge of God’s will as revealed in the Bible. The Seventh-day Adventist Church was born of a group of Millerites who continued to study and think and pray, and received “new light” on issues such as the Sabbath, the state... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2013 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By Darius Jankiewicz In the Part I, I explored the origin of the word “ordination” and how its pagan undertones began to influence Christian thinking on ministry during the second century of the Christian era. Most importantly, I noted that already by the second part of the second century it is possible to detect growing clericalization of the Church (i.e., separation between clergy and laity), something not present among the early New Testament Christians.[1] At the same time, the Christian minister became a priest.[2] Ironically, this understanding of Christian ministry arose from a sincere desire to protect the church from... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2013 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By Nancy Vyhmeister “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” (Romans 16:8 NKJV) The Name: Junia The name of this woman, Junia, appears only once in the New Testament, in a list of friends and co-workers in Rome, to whom Paul sent greetings in Romans 16. Through the years, questions have been raised about her identity, especially her gender since original Greek manuscripts did not distinguish between the similar masculine and feminine forms of the name. This essay will review some of the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2013 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
by Darius Jankiewicz With few exceptions, most contemporary Christians consider ordination a legitimate rite of setting selected members apart for the purpose of pastoral ministry and oversight in the Christian Church. It is also generally assumed that the rite finds its foundations in the Old and New Testaments. While this is correct, it is also true that the modern rite of ordination, as, for example, practiced by Seventh-day Adventists, does not find its exact equivalent in the Scriptures; nor do we find a New Testament requirement that such a rite should take place when selected members are asked to fulfill... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2013 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
Some questions that your research raised in my mind: To what extent are the biblical rituals of induction to leadership culturally conditioned, and to what extent are they broadly applicable? Clearly, we would not ask North American pastors to ride a colt as a symbol of their induction. Is there a taxonomy of biblical leadership induction rituals? For example, in the OT anointing seems to have been reserved for priests and kings. Jesus fulfills the role of priest and king, having received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. I propose that the NT church did not anoint their leaders because (1) that would have made the leaders priests and kings, when all believers where considered a royal priesthood and (2) the ritual of anointing was spiritualized on the basis of Jesus anointing by the Holy Spirit. Is there anything else to be learned along these lines? 1 Tim 4:14 and 2 Tim 1:6 indicate that spiritual gifts can be bestowed on church leaders through the laying on of hands. Is this sacramentalism? How can we incorporate these verses into our theology of ordination? For me personally, this was the benefit that I most desired out of my ordination service, and the main reason why I went through with it. 2 Tim 5:17 says that effective elders should be given double honor. Recognizing the diakoinia is the basis of all church leadership, how can we incorporate higher levels of respect in our church structures for those deserving of them. I worry that many of us who come from Western cultures have a cultural blind spot to biblical honor because we value equality so highly.
In the Bible, we find multiple examples of men and women who occupied various offices and functions for God's people. They received their calls for ministry or service from God, often through the community of believers, and it can also be said that God is the one who qualified them for their ministry. Appointments were confirmed or symbolized in various ways, and not all of them were by means of a laying on of hands. This raises the question as to whether ordination to ministry is the only required mode to install someone into an office or function and to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2013 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
At the invitation of the General Conference, the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary is also engaged in discussions about the meaning of ministry and ordination in our church. This is a doctrine that has long been neglected and much confusion exists. A number of seminary professors are serving on various church committees to look into this and are making substantial contributions in their writing and speaking engagements. Already a few essays on this topic have been posted on this blog: What Did Early Adventist Pioneers Think About Women in Ministry? Was Phoebe a Deacon, a Servant, or a Minister? Are We... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2013 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
Much thanks to Katrina for this very important work! It seems to me that Davis' view of God as wanting to take over and control other beings is a reflection of what the Devil does when given the opportunity.
I like this response, Nick! It would perhaps be better read in the context of the first presentation, but it stands well on its own. I believe one point which would strengthen the point regarding Ellen White's commitment two working with other Christians where we have common goals would be her urging Adventists to support the Women's Christian Temperance Union at at time when the WCTU was advocating a national Sunday law. As you know, Adventists consider such a law to be implemented in connection with the mark of the beast, yet EGW advised to continue to support the WCTU in their main goal, prohibition. I have a theory that the Sabbath is actually the Adventist version of ecumenism. We believe it is the day of rest given to all mankind, and that observance of Sabbath will, in the end times, be the visible mark of the invisible church. We also observe it in such a way that we expect God to work on the hearts of others to accommodate our observance, hence our religious liberty work. This would correspond to the ecumenical movements expectation that all should join. What do you think?
By Dr. Nicholas Miller (Department of Church History, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University) This article renders the response of Dr. Nicholas Miller to Dr. M. Kinnamon's address "The Ecumenical Movement and Why You Should Be Involved" at the Seminary Scholarship Symposium, February 2, 2012 at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. M. Kinnamon is the former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. A summary of Kinnamon's address can be found here. N. Miller is professor at the SDA Theological Seminary and director of the International Religious Liberty Institute.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2012 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By "notes" do you mean the Notes app that allows someone to make blog style posts in Facebook, or status updates? The difference is significant because while the full text of status updates show up in the News Feed, the user has to click through to read notes. Also, the default setting in Facebook is to filter content out of the News Feed that Facebook's algorithms decide you likely aren't interested in. So that could account for why only %12-16 of "friends" actually read a users content—only %20 or less may be seeing it in the first place.
By Nicholas Miller (Department of Church History, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University) Sometime back, I examined the claims of Professor John H. Walton of Wheaton College to have uncovered the “lost” world of Genesis 1. There, I examined his argument that Genesis 1 was consistent with other Ancient Near Eastern literature in only concerning itself with functional origins, not material origins.Thus, he believed that the Genesis account was silent as to when the physical stuff of the earth, plants, animals, and even humankind was actually made. This concern with functionality, Walton claims, allows for the teachings of evolutionary biology to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
Just to correct a couple impressions regarding current media coverage of Adventists. The article in the CSM hailing Adventist education was written by a La Sierra professor. And the GC office of archives and statistics show the church growing at ~2.13%, as opposed to the 2.5% reported in USA today. This may affect whether Adventists are indeed the fasting growing denomination in North America.
By Martin Hanna, Department of Theology and Christian Philosophy,Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. In this blog, I share some reflections on miracles, divine action, and the laws of nature. In subsequent parts, I briefly survey how these issues are dealt with in a recently published book by John Walton (part 1), in the writings of Ellen G. White (part 2), and in the Bible (part 3). 1. John Walton’s Perspective Miracles and the laws of nature. In The Lost World of Genesis One, Walton writes that in the Bible, “there were no [supernatural] ‘miracles’ (in the sense of events deviating from... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By Martin Hanna, Department of Theology and Christian Philosophy, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. Levels of Divine Intervention and Types of Miracles To identify an event as a miracle because it appears to be an act of God is . . . ambiguous. . . . We can point out three possibilities: a. Providence. Believers may give credit to God in a situation in which nothing discernibly supernatural occurred. . . . b. Direct nonmiraculous intervention. Believers may say that God has acted in answering a prayer, even when the answer to prayer followed completely natural and unsurprising processes. . .... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
Can we learn any lessons for understanding history from the game of golf? Early Golf in Scotland The modern game of golf we understand today is generally considered to be a Scottish invention. A spokesman for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the oldest Scottish golf organisations, said "Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, clearly originated in Scotland." The word golf, or in Scots language gouf, is usually thought to be a Scots alteration of Dutch "colf" or "colve" meaning... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By Roy E. Gane (Old Testament Department, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University) Here I would like to respond to the January 30, 2011 post by my friend and colleague Nicholas Miller (Department of Church History, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University) titled: “The ‘Found’ World of Genesis 1: Is Theistic Evolution a Meaningful Option for Seventh-day Adventists?” Dr. Miller was reacting to the Friday evening and Sabbath afternoon presentations at Andrews University on January 21-22, 2011 by my friend John H. Walton of Wheaton College, author of The Lost World of Genesis One. On Friday evening, Dr. Walton presented his approach... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By Roy Gane (Old Testament Department SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University) Even as Assyriology and Egyptology (and also Hittitology) emerged as serious, autonomous, academic disciplines, the attention of many remained focused on the Bible. As discoveries of major archives followed one after another from the 1920s to the 1970s, each was greeted with initial excitement as scholars made great claims for the impact of the archive on the Bible. In most cases, time and more careful attention resulted in many, if not all, of the initial claims being rejected. Methodological maturity began to be displayed in the careful work of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By Teresa Reeve (New Testament Department, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University) It would make a great addition to the billboard messages from God that sprang up along freeways across the country a few years ago: “You shall be holy for I am holy.” Sincerely, God This message from 1 Peter 1:16* seems clear and unequivocal, it can be read in a moment while speeding along one’s way, yet it stimulates recurring questions and ruminations that refuse to let us rest. For some, it also stimulates feelings of discouragement and despair as they consider how far they are from attaining to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By Teresa Reeve (New Testament Department, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University) “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ’YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’” 1 Peter 1:14-16, NASB (emphasis mine) Take time to be holy, Speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in Him always, And feed on His word; Make friends of God’s children, Help those who are weak, Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek. Holiness, holiness... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
By Nicholas Miller (Department of Church History, SDA Theological Seminary, Andrews University) Last weekend a scholar from Wheaton College, Prof. John Walton, came to Andrews University to share his thoughts on the question of how Genesis 1 (ESV) should be read and understood. The crux of his argument was a historical one, and thus worth discussing on this history blog. Walton is viewed in the larger evangelical community as a relatively conservative scholar who believes in the authority of Scripture in spiritual and moral matters, as well as in its claims of miracles and the supernatural. For those not at... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith
In the NT, . . . . When a person is called to submit, submission is always voluntary . . . . The middle sense of hupotassomai meaning “voluntary submission” is found in several NT texts, e.g., Rom 13:1 (“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities”), 1 Cor 16:16 (“submit to such as these”), and Eph 5:21 (“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”). It seems to me that the theme of Ephesians 5:15-6:9 is daily conduct of the Christian life. Paul specifically enjoins the readers in 5:15 to “take care how you walk, not as unwise... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2011 at Memory, Meaning & Faith