Prs. Larry Kirkpatrick and Mike Lambert discuss the theological movement of denominations which approve women’s ordination and their inevitable drift into approval of same-sex unions. They consider how one and only one denomination so far has turned back from this—by reestablishing a historical-grammatical interpretive plan at their seminary. Discussion turns, with some regret, to the current situation of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary located in Berrien Springs, MI. The women’s ordination-favoring theological approach of the current dean is investigated, the core presupposition identified. 13 minutes.

25 thoughts on “WO and the SDA Theological Seminary

  1. It’s encouraging to hear insinuation and slander of the people involved rather than a careful, “thoughtful” engagement with the most recent document produce by the ATS. I can see where this is heading…

    Reply
    • Jim, the video here is not a response to the Seminary statement; we anticipate having something on that on Tuesday. This was recorded before that. This item is a brief discussion especially of the ideas of the Seminary dean in the 2013 NAD report to TOSC. By the way, perhaps you could share more clearly how anything in this video constitutes insinuation or slander? It would be useful if you would cite a particular statement or statements from the video in context. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Okay, to address the questions of insinuation and slander in this presentation:
        I will begin with a brief analysis of the overall argument and then touch upon some of the problems I see in the presentation.

        The overall thesis comes in the opening lines–there is a problem with “new approaches the church is coming up with… contradicting the… ‘grammatical-historical [G-H] method’ which takes the Bible simply for its clear meaning and lets scripture interpret itself.”
        This move away from the G-H method is understood to be at the root of conflict over WO and homosexuality and can only lead to division.

        This argument hinges on two assertions:
        First, that moving away from the G-H method is the cause of division in other denominations.
        Second, and more to the point, that the Adventist seminary/Andrews University is “contradicting the… ‘grammatical-historical method'” and “coming up with” new approaches.

        Evidence for the first assertion is unconvincing. It naively reduces major intra-denominational conflicts to whether or not they practiced the G-H method. The primary evidence presented is the example of the LCMS whose seminary apparently shifted from an historical-critical approach to a G-H method, thus avoiding division. Unfortunately, this is not exactly what happened. From a quick look at wikipedia, the shift from H-C was a point of division. The church literally split over the issue. Thus, assuming the LCMS returned to a G-H method, that very turning back precipitated division rather than preventing it. This directly contradicts the very argument Kirkpatrick is making.
        Additionally, he has not demonstrated that moving away from G-H *causes* division over WO/homosexuality, only that it correlates with it.

        To clarify–I am not advocating for the historical-critical method. I think it is hugely flawed as it reduces scripture to a merely human product. However, Kirkpatrick’s argument thus far does not hold up.

        From this unfounded assertion, Kirkpatrick moves on to his main target of attack–the Adventist seminary. Unfortunately, rather than addressing the work of the seminary faculty en masse, the discussion focuses on one chapter of one book by one man–the dean. The insinuation is that if the dean employs the historical-critical [H-C] method, the entire seminary must be using it and is therefore leading our church toward the division (which has not been conclusively established to be a result of the H-C method).

        The very first thrust of the argument is the dean’s use of the term “historical-grammatical-theological” method. Rather than seeking to understand what this means, or what the dean is actually doing with the Bible under this title, Kirkpatrick insinuates that this is a departure from truth–even though he openly admits “I wasn’t quite sure what that was.” Rather than seeking to understand, Kirkpatrick assumes the worst. While this may not be deliberate slander–Kirkpatrick doesn’t outright lie about the dean’s perspective–neither is it a fair consideration or representation. He continues on by claiming the dean uses the term “principle-based” to describe his method. Again, there is no clarification of what this entails. The insinuation is that the dean does not “[take] the Bible simply for its clear meaning and [let] scripture interpret itself.”

        To prepare for his wholesale attack on the dean, Kirkpatrick first glibly asserts the dean is “a neat fellow.” Besides being terribly generic, this does not establish any respect for the man as a Christian brother or leader. Kirkpatrick then quotes a clear statement by the dean of one guiding principle of his method of interpretation (“we should not put Paul against Paul”) and the two presenters chuckle and continue on. Instead of addressing the point raised by the dean about WO, they chuckle and carry on. Even though the dean, in this instance is demonstrably working from the same hermeneutic as the two presenters, they cannot accept his argument. They laugh it off–insinuating that the dean is not truly honest about his hermeneutic because he does not agree with them.

        From there, the discussion takes up two tiny points of contention–the priesthood of Adam and Eve and the gender of ?Junia? in Romans 16. I agree that these points are not *immediately* demonstrable from scripture, but that does not make them wrong and it certainly doesn’t mean that the dean is departing from the G-H method, which is the slander than Kirkpatrick again insinuates. A reasonable consideration of these two points would take into account both their significance to the deans argument and the basis upon which he might establish their veracity. Simply pointing out brief points which the dean has not fully expanded or defended due to brevity only establishes that he might have divergent perspectives on certain issues. So do we all. This by no means entails his working from an alternate hermeneutic, as is insinuated by the presentation of these two “questionable” points.

        However, the crux of the argument is Kirkpatrick’s weakest point. It begins with another quotation–that “the Spirit of God tears down all barriers… and gives freely his gifts to all, including women, in order to accomplish the mission of God.” To begin with, I would argue that the weight of meaning in this sentence is on the ending phrase–“in order to accomplish the mission of God.” Either way, Kirkpatrick disregards the bulk of the sentence in order to focus on one brief phrase “the Spirit of God tears down all barriers” (to which the rest of the sentence gives context and clarification). Again, rather than directly challenging this assertion, Kirkpatrick proceeds by insinuation and slander–this time in the form of a rather weak guilt by association. To “demonstrate” the problem of this statement, Kirkpatrick pulls one brief quote out of a more-or-less random theological work (among millions) which happens to be concerned with “queer theology.” He reads a passage from that book which talks states that “the church is a place that dissolves boundaries.” Apparently, the fact that the dean of Andrews once wrote something which is vaguely similar to what a “gay theologian” wrote is enough to discredit his entire hermeneutic and in turn the entire seminary. Of course, Kirkpatrick knows better than to actually say this so clearly. This is the worst sort of insinuation and slander: the seminary is leading our church astray by pursuing a hermeneutic which leads the dean to write something which is vaguely similar to what a gay (read “bad”) theologian once wrote. This affords Kirkpatrick the opportunity to discredit anything the seminary publishes on the topic of WO without having to either address their concerns or present a defensible case for their departure from Biblical theology (and the G-H method).

        To briefly address the quotes themselves, we would do well to note that the two men use entirely different language–no two words the same. (The argument of sameness in spite of completely different language is surprising and inconsistent given the presenters’ apparent rejection of the dean’s “historical-grammatical-theological” or “principle-based” method because it is not exactly the same language as “grammatical-historical” or “historical-grammatical”). The two quotations do not have the same subject–Chang speaks of “the church” (as “a place”), while the dean speaks of “the Spirit of God” as an active agent. Furthermore, the means of action is different–“dissolves” is a far more passive term, especially given that it happens in a place, than “tears down.” In the former, boundaries simply fade away in church, almost as a side-effect, while in the latter, “the Spirit of God” is presented as actively and aggressively “[tearing] down” barriers. Finally, we might address the discrepancy between “boundaries” and “barriers,” especially as they operate in queer and gender theories. “Boundaries” are conceived as forms of knowledge/power which enact arbitrary divisions between people–man/woman, straight/gay, etc. This term is consistently and widely used in relation to identity politics. In contrast, the term “barriers” is connected to arguments about material discrimination and inequalities–barriers to education, barriers to success, barriers to integration, etc. “Barriers” can be the material means of enforcing “boundaries,” but the terms are not commensurate, especially in queer and gender theory. Furthermore, for the dean, his use of “barriers” is qualified by two phrases: first, “between different groups of people”–emphasizing a coming together (in spite of difference), not any abolition of difference; second, “in order to accomplish the mission of God”–the aim not being equal rights or erosion of gender or sexual norms (although those may be incidental), but the accomplishment of the Great Commission. This is again a practical, material concern rather than an issue of identity politics. In short, while the two writers are talking about related topics, they are not at all saying the same things, nor are they working from the same contexts, nor even necessarily the same hermeneutics.

        To close this systematic slander of the dean of the seminary (and by extension the seminary itself) by means of insinuation rather than direct demonstration, Kirkpatrick merely reiterates his initial, unproven assertions: LCMS did it right, and the seminary is promoting “these ideas” which lead to division. Although he admits “they [the seminary faculty] are godly men and women,” he cannot accept that they are following God or “a Biblical approach to interpretation.” Obviously, because they have been “pounding away” on women’s ordination and other issues, they are corrupt and a problem for the church at large. This is all slander and insinuation. Perhaps Kirkpatrick is not deliberately spreading lies, but neither is he demonstrating a concern for truth and the reputation of his Christian brothers and sisters. He admits his ignorance and proceeds by means of insinuation rather than clear, logical argumentation.

        Reply
        • Jim, your response is much too long for a comment and normally we will not permit such lengthy comments. Those who wish to publish extended responses to the material here can do that in their own venues.

          Reply
          • Could you please advise me how I might shorten my comment? Given the weight of my claims, I did not want to do the disservice of a brief answer. This one was lengthy, but thorough and only in response to questions raised by my first comment.

        • Jim, I thought I would respond briefly to your extended reaction. First, the introduction of error always comes when believers move away from the intended meaning of the word. Many groups made such moves long ago. In the main cases specifically mentioned in the presentation (Lutheran and Methodist), the approach to interpretation is at the center. You can verify this by studying the historical facts. For example, for Lutherans see Marquart’s explosion book, and on Methodists, read some of the materials published by goodnewsmag.org. You may know that the present movement is away from the historical-critical method (HC) to postmodern modes of biblical interpretation, so the LCMS/UMC schisms, separated by several decades are not completely identical. Nevertheless, at the base is the critical approach to the Scriptures employed in both approaches.

          The dean is quite intentional in his use of the terminology historical-grammatical-theological. Those two dashes make a dramatic difference, as they enable him to qualify “historical-grammatical” with “-theological.” Read Jan Barna’s book and the 2103 NAD Report. You’ll see that at the root of the new approach advocated by the NAD in its 2013 Report is the analytical aspect. It is the same movement made in HC and postmodern methodologies, away from the more literal, plain, intended meaning of the author found in the Word itself, to much human reasoning and analysis unbounded by the Word.

          Of course, the dean of the SDA Theological Seminary can never say out loud that he is in any kind of disagreement with the historical-grammatical method. But when he adds the dash, he moves from grammatical to theological. Jim, the dean is a very intelligent, very educate person, and chooses his words with much thought and finesse. And so, when he himself identifies his approach as “principle-based,” the very language used in the NAD 2013 Report as shorthand for their “Principle-based, historical cultural” method (PBHC), it is significant. The dean, in the same document that claims that “…these difficult passages require the modern Adventist reader to employ a principle-based reading” (p. 31) and which even describes the historical-grammatical method as being inadequate (pp. 24, 25), urges the very approach which in the same document is contrasted with the historical-grammatical method.

          As I pointed out, I was at the Seminary when they released their entirely pro-WO book Women in Ministry. The position of the bulk of the Berrien Springs Seminary professors is not even slightly in doubt. That is clear not only by their most recent actions (not addressed in this video), but in the classrooms and in the publications they have offered. The dean’s published position in the 21043 NAD Report is used in this short video as a particular case, an example the the larger problems at the Seminary seen in the vast majority of the faculty there. If there is any doubt, read professor after professor in the Seminary-published book Women in Ministry.

          Look at the TOSC position 1 2 and 3 statements. Position 1 advocates demonstrate the use of the historical-grammatical method, while the other position (2 and 3 are in essence the same position) follows a very different path to their different conclusions—the same conclusion reached by the present Seminary dean.

          Jim, I know of no scholars who use the historical-grammatical approach, who reach the conclusions that Junia was a female apostle, or that Adam and Eve were both priests in Eden. On the other hand, those favoring WO insist they need a new hermeneutical approach to deal differently with certain texts. There are four or five other videos on OrdinationTruth in which I discuss more closely the hermeneutical question. In all cases the material is referenced. Viewers can investigate for themselves. I to address the remainder of your reaction in an additional post later. Time does not permit at the moment. Int eh end we may not agree with each other, but readers will have had opportunity to think it all through again, which can only be useful.

          Reply
          • Larry,

            I’ve had time to think and read and reconsider my position, so here goes.

            >First, the introduction of error always comes when believers move away from the intended meaning of the word.
            >Nevertheless, at the base is the critical approach to the Scriptures employed in both approaches.

            You have not demonstrated either of these assertions conclusively. While I happen to agree with the first, I would contend that one primary issue at stake in the discussion of WO is “the intended meaning of the word.” The best arguments on both sides claim to represent “the intended meaning of the word.” As a case in point, you privilege a hierarchical reading of Eph 5:23, while those in favour of WO privilege an equalizing reading of Gal. 3:28. Both readings are argued as consistent with “the intended meaning of the word.” In turn, both sides resort to the larger context of scripture (and theological understandings of the rest of scripture) in order to settle questions of “headship,” “authority,” etc. One could just as easily argue that you are moving away from the intended meaning of the word (and I believe proponents of WO do so).

            However, your point about LCMS in the video was specifically that the move to HC was a source of division, which is not consistent with the historical details. Now, you shift to the idea that a “critical approach to the Scriptures” is the problem. Perhaps it is, but that is not quite what you argued in your presentation. Furthermore, you have not established that the dean of the ATS has indeed pursued such an approach.

            >The dean is quite intentional in his use of the terminology historical-grammatical-theological. Those two dashes make a dramatic difference, as they enable him to qualify “historical-grammatical” with “-theological.” Read Jan Barna’s book and the 2103 NAD Report. You’ll see that at the root of the new approach advocated by the NAD in its 2013 Report is the analytical aspect. It is the same movement made in HC and postmodern methodologies, away from the more literal, plain, intended meaning of the author found in the Word itself, to much human reasoning and analysis unbounded by the Word.

            Two points here: first, if you’re going to call out the dean (Jiri Moskala), please have the decency to use his name–to admit that this is a personal attack on him and his theology. In addition to clarifying your position, it would make research into this subject easier. Second, you admit in your presentation that you do not know what the “historical-grammatical-theological method” is. Perhaps if you had taken the time to carefully read Moskala’s paper, you might have noticed the footnote where he explains that “This method [to which he refers as ‘historical-grammatical-theological’] has various names: the historical-grammatical method or historical-grammatical-literary-theological method” (Footnote 3, “Back to Creation”). This statement alone invalidates much of your position.

            >When he himself identifies his approach as “principle-based,” the very language used in the NAD 2013 Report as shorthand for their “Principle-based, historical cultural” method (PBHC), it is significant. The dean, in the same document that claims that “…these difficult passages require the modern Adventist reader to employ a principle-based reading” (p. 31) and which even describes the historical-grammatical method as being inadequate (pp. 24, 25), urges the very approach which in the same document is contrasted with the historical-grammatical method.

            I would appreciate if you could link or at least tell me what article these statements are in (and where to find it) as I am unable to find them. The only reference to principles I can find is when he outlines principles of the historical-grammatical method.

            >As I pointed out, I was at the Seminary when they released their entirely pro-WO book Women in Ministry. The position of the bulk of the Berrien Springs Seminary professors is not even slightly in doubt. That is clear not only by their most recent actions (not addressed in this video), but in the classrooms and in the publications they have offered. The dean’s published position in the 21043 NAD Report is used in this short video as a particular case, an example the the larger problems at the Seminary seen in the vast majority of the faculty there. If there is any doubt, read professor after professor in the Seminary-published book Women in Ministry.

            Unfortunately, this proves nothing about either the dean’s or the Seminary’s (as if it can be considered a single voice) hermeneutics. It does not prove they are not using the historical-grammatical method, only that you disagree with a theological position they have taken.

            >Look at the TOSC position 1 2 and 3 statements. Position 1 advocates demonstrate the use of the historical-grammatical method, while the other position (2 and 3 are in essence the same position) follows a very different path to their different conclusions—the same conclusion reached by the present Seminary dean.

            If you could guide me to these three statements, that would be helpful.

            >Jim, I know of no scholars who use the historical-grammatical approach, who reach the conclusions that Junia was a female apostle, or that Adam and Eve were both priests in Eden.

            This might be true, except that Moskala himself claims to use the historical-grammatical approach and, as you claim, arrives at those very conclusions. Again, your disagreement is not evidence of his error.
            Indeed, to support his claim about Adam and Eve, he refers to Richard M. Davidson’s lengthy article which explicitly states his dependence upon “the hermeneutical principles generally accepted by Seventh-day Adventists, as set forth in the 1986 “Methods of Bible Study” statement voted by the Annual Council, and as synthesized in the chapter “Biblical Interpretation” in the Handbook of SDA Theology” (NAD TOSC Report 38).
            To support his claim about Junia, he references Nancy Vyhmeister’s paper from Ministry Magazine . Yet again, the fact that you disagree with her conclusions (have you even read the paper?) does not mean she is not using the historical-grammatical method.

            In short, your argument demonstrates at best a shallow, careless reading of Moskala’s work (who you remain hesistant to actually name, for some reason). At worst, it demonstrates blatant misrepresentation and slander. The evidence continues to undermine your position rather than supporting it.

        • Jim, if you look again at the video I think you will see that I agreed with Pr. Lambert’s suggestion that what the dean is actually doing is asserting a certain interpretation of Paul and then using that asserted interpretation to rule out the most straightforward understanding of the text. In other words, a construct is created by the interpreter and then the straightforward interpretation of the undesired passage itself is set in contradiction to the construct. Since Paul will not disagree with Paul, the correct interpretation of the passage is dismissed while the construct remains, requiring that the passage be reinterpreted to bring it into harmony with the construct. That is a very high price to pay in order to generate “Bible” evidence favoring WO.

          Jim, it is unspeakably embarrassing to have the dean of our Seminary assert that Adam and Eve were both priests in Eden. This is completely discrediting to the Church. But this is where failure to adhere carefully to the historical-grammatical approach takes the interpreter: human reason turns speculations into certainties in the interpreter’s mind. Then everything is driven by those certainties.

          As for the idea of breaking down all barriers/boundaries, a read of the dean’s paper shows that a part of his baseline understanding is that Adam and Eve are almost completely interchangeable and that headship was only introduced at the Fall. This is seen in his approach to the Godhead and Romans 16 and such aspects throughout his paper (pp. 159, 161, 164-166, 170, 171, 173, 174). Hence, his firm conclusion on the last page of his paper that “Even though there is no direct biblical statement that we should ordain women to ministry, there is no theological hindrance to doing so. On the contrary, the biblical-theological analysis points in that ultimate direction, because the Spirit of God tears down all barriers between different groups of people in the church and gives freely His spiritual gifts to all, including women, in order to accomplish the mission God calls all of us to accomplish” (p. 174).

          I insisted in the video that it is my expectation that the dean does NOT view see his view as applying to homosexuals, but that his baseline principle ultimately will land there. If you read further into queer theology (may God spare you!), I think you will see quite similar principle in operation: the assertion is that the Holy Spirit is breaking down all barriers in the church. There is no slander even by association going on here. I am simply saying out loud what many other observers have noted, namely, that the same theological principles underlay the theological basis for women;s ordination as underlay queer theology and its goals. I wrote 100 pages on this in the eight part series “Foundation of Women’s Ordination” elewhere on OrdinationTruth.com. You may have a special interest in “Part 5: Homosexual theological entailments,” http://ordinationtruth.com/featured/kirl-fwo-pt5/

          I believe that I have made my essential point clear: much of the staff at the Seminary, from the dean on through, whatever their claim, even their personal perception, is presently teaching SDA pastors a hermeneutical approach which enables them to set aside what the 2103 NAD Report calls “difficult texts” which stand in the way of women’s ordination. Anyone can parrot affirmations and say and even believe that they are adhering to the historical-grammatical method, all while what they work out in their actual teaching demonstrates something else is happening. As in most theological crises, the main problems rest not as much in what is said as in what is NOT said. Thus, proving and demonstrating is often most challenging.

          I understand that addressing the topic in the video could lead to trouble for me. Nevertheless, the topic needed to be broached. I trust I have done so in a way that while some find it quite disturbing, demonstrates a pattern of integrity and kindness even while pointing to areas of concern. Finally, for a more detailed exploration of the connection of ideas, please do read, as suggested, “Homosexual Theological Entailments.”

          Reply
          • Larry,

            I believe I have addressed the majority of your other points in my previous response. However, I thought this one deserved special attention.

            >Anyone can parrot affirmations and say and even believe that they are adhering to the historical-grammatical method, all while what they work out in their actual teaching demonstrates something else is happening. As in most theological crises, the main problems rest not as much in what is said as in what is NOT said. Thus, proving and demonstrating is often most challenging.

            This statement is deeply disturbing because you implicitly position yourself (and perhaps those who agree with you) as knowing and judging the “secrets of the heart” (Ps 44:21). You more or less admit that these professor whom you are so quick to slander and dismiss “say and even believe that they are adhering to the historical-grammatical method,” yet you claim to have access to some deeper knowledge which is hidden “in what is NOT said.” I’m sorry, but this is the height of arrogance. Your presentation as it stands is nowhere close to establishing any departure from the historical-grammatical method, except by way of insinuation and ignorance. You admit your own inability to demonstrate the slanderous claims you make, yet you do not cease to make them. Rather, your claim to speak the “secrets of the heart” of these professors. You put yourself in the place of God in so doing. That is appalling behaviour for any so-called minister of God.

          • – – Jim, it was out of gentleness and courtesy that I chose not to name the dean. The issue is ideas, not persons. The video was not a personal attack on him, but a warning about larger problems at the Seminary, of which his paper provides but one example.

            – – You seem to want a 13 minute video discussion conducted by two persons to provide conclusive evidences and argumentation, or to think that I intended to undertake a fully referenced and written out theological paper. FYI my total talk time in this short vid is likely no more than seven or eight minutes, far less than what you are more or less demanding. You need to stop and consider the kind of media involved.

            – – I have read Moskala’s paper through carefully several times, and left aside numerous points I might have disputed. My plan was NOT to isolate on the dean. And, I have read through carefully Nancy Vymeister’s absurd article absurdly printed by Ministry, which offers nothing new, only recounting the uncertainties and tentative thoughts of some scholars only to conclude with strong assertions not even remotely sustained in the article! (It is such a poor piece of work and so embarrassing to the world that the Church would print such a hash, that I skip the niceties.) I have also read through Jan Barna’s book with care, which would be evident if you watched some of the other videos. I am trying to understand why, unless you are engaging here in subtle ad hominum, you would ask questions like these. For future reference, when I refer to a book or paper, you may start with the assumption that I have read it through. Entirely. FYI I am not the sort of person who flips through something or does a google search just looking for a juicy quote. I prefer to read the arguments in whole form.

            – – The page numbers of many of the items referenced are from the 2013 NAD TOSC Report, including the key chapter by Kyoshin Ahn. You will find this longer (247 page) report on NADOrdination.com. You will find the theological position papers from TOSC on the ASTR site. You will find a link to that near the bottom right on the Ordinationtruth site.

            – – I hope that you are beyond the naivete of accepting at face value theological self-tagging. When someone says they are using the X method, their assertion that they are using X method is only sustained by how they actually apply their hermeneutics. When it comes to such assertions, we verify. As I said, I read through his paper and I was fully aware of his assertion; I do not believe that his paper demonstrates a faithful application of the historical-grammatical method. If you would like to read my analysis of what is happening hermenetuically as seen in books like the Welcome table and the Seminary’s book Women in Ministry, go here for more detail:

            http://ordinationtruth.com/featured/kirl-fwo-pt7/

            Jim, there is nothing even hinting at judging motives or the secrets of the heart. Where do you get this stuff? What use is there in further dialogue when you insist on charging me with slander even after careful and patient explanation? Those who watch the video and read this dialogue will judge for themselves if there is anything to what you and I say. They will judge whether my study and concerns are substamtive or superficial as you imply. If you think them so insubstantial, why the urgent endeavor to discredit them?

            I am doubtful whether you and I will come into agreement on these topics at this time. For my part, regardless of my personal convictions, I am resolved to accept the General Conference session decision on women’s ordination in 2015. Are you?

        • I was at the seminary in 1990-1993, and I remember the constant push for women’s ordination in chapel services, Hyvatha William’s week of prayer, the promotion of the books written by seminary staff on women’s ordination, in classes by the professors favoring this. There were professors who opposed it as well as students, but they we’re not allowed to have an equal voice in publicly presenting views opposing women’s ordination. That’s real “equality” right? I can personally testify that there was a pounding of favoritism for women’s ordination during all 3 years I was there. I cannot even remember once where opportunity was given for publicly opposing women’s ordination. There was an unspoken law against it. That’s the way to come to an understanding of truth. . . silence your opposers, don’t you dare give them a fair hearing or equal time and space to preset there objections. This kind of “hermeneutics” is unethical and not even Christian, just plain wrong. The truth is, that if your views are indeed the Bible truth they can stand up to the closest investigation. If they cannot, then abandon them to the scrap pile of error. See Ellen G white on this very statement.

          See 5T~ 707.3 to 708.1

          Reply
    • Jim, to be thoughtful you would have to admit that there was no “insinuation” or “Slander” for truth is truth. Perhaps a bit of research would help you become aware of the facts. To some, truthful facts are viewed as hurtful. However, what is more hurtful is to hide one’s head in the sand. We need more pastors who are willing to speak out so those who are leaders in our denomination will take courage and do what is needed to follow God’s leading. You need to understand we are in the shaking. Note the following quote.

      “I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people. {CET 176.1}”

      Reply
  2. ” Those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel’s message are searching the Scriptures upon the same plan that Father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled “Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology,” Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation: “1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible; 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study; 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering; 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error; 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible.”

    ” The above is a portion of these rules; and in our study of the Bible we shall all do well to heed the principles set forth. Genuine faith is founded on the Scriptures; but Satan uses so many devices to wrest the Scriptures and bring in error, that great care is needed if one would know what they really do teach. It is one of the great delusions of this time to dwell much upon feeling, and to claim honesty while ignoring the plain utterances of the word of God because that word does not coincide with feeling. Many have no foundation for their faith but emotion. Their religion consists in excitement; when that ceases, their faith is gone. Feeling may be chaff, but the word of God is the wheat. And “what,” says the prophet, “is the chaff to the wheat?””
    RH, Nov 25, 1884.

    Reply
    • EGW Hermeneutics:

      God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat. The Lord calls upon all who believe His word to awake out 
      of sleep. Precious light has come, appropriate for this time. It is Bible truth, showing the perils that are right upon us. This light should lead us to a diligent study of the Scriptures and a most critical examination of the positions which we hold. 

      God would have all the bearings and positions of truth thoroughly and perseveringly searched, with prayer and fasting. Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the word of God so that when the testing time shall come and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear. {5T 707.3}

      Agitate, agitate, agitate. The subjects which we present to the world 
      must be to us a living reality. 

      It is important that in defending the doctrines which we consider fundamental articles of faith we should never allow ourselves to employ arguments that are not wholly sound. These may avail to silence an opposer, but they do not honor the truth. We should present sound arguments, that will not only silence our opponents, but will bear the closest and most searching scrutiny. 

      With those who have educated themselves as debaters there is great danger that they will not handle the word of God with fairness. In meeting an opponent it should be our earnest effort to present subjects in such a manner as to awaken conviction in his mind, instead of seeking merely to give confidence to the believer. {5T 708.1}

      Reply
  3. “It was the work of the gospel to remove distinctions among men in race, nationality, sex, or condition. Paul declares that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus,’ Gal. 2:38. This text has a generic application; it is of universal force wherever the gospel reaches. In the light of such a statement, how can woman be excluded from the privileges of the gospel?” RH, May 24, 1892. Did I read “distinctions” and “sex” in the same sentence? Did they by any chance have access to the book by the gay theologian you quote? Is seems to me that Dean Moskala finds himself in an unexpected agreement with the editors of the RH while Ellen White was still alive.

    Reply
    • Jovan, actually the reference is Gal 3:28. One must remember that this text is speaking about equality in the issue of salvation and has nothing to do with role distinctions that God put in place at creation and continued after the fall. Also the Bible is not speaking of inclusion or “exclusion of privileges of the gospel” with whatever you are trying to force onto the text.

      What the text says, in so many words, is that we all have equal opportunity to be saved. It is a stretch to find agreement with Dean Moskala and the quote from RH. The only “generic application” is found when you read the preceding verse. We are to “put on Christ” meaning “ His character, adopt His principles, imitate His example, to accept His guidance, to become like Him.” [See SDA Bible commentary for vs. 27]

      Verse 28, in fact all of the chapter three, hinges on our becoming like Jesus so we can be given a place in heaven. These verses have no positional instructions such as who is to be the elder/pastor. To make this text say differently would find itself in disagreement with 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1.

      Reply
    • This was written by the editor of the Bible Echo, Eld. Tenney, in answer to a question re: the following two Scriptural passages, “Let your women keep silence in the churches : for it is not permitted unto them to speak” and “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
      Another excerpt from the article: “The difficulty with these texts is almost entirely chargeable to immature conclusions reached in regard to them. It is manifestly illogical and unfair to give to any passage of Scripture an unqualified radical meaning that is at variance with the main tenor of the Bible, and directly in conflict with its plain teachings. The Bible may be reconciled in all its parts without going outside the lines of consistent interpretation. But great difficulty is likely to be experienced by those who interpret isolated passages in an independent light according to the ideas they happen to entertain upon them.”
      And another excerpt:
      “Reverting to the teachings of Paul, whose writings are in question, we discover very clearly that he was the friend, not the adversary, of women in the work of the Christian church. It is true he insists upon God’s order being preserved. He objects to that anomalous condition of things in which a woman rules over a household, or where obstreperous women run the church. And who would not ? Such things did exist then ; they do now, sad to say. But it is not God’s plan.”

      Reply
    • If the “distinctions” that were “removed” by the work of the gospel include the distinction in gospel ministry of all male apostles, elders, and pastors . . . then why didn’t the Author of the Gospel Jesus Christ Himself ordain 6 women and 6 men to the gospel ministry? Why start the Gospel Church off on the “wrong foot” with an all male ordained ministry? Didn’t Jesus know the ramification of what He was doing by only calling and ordaining men to the gospel ministry? Jesus never ordained a female apostle/minister of the gospel. Neither did any of the apostles nor the NT Church-no not one, NONE.

      These distinctions which were removed that EGW is speaking of were those MAN MADE DISTINCTION about race . . . NOT the actual God-given genetic distinction found with in the DNA of human beings. Though God has made “of one blood all nations” of men (Acts 17:26) there still are different races. These we not the results of sin, thus the lack of necessity of removing all genetic race distinctions. The gospel work did not change men’s skin color . . . it changed their hearts. So with the distinction of sexes . . . the gospel work did not remove the sexual distinction between male and females leaving us with a degenderized human race of its. There are still male and female in spite of Galatians 3:28. What the gospel work did do was remove from the minds of men, women, and children the idea that being male or female, Jew or gentile, free or slave gave you an advantage or disadvantage over others in who is saved and who is not (the “privileges of the gospel”). But it left intact the reality of those distinctions . . . there still are males and females, even in church . . . there still are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters in the church. And this is all in harmony with God’s plan for Church FAMILY;

      CSB 1 Timothy 5:1 ¶ Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and with all propriety, the younger women as sisters.

      ESV 1 Timothy 5:1 ¶ (a)Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, (b)younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

      GWN 1 Timothy 5:1 ¶ Never use harsh words when you correct an older man, but talk to him as if he were your father. Talk to younger men as if they were your brothers, 2 older women as if they were your mothers, and younger women as if they were your sisters, while keeping yourself morally pure.

      KJV 1 Timothy 5:1 ¶ Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

      The ordination of women as overseers/elder/pastors, and as EGW put it “fathers” (as in “father Miller”) disrupts God “gospel order” in the Church as a FAMILY by placing women in the role of trying to be “fathers” when they should remain “mothers in Israel” (to use another of EGW’s expressions).

      Reply
  4. Actually, Bill, it is not I who is “stretching.” The author of the article in RH is. In the same article he speaks of slavery. I suggest you read the entire article and see for yourself. I only quoted one passage relevant to the video above. Besides, are you willing to go as far and say that accepting the Gospel has no implications on other areas of life? Just in case you do I also suggest that you re-read the Gospel according to Isaiah.

    Reply
    • Regardless of George C. Tenney’s beliefs that were published in the Review and Herald, they are immaterial. “What saith the Scriptures” is our standard.
      It should be obvious why. For example, Tenney didn’t believe in the Trinity (RH 6/9/1896) and regarded the idea of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit as being One as erroneous and this, too, was published “while Ellen White was alive.” I understand he stayed with the Sanitarium in the split between the denomination and Dr. Kellogg (See The SDA Enclyclopedia, “Tenney, George Cidus”).

      Reply
    • By the way, in the RH, May 24, 1892 article answering Bible questions, Tenney was defending from the Bible Ellen White’s (and other qualified women) speaking in the church. He was not at all addressing the ordination of women. To apply it to the ordination of women is to take it out of context. I am unaware of any evidence that Tenney ever was in favor of the ordination of women.
      But it is unnecessary to belabor this point as the RH editorial is well known and has been adequately addressed years ago.

      Reply
      • Well, Phil, three things in response:
        1. Did I say anything about “women’s ordination” in my previous posts? I thought we were discussing hermeneutics.
        2. If you are really and honestly after the “What sath the Scripture” then you don’t need any hermeneutics. Why, then, Larry (and you, I presume) insists on historical-grammatical method? And what will you do with, for example, 1 Cor 14:34-35 if you only have “What sath the Scripture” and no hermeneutics? I think we need to be consistent in our Scriptural interpretations.
        3. Dismissing Tenney’s article because he was anti-Trinitarian will not do. The point is that, in my opinion, Larry misrepresented dean Moskala’s views in the video above and he only quoted what he wanted to quote from the paper. Linking Moskala’s views with those of a gay theologian was highly inappropriate to say the least. Some would call it fear mongering.
        Besides, are you really that eager to dismiss Uriah Smith (and his book “Daniel and Revelation”) who enthusiastically endorsed the Tenney’s article but never himself become a Trinitarian? And what about James White and Joseph Bates? Tread carefully here.

        Reply
        • Don’t miss the point. We go by the Bible, not Tenney, Bates, or James White. What Tenney thought and wrote about any subject is irrelevant. Why exalt man’s words when we have God’s word?
          The angels in heaven that followed God’s word are still in heaven. Satan in sought to make God’s word difficult to understand, ambiguous, subject to multiple interpretations. Those angels that let Satan confuse them about God’s word are no longer in heaven.
          “What saith the Lord” IS the Adventist hermeneutic. But this presupposes a supernaturally endowed “love of the truth” (2 Thes 2:10), and surrender to truth at whatever cost (Joh 7:17), a prayerful diligence in Bible study (2 Tim 2:15), the discovery of Jesus in every verse (Lu 24:27), the inclusion of the entire Bible in study (2 Tim 3:16), and the recognition that the primary purpose of the Bible is practical, to make me a loving and lovable Christian in my home, work, school, church, community. The Bible is primarily to let me hear God’s voice speak to me. This is my greatest desire. Jesus had to sadly say to the Jewish clergy and scholars that they had never once even heard God’s voice in all their study of the Bible and their debates about the various theological “issues” of the day (Joh 5:37). I don’t want to go to Scripture to find good arguments, I want to receive for the soul.
          “Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. Nicodemus received the lesson, and carried it with him. He searched the Scriptures in a new way, not for the discussion of a theory, but in order to receive life for the soul. He began to see the kingdom of heaven as he submitted himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit” (DA 175.2).

          Reply
  5. Hey, what a Lutheran group! Religious professors walked off the job in protest; then they were locked out and new professors hired. Love it! Can our WO-push, push religious professors, and evolution teachers at La Sierra protest by walking out? That’s our chance! Love those Lutherans — Martin’s spirit lives on . . .

    Reply

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