MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER:
THE ADVENTIST SOLA SCRIPTURA PROJECT
Since Jesus Christ has not yet come Adventists around the world need to assess the reasons why our mission is still unfinished. Sucessess and failures are causing growth in some areas and division and stagnation in others. The neutralization of Scripture (Biblical and doctrinal illiteracy reaching millions of Adventists) is causing deep divisions both at the world wide and local levels. Divisions are no longer cirscumscribed to the ivory tower of the academic theologian but reach also the ministerial, misionary, administrative and spiritual experience of Church life and ethos. Lack of unity inexorably leads to stagnation in world spiritual and church growth. In this way, the mission of the Remnant church remains unfulfiled and the second coming of Christ continues to linger. If neglected this systemic drift away from Scripture will divide Adventists further apart until perhaps completely secularizing away their historical and prophetic nature as the Remnant of Prophecy. This road leads to secularization and ecumenism.
The neutralization of Scripture in Adventism is taking place in the classroom and the pulpit around the world. A veritable intellectual crisis in the leadership of the Church prevents Adventists from discovering and articulating their theological, ministerial, and missionary vision to new generations. The Academy of Religion has been too strong for many Adventist thinkers who felt they could not answer its many challenges. As a result, our educational institutions have not been passing down the Adventist vision to new generations that become Adventist in name but not in heart and mind.
Fortunately, there is a better way. There is no reason why Adventists should surrender the sola-tota-prima-scriptura principle (Fundamental Belief 1), the theological vision of the pioneers and their fundamental beliefs to academic and religious traditions. The richness, clarity and wisdom of Scriptural teachings demand Adventist educational institutions and universities should investigate, apply, and communicate the truths of divine Revelation at the highest level of human intelligence and scientific achievement so that all human beings, learned (academician) and unlearned (those lacking formal education) alike, could understand the wisdom of God four our times and receive its power in their lives.
Wherever and whenever Scripture is embraced, understood and applied to the heart in response to the Holy Spirit work the church experiences revival and reformation that generates theological and spiritual unity. Achivieng theological and spiritual unity is important because as Ellen White explained unity is the condition for finishing the great work before us. Although Church unity exists only as we surrender our hearts to Christ we have to seek and build it on the basis of Scripture. Consequently, Seventh-day Adventism should quickly seek the unity of the Holy Spirit among themselves. To achieve unity Adventists should reverse the neturalization of Scripture by going back to the Bible to rediscover the real Christ, His teachings, sacrifice, assension, sending of the Holy Spirit, hevenly ministry, and promised soon return to establish His eternal kingdom on earth. Only in this light this will this generation be able to retrive the vision necessary to engage in the Final Mision.
Persuaded that such a task requires unusual combined efforts the Department of Theology of the Seventh-Day Adventist Theological Seminary and the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference partened to launch the Adventist Sola Scriptura Group. This multidisciplinary group includes exegetes, systematic theologians, ethicists, historians, ministers, missionaries and administrators fully committed to the Sola Scriptura principle, the Fundamental Doctrines of Adventism, and Ellen White writings. The goal of the group is to discover, understand , and articulate the principles and methods of thinking and action that based on Scripture hold us together as global community. As we become aware of the role this principles and methods play in building the spiritual unity of the Church around Christ’s word and mission the leaders of the Church will find practical guidance to fulfill daily their God’s given mission in the diverse and complex specialties/activities that make up the global body of Christ in the twenty first century.
As Adventist leaders around the world discover, understand, embrace and faithfully apply the Biblical principles and methods for the community the community will work creatively in unity and faithfulness of Christ thereby maximizing all the resources that the Church already has around the world at the Academic, Educational Administrative, Pastoral and Missionary levels.