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Question from a hybrid Adventist-Messianic

Discussion in 'Progressive/Moderate Adventists' started by S53, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. S53

    S53 New Member

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    I've only recently spent 2 years around Adventists. Every time I tell my Evangelical "friends" they me I shouldn't. Why? Because apparently, the SDA church believes that the Archangel Michael IS Jesus.

    I don't know if that's a better question for the Traditional Adventists....but frankly, I'm very puzzled. I e-mailed my old SDA Academy Bible teacher, but he hasn't replied yet.....and it's been about a month. :doh:
     
  2. Byfaithalone1

    Byfaithalone1 The gospel is Jesus Christ!

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    I am a former SDA. I was SDA for over 30 years.

    You will find that SDAs believe a number of different things. As you will see in this forum, there are traditional SDAs, progressive SDAs and, perhaps, other varieties as well. Although the issues are not always easily defined, in general traditional SDAs hold to the 28 fundamental beliefs of SDAism (or at least most of them). Progressive SDAs do not limit themselves by the 28 fundamentals or by the SDA baptismal vows.

    As you become involved in an SDA community, you might seek answers to questions such as these:
    (1) Does SDAism teach that, at some point in the future, non-sabbatarians will receive the mark of the beast and will be cast into the lake of fire?

    (2) Does SDAism teach that SDAism teaches the "remnant message" that will be espoused by God's people at the end of time?

    (3) Does SDAism teach that man must become sinless prior to Christ's second coming so that he may stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator following the close of probation?

    (4) Does SDAism teach salvation by grace alone, or salvation by grace plus works?

    (5) Does SDAism teach that the judgment is currently taking place and, if so, why?

    (6) Does SDAism teach that God's people must prepare for a national Sunday law that will soon be passed; and that God's people should be prepared to flee to the mountains once it does?

    (7) How many authoritative sources of truth does SDAism have?

    (8) What is the Biblical basis for teaching that some of the old covenant laws are binding on Gentiles, but that others are not?

    (9) Do SDAs believe that man loses his salvation between the point of his sin and until the point of his repentance?

    (10) What do SDAs believe will happen to those who once embrace "the sabbath" and then later abandon it?
    Note that many of the progressive SDAs who post in this forum would disagree with most (if not all) of the above assertions.

    BFA
     
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  3. Sophia7

    Sophia7 Tall73's Wife Supporter

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    I am also a former Adventist. I was raised in the SDA Church but left last year due to disagreements with some of the 28 fundamental beliefs. To answer your question, many Traditional Adventists do believe that the Archangel Michael is Jesus. Ellen White repeatedly referred to Michael as Christ in her writings.

    What you should understand, though, is that Adventism teaches that the term archangel can refer to the commander of the angels, who would not necessarily be an angel himself. Thus, Adventists today are not calling Jesus a created being by identifying Him as Michael. In Adventist thought, Michael is a title for Christ in His "great controversy" against Satan and the evil angels.

    What you should also understand is that most of the Adventist pioneers were anti-trinitarian in their beliefs:
    From about 1846 to 1888, the majority of Adventists rejected the concept of the Trinity—at least as they understood it. All the leading writers were antitrinitarian, although the literature contains occasional references to members who held trinitarian views. . . .

    Those who rejected the traditional Trinity doctrine of the Christian creeds were devout believers in the biblical testimony regarding the eternity of God the Father, the deity of Jesus Christ "as Creator, Redeemer and Mediator," and the "importance of the Holy Spirit." While some, very early in Adventist history, held that Christ had been created, by 1888 it was widely accepted that he had preexisted from "so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension" he was "practically without beginning." Whatever that beginning may have involved, it was not by "creation." Moreover, they weren't initially convinced that the Holy Spirit was an individual divine Person and not merely an expression for the divine presence, power, or influence.

    "Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossible for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being," wrote Joseph Bates regarding his conversion in 1827. He told his father, "If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the trinity." Because of this difference, he chose to join the Christian Connection rather than the Congregational church of his parents. One might be tempted to dismiss Bates's assessment as simple ignorance of the meaning of Trinity, but there were then and remain today a variety of views claiming the term "Trinity." Cottrell observed in 1869 that there were "a multitude of views " on the Trinity, "all of them orthodox, I suppose, as long as they nominally assent to the doctrine." (http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/trinit...n-trinity1.htm)
    The question of Ellen White's views on the Trinity is debated among Adventists:
    In 1846 James White dismissed the doctrine of the Trinity as "the old unscriptural trinitarian creed." A century later, the denomination he co-founded voted its first official endorsement of a statement of "Fundamental Beliefs" that included reference to the Trinity. That a major theological shift occurred is no longer subject to debate. That most of the early leaders among Seventh-day Adventists held an antitrinitarian theology has become standard Adventist history in the forty years since E. R. Gane wrote an M.A. thesis on the topic. What is now disputed in some quarters is Gane's second hypothesis, that Adventist co-founder Ellen G. White (1827-1915) was "a trinitarian monotheist." Since the 1980s, that view has come under intense attack from some writers, mostly from outside the academic community. Nevertheless, the renewed scrutiny of the role of Ellen White in the development of the Adventist Trinity doctrine has raised enough questions to warrant a fresh examination of the issue. (http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/trinit...n-trinity2.htm)
    The belief about Michael relates to the Trinity issue because many of the early Adventists had a different view of the nature of Christ than Adventists today, believing that He had a beginning of some sort. The Adventist pioneers' views were strikingly similar to what Jehovah's Witnesses teach on the Trinity, the origin of Christ, and His preincarnate identity as Michael. Adventism's views on the Trinity have evolved over time (though some would question how much), and you won't find the majority of Adventists today agreeing with JW statements on these matters (although there are still pockets of such thinking here and there within Adventism). So, while Adventists now adamantly insist that the belief in Michael as Jesus does not mean that He is a created being, the early Adventists would not have been so clear on that.

    My biggest problem with the Michael-equals-Christ theory is this text:
    Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, "Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.
    13 "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. (NASB)
    If Michael is only one of the chief princes, I do not believe that He could be Jesus.
     
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  4. S53

    S53 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I understand now. :)
     
  5. Joe67

    Joe67 Newbie

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    Daniel 12:1 - Michael, the great prince, the head of princes, stands up.

    He was sitting down until we who are his enemy by natural birth are made a place for his feet, his spirit, to rest/ dwell in us.

    Only the first begotten from the dead, who was sent from the Father, can return to the Father as testified in Psalm 24 and Ezekiel 46 and plainly stated by Jesus, our Lord, in John 3.

    Jesus is Lord of the hosts within the gates and doors. He is the king of glory. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Head of the body and we are members of His body.

    Joe
     
  6. Mankin

    Mankin A Strange Mixture of Random Components. Supporter

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    Hello S53. I recognize you from the Teen forums.:) And yes many Adventists do believe that Jesus was the Archangel and I believe this is confirmed in EGW writings. I am an Progressive Adventist obviously.

    As for me, I tend to think He is, but its not a position I care about all that much.:)
     
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  7. S53

    S53 New Member

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    And I suppose I should ask another question, since I've met some that believe it.

    Are White's writings considered equivalent to the Bible?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
  8. JonMiller

    JonMiller Senior Veteran

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    No, and you will find few who say so but a number of traditional adventists do so in practice.

    JM
     
  9. S53

    S53 New Member

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    Ok, thanks. I didn't think it was the majority.
     
  10. Mankin

    Mankin A Strange Mixture of Random Components. Supporter

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    No of course it isn't. I was saying that the fact that Adventism teaches this was confirmed in EGW. Sorry if you misunderstood me.
     
  11. sentipente

    sentipente Senior Contributor

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    This discussion is making the same old mistake of assuming that the writers of the bible knew what they were talking about or that God dictated the Bible to them. Neither of these is true. Hence, one must resort to first principles to figure out who Michael is. A close look at the issues raised by Rev. 12:7 show that he had to at least be able to read the dragon's mind before declaring war on him.
     
  12. S53

    S53 New Member

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    Hmmmm?
     
  13. AzA

    AzA NF | NT

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    In terms of scriptures there are at least three gaps between Creator and reader: First gap to be met by inspiration (download). Second gap to be met by comprehension (processing). Third gap to be met by interpretation (info analysis).

    But there is also an additional gap between interpreter and reader -- display (knowledge-building). We know this because we read the same texts and yet live them very differently.

    We are not phased by these material gaps because we also recognize there is no gap between Creator and reader. The Transcendent One is also immanent, ever present and always involved. Because of that engagement, He is able to speak for Himself and we are not bound to ask third-parties to speak for Him. We may, but we are not bound to, and He is more sure of Himself than they are of Him.
     
  14. S53

    S53 New Member

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    So the whole "Lost in Translation" issue, right? Personally, I don't like to believe God would allow His Book to be "messed up". Though history shows that it has. In honor of King James, the Book of Jacob was changed to the Book of James.

    The Bible used to be even one coherent book. No OT/NT separation.
     
  15. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member

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    #1. Adventists affirm the 1Cor 14:1 and 1Cor 12 position on the gift of prophecy claiming that Ellen White is yet another example of a non-canonical prophet in the NT. (Like Philips Daughters, Anna, etc)

    #2. In Genesis Moses says that Abraham saw "three men" walking toward him as he sat in the shade by his tent. Turns out one of them was "YHWH" the LORD himself in the form of man. SDAs believe the same thing is true in the case of God the Son - that He has the role of Commander of the Hosts of heaven among other roles.

    #3. Ellen White never made any of the non-Trinitarian arguments of some of the other well known SDA leaders in the 1800's. Beginning in the 1880's she began publishing distinctively trinitarian statements that included things like affirmations of the "Third Person of the Godhead" in the case of the Holy Spirit.

    #4. In the early 1900's the Adventist church published its first formal set of doctrinal statements in general form - and the church affirmed the Trinitarian position.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  16. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member

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    Agreed. God is not simply "God for a day" -- He does not start the ball rolling and then sit back to see how far off track it will go.

    On the other hand - we see in Daniel 8 -- that the prophet Daniel is very upset that HE does not really understand the vision he has been given. Infinite knowledge was never a requirement to be a Bible writer. All they had to do - was convey what God told them accurately and they relied on God to help them do that.

    This we can trust.

    One of the "tests of a prophet" is the Isaiah 8:20 test "to the Law and to the Testimony if they speak not according to this word it is because they have no light" -- that means they can have NO doctrinal error.

    Why is that? It is because their SOURCE is God -- and HE can not be in error.

    But couldn't we simply argue that the SOURCE was correct but the person trying to relay the message inserted doctrinal error out of their own faulty reasoning? NO! If we did make such an argument then we could not use the Isaiah 8:20 test at all because they could STILL be a valid prophet - but just a bit clumsy at relaying the message of God.

    Rather - the Isaiah 8:20 test PROVES that there is not only accuracy in God's original message TO the prophet - but there is reliability in the message that the prophet gives to us such that we can TEST it for doctrinal error and if it has error -- it is because that prophet is not talking to God at ALL!

    The bible is trustworthy! But it does not mean that Bible writers had infinite knowledge themselves.

    There is an interseting story in the Bible where David goes to a non-Bible writer prophet (Nathan) and inquires of the prophet as to whether the Lord is in favor of his builing the Temple of God rather than first spending lots of time and effort in building his own palace. Nathan assures David that God is fully behind that project. God then contacts Nathan in a dream and says basically "not so -- you are wrong on that point - Go tell David". Which Nathan does. And because God takes ownership of the communication in that way we can CONTINUE to trust what Nathan says knowing that if he should make a mistake -- God will own the task of correcting him and we will get the correction.

    in Christ,

    Bob