Comment on “Don’t go backwards to interpret Genesis as allegorical or symbolic” by Victor Marshall.
As much as I laud Elder Wilson’s staunch orthodoxy and his much needed effort to counteract the inroads of unbiblical influences – I have to confess I was uncomfortable with some aspects of his presentation.
As a theologian, evangelist, pastor, teacher and chaplain who works in an extremely diverse environment I am always sensitive (perhaps a little over sensitive at times) as to the audience I am preaching to and how to best reach them where they are, while at the same time avoiding offense. Regarding evangelistic work Ellen White said:
“Do not at the outset press before the people the most objectionable features of our faith, lest you close the ears of those to whom these things come as a new revelation. Let such portions of truth be dealt out to them as they may be able to grasp and appreciate; though it should appear strange and startling, many will recognize with joy that new light is shed on the Word of God. Whereas if truth were presented in so large a measure that they could not receive it, some would go away and never come again. More than this, they would misrepresent the truth, and in their explanation of what was said they would so wrest the Scriptures as to confuse other minds.” Ev 141-2
While Elder Wilson was preaching primarily to an Adventist audience, he also had the ear of the non-Adventist world – most of whom are not familiar with our doctrines.
Babylon, The Mark of the Beast, Sabbath vs Sunday, the Annihilation of the wicked etc. are ‘strong meat’ subjects reserved for the latter portions of evangelistic series after persons have been more fully prepared to receive them. Without such preparation they can be unnecessarily hardened against our message. I’m not sure that this venue was the appropriate one for a ‘full message,’ ‘both barrels’ kind of presentation of testing truths. Many Adventists of course believe our job is to tell people about the Mark of the Beast and let the chips fall where they may – to hand them a ‘National Sunday Law’ book and be on their way. This approach is not in harmony with Ellen White’s counsel in MH 143. Granted, at the close of time the test of loyalty will be brought more prominently before the world and the closing movements will be rapid ones. Perhaps Bro. Wilson believes we are in that time.
If I was a Sunday-keeper and I heard it implied, out of the blue, that:
1. Sunday is the mark of the beast
2. Babylon = those who have set up Sunday as a false day of worship
3. The word ‘tormented’ in Rev. 14 can also mean ‘destroyed.’
I might be offended. Yes, it might drive me to study the issues more thoroughly and accept the truth. On the other hand, if I saw a person repeatedly exalt the importance of the scripture, and then imply that a scriptural word that clearly means one thing, can also mean something it clearly doesn’t – I might have second thoughts.
Of course we as Adventists know exactly what he’s talking about.
We as Adventists should also be the most missions oriented people on earth. True missions is ‘incarnational.’ We should be constantly seeking to place ourselves in the shoes of those we are trying to reach with the gospel. Those who are raised in the faith may have a tendency to see everything through Adventist spectacles – becoming insensitive and insular in their interactions with non-Adventists.
In closing, I guess I would have preferred to hear more of what Jesus has done for Ted Wilson personally.
“No more effective means can be employed for winning souls to Christ.” COL 300
I would have preferred to hear a more thoroughly Christ centered message as opposed to a doctrinal message with references to Christ’s righteousness sprinkled in.
Finally, before I am shot by half the people on this site – I rejoice in the focus on upholding our Sabbatarian/Special Creationist roots. Praise God that reforms are on the way in this regard.
Victor Marshall Also Commented
Sometimes itâ€™s appropriate to hit-the-nail on the head. Take for example Jesusâ€™ statement to the Samaritan woman, â€œYe worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.â€ That might seem inappropriately direct, but it wasnâ€™t. It was just what she needed.
If the Smaritan woman had not had a preparatory, one-on-one, personally disarming request for water from Jesus – a man who was a Jew – then that pointed statement would have seemed like nothing more than sectarian Jewish bigotry.
“Don’t go backwards to interpret Genesis as allegorical or symbolic”
“As witnesses for Christ, we are to tell what we know, what we ourselves have seen and heard and felt. If we have been following Jesus step by step, we shall have something right to the point to tell concerning the way in which He has led us. We can tell how we have tested His promise, and found the promise true. We can bear witness to what we have known of the grace of Christ. This is the witness for which our Lord calls, and for want of which the world is perishing.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 340.
Recent Comments by Victor Marshall
“The deepest students of science are constrained to recognize in nature the working of infinite power. But to man’s unaided reason, nature’s teaching cannot but be contradictory and disappointing. Only in the light of revelation can it be read aright, ‘Through faith we understand.’Heb.11:3” – Ed.134
As if all of your previous statements were not enough – here you come with this outrageous statement:
But I do deny that the Bible is the final authority. I donâ€™t think that it is the final authority.
I think it is plain enough now for all to see that the founding scientist of EducateTruth, who has vigorously been seeking to have LSU tow the orthodox Adventist line – is himself heterodox when it comes to the most foundational of Adventist beliefs!
Not only have you equated science with faith, you have supplanted Biblical authority with scientific authority. Isn’t this exactly in essence what theistic evolutionists do?! Is it possible that one who incessantly declares others to be ‘blind’ would himself be blind to his own hypocritical presuppositions?
Seventh-day Adventists are ‘people of the book.’ They claim the Protestant principle of ‘Sola Scriptura’ as the very foundation of their faith. You are not a Sola Scripturist. By your own standard, if you were employed by the Adventist church, you yourself should consider employment elsewhere.
This is indeed a most grave and serious ironic twist.
If the issues are not yet clear enough I will here quote one of the denominations most preeminently orthodox theologians. You will find that his clear and definitive statements are diametrically opposed to your own:
“A fundamental principle set forth by Scripture concerning itself is that the Bible alone is the final norm of truth, the primary and absolute source of authority, the ultimate court of appeal, in all areas of doctrine and practiceâ€¦ The principle of sola Scriptura implies two corollaries: the primacy and the sufficiency of Scriptureâ€¦.”
“Paul likewise rejects human â€œknowledgeâ€ (KJV â€œscienceâ€; Greek gnÅsis) as the final authority (1 Tim 6:20). Both OT and NT writers point out that since the Fall in Eden, nature has become depraved (Gen 3:17-18; Rom 8:20-21) and no longer perfectly reflects truth. Nature, rightly understood, is in harmony with Godâ€™s written revelation in Scripture (see Ps 19:1-6 [revelation of God in nature] and vv. 7-11 [revelation of the Lord in Scripture]); but as a limited and broken source of knowledge about God and reality, it must be held subservient to, and interpreted by, the final authority of Scripture (Rom 1:20-23; 2:14-16; 3:1-2).”
“2. The Sufficiency of Scripture. The principle of sola Scriptura implies the further corollary of the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible stands alone as the unerring guide to truth; it is sufficient to make one wise unto salvation (2 Tim 3:15). It is the standard by which all doctrine and experience must be tested (2 Tim 3:16-17; Ps 119:105; Prov 30:5, 6; Isa 8:20; John 17:17; Acts 17:11; 2 Thess 3:14; Heb 4:12). Scripture thus provides the framework, the divine perspective, the foundational principles, for every branch of knowledge and experience. All additional knowledge and experience, or revelation, must build upon and remain faithful to, the all-sufficient foundation of Scripture. The sufficiency of Scripture is not just in the sense of material sufficiency, i.e., that Scripture contains all the truths necessary for salvation. Adventists also believe in the formal sufficiency of Scripture, i.e., that the Bible alone is sufficient in clarity so that no external source is required to rightly interpret it.”
“Adventists maintain the rallying cry of the Reformation–sola Scriptura, the Bible and the Bible only as the final norm for truth. All other sources of knowledge and experience must be tested by this unerring standard. The appropriate human response must be one of total surrender to the ultimate authority of the word of God (Isa 66:2).” – Richard M. Davidson, ‘Interpreting Scripture According to the Scriptures:Toward an understanding of Seventh-day Adventist Hermeneutics.’ BRI
Not only do you seem diametrically opposed to foundational Adventist theology. You also appear (for all intents and purposes) to be fundamentally opposed to the purposes and goals of EducateTruth itself.
â€œ4. More important than all of these is that the Bible find its place as the ultimate authority on all it touches upon within the classroomâ€¦â€¦ The bottom line of this controversy is not about creation vs. evolution, but authority. Does the Bible inform our science or does science inform the Bible? This question lies at the heart of this controversy.â€ – Shane Hilde
In light of this further unfortunate irony – perhaps you should seek employment on another web site.
I encourage you to reexamine the basis for you faith and prayerfully surrender it to the Word of God – not scientific reason.
“When we come to the Bible, reason must acknowledge an authority superior to itself, and heart and intellect must bow before the great I AM.” (SC 110).
More â€œsureâ€ than what? More sure than Peterâ€™s testimony. Peterâ€™s testimony is helpful and helps us believe that Jesus is the Messiah. But even Peterâ€™s testimony is not adequate to affirm Jesus and who He is. We must necessarily turn to â€œMoses and the prophetsâ€ and validate Jesus as the Messiah based on their testimony.
Simply put, Moses is the final authority in all matters of doctrine and faith. If it is not in harmony with Moses, it is false. And this includes Jesus and His ministry.
Very good Bill.
I like to look at it this way as well. Moses said that, “at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” We have the two witnesses of the Old and New Testaments – each one establishes the testimony of the other – both are further established by a third witness – the Holy Spirit. These three witnesses are sufficient to establish truth.
The bible affirming itself as the final authority is the same as God affirming His own authority.
Another interesting parallel passage in the Bible is, “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself.” In this passage we have the concept that God is a sufficient witness for Himself. Of course, in a sense, He is also actually three witnesses isn’t He!
The bible presents its own evidence. It is self affirming.
If you deny the bible is the final authority on its on self affirmations, then you are simply not a bible Christian.
The bible does not try to â€œproveâ€ everything. Something are simply stated as a fact. Especially things that are not â€œproveableâ€ by science and/or human experience.
Science and human experience may be helpful, but they are not the final word and it is a mistake to try to affirm every jot and tittle of scriptual teaching by such â€œproofâ€.
Well stated Bro. Sorenson.