Traditional vs ‘Progressive’ Adventism

(Partial List)

1) 1844, the sanctuary, the investigative judgment

Traditional – The sanctuary doctrine is the backbone around which all other doctrines revolve. 1844 anchors us in time: with the start of the Investigative judgment we know that the last step needed before the second coming has already begun. We’re still here 170 years later because the church has delayed Christ’s coming.

Progressive – 1844 is significant as the start of the Adventist movement. Investigative judgment doctrine is only partially correct and should be deemphasized as a doctrine. Still waiting for the advent but we can’t be sure that it is near. The church has not delayed Christ’s coming.

2) Evolution, Homosexuality, Hermeneutics

Traditional – Sola Scriptura. Scripture is the sole interpreter of scripture. External sources such as science and culture are judged by the Scripture. If the Bible contradicts reality, then it is not the word of God, but it cannot be reinterpreted.

Progressive – Science and culture inform our interpretation of Scripture: for example, because Evolution is a fact and Homosexuality is natural we need a modified hermeneutic that accommodates both evolution and homosexuality and anything else we disagree with in scripture.

3) Remnant Motif

Traditional – SDAs have an unique message beyond other Christians and therefore have a global mission.

Progressive – SDAs have a contribution to make to Christianity but not an unique message. We can work alongside other Christians and therefore, we don’t have a global responsibility alone.

4) Sunday Law

Traditional – A Sunday law will be used to identify dissenters during closing events.

Progressive – The Sunday Law was an interpretation derived from 19th century cultural context and no longer applies. No clear alternative interpretation for Rev. 13 provided.

5) Missions vs. Social Justice

Traditional – Global Mission driven by urgency of second coming. Social justice, medical, educational work as entering wedges to accomplish mission.

Progressive – Because we don’t have a global mission and no certainty of an imminent advent, the emphasis on missions is replaced with emphasis on social justice.

6) Church Organization

Traditional – Centralized church government to accommodate global mission.

Progressive – Congregational-style church government to control funds locally and address local needs.

7) Philosophy of church unity

Traditional – unity on common ground

Progressive – unity in diversity with Jesus as the true unifying element.

8) Worship styles

Traditional – against pentecostal/charismatic-like worship philosophy.

Progressive – in favor of pentecostal/charismatic-like worship philosophy.

2 comments
  1. Hi Mike,
    A simple question here.
    Taking the traditional approach, has the church delayed Christ’s return because we haven’t shared the gospel with the world?

    • Hi. More or less, except I would say shared the gospel in the context of the close of probation. I go into more detail in the eBook to the right.

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