S U M M E R • 2 0 1 6
VOLUME 17, ISSUE 2
D E P A R T M E N T S
It was sometime around the year 2000. Richard and I were attending a Sunday morning class at Trinity Church, “Walk Through the Old Testament” taught by Elizabeth Inrig. We had thought this class would be simple review. After all, if anyone knew the Old Testament, it was a former Adventist!
We were wrong. We had never realized that the stories of the patriarchs, prophets, and kings were not primarily illustrations of weak people whom God blessed because they persisted in trying to please him. Rather, the Old Testament stories revealed an all-knowing, sovereign God who chose people for His own purposes. Moreover, He chose people for no reason we can see. Abraham was a moon-worshiper; Moses was a murderous adopted prince; David was an adulterer with blood on his hands—but God used them to accomplish His eternal plans.
As we listened to Elizabeth talk through the familiar stories, we realized we had always seen them upside-down. They were not primarily about men who were examples to us; they were glimpses of God transforming sinners into men and women who believed and trusted Him.
One day Elizabeth said, “God’s glory is the ultimate value in the universe. It is greater than the saving of nations and greater than the life of a child.” I had always thought God valued humanity more than He valued His own power and authority. I had learned that He limited Himself in order to give me absolute freedom. In my Adventist worldview, our free will was God’s highest “value”.
A sovereign God whose glory was the highest value in the universe, on the other hand, meant that we served Him, and He protected us. Instead of God putting Himself at the mercy of man, a sovereign God took responsibility for us. Cared for by a sovereign God, we could love Him—but we could not manipulate Him.
That moment marked the beginning of my trusting God with what I could not see. Knowing He was sovereign even over darkness and evil—even though I cannot explain how it works—has given me great peace. I can trust Him because He is not surprised by what surprises me.
The great controversy view of God that makes our free will God’s most valued resource is not unique within Adventism. There is a growing movement called “open theism” that is gaining momentum in the evangelical community as it is carried by professors in universities and books sold in Christian bookstores. This theology is different from arguments that say man’s will is free. Openness says that God Himself is free from sovereign foreknowledge, possessing only the understanding of infinite possibilities which humans will determine by their choices.
In this issue of Proclamation! Martin Carey critiques open theism—a movement which includes among its advocates Adventist professor Rick Rice from Loma Linda University. Martin’s concerns with a theology that promotes a limited God who does not fully know the future are shared by all of us who desire to help people know and trust the real, triune God of the Bible. After believing we held the power to facilitate Jesus’ return, we who have left Adventism need a God who is bigger than we are, a God we can trust who is stronger than all our fears and foes.
In this issue we also introduce a new columnist, Lisa Winn, who will share her convictions about what it means to be Truly Adventist. Steve Pitcher shares another article about the Clear Word and its twisting of the doctrine of hell, and Elce “Thunder” Lauriston shares his story of coming to faith and leaving a rosy future as an Adventist pastor/evangelist in the Caribbean. As always, you will also enjoy the contributions of columnists Dale Ratzlaff, Rick Barker, Chris Lee, and Carolyn Macomber.
We pray that as you read, you will see the glory of God and the reliability of His word and that you will trust Him, because He is faithful. †
Copyright 2016 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Camp Verde, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised August 23, 2016. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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