Online Text for 'Seeking A Sanctuary'

Discussion/Chapter Outlines

Video of Forum Discussion

First Meeting - Friday, February 01, 2008
Part I (20 min)
Part II (30 min)

Second Meeting - Friday, February 15, 2008
Full Video

Who Are Seventh-day Adventists?

Pres. Jan Paulsen on Bloomberg TV

24 January 2008

Welcome to Adventist Forum

It is a true privilege for Southern Adventist University to have an Adventist Forum on campus this semester. Under the leadership of Advisor Dr. Lisa C. Diller and President Ms. Allison Gerard this semester is sure to have an engaging and thoughtful series of discussions.

Adventist Forum of Southern Adventist University has chosen the book Seeking A Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream written by Mr. Malcolm Bull and Mr. Keith Lockhart. There are six meetings planned for this semester covering a significant portion of the book and an array of topics from ‘Culture: Living Adventist,’ current controversies in the church, church history & sources of authority, ‘Identity: Who is an Adventist?’ and much more.

Each “General Forum Meeting” will have a discussion leader. This person will outline the chapters to be discussed (with each topic) a week before the scheduled meeting. She or he will also lead out in the discussion and keep the conversation flowing from one topic to the next. Ms. Shaunda Helm has volunteered to lead out the first General Forum Meeting covering the introduction and chapters one and two. She has outlined chapters one and two. Her outline can be downloaded from the link of outlines.

Additionally, the Forum meetings will be videotaped for online reference by Forum members and those not able to attend meetings. Those videos can be viewed on this web blog. Our meetings will begin promptly at 12:00 noon and end at 1:00 PM. Members are encouraged to come as their schedule permits.

Should a member not be able to make a meeting she/he may e-mail questions/comments to Adventist.Forum@gmail.com for the group to consider in discussion at the General Forum Meeting. It is expected that each member of the Forum shall conduct themselves in a manner that respects the opinions of other members; Adventist Forum aims for dialogue and not debate – a genuine understanding of the many opinions contiguous to the issues being discussed rather than consensus of opinion.

Most importantly, Adventist Forum of Southern Adventist University seeks to foster a better understanding of our collective Adventist heritage through our reading and discussion of Seeking a Sanctuary. We invite everyone – students, faculty, staff, and members of the community – who wishes to become greater informed about Adventism to join our meetings.

I look forward to reading this book, sharing my thoughts, and listening and considering your thoughts as we dialogue together to understand and celebrate our common heritage.

Cordially,

Raymond D. Thompson, Jr.

Secretary, Adventist Forum

4 comments:

Ryan said...

Raymond,

I have heard a lot of talk about this Book, about your opinions and the thoughts of those at the forum.. but when will we study the Bible and look into what the Bible says, what God says, about these issues? These topics? Or will we discuss our opinions about our feelings and sinful thoughts?

Does the Bible talk about a Church, a remnant Church, a people in the Last Days that will be His people? And seen as righteous only because of His death and the blood of Christ?

I believe you are missing a valuable ingredient and key element here. If I am wrong let me know.. but I believe the center and the authority lies in the Bible, not in the opinions of Human beings. Such as the Dali Lama, the Pope, or any other philosopher. For me I will stand on the Bible alone. The idea for a discussion group is great, but if we are only going to sit down and talk about opinions. How this book makes me feel. There is a problem.

I would love to hear whether you plan on using the Bible as your base for these discussion or not. And may God bless your ministry and that the Bible may be your guide.

Ryan
russirwin@gmail.com

Raymond said...

Ryan,

Thank you for your comment and interest in the Forum. I'm not sure that you have attended on of our meetings and I would love to hear your opinions about the topics presented in 'Seeking a Sanctuary' at the Forum. Your comment asks several questions, I cannot in this response address them completely, but I can briefly cover some of my thoughts and opinions.

I believe that one cannot base their beliefs on what you wrote as,"what the Bible says," because when one gets down to the deep questions that nag at our very existence, what does the Bible really say? There is an important element of interpretation that need be applied - the Bible doesn't often give clear, concise statements that direct believers toward the "right." Sometimes it does, but God allows us to search for truth – He provides us with the answers, but far from resolving the matter, those answers often lead to more questions and greater spiritual growth.

I read in Holy Scripture much ambiguity, and from that ambiguity I am directed to much studying that must take place to understand the Bible - the authors, the languages, the context, the meaning for contemporary readers, and the application for modern readers. It is in these questions that one need discuss these issues and fellowship - the concept of studying to show thyself approved or testing all things and holding fast to that which is true.

We at the Forum are Adventist Christians and use the Bible as the source of our belief, but that source needs to be examined to be understood. One cannot only read Scripture and expect a direct understanding without asking deeper questions of the text, without probing the depths of the biblical truths to find meaningful application in our lives today.

This is what Adventist Forums is devoted to addressing. Should you be interested in joining us on that journey, we would love to have you along for the discussion.

Cordially,

Raymond

Shaunda said...

Ryan,

I realize your comment was addressed specifically to Raymond, but I’d like to say a few words as well. Your question is an opportunity for us to better define our intentions and purposes for the forum.

The book we are discussing, Seeking a Sanctuary, is a sociological look at the church. We are looking at the church from the outside, in the way that we view other churches. We are not primarily evaluating Adventist doctrines. Thus, forum discussions, while presupposing the ultimate authority of Scripture, were never intended to be Bible studies.

We are talking about fundamental issues, rather than the specific issues you mentioned. At the first discussion, for example, we talked about the roles of reason, the Bible, and Ellen White as sources of truth. The Bible itself does not explicitly tell us how much to rely on each, and even if it did, to support the Bible by quoting Bible verses would be circular reasoning. Your decision “to stand on the Bible alone” is, in itself, an approach, and one that I am not sure Adventists have always embraced. These are the sorts of fundamental questions we are tackling. We’re leaving specifics for another time and place.

Maybe in the future the forum could sponsor topic-based Bible studies. What DOES the Bible say regarding the gift of prophecy, the idea of a remnant, sexuality within marriage, and other ideas we’re touched on? However, that is not the primary purpose of the forum at this time. Until then, we’d love your participation at future discussions.

Shaunda

Ryan said...

Shaunda,

I think it is a great thing to reason with each other. God calls us to reason with him in Isaiah 1:18. He wants us to talk things out and find truth. And where is truth? Jesus is the Truth.. he is the life.. and way. Where do we find Jesus? In the Bible. The Bible directs us to Him and only to Him.

In 2 Tim. 4 Pauls tells us to Preach the Word! What does he mean by preach the word? Well, tell people about Jesus because He was the word incarnate!

How can we trust and understand the Bible. David says in Ps 119:130, "The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple." By careful and prayerful study. Comparing scripture with scripture. Letting the Bible explain itself (Is 28:10).

This makes the Bible very important. The Bible is the center of reason because Jesus is the center of the Bible. We can not and will not know truth without letting the Bible unfold itself.

Our founding fathers cared soo much about the Bible that they did not have any creed other than the Bible and the Bible only! (pg v of the Seventh-day Adventist Believe 2005). The Bible has always been embraced by Adventist.

2 Tim. 3:16; All Scripture is.. profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

The Apostles went out teaching the Word and preaching the Word. They were in one accord, and then the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. How important is Gods word? Enough to gain Salvation (Ps 119:81).


Ryan