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2. The Hijacking

David Shin

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An examination of the greatest coup in the history of Christian theology.

Presenter

David Shin

Pastor, Hillside O'Malley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Anchorage, AK

Conference

Recorded

  • December 29, 2016
    10:30 AM
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All right, well, it is 10:30, so I want to make sure that I’m able to cover the topic in the time that we have. Can everyone hear me okay? I think they turned me down. Let’s see…

 

All right, well, let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father in Heaven, we thank You so much for this opportunity that we have to study Your Word. We pray that You’d bless us as we reflect on a little bit of theological history. Please speak to us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Today’s topic is “The Hijacking,” but before we do that, I want to remind you of these quotes that we discussed in our last seminar. The subject of the sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth connected and harmonious, showing that God’s hand had directed the great Advent movement in revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people. The operative word there is “system.” This is a system of truth. The sanctuary reveals where Jesus is in the plan of salvation: the courtyard, A.D. 31; the Holy Place, A.D. 31 to 1844; the Most Holy Place, 1844 to the present day. The sanctuary reveals what Jesus has been doing since His time here on Earth in A.D. 31. It’s our framework, and as we discussed, Adam and Eve were here in Edenic perfection. After sin, we are out here. This shows us how God wants to bring us back. The theme is restoration. It is God bringing us all the way back.

 

The book, Education, “The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God. From the first intimation of hope in the sentence pronounced in Eden to that last glorious promise of the Revelation, ‘They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads’ the burden of every book and every passage of the Bible is the unfolding of this wondrous theme,—man’s uplifting,—the power of God, ‘which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’” Notice it is about restoration to bring us all the way back.

 

Now, today I want to talk a little bit about presuppositions and assumptions, and we have the Pharisees in the first century. Now, today the term “Pharisee” is a pejorative term. If you call me a Pharisee, that is not a compliment. But in the first century, it was a compliment, all right? The Pharisees were the elite of society. They were the brightest; they were the most “spiritual” (quote/unquote), and the Pharisees training was quite extensive. First, they went through this stage called Bet Sefer from age 6 to 10. They would memorize the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. By the age of 10, they had memorized the entire Torah and completed Bet Sefer. Imagine a 10-year-old memorizing the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Those that are the best of the best would go on. Bet Talmud meant house of learning. Roughly from the ages of 10 through 14, in Bet Talmud you would memorize the rest of the Old Testament. By the age of 14, they would have memorized Genesis to Malachi.

 

So the Pharisees knew their Bibles. They were intelligent. They knew biblical languages, but they had certain presuppositions, and these presuppositions prevented them from recognizing the Messiah. I want you to think about this. These individuals that could quote from memory large portions of Scripture came face-to-face with God and did not recognize Him. They rejected Him. Now, this really shows us that there’s something more taking place here then just a face-to-face interaction with the Word of God. Now, this is a model that is used during the time of the Enlightenment in terms of our understanding, how we know what we know, otherwise known as epistemology: the science of knowing.

 

In the Enlightenment model, it was the model that information, the data, would just project itself onto you like a picture onto a film. There was this notion of pure reason that came to prominence during the time of the Enlightenment that our minds are able to (quote) “objective” reality and “objective” truth. We just have to follow the right methodology. So, the Bible, in hermeneutics, we just need to study the Bible, and the Bible would project onto us information, and we would come to objective understanding. This was the Enlightenment paradigm of epistemology, how we know what we know.

 

Now, in terms of epistemology, there has been considerable development in terms of presuppositions. In other words, not only does the information project onto us, but we project onto it. You following me? We have assumptions, we have biases, culture, education; all of these things are presuppositions that really skew our understanding.

 

So this model here, if you think that we have pure reason and come to objective truth, is really a challenge by this other notion that we interpret, we impose onto the data, our presuppositions, our biases. Now, when we look at Scripture, it actually follows a model like this. Not only does the Bible project onto us, but remember in the New Testament, it says that spiritual things are what? Spiritually discerned. So, in terms of the Pharisees, the Pharisees knew their Bibles, but they were working from a framework of presuppositions that really challenged and changed their understanding of Scripture so much so that they missed the Messiah.

 

So this shows us that when we come to the text, we are not coming without baggage. All of us are coming with cultural (Amen?), cultural biases that really skew our interpretation of the text. Now, there’s a whole other element of this that we can go into. Ellen White actually says that there are invisible entities that are next to us when we come to Scripture. And she says that if we do not pray, we are actually by default having another entity, an evil spirit there to skew our understanding of Scripture. She says the spirit that we come to the text determines the assistant that is by our side. So, there’s a whole Great Controversy framework that we don’t understand. So, we need to come to the text with humility and with prayer because spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and that is the reason why someone with a PhD can read the text and come to the conclusion that this is just a bunch of contradictions. And then someone with a GED reads the Bible and meets Jesus because John 7:17, intent is prior to content, and truth from this in the heart precedes truth in the objective world.

 

So this is an important consideration. All of us have presuppositions, and the beauty of Scripture is that, as we come to the text, we need to refine our presuppositions and make them more biblically compatible, and it’s an ongoing thing that we go through. We come to the text, we find our presuppositions, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, we can come to a spiritual understanding.

 

Now this shows you the power of presuppositions. Look at this picture, and then look at this picture. Do you see the woman? You see it here. You see it here. Now, here is an old woman. You see the old woman? Okay, everyone see the old woman? I’m going to show you the same picture; there’s the old woman. Now what has happened here? I have just implanted a presupposition, and that presupposition here impacts what you see here. Whereas, prior to this, I showed you this, but I showed you the same exact picture, and you see a young woman. All right? Now, how can it be, that people looking at the same picture, can come to two opposite conclusions? One person sees an old woman; another person sees a young woman. The difference is the presupposition that was implanted.

 

And this is similar to the way that we approach Scripture. All of us approach Scripture with certain lenses, certain biases, certain things that skew our understanding of Scripture, and that is what I want to talk a little bit about today in terms of presuppositions.

 

From a theological perspective, when we look at a shark, who is going to be able to see more, a marine biologist or a seminary student? You didn’t say seminary student? A marine biologist, all right, so a marine biologist is going to be able to see more from this shark. That is because of the education, the presuppositions that were there that impact what the marine biologist sees. So we not only come to the data, the text, wanting to have the information project onto us, but we are also coming with presuppositions, biases, prejudices, sin, our morality determines what we see, and that is why Jesus used the term you are spiritually blind. The issue with the Pharisees was not an issue of the mind; it was an issue of the heart.

 

Bertrand Russell was asked the question (he is an atheist, renowned atheist), he was asked the question, what if, in the afterlife, you meet God, what are you going to say to Him? He said, “Not enough evidence.” He’s going to tell God, “Not enough evidence.” But you can see that with the Pharisees, they could probably make the same claim, but you can see in John, chapter 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, that’s evidence. But after that, in John, chapter 12, they went to try to kill Lazarus, too. So it shows you that it’s really not the availability or the lack of availability of truth; it’s the hypocrisy of the search, and that’s why the Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” The Bible indicates that it’s not so much an issue of the mind; it’s an issue of the heart.

 

Now, I don’t want to get off on that, but let’s talk a little bit about theological presuppositions here, and a presupposition is thinking behind thinking, it’s assumptions, it’s unconscious ideas. And I want to talk today about the greatest coup in the history of theology. Now, when I was at the seminary, I switched from a master’s in divinity to a master’s in historical theology. I switched from a practical degree to an impractical degree. Now, I remember one of my professors, he got up front, and he said, “You know, in this class, all you’re going to study is heresy.” At least he told me that. Now, historical theology is a study of basically 2,000 years of historical or theological reflection. It’s been 2,000 years plus since Jesus was on this earth. There’s been a lot of thinking since that time. A lot. And when I started to read these Protestant and Evangelical authors and scholars, I could not understand what they were saying; I just could not. And it was for quite a bit. It was not until I understood their presuppositions that it started to make sense.

 

Now, what I’m going to be talking about today is the greatest coup in Christian theology, and when we talk about Lutheranism and Calvinism and even Catholicism, what I’m going to be showing today or attempting to show today is that in reality their understanding of the world and human nature, they did not get from the Bible but from another source.

 

Let me talk a little bit about Augustine. Augustine, prominent theological thinker around the year 300, Augustine is the father of not only Catholicism but Protestantism as well. Aquinas would come along later and form a systematic theology for Catholicism. Now, when Augustine was doing his theology (now, remember Augustine is the father of Protestantism and Catholicism), when Augustine was doing his theology, he borrowed from a source his view of the world. He borrowed it from Plato. Now, I’m going to try to not get so complicated here, but the reason we need to cover this is so that we can come to an understanding that Adventism is fundamentally different at its root than Evangelicalism.

 

Now, I want you to think about this. Augustine went to Plato. Now, Plato had an understanding of the world and human nature already. He had philosophically developed it. So, Augustine, when he’s doing theology, said, “You know what? I don’t want to go to Scripture and reinvent the wheel. Plato has done a wonderful job with human nature and our understanding of the world. So I’m going to borrow it from Plato.” Augustine did this, and one of my professors actually said that when you want to understand Christian theology, you need to understand that all of Christian theology is a footnote to Plato.

 

Now, I want you to think about that. All of Christian theology is a footnote to Plato?! I mean, this is mind-boggling. So, way in the beginning, Augustine borrowed from Plato the concept of the world and the concept of human nature. Now, let’s think about this. What is the Platonic view of the world? Remember Philosophy 101? Basically, this notion that God is up here; humans are here; and it is something called historical discontinuity. In other words, God is in this realm here, humans are in this realm here, and there is no interaction between this level and this level. It’s called Platonic dualism. So there is no interaction between this level and this level. And so this was borrowed into Augustinian philosophy.

 

Now, let’s talk a little bit about human nature. Plato had this theory of a human dichotomy. Humans were dichotomist. You had what you called the body, and you had what you called what? The soul or the spirit. This was the dichotomy. Now, according to Platonic theory, the soul was what we called timeless. God is timeless. (I apologize that this board is so small, but I think you can kind of see this framework.) So, you have this framework here of the human and the soul; they are timeless. And according to Platonic theory, the only way that God can interact with humanity is through the timeless entity. And what is the timeless entity in humanity? It is the soul. It’s the soul.

 

So, look at this. The timeless God interacts with the human, not through the time historical element but through the soul. Now, this was imported into Christian theology, and we are living with the implications to this day. It wasn’t until I understood this that I could read these Evangelical authors and understand where they’re coming from because they’re coming from a dualistic perspective. This we are still facing today in the human soul dichotomy. Now, Aquinas would come along later and systematize this, but Protestants and Catholics believe in this entity.

 

Now, let’s talk a little bit about Catholic theology and Aquinas. Catholic theology from a Platonic standpoint, is the most logical and systematically consistent theology. Now, I didn’t say biblical. From a Platonic framework, it is the most logical…It is so logical and consistent, that we have brilliant Protestants that are defecting and becoming Catholic. They’re defecting. Now, the defections from Catholics are usually on the lay level, okay; they become born again. But on this other level, they are defecting on the upper echelons of theology and has to do with this human soul dichotomy with a timeless God.

 

Let me illustrate this in terms of the Eucharist. The theology of the Eucharist is that when the priest upholds the Eucharist and says the words, the Latin words, in Catholic theology there is a transformation of that Eucharist from a time historical entity to a timeless entity. It suddenly becomes a timeless entity so that when you put it into your mouth, this timeless entity hits your soul, hits your soul. And so it becomes a medium, a mechanism for grace, through the sacraments. This is the Catholic theology, the Catholic model that is followed in terms of this discontinuity between Heaven and Earth. Only timeless things can interact with timeless things in this model of the Platonic view.

 

Now, the Protestant model does not believe in the sacraments, but they believe in the preaching of the Word. In the preaching of the Word, there is a metaphysical reality that hits your soul. So the worship service, all those things are structured in a way so that you can have this emotional experience so that your soul is hit.

 

Now this has implications for Adventism because we don’t believe this. We don’t believe this. Now, this has implications in regards to the nature of sin, and we have much more work to do in regards to sin because in the Platonic, Evangelical, Catholic model, they believe in this notion that the soul is still corrupt. So, even though on this level there can be victory, the soul is still in need of…you’re still in a state of sin. So I don’t want to get off in that realm. So this is the Platonic model (now, where’s my eraser here), and this went on for a time, and this is known as the classical view in terms of Christian theology.

 

Now, another thing that we need to recognize in terms of this is that in this historical discontinuity between God and humanity, they imposed this onto Scripture. So, in Genesis, chapter 1, when God comes down and walks in the cool of the Garden in the eve of the day, Augustine, Calvin, they say, “You know what? That is impossible. It’s impossible for God to come down into a historical reality and interact with humanity.” They say, “That’s just a metaphor because we know that that cannot happen.”

 

So this thing just reinterprets all of Scripture. It is a presupposition that is in Catholic theology, that is in Protestant theology as well. Now, without getting too lost in the weeds here, basically Christianity is writing philosophy, is writing philosophy, and is writing a Platonic worldview. The problem is that philosophy went on, and during the time of the Enlightenment, it changed to a Kantian model. And without getting too far into that, basically the Kantian model split the Christian world between the classical and the liberal. So the classical model is the Evangelicals; the liberals are the modern—and this is there the historical-critical method came to view, basically saying that the Bible needs to be studied like any other historical book. The Jesus of faith is really a myth, and we need to find the Jesus of history.

 

Now, in the Kantian model, basically you still had this human and soul dichotomy. In this model, you had the human soul dichotomy as well. The difference in this one is that reason is part of the soul, which means that through your intellectual abilities you are able to understand spiritual truth. The Kantian model really changed this and said, you know what? Reason cannot understand spiritual reality. So it’s really out here. Now this has huge implications when it comes to Scripture. In other words, you don’t read Scripture to come to an intellectual knowledge; you read Scripture to come to a soul knowledge, whatever that means.

 

And there was some theology developed during this time under the Kantian model by Friedrich Schleiermacher who said, “You know what? When we read Scripture, we’re not coming for intellectual understanding, we’re coming for an emotional feeling.” Now that really changes your theology, doesn’t it? So, you’re not really reading about, you know, creation and things like that. You’re really reading in a way so that you can get an emotion, and when that emotion hits you, you know that God has hit you through your soul. So, this is a real split in theology, and this is known as what we call modernism.

 

Now, without going too far out here, just one last thing. So you have classical, modernism, and then you have something called postmodernism. And the postmodern revolution was under a gentleman by the name of Martin Heidegger, 1927, a philosopher, and the thing that Martin Heidegger did is he said that, “You know what? This thing between God and humanity, this historical discontinuity?” He said, “This is just hogwash.” He said, “This Platonic duality doesn’t exist.” This is postmodernism. This two-world theory, it’s not there. Everything is historical.

 

Now, the thing about postmodernism is that it really deconstructed the Platonic worldview. It made everything immanent and historical. Now, we have postmodern theology, and read some of that; it’s just crazy stuff. Basically, that God is…you know…Panentheism or pantheism, that God is in everything; there’s no ultimate sovereignty or transcendence. God is in everything, and He’s kind of emerging to an understanding of Himself, self-actualization. So this thing…And then you have the whole notion that there is no objective truth. The openness of God is also in a postmodern view with Richard Rice who believes that God is historical, so much so that he does not know the future. He just has a better understanding than we do; He’s smart enough to guess. And so it brought it all the way down.

 

Now, what I’m showing you is that really, when you look at the history of theology, way back in 300, it got hijacked by philosophy. Philosophy changed, Christianity split between the classical and the modern. Philosophy changed again, and there now is a three-way split, three different camps: postmodern, modern, and classical.

 

The revolution of Adventism is that when Adventism was founded, none of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church had doctoral degrees. None of them. That is significant. None of them had higher education. They were all laity. In other words, when the read the text, they took the text for what it was. When God was walking in the cool of the day, He was literally walking in the cool of the day. It was not a metaphor that you had to re-transpose from a Platonic dualistic worldview. The founders of Adventism looked at the text and said, “You know what? When it says that the sanctuary was built that God may dwell among us, was literally God dwelling among us.”

 

So the revolution of Seventh-day Adventism was really at the core of a total rejection of philosophy that had hijacked Christianity in the third century. Everyone following me? It’s a total rejection because, look, if the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church all had doctoral degrees in theology, guess what? We would have imported Platonic dualistic philosophy that would have impacted our understanding of Scripture. But the revolution of Adventism is that a group of people came to the text, and what a revolution: Let’s get our presuppositions from Scripture. And when God is walking, interacting with humanity, He literally is walking and interacting with humanity.

 

Some people assume that Adventism is just a hodge-podge of doctrines that have been brought together and imported from Evangelicals and so forth. To a certain degree, that is true, but on a fundamental deeper level, Adventism is a revolution in that a people dared to get their presuppositions for doing theology, not from philosophy, but from Scripture. That’s the revolution of Adventism.

 

And this whole scope of Christian theology, which is just, I mean, just mind blowing, that theology from the very beginning at its inception was an importation and an adoption of philosophy. Now, your common person, Evangelical, in the pew, they’re not going to recognize this, but I guarantee that every PhD in the Evangelical world and the Protestant world and the Catholic world, they understand this. They understand that, in order to understand theology, you need to understand philosophy. And that’s unfortunate. And some people are like, you know, “Why do we need to go through all this stuff?” Well, it’s because error is out there, you know, and this helps us to understand where our Evangelical scholars are coming from, that Adventism is not just a hodgepodge, it really is, at the core, a revolution. And there is much more work that needs to be done in these lines.

 

I want to share with you some quotations. This is the Heaven-Earth dichotomy, timelessness. The timelessness element does not interact with earthly reality. Now, I want to give you some implications in regards to this teaching of a dualistic worldview. Philo, a Jew that had Platonic influences, Exodus, chapter 25, verse 8, remember? “Let them build Me a sanctuary, that I may” (what?) “dwell among them.” Look at his interpretation of this: “What is the meaning of God’s intention to dwell in the tabernacle? Not literal, not a literal understanding” Philo says that “God does not interact with humanity as dwelling in the sanctuary…God dwells with us…when the soul,” notice the language, “when the soul has a glimpse of the intellectual manifestations.” He said, “Look, it’s not a literal understanding. When God dwells with us, this is just figurative.”

 

Why is he saying that? It’s because of the Platonic worldview that got imported. All right? So, here it is. Thomas Aquinas, he is the father of Catholic theology, systematic theologian. Look at this. “God is without time and space.” This is Platonic dualism, this timeless reality. “God doesn’t have a body…He doesn’t need a sanctuary…It is evident that the house of the sanctuary was set up…that God may make Himself known there…The sanctuary is not necessary…and not literal.”

 

So you can see that the influences of these presuppositions when they come to the notion of the sanctuary, they say, “Look, this is just a metaphor. We can’t look at these things literally.”

 

All right, let’s move on. John Calvin, “Text cannot actually mean in ‘Heaven,’” in terms of the sanctuary. “Time and place,” or space, “are not important on the spiritual level…Sanctuary only refers to God’s presence of grace…Heaven is a metaphor…Spiritual level cannot be materialized…Time and Space would be a limitation to God.” This is the reformed theologian, Evangelicalism.

 

Now, Luther is, really at the core, a Calvinist. When you study Calvinistic theology, all John Calvin did was systematize Luther. So we need to look at when we as Seventh-day Adventists go out there and say, you know, “God built a sanctuary, that He may dwell among them,” the entire Evangelical world and Catholic world say, “You know what? That’s ludicrous.” That’s ludicrous, because from the Platonic dualistic perspective, this is impossible. This is impossible.

 

The biblical sanctuary doctrine, it rejects a Platonic worldview. It’s a radical departure from theology and philosophy. God is working in time and space. History is real and progressing. God is controlling time and history. An incredible [balance of] tension between immanence, God with us, and God is above us; and God is involved with us.

 

Now, when we look at the sanctuary, it really frames for us a model of understanding this historical reality of God interacting with humanity, not from a Transcendent-Platonic worldview, but from an interactive, real perspective with our human decisions in reality. When we come to the notion of “once saved, always saved,” that is because God, from His Platonic worldview, acts on humanity in an instant, and in that moment, you are instantly saved in your historical reality. That reality hits your soul. So these implications are all over the place when it comes to Christian theology.

 

Now, before we move on, I want to open the floor up for questions, if there are any, in terms of what we have just looked at up to this point. Any questions?

 

Yes.

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible])

 

So, just to summarize your question: How do we arrive at a biblical philosophy from the sanctuary?

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible])

 

Right, right. Well, I think that the biblical presuppositions need to come from the concept that God is not separate from human interaction. That’s one fundamental understanding. And that presupposition comes from…I mean, a third grader can come to that understanding from just reading Genesis, God interacting with humanity, God dwelling with us. So I think that we need to understand this hermeneutical principle that the Bible is to be taken literally unless the context determines it otherwise. That is a fundamental, hermeneutical principle that I believe that we as Seventh-day Adventists follow. It is to be taken literally; otherwise, you can explain everything away, that it’s just a metaphor. Genesis 1, six literal, contiguous days – just a metaphor, that it just becomes this wax nose that you can move in any which way.

 

But when you follow that principle, then you can logically come to the conclusion that God is interacting with humanity, literally, not figuratively, that He’s in this dynamic with humanity. So I think that we really need to build a true biblical philosophy, and arguably a lot of work has not been done in that perspective. Even our understanding of sin is Platonic in some terms. When we talk about sin of being, what does that mean?! That is a philosophical term. And if you ask the Evangelicals, the sin of being is described as total depravity of the soul, but as Adventists, we don’t believe in the soul. So, what does that do with out concept of sin? We really need to do more work on that rather than just importing sin of being from the Evangelicals because we’re also importing a Platonic view of human nature. Are you following me in those terms?

 

So, we need to do more work on that rather than just saying, you know, “Sin is a sin of being.” What does that mean?! Well, the Evangelicals will tell you that’s the soul. Well, we don’t believe in the soul, so, what does that mean to Seventh-day Adventists? So, all of these things are being imported, and even in terms of salvation, it’s being imported as well, in terms of how you are saved. In the historical reality of salvation, if God is historical, in terms…I’m not saying He’s not eternal, but if God is historical and moving with humanity, that has an important implication in terms of how salvation works. If it’s not an instantaneous act of God in the Calvinistic perspective, what does that mean that He’s relating to us individually in this interaction of faith and openness toward God?

 

Yes?

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible] Within Adventism, there’s increasing desire for pastors to have advanced theological degrees [Inaudible] any of them are getting their advanced doctoral degrees in Evangelical or Protestant seminaries. How much of this is now impacting the Adventist pastoral [Inaudible]?

 

I’ll make some broad statements and then get down to more applications. Anytime you receive an education, you’re receiving a hermeneutical change, meaning that education is a way of forming our presuppositions, okay? It’s not by accident. In the last seminar, we talked about Desmond Ford. You look at where Desmond Ford got his doctoral degree, he got it from an Evangelical scholar. He imported certain Evangelical theories in terms of a framework centering on the courtyard of the sanctuary that made the cleansing of the sanctuary on the Day of Atonement incompatible with his understanding of salvation. So it led to a rejection of that.

 

So we need to recognize that anytime we receive an education, particularly a doctoral level education because a doctoral level education, you’re questioning the foundations and the presuppositions and reformatting those that have huge implications as it comes out. So, that is a reality. That is a reality when it comes to education. Now, in terms of…You talked about our pastors and so forth, you know, I went to the seminary, and it’s not something that is a…This type of theory is something that I learned to avoid at the seminary, not to espouse. Okay? When it comes to Platonic worldview.

 

Soteriology, salvation story, not Platonic, that’s a whole other discussion that we’ll discuss when we address day six in terms of last-generation theology. But that is not a Platonic discussion. So, in terms of your question specifically, I do not believe that our pastors are being influenced by Platonic dualism, okay? I believe that there are other things that are challenging our church, and when you look at the history of theology…We’ll talk a little bit more about that, but specifically, I do not believe our pastors are importing Platonic dualism into their theology, but I will say this, that we need to be very careful when we read Evangelical authors, okay? Evangelical authors have…You know, I’ve been blessed by them. There have been things that I have learned, but we need to understand that the Evangelical framework, when you peel it all the way down to its fundamental presuppositions, which are not evident, they are coming from a worldview that is totally different than the Seventh-day Adventist, what I believe to be, the biblical worldview.

 

But when you import these teachings, we need to understand that there is a little Plato and Aristotelian metaphysics that is coming along for the ride as well. And when you try to systematically form it in theology, it becomes a real challenge.

 

Now, when we talk about systematic theology, we’re talking about these packages in which, when you have a certain view of sin, it impacts your Christology, okay? Nature of Christ, we’ll get into that day six, or seminar six. It impacts your eschatology; all of these things switch around. So when you switch one little thing here in the beginning, it has implications. Now, there are some people that have incoherent systematic theologies, meaning that they don’t switch it all away; they believe this even though it’s incompatible with this, but you just need someone to come along and say, “You know what? This switch means this switch, means this switch, means this switch,” all right? And that’s what we need to be very careful of, and there was one little switch way in the beginning, A.D. 300! That’s a long time ago! Switch has implications all the way along.

 

And then suddenly a group of people came along that had the audacity to read the Bible for what it was, and really, this is not new. It’s a rediscovery of the first-century theology. The New Testament, that is the reality that is taking place. So Adventism is really a rediscovery, a continuation, of true apostolic succession. That’s what we’re talking about here.

 

Yes, in the very back.

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible])

 

Yes, at the end, I will give you a link that you can download the slides as well as other resources that you can look at. But I’m a pastor. I pastor in Anchorage, Alaska. I just moved there a year ago. And I tell our congregation, I say, “Hey, don’t listen to me either. I could be a heretic.” You know? I could be way off. And we believe in the notion of the priesthood of all believers. The Bereans. You need to study the Bible for yourself. And I tell people, look, if you read the Bible and…If you were just to read the five “Conflict of the Ages” series books (Patriarchs and Prophets, Prophets and Kings, Acts of the Apostles, the others), if you were to read those, I believe that you would have the right presuppositions for doing theology.

 

The issue is that we’re not reading the Bible, and we’re not reading the Spirit of Prophecy, and we’re going to the latest Evangelical author for our understanding of the gospel, and much of it may be good, but we need to understand that there are these little, not little, but HUGE implications that you are bringing in. And suddenly you come to a discussion in Sabbath School, and someone’s talking, and you’re like, “Wow, that sounds different.” Well, it’s because they’re coming from a framework that they are starting to systematically develop in their mind because they’re reading the stuff that comes from this Aristotelian, metaphysics, Platonic dualism that is unbiblical. That’s the stuff that’s being imported in. It’s like the Trojan Horse that just comes in.

 

So, we need to look at things as a package. When you import something into your theology, it has its way of changing your theology. So we need to get our presuppositions from Scripture. Now, how do you do that? Well, read it! All right? Read it. Read the Bible. Read it. Because you develop subconsciously these presuppositions. Read the Bible, read the Spirit of Prophecy, and these presuppositions…You’re not going to be thinking, “Oh, I need to put that presupposition…” It just happens.

 

It just goes back there, and then suddenly when you hear someone say something…Now, I’m not a musician, but when I hear someone play the piano, and they hit a wrong note, I’m like, “That doesn’t sound right,” right? That doesn’t sound right. And it’s the same way. If you are filling your mind with the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, before long, your presuppositions start forming, and suddenly when you hear someone say something, and you’re like, “That doesn’t sound right.” This has happened to me many times, and you can’t quite put your finger on it. I’m like, “That just doesn’t sound right. That sounds just a little bit…,” it just is incompatible.

 

And then when I go to dig a little bit deeper in their theology, I’m like, oh, I knew I read that quote from Ellen White that totally contradicts what this person is saying. So that’s what we need to do. We need to be people that are reading the prophet. Amen? Reading the prophet. And, you know, I could have made this seminar very quick in the beginning and just say, “Hey, read the Spirit of Prophecy. You don’t need to worry about this stuff.” But you really don’t because it’s foolishness. I mean, it’s foolishness.

 

I mean, Plato made this stuff up, and then it got imported into theology, and we’re dealing with the implications to this day. Adventism is a total rejection of this by default. So, when we read Ellen White, when we read the Bible, we are developing the right presuppositions for theology, and it develops a framework, a systematic theology that is coherent. I believe that the two most coherent, rational theologies in the world today are Catholicism and Adventism. Catholicism is logical, built on tradition and philosophy. Adventism is logical, built on Scripture. All right? Protestantism is kind of in this middle zone. They haven’t taken it all the way to the logical conclusion of Sola Scriptura, and when you don’t do that, you go back to momma, and that’s what’s happening. That’s what’s happening. The whole counter-reformation, it’s worked. The whole counter-reformation, it’s worked.

 

My friend John Baxter, yes.

 

(John Baxter, Attendee: [Inaudible])

 

Yes, immortal soul…right…yes, right…right…right…exactly. To summarize what John said, this is really going back to Genesis 3 when the devil said, “You shall not surely die.” So, this dualistic element really has its origins in Genesis.

 

Yes, over here, and then back here.

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible])

 

Right, right. Well, I will say that the average person in the Evangelical pew does not recognize that this exists. They are being taught the implications of the deeper philosophical root, and the brilliant thing about Adventist Bible studies is that usually the first lesson or the second lesson you establish the authority of Scripture, okay? And basically, when I’m studying with a Protestant, I call them on Sola Scriptura as a core Protestant belief. And so, once you establish, “Look, we’re going to base everything upon the Bible in a literal reading of the Bible (unless the context determines it otherwise),” then you have a foundation to move forward. If you cannot build that foundation, it makes it a very difficult Bible study. So that would be my goal, and that’s what our Adventist Bible studies do.

 

I saw a hand over here in the back row. Yes.

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible])

 

You know, to be honest, I have not read the literature on which entity the devil exists in, in Protestant literature. We need to recognize that when these theologians are doing work, they’re starting with a certain premise, and then they work its way around to, how does this impact salvation? How does this impact eschatology? And I’m assuming there’s someone that says, “How does this impact our view of Satan?” But you see what’s happening. When people are doing theology, they’re really just reasoning from a presupposition. So, I mean, I’d be interested to see what kind of development that has been in terms of, I don’t know if it’s, demonology or whatever you call it.

 

Yes.

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible])

 

No, no! Yes, very careful. Yeah, very good point. Ellen White actually says there are going to be people in Heaven that do not perfectly understand the gospel. And I want you to think about the implications of that. So, Ellen White talks about Luther. Ellen White talks about Calvin. These are reformers that we’re talking about here. And I believe that…I can’t be the judge, but that Luther’s going to be in Heaven, Calvin’s going to be in Heaven, so we’re not talking about entrance into Heaven. We’re talking about biblical theology. God takes every person for where they’re at, in their own framework and their own understanding.

 

Now, what this does for us as Seventh-day Adventists living right before the Second Coming of Jesus is that I believe that the Baptist framework for theology is a theology that you can die by. To be very clear, you can be a Baptist today, accept Jesus, and if you die – saved, considering that you’ve accepted Jesus and all that, you know? But the thing is, that the Seventh-day Adventist framework is not a theology just to die by. It’s a theology that is postured and built for a people to be alive when Jesus comes the second time? You following me? That has HUGE implications.

 

So, you can be a Baptist today and die, and you can be saved. But the thing is, in the end to time…[Attendee makes comment]…I want to be very careful. In the end of time, the price for deception is at the highest cost ever in history. In other words, if you’re deceived into receiving the mark of the beast, the Bible says you’re lost! So, the price for deception is amped up and escalated. So, these are the terms that we’re talking about. We’re not talking about salvation during the Middle Ages. We’re talking about salvation in the twenty-first century on the very cusp of eternity when there is going to be a group of people that are alive when Jesus comes and when the cost for deception and the paramount value of truth is the highest in human history. So that’s what we’re talking about.

 

So, yeah, just to be clear, I’m not saying that Luther is going to be lost, and Calvin’s going to be lost, you know. I’m just saying that these things got imported into theology, and that the Adventist revolution was a repudiation by default, of this. And that, when we relate to other brothers and sisters of other denominations, it helps us to recognize the core elements of Adventist teaching and Evangelical, Protestant, Catholic teaching as well.

 

Yes, I saw a hand over there. Did I see a hand? Yes.

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible])

 

Very well said. Yes.

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible]) Beyond that, if we think Baptists [Inaudible], we should leave them alone, because the Adventist message has a whole lot more, and there’s a lot more sacrifice. They’d be better off to let those people stay Baptist [Inaudible], but that’s not what the message is. [Inaudible]

 

Exactly, so, there is a common sentiment, you know, we should just minister to the unchurched, okay, and leave the other denominations alone, but we need to recognize that the End-Time deceptions are not aimed at the lost; they’re aimed at the saved. So it’s very important that we tell our brothers and sisters in other denominations the truth because it becomes the antidote for deception.

 

Yes.

 

(ATTENDEE: [Inaudible])

 

And, just as we wrap up here, just something to think about, is that, when, from this framework, there are thinktanks from a theological framework that orchestrate a worship service with an understanding of the body-soul dichotomy. So, the music, the way that the music is brought together, is all intended for a way to reach the soul. Are you following me? That soul has a certain emotive value to it. So we need to understand that there is a whole structure that is built on a certain understanding of human nature that is Platonic. The soul. So, you bring the service to a certain helm, and I remember one of my professors saying that the music is brought to a certain realm so that your soul can be ministered to during the worship service. Your soul! Now, from a Seventh-day Adventist perspective, with our holistic view of human nature, we need to structure our worship service from that framework, not from a dualistic standpoint.

 

And I’m not saying that our music should not have emotional value, but we need to be thinking in terms of this. And this is what I mean, that when we import certain aspects from our Evangelical brothers, we are bringing other things with it that, if you work it out to its logical conclusion all the way around, it really changes our Adventist identity fundamentally. Fundamentally.

 

Now, this is the only presentation that is on this level, so I promise I won’t be doing this again, okay? The next presentation this afternoon is a central pillar, and this, to me, really has solidified my faith in the Adventist message. We’ll be looking at the validity of the sanctuary being a framework for understanding.

 

Our next one right after that is “Gospel Wars.” There is this whole divide within Adventism and Evangelicalism between the imputed and the imparted righteousness of Christ. And we’ll see how theology goes in this reactionary back-and-forth realm. And we have camps in Adventism that are like, “You know what? It’s all about justification.” Other camps that say, you know, “It’s all about this other element of transformation.” Which is it and how does that relate in gospel wars?

 

Of course, on Friday, “Last Generation Theology.” We’ll be covering the theology of Heppenstall, of M.L. Andreasen and the implications. And then in “The Omega Apostasy,” we’ll be tackling the whole Kellogg, and then the omega apostasy related to mysticism and how it’s coming into Protestantism and Evangelicalism and into a little bit of Adventism, too, as well.

 

What’s that? The link, yes. All right. I missed a bunch of stuff…Okay, here’s the link for today, and let’s bow our heads for prayer, and then I’ll let you go here. I went over a little bit.

 

Father in Heaven, we thank You so much for the truths of Scripture, and we thank You for the Adventist movement, that a group of people had the audacity to take the Bible as it read and be humbled enough to take their presuppositions from Scripture, not from philosophy. We pray that You’d help us to read the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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