Adventism in the Twentieth Century

Speaker: Categories: May 13, 2000


[1hr, 17min, 45sec / 53min, 36sec]


Taking a look back . . .  Is there value in such an endeavor? Does not such a retrospective process deter one from a forward look, a look at tomorrow and all its opportunities? Does a rear-view mirror in an automobile serve a necessary purpose? And do the side-view appendages help fulfill that purpose even more?

Can we know, with any degree of certainty, where we are if we are uninformed and ignorant about where we've been? How do we recognize change, for better or for worse, except by noting the present in the context of the past?

Our May speaker, returning for his sixteenth San Diego Adventist Forum appointment, will guide our looking back. First he'll review the present state of Adventism -- a mature world-wide church - - compared to the embryonic beginnings at the dawn of the last century. The polity and governance in 1901 may have proved ideal for transforming the fledgling organization into an effective force for reaching almost every nation, kindred, tongue, and people,"but, are the same structure and governance appropriate today?"he asks.

And what about the belief system of this remnant group -- how did it come about?"What doctrinal struggles became evident, what biblical hermeneutics evolved? What progress, or lack thereof, might be identified in the past century?”, Dr. Cottrell queries. What church resources were devoted to these challenges -- rather than directed toward other activities more in keeping with the mission of the church? To what extent are these past-century challenges still demanding attention now in the twenty-first century?


Dr. Raymond Cottrell notes,“It has been my pleasure to serve the church with unabated devotion for seventy years – forty-seven in active service and twenty-three in active retirement. This service has included pastoral evangelism, mission service in China, college level Bible teaching, and twenty-five years as an editor with the Review and Herald Publishing Association adjacent to the General Conference headquarters in Washington D.C. During that time I wrote more than two thousand pages for, and edited, the SDA Bible Commentary, as well as serving on any and all committees involved in biblical hermeneutics. The focus of my personal interest and attention has ever been accurate exegesis of the Bible.”

“In retirement,” he continues, “I have taught part time for Loma Linda University and La Sierra University. I have written extensively, and have been an active participant in several conference committees. As a member of the Constitution Committee, I wrote the constitution under which the Southeastern California Conference now operates.”

“As a fourth generation Adventist,” observes Dr. Cottrell, “my personal service to the church goes back more than half way to the founding of the GC in 1863. I have served under eight GC presidents (one of whom ordained me to the Gospel ministry). I have participated in most of the events of which I will be speaking on May 13.”

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