Rescuing the Adventist Identity

Speaker: Categories: Mar 13, 1999


[57min, 32sec / 56min, 34sec]


"Who are you?” If asked that question by a stranger, what would be your response? Would you tell of your occupation, your family members, your place of residence, or ... ? If asked that question, “Who are you?"in the context of your religious affiliation, what would be your response? Would you tell of the 10,000,000 member church world-wide of which you're a part? Would you mention that SDAs worship on Saturday, the biblical Sabbath, and then quote a text or two to confirm the rightness of such a day of rest? Would you cite apillardoctrine which makes the Seventh-day Adventist church uniquely different from all the other denominations?

"Who are you?” It seems like a simple enough query, doesn't it? There certainly must be an equally simple answer, shouldn't there? If the question of identity were posed to an Adventist twenty years ago, would the response most likely have been different? How about fifty years ago . . . or a hundred . . .  or . . .  ? How about your parents'likely response, if SDAs and if living today? And as for the youth, how do the younger folks identify themselves?

Our March 13 speaker suggests thatstoryhas a part to play in defining Adventist identity. Whatstory, you may ask. A narrative about church history? A recounting of recenthappeningswithin Adventism? Just what is to be included under the heading:story?

Dr. Smuts van Rooyen will explore some of the factors which he sees as damaging to the denomination’s ecclesiastical self-definition. Might you have some ideas of what he might have in mind?

And what about the future? Pastor van Rooyen unequivocally states,“The Church, in my view, is in desperate need of renewal.”

How's that for an introduction into the discussion scheduled for March 13. How does the March topic dove-tail with the presentation by Dr. Frank Knittel just one month earlier,Adventism for the New Millennium?


On two previous occasions Dr. van Rooyen has shared some of his insights and convictions with our San Diego Adventist Forum Chapter. In January, 1992, he guided us in an exploration ofA Method of Biblical Interpretation. In March, 1996, his topic was:Adventists and Adventism Coping with Change.

After nine years as pastor of the Riverside SDA Church, Smuts just recently accepted the challenges of senior pastor of the Vallejo Drive Church in Glendale, California. He began his denominational employment with sixteen years as an undergraduate religion teacher in various SDA colleges. He spent tenwildernessyears [his terminology] outside denominational employment during which he worked as a lecturer for Good News Unlimited, counseled Battle Creek youth suffering from addictions, and completed his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Andrews University.

He has made the theme of his ministrythe grace of God as it is revealed in Jesus Christ. He is an oft-sought speaker for religious conferences and retreats. He was the Sabbath morning speaker at the 1996 Association of Adventist Forums Conference in San Diego. He and his wife Arlene have an adult son and two adult daughters, all living in Southern California.

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