SDA Message: What If It Were Based on Matthew?

Speaker: Categories: Apr 10, 1999


[57min, 29sec / 53min]


The Advent Message to all the world in this generation-- Many, perhaps most, readers will recall these words from their earlier days growing up Adventist. The goal identified was clear; the sense of urgency evident; and the imminent return of Jesus an accepted reality. Thiis motto guided decisions about school enrollment, career choices, perhaps even the selection of a marriage partner.

TheAdventmessage was assumed to be understood by all -- with no need to question its content nor to ask about its biblical source(s). Bible study lessons were written, distributed, completed, corrected, and returned. Evangelistic meetings and seminars focusing on last-day events were developed, advertised, presented, and manyprecious souls were won, becoming members of God's last-day remnant church! Attending such meetings created for many an image of God and of Jesus which may not have been the samegoodnews Matthew had in mind when writing his gospel.

Dr. Haldeman offers the following:"Matthew's model seems to be predicated on the five major Old Testamentteaching bookswith a four chapter introduction to present the agenda or purpose of his gospel. Matthew's goal is to show a Christ who teaches that the accepted religious doctrines of the day had been responsible for the exclusive attitude which made enemies rather than friends. Thus, the interpretation of theTorahwas the issue facing Jesus as Matthew presentshisChrist. The book's compelling content spells out compassion, the essence of the kingdom of God, as the antidote for legalistic and narrowly defined approaches to life. Throughout his gospel, Matthew contrasts the wisdom of Jesus with that of the Pharisees."

Dr. Haldeman asks and answers:"If one had only Matthew's gospel, would there be a different model of Christianity from what we have now through biblical synthesis? My answer, a definite yes."


Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies, La Sierra University, Dr. Madelynn Jones-Haldeman received her B. A. in Theology and German from Columbia Union College, her M.A. in Systematic Theology and Biblical Languages from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, and her Th.D. in Biblical Theology and Exegesis from Andrews University. For twenty-five years she taught at La Sierra University.

On two previous occasions she has shared her research with the San Diego Forum: April, 1984,Interpretation of Scripture, and March, 1988,A Biblical Perspective on Jewelry. She was also the stimulating presenter and discussion leader focusing on the gospels of Matthew and Luke at the first two Chapter retreats, October, 1997, and June, 1998.

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