The Ethos of Adventism

Speaker: Categories: Aug 08, 1998


[57min, 58sec / 36min, 49sec]


What if the church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as an entity, could be invited to tell something about itself? What would the church, again as an entity, say? Would it respond by listing theTwenty-seven Fundamental Beliefs, telling of their adoption date, and giving a proof-text for each? Would it cite the Millerite movement a century and a half ago, the Great Disappointment, and what followed? Would it tell of its mission program, its system of Christian education, its world-wide membership statistics?

If a new friend asked you about the SDA church, how would you respond? Would your response today be any different than ten, twenty, or thirty years ago??

Theethosof Adventism, according to Webster referring to itscharacteristic attitudes and habits, may be what the friend is asking about. And that's what Dr. Cottrell will be talking about on August 8 when he returns for hisfifteenth appointmentas a San Diego Forum speaker.

Dr. Raymond Cottrell notes that probing and taking a look at ourselves in this manner, is what the apostle Paul advocated when counseling his Corinthian readers to"examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. ..“

(2 Corinthians 13:5)

The Ethos of Adventismexplores the guiding beliefs, principles, and interrelationships that characterize and motivate us as a community of faith dedicated to Jesus Christ. Understandingwhywe are as we are andwhywe relate to one another as we do can help us understand and relate to one another, and to the church and its mission, more effectively.“Self-awareness,” he contends,"is essential to mature individual personhood; it is equally essential to our corporate personhood as a church."

To help put this topic in perspective, our August speaker shares the story of a sentry posted at the entrance to the British Foreign Office to warn visitors not to touch the wall. One day an inquisitive visitor asked why. The sentry replied that he did not know. Persistent research led to an order issued some thirty years before, when the wall was covered with fresh paint! Are we as Seventh-day Adventists in danger of going about what we assume to be our divinely appointed task without checking to see if we are about our Master's business as he would have us be today?

The Ethos of Adventism,” Dr. Cottrell promises,"explores eight areas of the life and mission of the church: our self-identity and sense of mission, our polity and governance, how and why members and leaders relate to one another as we do, how we formulate doctrine (hermeneutics), our belief system, our perspective of salvation history, the rise of Ellen White, and how our witness to the everlasting gospel could be made more effective."


Raymond F. Cottrell has served the church as pastor, evangelist, missionary, professor, and editor. He has authored more than two thousand pages of theSDA Bible Commentary, written numerous articles for theSDA Bible DictionaryandSDA Encyclopedia, and one-third ofProblems in Bible Translations.Beyond Tomorrow,Faith and Reason,Crisis in Victory, andPerfection in Christare also his workmanship. This octogenarian has served on a host of SDA committees, boards, and advisory groups. His scholarship and expertise are held in the highest esteem. His wealth of understanding and insight into the milieu of Adventism is unmatched.

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