Adventism on the Way to the Future

Speaker: Categories: Feb 11, 1995


[55min, 8sec / 50min, 56sec]


The future -- it's uncertain, unpredictable, yet exciting. The future of Adventism is certainly no exception. Fortunately, there are individuals within the church who are pondering what that future might be like. The February presentation will give evidence of such ponderings as Dr. Fritz Guy returns to San Diego.

He notes, "The Adventist future will almost certainly be more open, more inclusive, and more culturally responsive (that is, more liberal) and more affirmatively diverse (more pluralistic) than is the Adventist present.

Indeed, a surprising number and variety of liberalizing factors are already present . . . Some of these factors are theological, some historical. Most of them are not accidental or incidental aspects of Adventist faith and life; they are defining characteristics of authentic Adventism, and many of them can be attributed to the remarkable influence of Ellen G. White. They are the impetus toward an Adventist future that is theologically progressive, spiritually healthy, and demographically inclusive."

"Of course, these are not the only factors that will shape the Adventist future. There are also powerful conservative factors that tend to make the future a continuation of the present, as well as some reactive factors that tend to make the future a return to the past. [The] precise shape will be determined by the particular mix of liberalizing, conservative, and reactive factors .... "

"For better or worse (and probably both), Adventist pluralism is already here," observes Dr. Guy. "The picture of a universally homogeneous Adventism -- with every believer around the world studying the same Sabbath School lesson, singing the same hymns, having the same lifestyle, and understanding Adventist beliefs in the same way -- is an illusion. It probably never was a reality; it certainly is not now; and it will not be in the future."


A third generation Seventh-day Adventist and a graduate of La Sierra College, the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, and the University of Chicago, Dr. Guy has served the church as a pastor, as an evangelist, and as an editor. For three years he was president of La Sierra University after a seven-year tenure as professor of theology at Andrews University. Currently, he continues at his alma mater, La Sierra, as professor of theological studies.

Dr. Guy is a member of the Adventist Society for Religious Studies, the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Christian Philosophers, and the International Society for the Study of Time. He serves on the Gender Inclusiveness Commission of the Southeastern California Conference.

He and his wife Marcia, who will accompany him on February 11, have three adult children -- Linda Davis, a certified public accountant in Washington; Richard Guy, a teacher of mathematics and computing at the University of Guam; and Susan Reeder, principal of Emerald Junior Academy, Eugene, Oregon.

He has been extensively published in Adventist Review, Ministry, Journal of Adventist Education, and Spectrum. A brief synopsis of his coming presentation was published in the Recorder, October 17, 1994. The next issue of Spectrum will contain a full development of this topic. So, watch for it and read it in preparation for the February 11 meeting. Dr. Guy has previously spoken at the San Diego Forum in 1982, 1987, and most recently in 1993. His research and his presentations have been much appreciated by Forum audiences.

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