Independent Ministries - Bane or Blessing?

Speaker: Categories: Mar 04, 1995

 

[56min, 55sec / 17min, 13sec]

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

It's difficult to have a week go by without receiving in the mail a publication offer, a request for funds, or a treatise on some aspect of Adventist theology originating from an independent Adventist ministry. Dr. Landa notes, "Independent ministries present the contemporary Seventh-day Adventist church with a major dilemma. While hundreds of entities, not officially related to the church, are making significant and vitally supportive contributions to Adventism's outreach around the world, many are fomenting distrust, disunity, and divisions driving members away from the church and siphoning millions of dollars from the denomination's budgets."

"The magnitude of the problem was exposed in 1992, when the North American Division published a 467-page collection of documents under the title -- Issues: the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Certain Private Ministries. The publication exposed the negative and destructive effects of such entities as the Hope International/Hartland Institute and the Prophecy Countdown (Johnny Osborne) group," our March speaker observes. By the way, were you aware of this publication? Did you see it reported in the Review?

Dr. Landa contends that independent ministries represent the best and the worst in Adventism and that from the church's early beginnings such ministries have made major contributions to the church worldwide. Such ministries keep growing as more Adventists rediscover the doctrine of the "Priesthood of all believers." Certainly such trends would be considered the best.

"But there is also a dark underside," he maintains, "which reveals what is worst in Adventism -- a desire by some for celebrity status and for control over the lives of others, a desire to perpetuate the status quo or to drag the church back into an historic Adventism that never was . . . . These destructive endeavors deserve our repudiation."

The March 4 meeting, the speaker assures, will take a broad look at independent ministries, provide some guidelines to help sort out the best from the worst, and consider what the growth of such ministries might be telling us about our church.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

The son of Adventist missionary parents, Paul Landa earned his BA from Avondale College, his MA from Andrews University, and a second MA and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. His academic specializations have been in the history of Christianity and the development of Christian thought in the patristic and Reformation periods. He has authored two books on strategic planning, contributed chapters to five more, and has been published in both scholarly and denominational journals. he was one of the founding editors of Adventist Heritage -- the denomination's only journal devoted exclusively to the study of Adventist history - - and has served for six years as its managing editor. He regularly conducts study tours to historically significant destinations around the world. In 1996 he will lead a group to China, Tibet, Nepal, and Northern Thailand.

This Professor of the History of Christianity in the School of Religion at La Sierra University has, on three earlier occasions, addressed cur Chapter with his most recent visit in January, 1994, when he reported on the research findings, Why People Leave the Adventist Church. His wife, Iris, is Associate Dean of Students at La Sierra.

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