Pilgrimage

Speaker: Categories: Jul 08, 1995

 

[1hr, 14min, 39sec / 56min, 48sec]

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

The sharing of ones life story often elicits sympathetic vibrations in those listening as common elements are identified. "I've had the same feelings" or "That's just what happened to me" are rather commonly shared responses. This will most likely be the case when Dr. VanDenburgh shares his pilgrimage, his introduction and commitment to Adventism as well as some of the questions and reservations he has regarding his calling to ministry and his association with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

At age twenty-one, while a graduate student at Syracuse University, he first "seriously considered," as he notes, II the basic questions of religion: is there a God? how do we know? what is he/she like? what difference does it make? what lies beyond death? is this life all there is? where did we come from? where are we going? what is the purpose of life? what is the meaning of human existence?" Have you heard these questions before? Did you utter them?

"In the course of my investigation" he observes, "I first became convinced that there had been a creation, that the Bible was a revelation of God, that Jesus was literally risen from the dead, and that he was my savior and lord." Because of his interest in the Sabbath, Dr. VanDenburgh became interested in Seventh-day Adventists.

A reading of "The Pilgrim Fathers" chapter in a gift copy of The Great Controversy convinced David that it was his duty to "live by the same covenant they lived by: to follow God in all his ways made known or to be made known." It was his conviction that, should he find such a group of Christians living by this dictum and dedicated to the truth as found in Jesus Christ, he would join them in their continued quest for truth. He chose to become a Seventh-day Adventist because "this was the closest thing I could find to New Testament Christianity." He did, however, keep in mind that, should any other group be identified which lived more closely to that New Testament model, he would join them!

He is committed to fostering that New Testament model, not necessarily promoting any given denomination. Understandably, this raises quest ions - - both in his mind and in the minds of his fellow pastors and church administrators. He does not, as do many, equate commitment to Jesus as synonymous with commitment to Seventh-day Adventism! "I became an Adventist because I understood Adventism as radically committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I remain an Adventist because I still believe that that is the root of Adventism's life even though .... "

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Raised in Upstate New York, David VanDenburgh graduated with a B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1969 from Union College, Schenectady, New York. He continued graduate study at Syracuse University where his quest for answers to some basic questions of life led him to Adventism. While attending Andrews University, 1970-73, where he received his M. Div. degree, he met his wife, Chris, who is now an R.N. working at Loma Linda Medical Center. They have two sons. The older has just returned from a year as a student missionary in the Marshall Islands and who will continue his studies at Pacific Union College this fall. The younger is a third grader.

David's pastorates have included assignments in Georgia, Tennessee, and Central California before coming to Campus Hill in 1986. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1992.

Dr. VanDenburgh is an adjunct professor at Loma Linda University. He has been actively associated with clinical and pastoral education. He is a member of the Southeastern California Conference Executive Committee.

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