The Challange of a Changing Faith

Speaker: Categories: Mar 10, 1990


[57min, 9sec / 34min, 35sec]


Just over a year ago, Seventh-day Adventists around the world devoted attention to the "Twenty-seven Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists" through the adult Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly. That two-quarter, in-depth study was designed to help solidify and validate our belief system.

For some, that study produced a rather startling revelation; namely, that our fundamental beliefs have changed over time! The legacy of truth, which some had concluded was "handed down to the fathers" and had been preserved inviolate by the church during the last one hundred forty years, was discovered to be changeable and still changing!

That revelation brought optimism and hope to some; to others, only an increased , "use for lament as they saw the "landmark doctrines" and the "pillar truths" being reinterpreted, undermined, and redefined by mortals -- mortals who often were kindly labeled as "liberals" and/or "progressives."

In October of last year the Fourth National Association of Adventist FORUMS Conference was held in Seattle. Its theme: "The Progressive Adventist: Oxymoron or Wave of the Future." Meetings, spread over two and one-half days, addressed a myriad of topics all of which were associated with that paradoxical theme: The Progressive Adventist!

Most of those fortunate enough to attend this conference came away with a new inspiration, a new sense of challenge, a renewed understanding of truth, how it's transmitted, and how it's defined.

The first presentation at this conference was made by Dr. Richard Rice, our March speaker. His topic then was "The Nature and Qualities of a Progressive Faith."

"Religious faith, like all human experience, is progressive by nature," Dr. Rice contends. "It never stands still." Again, this would appear to some to be a denial of the inviolate nature of inspired truth, a kind of "ever-arriving, never-getting-there" philosophy which would keep us, as individuals and as a church, forever in ferment!

Dr. Rice continues, "However, changes in faith can be either positive or negative, and to some extent we can control the direction they take. The [March FORUM] presentation will explore the reasons why faith changes, the sort of changes to which it is susceptible, and the ways we can influence its development." To this writer that seems to be a challenging proposition! How about you?


Richard Rice has presented at San Diego FORUM meetings three times in the past decade with the topics: "Divine Foreknowledge and Human Will" (3/81); "Finding Your Religious Metaphor" (10/84); and "A Christian Perspective on Suffering" (1/86). His presentations have regularly challenged and stimulated members and guests in attendance.

Our March speaker obtained his Ph.D. and M. A. degrees from the University of Chicago Divinity School. 1974 and 1972; his M.Div. degree from Andrews University Theological Seminary, 1969; and his B.A. degree from Loma Linda University, 1966.

He is a Professor of Theology, School of Religion, LLU. He has served as associate pastor of the La Sierra and the Azure Hills Seventh-day Adventist Churches.

He has authored four books: Reason and the Contours of Faith, (to be published by Loma Linda University Press); The Reign of God: An Introduction to Christian Theology from a Seventh-day Adventist Perspective (1985); When Bad Things Happen to God’s People! (1985; and The Openness of God: The Revelation of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will (1980).

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