The Future of Adventism

Speaker: Categories: Sep 10, 1988


[1hr, 16min, 25sec / 31min, 18sec]


This month's topic is by no means new to those who participate in the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Adventist FORUMS. During the past four years presentations, related to this topic, have been given with such titles as: "The Greening of Adventism," (Walters, 8/84); "The Church: Image versus Reality," (Scofield, 4/85); "Many Facets of Adventism," (Branson, 11/85); "The Changing Texture of Adventism," (Chand, 2/86); "Issues Facing Adventism," (Widmer, 7/86); "The Shape of an Adventist Future," (Guy, 5/87); and "Challenges F acing Adventism, " (Gifford, 2/88).

Why, then, another meeting focusing on this same topic? Don't we, by now, know what the future of Adventism is to be? And, as long as we're faithful and loyal, what difference does such a topic make anyway?

From our common vantage point within the organizational structure, changes and trends occur quite imperceptibly. Some such changes have become apparent through the current Sabbath School Quarterly study of the SDA Fundamental Beliefs. Of note has been the inclusion of beliefs #6-9, the topics of study during the month of August. None of these beliefs had been articulated in previous statements of "Fundamental Beliefs" going back to 1932, the documents to which easy access was available. Have our beliefs been changing and we didn't know it? Has "new light" illumined "truth" which was hidden before? Is the Church, today, the same as the one into which we were baptized x-years ago?

Dr. Cottrell suggests that during the past twenty years the Church has been going through a period of transition, the end of which in not yet in sight. Further, he questions what the church of tomorrow will be like if the present trend continues. He also recalls that in recent years the church has encountered a number of sometimes thorny issues, some of which have been rather traumatic.

The future of Adventism may be somewhat mirrored by events within the Southeastern California Conference. Dr. Cottrell notes:

"At the Triennial Constituency Meeting [of this Conference] on April 27, 1986 the constituency authorized a special constituency meeting to consider numerous constitutional questions that have arisen, and asked the Conference Constitutional Committee to consider these and other changes in the Constitution. In response, the Committee has drafted an entirely new document [emphasis supplied] which will be presented to the special meeting October 16, 1988." FORUM members, along with many others, must be curious about what changes are being proposed and how these changes might make a difference in how this Conference operates.

The timeliness of this topic presentation, coming just one month prior to the Constituency Meeting, would seem obvious.


Dr. Ray Cottrell needs no introduction to the San Diego Forum. A highly published author, editor, pastor and teacher, he has spoken to us five times within the past eight years -- by popular demand! Though retired since 1977, his awareness and shared insights into the "happenings" within the church we love have refreshed and stimulated many. He has been an active participant in formulating changes to Southeastern's Constitution.

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