Market-Driven Theology: Retarding the Growth of Adventism

Speaker: Categories: Jul 14, 2007


[1hr, 1min, 34sec / 45min, 28sec]


What do Adventists believe -Adventists, the church members,notthe"official"statement of beliefs, ie.,The Twenty-seven Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists? Would these personalized beliefs differ from one local church to another, from one Conference to another; from one Union or Division to another? Are those personalized beliefs ever fixed or always in flux? How about your beliefs - have they been rather fixed since baptism or are they continually undergoing change and revision?

Mike Scofield has been intrigued by such questions and will report some of his convictions and findings on July 14. He notes,"This presentation delineates the difference between formal Adventist theology (as voted by"the brethren") and informal or popular Adventist theology (what most Adventists believe, but never articulated, nor clarified, nor had affirmed by church authorities). The popular beliefs tend to be"market-driven"coming from grass roots, but also heavily influenced (and propagated) by the creative expression (lyrics, folk stories, even illustrations) in the Adventist culture and media."

He assures that we will look at what grass-roots Adventists (in North America only) expect of their church and their religious experience. They do not want controversy or uncertainty. Forum activities make many of them uncomfortable. They want simple theological models. They want to feel secure in their identity, and be a part of a successful church with a good community image. Yet, when asked about their personal salvation, many Adventists are not sure. Why is that?


Michael Scofield is Manager of Data Asset Development for ESRI, Inc., the world's largest geospatial software company headquartered in Redlands, CA. He also holds a faculty appointment of Assistant Professor at Loma Linda University where he lectures in several departments.

Mr. Scofield is a popular speaker in the information technology disciplines of data management, data quality assessment, and data warehousing. He has given over 150 data management lectures and workshops in 23 states, Australia, and the UK. This October he will make his seventh trip to London to lecture at the European Metadata Conference. His professional articles appear inData Management Review,Information Week, and other journals. He also has humor published in theL.A. Timesand other journals.

Indeed, he is a sixth generation Adventist. He served on the Pacific Union College Church Structure Committee (1984) and the Forum Task Force on Church Structure (1985). He has had several articles published inSpectrum, andAdventist Today. He is a guest presenter at numerous"progressive"Sabbath School classes.

He has shared some of his convictions with SDAF on five earlier occasions:

9/81Why Do Church Leaders Make Such Decisions?

4/85The Church: Image versus Reality

8/92Communication Tech / 4 Stages of Adventism

11/98Models for Understanding SDA Pluralism

11/99Sabbath and Sabbath-Keeping - Today (a panel)

On his most recent Sunday morning in London, he was invited to carry the silver chalice of communion wafers in the mid-service communion procession at Southwark Cathedral. Yet he claims to be an Adventist! His excuse is that one can hear the pipe organ better at the altar than from the back of the cathedral where most Adventists sit.

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