Forgiveness: the Final Form of Love

Speaker: Categories: Jan 11, 2003


[1hr, 12min / 1hr, 5min, 43sec]


How recently have you reviewed your copy of the Twenty-Seven Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, the document adopted in 2000 by the General Conference session in Dallas, Texas? Do you even have a copy among the treasured items on your bookshelves?

When this document was first made available to church membership, a pastor noted, with curiosity and distress, that nowhere in this updated statement of doctrines was there any mention of forgiveness!! Was such an omission by design or an oversight?

Now, nearly twenty-two years later, San Diego Adventist Forum will host a speaker and an entire presentation on the topic of forgiveness. Is this by chance - or by design? Have SDAs been missing out on some essential part of their religious experience along the way?

Dr Richard Rice will return to San Diego for the seventh time to share his convictions - this time about forgiveness. In the past he has challenged our thinking with:

·        Divine Foreknowledge and Human Will3/81

·        Finding Your Religious Metaphor10/84

·        A Christian Perspective on Suffering1/8n

·        The Challenge of a Changing Faith3/90

·        Faith and Reason: Are They Compatible? 10/93 New Directions in SDA Theology10/98

Regarding the January 11 topic, he has noted:

“Forgiveness is a topic whose time has come. We hear the word almost daily in the newspaper from heads of state to heads of churches. It has become a hot topic in psychology, philosophy and theology in recent years, as well as in diplomacy. Yet its central meaning is always religious. Reinhold Niebuhr defined forgiveness as"the final form of love,"and regarded love as a virtue available to individuals, but not to groups. This raises interesting, perhaps rhetorical, questions about forgiveness, but questions which should help to construct some focal points for the upcoming Forum presentation. What does it mean to forgive? What is the relation between forgiveness and justice? Does forgiveness undermine justice? Does forgiveness fulfill the goals of justice? And, what sort of actions need forgiveness? Are certain things unforgivable? Are unforgivable deeds the only ones that really need forgiveness, as French philosopher Jacques Derrida asserts?"

Dr. Rice promises we'll look at forgiveness primarily within the context of Christian faith and see how it relates to forgiveness in some of these other contexts.


In addition to his most recent book, Believing, Behaving, Belonging: Finding New Love for the Church, published by the Association of Adventist Forums and available from the AAF/Spectrum office, P. O. Box 619047, Roseville, CA 95661-9047, phone: 916-774-1080, Dr. Rice has also authored:

·        Searching for an Adequate God: a Dialogue Between Process and Freewill Theists(2000)

·        The Openness of God: a Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God(1994)

·        Reason and the Contours of Faith(1991)

·        The Reign of God: and Introduction to Christian Theology from a Seventh-day Adventist Perspective(1985, revised edition, 1997)

·        When Bad Things Happen to Good People (1985) The Openness of God: the Relation of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will(1985)

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San Diego, CA 92142

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