Lake Union President
Things are quite different today than even ﬁve years ago. Worldwide strife continues to escalate, moral norms deteriorate, the polarization of our country continues to accelerate, even within our church. The hostility between ideologies is intense and things just seem different — but not for the better.
Last year, a friend who has a deep passion to keep our church centered on Christ and our message gave me a pa-per written by a former Adventist. While the observations were very instructive about mindsets in our culture, I feel the conclusion of the paper was very wrong. The author recognized the strong focus in the Seventh-day Adventist Church — and much of Christianity — to stay true to Scripture. That conviction leads us to give time and energy to deﬁ ne our hermeneutics, the rules for interpretation in the study of Scripture.
The article cited the cultural/societal change and compared it to two great forces which are relentlessly pushing into and against each other, creating great pressures in our society. The ﬁ rst force is consistent with the view shared by Sev-enth-day Adventists and much of the Evangelical community that the Word of God is authoritative truth, that the revela-tion of God to man through inspired Scripture is the guiding authority for our lives and reveals the only path to salvation.
But the other cultural force is the popular view that truth is primarily derived through experience and discovery; Scrip-ture is just one component and subject to scientiﬁc investigation. Science, then, is a greater source of truth, yet add-ed to science is the rather subjective idea that each person’s perspective, seen through his or her life experience is truth for them. It’s really nothing new. During the formative years of my generation, we called it existentialism — my existence determines reality. My experience determines what is good and bad, right and wrong.
A popular term today is emerging church, a postmodern, religious-based approach that emphasizes experience and minimizes tradition. Someone once said, “Drivers who are slower than you are idiots while those driving faster than you are maniacs,” illustrating the belief that my point of view, my experience, is the standard by which to judge others and deﬁ ne truth. This cultural force, this philosophical mindset, takes the free choice that God gives each of us and then stretches that reality to say that what I conclude for myself is valid truth, mirroring the thought process of Lucifer popularized by Frank Sinatra’s 1970 Grammy Award-winning release of, “I Did It My Way,” a prime example and description of the self-centered core of the sin problem.
My take on the author’s conclusion is that since society has moved into the concept and practice of truth by experi-ence and discovery, we as a church should simply roll over and accept this as reality instead of error. In short, give up on biblical truth! In essence, he is saying, “Don’t trust God; trust self. Put your experience — what you see, what you know — above what God has spoken. Whatever seems right in your eyes is the thing to do.”
Did a familiar text just come to mind? There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12 NKJV).
I encourage us to spend more personal time in God’s Word, to come to the Word with the heart of David: Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long (Psalm 25:4, 5 NIV).
NOTE: The message on this page is the Editorial in the current issue of the Lake Union Herald. It will be updated monthly.