Friday, December 23, 2005

News: Ford Forbidden, Alternative Arranged

adventist today | Adventist Church Authorities Forbid Dr. Desmond Ford'’s Participation In Spiritual Renaissance Retreat

Dr. Desmond Ford was a popular Adventist evangelist and theology professor from Australia who claimed that the doctrine of the investigative judgment, the only distinctively Adventist doctrine, can not be shown from the Bible. This resulted in a church conference, known as "Glacier View", to decide if there was truth in Ford's assertions. A good summary of that conferencee is posted on the adventist today website.

Now I don't exactly support Ford's theological deviations from Adventist orthodoxy. In fact, I agree with the church's decision to defrock him and wouldn't allow him to preach in my pulpit. But to say we can't have open dialogue with one of the key players in a pivotal event of our church's history twenty-five years after the fact is to say that we value doctrinal hegemony more than truth.

I don't undertake to criticize church administration lightly; heaven knows they get enough of it for the tough decisions they have to make. However this decision to intervene in the affairs of a para-church organization by twisting the arm of its leader, a church employee, is ham-handed and gives credibility to those who claim Fords arguments were so good that the church had no alternative but to silence him. I believe our church's doctrinal discussions would have more fruitful results if we spent less time attacking error and more time presenting truth.

It was also a dumb administrative move because it's unenforceable. Conference organizers who are not employed by the church are apparently setting up another venue for Ford's presentations, and the other presentations are being worked around Ford's schedule. As they say, the show must go on.

UPDATE (28.12.05): adventist today | Adventist Today Hosts Dr. Desmond Ford Presentations On The Gospel In Monterey, California


  1. Wes:

    I'm not sure if I know you; my grandparents in Florida for about half of the year.

    Being of the post-Glacier View Adventist generation, I regard Ford as more of a historical artifact than a theological threat. I'm sure those currently in leadership think otherwise, but I believe that there is still knowledge to gain by getting his perspective of the events leading up to 1980 (which also happens to be the year I was born). We may have the sanctuary doctrine right, but I believe have a long way to go with conflict resolution.

  2. Mike:

    Thank you for your interesting comment. I haven't studdied the Glacier View history as extensively as you have. In fact, I find it a difficult piece of history to study because of all the misinformation and rummor propogated by both sides. So I take many of the accusations I hear with a grain of salt. That's why I think the Adventist church should promote more open dialogue and study of the event, but, as you insinuate, too many administrators right now have too much to loose if that happens.

    Nevertheless, unless Dr. Ford's views have been significantly misrepresented to me, I agree with the decision to remove his credentials. I don't think the the Adventist church has got every last doctrine nailed down as well as it could be, but Ford's preterist views alone are highly inconsistant with what I find in the Bible.