The relevance of the messianic dimension for the Christological controversy in the Seventh-day Adventist church
Christology has always been important to the life and well-being of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church. From the Church’s early beginnings in the New England states, its organization in Michigan in 1863, down past its European outreach in 1874, past the historic 1888 Minneapolis Conference, and on to the present, the Person of Jesus Christ has played a vital role in Adventism. The Adventist church has often had to grapple with its understanding of Christ. Not that this truth is beyond the grasp of the simplest Christian for salvation, and yet, because of the very nature of Christ, whom we believe to be God, there lies a depth that is beyond the wisdom of man. This tension between simplicity and complexity must always be held in balance. But, far beyond all this is the relevance of this kind of messianic Christology, particularly for Adventist Christology. The purpose of my study is to challenge and destabilize exclusive principles in the Seventh- day Adventist (SDA) Church and to broaden the perspective of the church to be welcoming and affirming to those who are perceived to be “the other” or “different.” I will do so by way of appropriation and application of the “messianic” concept, much discussed in recent philosophy (Jacques Derrida) and theology (Jürgen Moltmann), to Adventist Christology. I will, in the final analysis, present an Adventist Christology that replicates a messianic faith. All this creates what I believe is an effective interpretation of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
- Theology