In 1962, my final “honours” year at the University of Queensland, we Adventist students there formed QUSDAS, the Queensland University Seventh-day Adventist Society. We became extremely close as a group, meeting two Friday evenings per month, debating questions concerning our faith and our studies eagerly and persistently, and attending—and in 1964 hosting—an annual national convention…… Continue reading Toward A Sociological Understanding of the Evolution of Adventism: What Had Shaped the Adventism We Knew in the 1960s? How Has It Changed Since? Where Is It Going?
New religious groups are formed frequently – there are probably hundreds per year around the globe. However, most of these come to nothing, for only a tiny fraction of them grow to any extent over time. Moreover, most of these, including most of those that become prominent denominations, eventually stagnate and then decline. The key…… Continue reading The Patterns, Sources, and Implications of Rapid Church Growth within International Seventh-day Adventism: Applying and Testing Stark’s Revised General Model
Scriptures: II Cor.6:14-7:1; Matt.5:13-16 Our two scripture passages are often interpreted in conflicting ways when they are applied to the question of how the Christian is to relate to society: how can a people be separate from unbelievers while also being the salt of the earth? How can we salt the earth while remaining in…… Continue reading In and Out of the World
When I was introduced to church-sect theory while studying undergraduate sociology of religion in Australia, I immediately realized that it gave me a new understanding of Seventh-day Adventism, the faith in which I had been raised. I wrote a paper exploring the evolution of Adventism in these terms, and determined that this would be the…… Continue reading Dilemmas in Religious Research: When a Stigmatized Researcher Researches a Conservative Church
These days we hear a lot of talk and analysis of “message” , especially of the stances of politicians and the content of advertisements. Message is a word long-used by Adventists. But let us begin by asking ourselves: What was the core of the message of Jesus? Read Matthew 28: 19, 20. Teach what? What…… Continue reading Beasts, Rules, Grace, and Relevance: What is the Message of Multicultural Adventism?
Review of Lowell R. Tarling, The Edges of Seventh-day Adventism: A Study of Separatist Groups Emerging from the Seventh-day Adventist Church (1844-1980). 241 pp., appendices. Barragga Bay, Bermagui South, N.S.W., Australia: Galilee, 1981, $A11. Available in the USA from Calvin Edwards, 13021 Lincoln Way, #82, Auburn, CA 95603, $15 postage pd. Click here for a…… Continue reading Adventism and its Fringes
During the Apartheid period in South Africa, the Seventh-day Adventist Church not only failed to critique the discriminatory system, but it formalized the establishment of internal apartheid within the Church, with two (and for some time three) separate race-based organizational structures that had very little contact with one another, and segregated congregations, schools, and welfare…… Continue reading In the Wake of the State: Seventh-day Adventism and Apartheid in South Africa