Adventist Online

What do Conservative, Proggressive, and Liberal Adventists Have in Common?”

They are disgruntled.

Without quoting any of the ongoing debates on the myraids of forums our church has for people to stage their theological spats [they are easy enough to find by Googling "proggressive adventist" "conservative adventist" or "liberal adventist" and seeing what pops up] I have found the more someone goes out of their way to be associated with one of these titles, the more disgruntled they are.

To me, the labels of liberal, conservative, and proggressive really don’t represent so much a theological position as much as they do a theological reaction.

If someone grows up in a legalistic setting with the label conservative then the label of “liberal” represents freedom of that oppressive religious experience they had int he past. I find a lot of ex-Adventists suffer from this. They had a repressive church, school, or family experience that causes them to write off the entire faith using phrases like “being set free from Adventism” etc. Whereas many of us don’t feel that way at all because that hasn’t been our experience.

In his book, Sex God, Rob Bell points out that whenever someone says they have been burned by an institution his first question is always “What was the person’s name?”

Like wise many people, new converts especially, drift towards conservativism because their life “in the world” was more liberal, and they sensed perhaps they were out of control and they crave rules and boundaries and the stricter the better. What I find interesting is many of what my friend calls “neo-conservative” movements such as GYC appeal to so many because my parents generation, who grew up perhaps in a more conservative setting, don’t practice their faith in such rigid terms–and perhaps even in liberal terms–and now their kids react to it.

Proggressive Adventists are still a mystery to me. I don’t quite classify them as liberal, so much as seekers of deeper understandings…or at least different understandings of traditional methodologies and interpretations because they have burned by previous ones. I found myself, or rather a chapter of a best selling book I wrote, the subject of one blogger’s wrath on a proggressive Adventist site. They made some interesting points, and some ones I felt missed the point; but what fascinated me is that I read this person’s of two more books, on opposite ends of the spectrum from each other, and they panned both of em. What was telling to me, is where I found the author endorsing their own writing–which is a pitfall of many folks who carry theological baggage. The pitfall of “no one knows what they are talking about but me.” And the more this happens, the more I find people getting into heated arguments, demonizing others, and sadly making less and less sense–and less and less impact.

Now let me clarify that I think debate is healthy and neccessary, but as I read what people post online it seems to me that it isn’t so much a seeking after truth in a dialogue so much as destroying the other side by picking them apart.

This a re-posted discussion from 2009, I thought it would be interesting to hear current responses to this issue.

Views: 621

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I agree. Many of the posts I've read follow a common thread, if a person disagrees, then attack their character, intelligence, sincerity, motives, and relationship with Christ. It seems to betray what is hidden in the hearts of some of our fellow Adventists.

True Charlie

I have been guilty of mudslinging, can be easy to forget Christian love in a forum setting. I hoped to provide and gain some insight, much of the conversation is focused on disagreement and open hostility. I have meet some good people here and hope to stay in contact with them. I do pray that we have an open tent allowing for many ideas under the umbrella of faith in Christ our lord.


I think that the question of this forum is s hard and difficult one.  Sometimes  I imagine the GC executive meetings are something like trying to stuff as many disproportioned, odd shaped wooden blocks into a round tub with a lid that reads "church unity".

For me the differences of views, values and opinions are not so much the problem but more so how the the bearer of these views are treated ?  I know of a people who holds and believes all Adventist central teachings including IJ, Sanctuary and the prophecies of Daniel and  Revelation but are held in contempt and never given church board positions simply because they friends with Desmond Ford. 

People who do not hold the writings of EG White ss authorative are often rejected in the most cruel ways. This forum has stacks of evidence  of this kind of behaviour.

 On the flip side I have seen people who do not place value a value in EG White and teachings of prophecy and IJ often make  a laughing stock of those that do. These kind of people have little time for efforts in evangelism. 

My question is do we really have to all hold exactly the same set of values and principles in order to be a church ? 

Does Acts 2:1 mean that we all have to agree 100% with each other before the latter rain falls ?

Hello ZJ

No we don't have to agree 100%, as Christ indicated the weeds and tares will grow together (Matthew 13:24-30). It is not up to us to do the pruning. I do think that some beliefs lead people away from Grace and need to be challenged. We need to promote the truth that we know, but be open to new light and understanding at the same time. If we abide in Christ and submissive to the Holy Spirit, our actions will reflect his love. I truly believe that Character growth and Christian service is the true path.


One thing I do find lacking in the church is some thought leadership in the conservative arena. The other area lacking is progressive printed material. For example I would love to know what is Sam Leonor's take on Daniel and Revelation and the Sanctuary. He has done an excellent sermon the SOP though. I think that Pacific Press could give some opportunities to some more liberal progressive writers.


So do you think that discarding the Church Fundamentals is Progressive? Dumping the SOP is that Progressive?

If it is found to be in error then yes.  If not hold on to it.


But, the paradigm you surreptitiously ascribe to is error compounding error.  Is it because it is Universal that you joined it, as the name describes?  Further, what is the point of obtaining disciples to deception?  Ecumenicism?

Now let me clarify that I think debate is healthy and neccessary, but as I read what people post online it seems to me that it isn’t so much a seeking after truth in a dialogue so much as destroying the other side by picking them apart.

So, how do you rectify this then?

"I'd Like to Interact With:Progressive Adventist

Psychology, Literature (inspirational.) Service work
Anything that is inspirational
Leisure Activities:
Outdoor activities. Reading, spending time with God and Family.
Mt. Luther King, Ghandi, Cesar Chavez, Paul (of the bible,) Mohter Theresa. Pope John Paul II

Lol I thought I was the only one seeing this...

Wow !   ?


No wonder our churches cannot grow. And this all because of his views not what he did ?

This is not how Christ taught us to treat those who we differ with. 



Site Sponsors


Adventist Single?
Meet other Single
Adventists here:
Join Free

USA members:

Support AO by
using this link:


© 2020   Created by Clark P.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service