Adventist response to today’s world should arise from what is truly happening, not from what “could” or “will” happen.
By Michael F. Younker
It is commonly understood that Seventh-day Adventist theology expects the enactment of a Sunday law in homage to Papal authority in the United States and other nations preceding the second coming of Christ. Furthermore, despite its inevitability according to prophecy, prior to such enactment, we are obligated to do what is reasonably possible to delay it by uplifting the importance of religious liberty.
Contemporary Adventist Perspectives on Religious Liberty and Sunday Laws
Numerous Adventists, and others, have commented upon Sunday laws and the groups that have promoted them over the past centuries both in the United States and elsewhere. These vary from more polemical arguments to detailed and well-reasoned historical treatises tracing the history of Sunday laws back to pagan Rome.
Responses by outsiders have been, overall, decidedly mixed in comparison with the Adventist perspective. The issues have become far more complicated since Ellen White’s death in 1915 than they were during the early period of American and Adventist history. Though Sunday laws in earlier periods of history were typically both motivated and sustained exclusively on religious grounds, this is no longer necessarily the case. A variety of complex socio-economic factors are now at play, affecting both the positive and negative sides of the debate concerning the usefulness and validity of any Sunday legislation. Additionally, during the past, there were several times when actual Sunday legislation was being actively discussed at various national or local governments in the United States. Since World War II, however, such discussions have been absent altogether or effecting insignificant attention among government officials in the United States. This makes the traditional Adventist presentation of the future in the United States more challenging for outsiders to accept in the 21st century.
This article, however, will focus on attitudes of prominent conservative Adventist perspectives from the past 15 to 20 years in relation to their non-Adventist peers. Some have been employed by official or influential Adventist institutions of ministry or education. This by no means is meant to imply that their views—or anyone else’s—are to be understood as “official” positions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Rather, the intention is to sample the perspectives of prominent and respected contributors to contemporary mainstream Adventist thinking that are or have been connected with various official branches of the church at one level or another, and who have contributed noteworthy scholarly contributions to the issues of religious liberty and Sunday law legislation in the United States in light of 21st-century events.
Several Adventists have written articles or books that address the possibilities of Sunday legislation in a late 20th- and early 21st-century context. Norman Gulley,1 Marvin Moore,2 and John V. Stevens,3adequately represent professional scholars, pastors, and popular authors who have dedicated significant study to religious liberty in America and in particular Sunday legislation. Collectively and individually, their credentials are solid. Each of them has written a book-length treatment on end-times, noting both the biblical and historical evidence, which includes an examination of the identification of groups that would encourage Sunday legislation in the U.S.
Norman Gulley on the End Game in the End-Time
Gulley’s views on end-times are extensive, covering both the relevant biblical passages and writings from Ellen G. White. His perspectives in these areas are in overall harmony with traditional understandings from Adventist leaders, including hers. Gulley as such saw, in the 1990s, the Sunday/Sabbath crisis as the final religious question confronting the world at the end of time.4 Concerning the origin of Sunday veneration in the Christian Church, he viewed it as a Catholic invention, evidencing the Catholic view concerning the authority of the early church apart from scriptural teachings. Gulley described the purpose for Sunday veneration as simply Satan’s hatred for Christ and God’s Law: Satan “hates the law, because he hates Christ.”5
These positions match the historic positions of Adventist teachings that have been held since near the beginning of the sabbatarian movement that developed into Seventh-day Adventism. Gulley’s studies on end-times include an extensive overview of the issues that are confronting our postmodern age. These issues include the state of the dead, New Age spiritualism, relativism, evolution, and many others, including different understandings of millennialism.
“In America,” Gulley wrote, “bastion of religious liberty, forces are at work to tear down the wall of separation between church and state.” He continued, “There is a relentless attack against the first amendment of the Constitution, and leading the fight is the Christian Coalition.”6
This leads to a question: What were the policies of the Christian Coalition at that time? Founded in 1989 following religious broadcaster and political commentator Pat Robertson’s failed Presidential bid in 1988 in the Republican Party, the Christian Coalition sought to “Christianize America” through political activism. This much is certain: Robertson provided some of the sharpest statements in recent decades advocating a closer relationship between religion and government. Gulley noted several books and articles by Robertson and his allies that expressed their desire to tear down the wall of separation between church and state that Gulley saw in the First Amendment of the Constitution. The evidence is clear enough that the Christian Coalition of that time was not an ally in Adventist efforts to preserve religious liberty. “The New Christian Right is out to Christianize America,”7 wrote Gulley.
Gulley was direct in addressing the political alliances that the Christian Coalition sought to create. He noted that the organization had “considerable influence in the Republican party and hope[d] to get the Republican President of their choice elected in the year 2000.”8 He also sided with the liberal or progressive Supreme Court justices against conservatives like the late William Rehnquist and still-active Antonin Scalia. He asserted that the Christian Coalition was misguided in its perception of persecution against Christians in America, leading them to greatly exaggerate the difficulties Christians face. In other words, he said that they were deceptively playing a “victim card” to attract attention and strengthen their base supporters.
The goal of the Christian Coalition was clear to Gulley: They wanted to legislate morality. And this sounds like events described in Revelation 13. He noted that Robertson helped organize a meeting in which he tried to rally his coalition behind a single individual in the Republican Party to run for president in 2000, all the while trying to keep his organization tax exempt, a violation of U.S. law.9
He noted with irony the enigma that the Christian Coalition’s effort to “take-over. . .the Republican party” defied the party’s traditional stance “against big government” and its concern “with individual freedom.”10Nevertheless, Gulley observed Robertson’s call for “his Coalition to get behind one Republican candidate for President,” revealing “the partisan nature of their scheme,”11 which they no doubt recognized as necessary to obtain power; they knew they needed to control a prominent political party first.
Gulley did note that there were Christian dissenters against Robertson’s Christian Coalition, like the Presbyterian minister Robert H. Meneilly, who dubbed the New Right as “a present danger greater than ‘the old threat of Communism’”12 and Edward G. Dobson, who wrote an article in Christianity Today entitled “Taking Politics Out of the Sanctuary.”
In his personal account after attending the 1995 “Road to Victory” Convention organized by the Christian Coalition, Gulley observed that in 1990, the convention had 250 delegates, but in 1995, that number had swollen to 4,260, with 143 speakers and seven of nine Republican Presidential candidates speaking. Gulley reported “thunderous applause” after shouts of “Take the nation back for God!” and “Out with the liberals.”13 It was clear to him that the Christian Coalition wanted to join the state and religion. He also noted that of the 1.7 million Coalition members in 1995, 250,000 of them were Catholics.
Gulley acknowledged his agreement that the moral condition of America is wanting. However, although “the Christian Coalition was appalled at the moral disarray in the country,” they winked at the “doctrinal disarray in the church.” Thus “they shout out against moral degradation, but don’t even whimper about doctrines on the trash heap. This uniting for a moral cause is a moral disaster,”14 he asserted. He recognized that the real issue was “the danger of moralists attempting to legislate their moral values on minorities. This,” he said, was “the danger of the Christian Coalition agenda, and that of Dominion theology.”15
Gulley concluded his analysis of the Christian Coalition by citing how their efforts were compatible with Ellen G. White’s picture of the end-times presented in The Great Controversy and elsewhere: “As we watch the Christian Coalition out to force through its social revolution, we remember that ‘Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas.’”16 Indeed, he noted that “during the 1990s there have been unprecedented natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes.”17 He continued, “The Christian Coalition and the New Right consider these natural disasters as judgment acts of God for moral degradation. And this fires them up in their push to place secular leaders in power to push their religious agenda.”18
Gulley framed several quotations from Ellen G. White that would have seemingly fit the Christian Coalition perfectly. He cited her by sharing, “‘This very class put forth the claim that the fast-spreading corruption is largely attributable to the desecration of the so-called ‘Christian sabbath,’ and that the enforcement of Sunday observance would greatly improve the morals of society.’”19 It is this breaking down of the separation of church and state that Gulley described as the “end-game.”20To summarize his analysis of Sunday movements of that time, it is clear that Gulley anticipated them as most likely to come from the people like those behind the Christian Coalition, which is similarly part of the New Christian Right, the Religious Right, and perhaps recognized more publically as the Republican worldview.
The central lynchpin of Gulley’s broader critique, however, was not leveled against the Christian Coalition per se. His perspective centered on the idea that there is a definable wall of separation between church and state in the U.S. Constitution, which philosophically presumes such a separation is in fact possible. This is a decidedly complex subject, as differing opinions abound on the nature and intent of the founding fathers in their creation of the Constitution and the philosophical possibility of truly separating religion from the state.
Gulley, however, concluded that the Founders intended, through the first amendment, to preserve a wall of separation. This means that “the government must stay out of the sphere of religion, which also means that religion should not force government to legislate in matters of faith and conscience.”21 And it decidedly enters Gulley into the debate over the intent of the founders and the philosophical issues related to any true separation of church and state. He sided with the liberals, who view the United States as a secular nation. He insisted that the founders never wanted an openly Christian nation and that the Constitution is a “secular” document.
Though Gulley’s theology and view of end-times are in harmony with those described by Ellen G. White, it is necessary here to point out that the Christian Coalition is, for all practical intents and purposes, defunct. From a highpoint of $26.5 million revenue in 1996, their financial wherewithal had dropped to a scant $1.3 million by 2004, by which time they had also lost their battle with the IRS over their tax-exempt status, setting a precedent for other similar religious organizations intent on engaging in politics. And Pat Robertson, who left the Christian Coalition 13 years ago has been discredited by other faith leaders and the media for a range of ill-conceived public pronouncements.
Marvin Moore: Could It Really Happen?
Moore took a similar approach to Gulley. Outlining Adventism’s traditional perspectives on the historical significance of the Papacy and the United States in prophecy, particularly its understanding of Revelation 13, Moore guided his readers through the historical context that set up the contemporary picture. Moore set up his 2007 book, Could It Really Happen? Revelation 13 in the Light of History and Current Events,22 by referring to a union of church and state in the United States, followed by a Sunday law, thus making an image to the beast of Papal Rome.
Clearly it could happen. The question is: Who does Moore identify as most likely to make such a union of church and state? And in what manner does he see it developing historically?
Moore notes that the land-beast of Revelation 13:11-18 is lamb-like. As the symbol of the lamb usually represents Christ, this means the United States will become a “professedly Christian nation.”23 However strong secularism, atheism, or other religions may become in America, Moore asserts that they will never obtain a dominance. America, while founded on the separation of church and state, is nevertheless and will remain predominantly a Protestant Christian nation. This Protestant nation will, however, eventually pay homage to the Papacy through the enactment of Sunday legislation. So far, again, these interpretations and predictions in and of themselves are in harmony with longstanding Adventist interpretations.
When Moore traces the rise of religious influences and powers in America, however, things become more interesting. Like Gulley, Moore rests his case largely on the assumed true separation of church and state established in the Constitution, all the while acknowledging that the founders of America recognized the importance of religion. From this point onward, however, Moore foresees only one path as bringing a union of church and state, and it is the rise of the conservative movement in America and its associated religious arm, the Religious Right, which includes the former Christian Coalition and the Moral Majority. He has have given little attention to liberal theology or mainline Protestantism.
Conversely, the “Religious Right” as a phrase occurs 58 times in Moore’s book. The dichotomy of emphasis is noteworthy. Moore’s work clearly reveals his thoughts here; in that, although the intellectual elites, including those more involved with politics, were more likely to be liberal theologically, their influence and numbers amongst the population declined during the mid- and late 20th century.
Moore details the work of Jerry Falwell, Ronald Reagan, and Pat Robertson as key players in the rise of conservatism. Falwell and Robertson undeniably desired to create a Christian political powerhouse to govern society. Moore also traces with special interest the rise of the Christian Coalition in the early 1990s following the relative demise of the Moral Majority. And, although the conservative presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush represented successes for the Religious Right, Moore acknowledges that they weren’t as conservative as many Religious Right leaders hoped.
He then makes a particularly revealing statement and analysis about the presidency of Bill Clinton, a noted Democrat liberal. Moore observes that religious conservatives were able to see a silver lining, in that they had a “face” to war against in Bill Clinton.24 This paid off to some degree in Moore’s thinking as following Clinton, Republican President George W. Bush was elected, whom Moore considers a genuine religious conservative who catered to the Religious Right. This commitment to conservatism was seen through his appointment of John Roberts and Samuel Alito—both Catholics—to the Supreme Court, granting decided victories, in Moore’s view, for the Religious Right.
Moore essentially sees the avenue toward the Sunday law to be along the lines of the conservative, Republican, religious push of the 1980s and 1990s. He also cites R. J. Rushdoony (1916-2001), an influential force in Christian Reconstructionism and Dominionism, who emphasized creating a kingdom of heaven here on earth. Without question, Adventists are opposed to these views as antithetical to religious liberty. Moore sees these ideas as the influential drive of the Religious Right and the path that the Sunday law will likely follow. In other words, it is a conservative version of Christianity that has its roots in the Religious Right and its political connections that will create the Sunday law.
Individuals like Pat Robertson and the now-deceased Jerry Falwell, however, are not influential figures today. And though it is true that President George W. Bush had two influential and historically significant terms of office, he also left the presidency with the highest disapprovalrating in U.S. history—71 percent.25 The chances of seeing another Bush-like figure win the Presidency are low for the foreseeable future. As the 21st century gets well underway, America isn’t interested in following the ultra-conservative path. This is seen clearly in the election of Barack Obama in 2008, and again in 2012, to the Presidency, one of the most liberal politicians in history, who has a very progressive agenda.
Even more important than either of the above observations, however, is one of the most amazing trends in American Christianity during the late 1990s and 2000s: the rise of the Religious Left. According to a poll in 2009, American Christians are split almost 54/46, Right versus Left, and the trend is moving toward a 50/50 split.26 There is little difference between the Catholic and Protestant numbers; these two branches of Christendom are split in their overall socio-political identification. Pollsters noted that their report “puts to rest the question of whether there is a ‘God gap’ between Republicans and Democrats: ‘Clearly, from this data, it’s not only closing. It’s closed.’”27
Moore also fails to mention the significance of the cultural/ geographical gap, or the “Red/Blue” divide in America, separating the liberal coastal cities from the conservative heartland, and the impact this could have on the implementation of Sunday laws. This cultural divide became prominent only after 1992. The population centers in America, where much power exists, are overwhelmingly liberal. Interestingly, Ellen G. White seemed to indicate that persecution of Sabbath-keepers will be most severe in cities. If this is so, it would be ironic, as cities are not conservative or Republican. Having conservative, rural Christians invade the cities to enforce a Sunday law on secular people and liberal Christians seems unlikely.
John V. Stevens: Abortion and the Sunday Law
Stevens, a longtime specialist and activist on matters of religious liberty, follows a similar line of thinking to that of Gulley and Moore, and outlined clearly the Adventist position on Revelation 13 that places the United States squarely into the center of prophecy.
Stevens sees the United States as a nation founded on secular principles respecting the freedom of religion. In this, he echoes the views of Gulley and Moore that it was the separation of church and state that granted the U.S. its lamblike characteristics.
Stevens specifies in his 2008 book how the U.S. was able to achieve this, and how such a system must look graphically. He describes a specific separation of the two tables of the Ten Commandments into vertical and horizontal planes, wherein a secular government can legislate only the horizontal plane. This led him, however, to articulate yet another reason for criticizing the Religious Right, and that is the issue of abortion.
Stevens believes fervently that conservative religious powers are trying to restrict or oppose abortion in violation of the separation of church and state principle upon which the United States is founded. Stevens sees abortion as acceptable because he believes human life begins only at birth, not at conception, claiming that “God’s Word defines the time of the beginning of life for a person as birth and the end of life as death.”28 And for Stevens, interpreting the commandment proscribing murder to include abortion is not biblical. Therefore, legislating the issue in favor of a pro-life commitment violates the separation of church and state.
For Stevens, “the most powerful religio-political coalition in the nation is seeking control of the presidency, the Congress, and the judiciary, and for all practical purposes has achieved it, and the same is true on the state level.” He continues, “The Fundamentalist New Right, including Protestants, Roman Catholics, Mormons, and others, is effectively using the abortion issue in recent years in order to become our moral and legal guardians.”29
The powers he referred to reside, in his mind, in the conservative political party of the Republicans, the party well known for its support of anti-abortion (or pro-life) positions. Stevens has been highly critical of both President George W. Bush and James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, a conservative organization dedicated in part to opposing abortion and gay marriage. It should be noted here that Stevens’ book, written in 2008, went to press prior to President Obama’s election, which casts a distinctly different light on current events.
Nevertheless, Stevens believes that it is through the issue of abortion as the catalyst, that “the Catholic-Evangelical alliance wants to unite religion with government” and that “it is this change on the part of some American Protestants that is changing them into the likeness of the beast, like the papacy.”30 This, Stevens asserts, will eventually lead to a resurgence of focus on Sunday observance. Abortion and Sunday legislation are thus inseparably connected for Stevens, with their common origin in the conservative Religious Right, which dominates the Republican Party in America.
Two major issues affect the acceptance of Stevens’ assessment:
First, abortion must be interpreted in harmony with his view that life begins only at birth, which dismisses the personhood of the fetus. Many Adventists are not comfortable with this interpretation. In fact, were one to take the opposite view from Stevens, that voluntary abortion is murder, one could argue that it is precisely society’s willingness to violate one of the horizontal commandments that will prepare them to violate a vertical commandment.
Second, some of Stevens’ facts have dissipated since the writing of his book. Influential figures that he cited, such as Dobson, are fading off the scene without obvious replacements. There has been a strong rise of liberal Christianity in recent times. Even when Obama provoked American Catholic leaders over the issue of contraceptives in February 2012, drawing pointed criticism, the average Catholic seemed unconcerned, and this had little impact on Obama’s approval ratings, right in line with the rest of the country at the time, including many other Christians. Overall, Obama maintained a near 50-percent approval rating during the public dialogue on this issue, consistent with the very split nature of the U.S. overall, a split that has deepened of late as part of a broad “culture war.”
Summarizing These Three Views
Among these three prominent mainstream Seventh-day Adventists, a theologian, a well-published pastor, and a religious-liberty expert, concerning the issue of potential Sunday legislation, a clear pattern emerges. These and many others among the disciplines that they represent have advanced the idea that Sunday legislation is most likely to come from conservative religious Protestant groups uniting with fellow conservative Catholic groups to “moralize” society. In the everyday world, this amounts to a criticism of the Republican Party in American politics during the 1980s through the early 2000s.
Instead, America has become evenly divided between conservative and liberal Christians, and the fragmentation appears to be growing. It is uncertain who will win—conservatives or liberals. And, interestingly, Adventist interpretation of prophecy is compatible with either side winning in a general sense, as both have strong motives compatible with Catholic teachings that could combine the church and the state, and the various understandings of the old and new covenants advanced by Protestant believers.
As noted earlier, Ellen G. White encouraged effort to delay Sunday legislation. Assuming this, and the party identification that the Religious Right has obtained, it would appear that every good Adventist should always vote for the Democrat or liberal politician. The unfortunate implication is that the Adventist is encouraged to embrace every liberal cause, idea, or practice. This greatly damages our reputation with many non-militant conservatives, both religious and secular, who are not seeking union of church and state.
Are Most Christians Politically Conservative?
As the liberal Democrat-leaning Catholic Steven H. Shiffrin observed in 2009, “Although the mass media tend to ignore it, there is a strong religious Left in the United States.”31 His observation is merely the echo of one made by Michael Cromartie in 2000, when he shared that a visiting liberal theologian, Harvey Cox, was surprised to find that the students at Pat Robertson’s Regent University were “not monolithic in their political views.”32 Indeed, Cromartie notes that evangelicalism “includes not only a diversity of denominations but also Christians from the political right, left, and center.”33 Even more importantly, from his vista in 2000, he already had noted that “although they have largely maintained an alliance with political conservatism, they do have a moderate, liberal, and left-wing contingent that has had an important influence.”34 When this fact is combined with the knowledge that even decades ago, “many evangelical college students were turned off by the confrontational tactics of Jerry Falwell’s followers”35 and were not fans of Robertson either during the peak of the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition, the evangelical world was and remains ripe for unpredictable changes.
The question is, What kind of changes, and have they already begun to happen? The answer is a resounding Yes. “The Religious Right and the Religious Left are almost exactly the same size. The former has had a much greater impact for the past 25 years largely because of superior organization and drive.”36 Yet that dominance might change, as the latest data from 2013 suggest.37 It seems that “if current trends persist, religious progressives will soon outnumber religious conservatives, a group that is shrinking with each successive generation.”38 As such, the “forgotten” Evangelical Left may yet rise again in unforeseeable forms. And the socio-political groundwork for such a major movement has already been laid for some years in what is called liberation theology, which depends on a union of church and state.
The Origin and Development of the Religious Left
A history of the origin of the contemporary Religious Left in America necessarily begins with liberation theology, a movement popular in South American Catholicism in the 1960s and 1970s, though its social and political visions come from even earlier times. In its essence, “liberation theology grew out of the faith, struggles, sufferings and hopes of the poor.” As such, “it is . . . a theology that starts out in a particular political context and set of social conditions.”39
This political dimension is crucial. Indeed, “because liberation theology originated—and remains—at the intersection of contested political and religious goals, ”no matter how one wishes to define its theological” dimension, at heart it remains interested in “socio-economic systems”40that have a decidedly Marxist and redistributive flavor taking, forcibly if necessary, from the rich and gives to the poor to advance equality. “Liberation theology” has “its focus on the poor, the construction of God’s reign and liberation.”41 It seeks the “radical political transformation of the present order” as “a central component of the living out of Christian faith.”42 For most Adventists, it is noteworthy that Ellen G. White took a decidedly neutral position on socio-economic activism.43
There is a direct connection between liberation theology and the popular concept of “cheap grace,” a problem infecting the Religious Right, whose vision has become obsessed with political goals at the cost of personal piety. To define it, as Eldin Villafañe puts it, “‘cheap grace’ is a phrase, and a concept, that has great theological meaning. In its practical sense, which I want to underline, it speaks to us of an ‘easy’ Christianity.” He continues, “An easy Christianity is a Christianity that doesn’t cost much, that pays no price. It thinks and says, in fact, ‘Please don’t ask too much of me’; ‘Don’t place any demands on me.’ ‘Cheap grace’ portrays those persons who want to live in a secured comfort zone, those who think and say, ‘Do not disturb!’ Ultimately, ‘cheap grace’ characterizes that mode of thinking or mind-set that rejects obedience, commitment, and discipleship, and the cross!”44
Although the criticism of cheap grace can be fully given and accepted as a personal critique and call to discipleship, and thus an internal criticism of conservatives to themselves, it can also become a corporate and external one, as it is used by liberal theologians against conservatives. The prominent liberal-leaning Christian, Ronald Sider, connects the Religious Right’s apparent cheap grace message to a lack of emphasis by Christians on social justice. He aims his critique of cheap grace at traditional evangelical conservatives, the Religious Right. He credits liberal “Mainline Protestants [and] Roman Catholics” for an understanding of “distributive justice,” which includes universal access to healthcare45 and a rejection of cheap grace.
The liberation movement, a call to abandon cheap grace, took on an American face in the 1970s through the work of Jim Wallis (particularly when he rebranded his earlier magazine into Sojourners in 1976), Ron Sider, and Tony Campolo.
In the words of Wallis himself, who was not even here advocating Marxism, though his pragmatic ideas would lean more and more that way: “As more Christians become influenced by liberation theology, finding themselves increasingly rejecting the values and institutions of capitalism, they will also be drawn to the Marxist analysis and praxis that is so central to the movement. That more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes is therefore predictable. It will even be predictable among the so-called ‘young evangelicals’ who, for the most part, have a zeal for social change that is not yet matched by a developed socio-economic analysis that will cause them to see the impossibility of making capitalism work for justice and peace.”46
Wallis’ words were prophetic. Note his reference to young evangelicals, also sometimes called elsewhere the “new evangelicals.” Such individuals would later contribute to the rise of the Emergent and/or Emerging Church, which is essentially a postmodernized Christianity, an amorphous liberal Christianity that “speaks hip” fluently and constitutes a group of millions throughout the Western and South American world. Although their exact numbers are difficult to ascertain in part because they avoid traditional churches but still identify with Christianity, it is clear that they have split American Evangelicalism in two. They are an “ideology” that runs house-to-house, college campus-to-campus. Though often relegated by some as merely a youth movement, many aspects of the Emerging ideology have made their way into the mainstream. The Occupy Wall Street movement in America represents this liberation of the poor from the rich in a secular context, and has been specifically embraced by the Religious Left’s Wallis. It’s no accident that Wallis is a special advisor on religious matters to President Obama. It is similarly no surprise that Obama’s longtime pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has connections with liberation theology.
All these movements and individuals are religious, political, and lean to the far left politically. Furthermore, Wallis is also a close ally with Brian McLaren, a prominent leader of the Emerging church movement. And those with sympathies to these movements represent a significant number of the American populace. And they don’t like the Religious Right or Republicans. Emergent or Emerging Christians are overwhelmingly Democrats.
Emerging Christians frequently espouse a “kingdom on earth” mentality, often considered a revealing sign of the Religious Right. Scot McKnight, an Emerging Church leader, once said, “I tell my friends that I have voted Democrat for years for all the wrong reasons. I don’t think the Democratic Party is worth a hoot, but its historic commitment to the poor and to centralizing government for social justice is what I think government should do.”47 Combined with what Brian McLaren believes, namely that “Jesus came ‘to proclaim the Kingdom of God, which is God’s will being done on Earth,’”48 whether one likes this or not, this kind of thinking leads to the explicit ideological union of church and state that the liberal social gospel seeks to temporally fulfill here on earth. Some may see support of this in the saying of Jesus: “‘Seek first the kingdom of God’” includes “social salvation and the salvation of the earth.”49 It was surely not accidental that President Obama, a Democrat, echoed their sentiments that he wanted to create “a kingdom right here on earth”50 in his desire to reach out to what he perceived to be his liberal Christian base.
Little has been said by Seventh-day Adventists about the Emerging Church.51 This suggests an unawareness of what is happening religiously in America. And, although it may seem inconceivable that such liberal Christians would want to create a Sunday law, this is not so farfetched as one might think, because of the close relationship that liberal Catholics have with the Religious Left, and the relationship that the Religious Left’s interests have in the government to advance their causes.
The Ground Motive of the Secular and Religious Left
Although arguments rage on regarding the Republican and Democratic visions of society and the amount of power or control the federal government should have over its citizens, it does appear to be a basic reality that, at least in theory, the Republicans favor big business “trickle down” economics and the Democrats prefer helping the poor through social programs as the best way to improve society and the economy. Although it is a highly divisive topic, the basic fact is that the liberal/socialist/progressivist/Marxist philosophies admittedly require larger, more comprehensive governmental oversight, whereas a conservative capitalism emphasizes less government and more localized control.
It is important to emphasize, however, that societal change oriented toward emphasizing equality and fairness is the ground motive of the Religious Left, and is something it shares with the secular Left. They want things to be fair, even if it means forcefully. (In South America, sometimes violence was used; in the U.S., usually just higher taxation of the rich.) Both are willing to use the government to achieve their socio-economic-religious aims.
What truly separates the Left from the Religious Right, which seeks to reform society morally (e.g., taking a stance against abortion and same-sex marriage), is simply a shift in focus. The Left is willing to work through the government just as much as the extreme Right leaders were. In the Left, however, the idea that everyone should have an equal or “fair” amount of wealth and prosperity is the primary concern, and even becomes the moral justification for their actions. The issue is this: Does reforming society through the government, even without purportedly traditional moral concerns, truly leave the state out of the church or individual’s life in an excessive way? The answer appears to be No.
Any law, such as the universal healthcare plan that the Obama administration has championed, which requires an “individual mandate,” represents this reality, and is almost unanimously supported by Leftist religious leaders, though not by most on the Right. Even more aproposwould be the debate concerning the Obama administration on the issue of government-mandated contraception availability in church-controlled hospitals. Although most Catholic leaders denounced Obama’s plan to provide contraception through religious organizations, including Catholic hospitals that oppose the practice, the vast majority of Catholics do in fact accept or approve of contraception.
Were Adventists to focus solely on the vigorous voice of the conservative Catholic leadership’s opposition, they would be preaching from a denial of reality of what most religious people actually believe. Religious people are as likely to be “progressive” as they are to be “conservative” on different issues. In this instance, the liberals are rather stoking the fire by provoking conservatives over an irrelevant issue through a desire for greater forced secularism, as free or inexpensive contraceptives were already available at many health clinics for people from lower economic brackets. Liberals were here inserting themselves into socio-religious issues unnecessarily, even when it interfered with the operation of churches.
Interestingly, the disagreement between conservative Catholics and the Secular Left over contraception ignores the fact that Catholics strongly favored the universal healthcare plan in the first place, setting up the future disagreement. One cannot deny the Religious Left’s desire to gain a public and political influence that rivals that of the Religious Right, and it’s hard to argue they aren’t beginning to achieve some success.
The Religious Left’s Catholic Roots and Desire for Political Control
It is no accident that a number of individuals in the Emerging Church and Religious Left see the close relationship between the Religious Left and liberal Catholicism. Noteworthy is that those in the new Evangelical “Center” (which is really more Left than Right, given which issues they emphasize, like global warming) are far more open to Catholic teachings, especially concerning mystical spirituality.
The Evangelical Left’s ethicist David Gushee remarks, “We believe that while the Catholic tradition’s emphasis on learning from tradition and other sources of insight can be embraced, the equating of the authority of Scripture and of tradition must be rejected on the basis of Jesus’ example.”52 Gushee favors more nuanced positions, like the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, in which Scripture is combined with tradition, reason, and experience. “All have a role to play in the formation of Christian faith and ethics, though Scripture occupies the central place,”53 he claims. His discussion needs to be taken seriously by Adventist thought leaders to detect the slide into Catholicism that Religious Left leaders are encouraging. There is surely a reason that Emergent, liberal, Leftist ideas are so friendly to Catholic understandings of spirituality and social concern, even when the political scene is brought into the picture.
Many of today’s liberal or progressive ideas, religious or otherwise, have intellectual roots or parallels in totalitarian fascism. The evidence is overwhelming.54 Those on the Left are often as totalitarian in their thinking as those on the Right. It seems, then, that many prominent Adventist thinkers have clearly neglected studies of recent history as they paint possible eschatological pictures, which are always filtered through classical or contemporary conservatism and the Religious Right of the 1980s to 1990s. Such critiques, however, are not absent from the rest of the Christian world.
In his Freedom and Capitalism: Essays on Christian Politics and Economics,55 alongside his earlier work, Ecclesiastical Megalomania: The Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church,56 the libertarian conservative John W. Robbins sharply rebukes the liberal-progressive tendencies of Catholic social teachings as an integral part of the Catholic Church’s plan to regain complete authority over society. Robbins states plainly that “the Roman church-state devised much of the theory on which secular twentieth-century totalitarian regimes have been based, as well as acting as a model for them.”57 Robbins argues that “for centuries the Roman church-state had resisted the advance of the Reformation and its economic system, capitalism.”58 As capitalism began to win the day, new approaches were needed to combat capitalism. That new ally was socialism and all its variants.
Robbins demonstrates what to him seems clear. “In the United States, the influence of Roman Catholic economic thought has resulted in the creation of a redistributive state, in which the government intervenes in the economy and society in order to protect the ‘common good’ and establish ‘social justice.’”59 Robbins believes that “Mainline Protestant churches, which like the Roman Catholic Church . . . were promoting what came to be called the Social Gospel, whose political expressions were the Progressive movement and later the New Deal,”60 represent the heart of the Catholic church-state’s vision.
Presently, in 2014, this can be seen in the progressive vision of a variety of programs and ideas, including universal healthcare. As Robbins explains, “what the papacy has realized is that by constantly enlarging the Rights of Man, to use the Vatican’s own phrase, it can offer ever new moral arguments for enlarging the size, scope, and power of government.”61 With healthcare, the principle at stake is the universal destination of goods. “The rights advocated by the Roman church-state require the enslavement of some people for the benefit of others.” It appears “the church-state seems to realize that this is the case, and advocates these rights for that reason.”62
Just imagine a time when a “day of rest” could become a “right” before it becomes a “requirement,” like a required participation in universal healthcare. A time when we are no longer requested to aid our brothers and sisters willingly, but our wellbeing is bound up with theirs, in every way, forcibly. The parallels are closer than one might wish. The precedent has been set—and supported by Catholic U.S. Supreme Court Justices from both ideological perspectives.
The most important point to draw from Robbins is the fact that the re-empowerment of the Roman church-state is most likely to come from their socio-economic teachings, which authorize greater governmental oversight over all of society for the “greater good.” Robbins notes that “the Vatican itself traces the origin of liberation theology to the Roman church-state, specifically to Vatican II (1962-1965) and the 1968 conference of Roman Bishops in Medellín, Colombia.”63 Indeed, “the only disagreements the Vatican has had with some aspects of liberation theology are its secular elements, the insufficient obsequiousness of some liberation theologians to the pope, and their sometime advocacy of a systematic use of violence to achieve goals that the Roman church-state has always approved: social justice, the common good, and the universal destination of goods.”64 Robbins again plainly states that the Roman “church-state has never criticized the economic views of the liberation theologians.”65
If it were true that the Roman church-state were using Leftist liberal social concerns to prepare the groundwork for a total takeover of American society, then where are the critiques of the relationship of Leftist economic thought and church-state relations by Adventists focusing on end-times? Just as in healthcare, could a day of rest on Sunday also become, first a right, before a requirement? Why is there no engagement with conservative but moderate theologians like Ronald Nash, who has written extensive criticisms of liberation theology and its attendant economic theory in relation to church-state issues? Why is there no closer attention to Max Weber’s thesis in 1905, “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” that capitalism, however imperfect in a sinful world, leads to greater freedom and better economic outcomes than alternative systems?
Considering that Robbins agrees with the writings in the 1990s of Adventist representatives Moore, Stevens, and Gulley on significant issues, and shares with Adventists an opposition to Christian Reconstructionism, it is unfortunate that there is no genuine dialogue with his and similar thinkers who are concerned about the growing power of both the secular and Religious Left alongside their strong disagreements with aspects of the Religious Right. Robbins expresses a robust independence from any history of eschatological predictions and guesswork, letting his epistemology speak for itself as it analyzes the present, and he sees the church and state uniting on both the Left and the Right with equal force.
Ellen G. White’s Views on the Sabbath/Sunday Crisis
In The Desire of Ages, Ellen White reiterates the importance of understanding the historical origin of the Sabbath and how this establishes its true meaning. “Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,’—set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love.”66
Again, she describes in detail the true purpose of the Sabbath: “The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature, and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day.”67
The Sabbath, as a time set apart, is a sign of the nature of the God who created us, one who is personal and relational. It was made for us, but can, as originating with Him, only be chosen by Him. Some other day won’t do. Although it was made for us, it is not of our choosing, but God’s; in this respect, it is no different from any relationship. It has two parties. And in this instance, one is the Creator, the other the created. We can’t choose a Sabbath for God, but rest in our acknowledgment of God’s choice of a Sabbath with and for us. God wants to rest with us. He wants to spend His quality time, so to speak, with us.
An important point to note is also that Sabbath observance is not merely an external form that we can meet through some series of actions, as a mere ritual. “in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ.”68 Our hearts must be in conformity to God’s work and designs for us actually to rest in Him, fulfilling a true rest. Furthermore, and highlighting the universal scope of the Sabbath, Ellen G. White states that “The Sabbath was embodied in the law given from Sinai; but it was not then first made known as a day of rest. The people of Israel had a knowledge of it before they came to Sinai. On the way thither the Sabbath was kept.”69 And, “The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation.”70
In many ways, and in complete contrast to many other religions, God’s “idol” is His time, the Sabbath. Other religions worship shapes and forms, but the biblical God commanded us to do no such thing. Rather, instead of a concrete idol, He hallowed the Sabbath time. We are both commanded and invited to join Him during this time.
Ellen White also beautifully describes that the Sabbath is not intended to be a yoke upon us, but that it is designed to be a joy. The Jews had turned the Sabbath into a rule book, rather than allowing it to be a positive focus of their week. It is perfectly within the purpose and intent of the Sabbath to bring joy and help to our friends and neighbors. The Sabbath itself serves as a sign of God’s redemptive power for us. We are invited to rest in His work for us, both in creation and in salvation. As explains, “the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.”71 As such, we are to “‘Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise,’ Psalm 100:2‑4.”72 It is not a burden imposed for the sake of earning our salvation.
Two of the most important chapters of Ellen White’s writings are surely found in “God’s Law Immutable” and “A Work of Reform” in The Great Controversy. These present the difficulties that Sabbath keepers have had and will have in explaining the Sabbath and its original purpose, not because of any intrinsic fault with the Sabbath, but because of the insidious nature of the arch-deceiver’s work. As White wrote, “In the absence of Bible testimony in their favor, many with unwearying persistence urged—forgetting how the same reasoning had been employed against Christ and His apostles: ‘Why do not our great men understand this Sabbath question? But few believe as you do. It cannot be that you are right and that all the men of learning in the world are wrong.’”73
It is not so much that it will come down, in the final period of earth’s history, to two groups of people “properly” living the Christian life, with one group worshiping on Sunday and the other on the seventh-day Sabbath. The final crisis will come when one group attempts coerce all to worship on Sunday. In this critical sense, it will be rejecting the entire plan of salvation that Christ has offered, attempting to save themselves, and others, by their own works—an old covenant experience of law, not grace! This is why grasping this truth, in its wholistic socio-political context, is important as events unfold. One cannot properly keep Sunday as the Sabbath at the appointed time. This is the sign that true Sabbath keepers may rest in as they attempt to share the ultimate cost of their choice to rest in God’s salvation, rather than to present to God their own means of salvation.
As such, despite the fact that “the great obstacle both to the acceptance and to the promulgation of truth is the fact that it involves inconvenience and reproach,”74 we may share that it is not merely an inconvenience, but a choice to truly accept salvation by faith that empowers rather than empty works. No true Sabbath keeper would wish to go out and persecute his or her Sunday-worshiping friends. But that the Sabbath message is sometimes (and by and large will be) rejected is a sign of its truth. God’s law cannot be changed to save humanity, and this is a good thing.
That the Sabbath also functions as the ultimate sign at the end, separating those who choose God’s authority rather than human authority, makes it ironic that Sabbath keepers are accused of salvation by works, when the very opposite is true. All of the “requirements” that Adventists accept—the health message, the Sabbath, etc.—are really preparatory, as with Daniel in Babylon, to make them ready to choose to accept God’s salvation and to rest their repentant hearts in Him, as the completion of character development here on earth. (Ellen White compares the final Sabbath test to Eden’s Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—a simple yet profound test.75)
This is a beautiful reality, not a legalistic one. Obedience to God is not salvation by works, but acceptance of His work on our behalf. And the hatred of Satan will cement that this seeming paradox (obedience to accept grace and redemptive growth in God) is the true reality, as Sunday keepers will ultimately persecute Sabbath keepers for their rest in God’s work. Seventh-day Sabbath keepers, the ones accused of legalism over the Sabbath, will finally be the only ones who are proven not to be legalists, the only ones living a new covenant experience of grace and faith that works.
Adventism in Today’s World
Many sincere Christians in the “conservative heartland” of America are, for a variety of reasons, more sympathetic to the Religious Right. This is not necessarily because they wish to see Christians take over and enact religious laws, but rather because they believe a biblical view of economics and individual liberty aligns with more conservative or libertarian positions.
These Evangelicals have sufficient facts and evidence to sustain their differing worldview, whether it is ultimately closer to the truth or not. Many have no desire to create Sunday legislation that would harm dissenters. They are baffled by our insistence that they will.
Conversely, however, when reaching out to people who share Ronald Nash’s and John Robbin’s views, it makes perfect sense to them that Catholics are trying to assert political power through Leftist liberal social ideas that will ultimately impinge upon their understanding of the separation of church and state. Allowing the possibility of this perspective in Adventist circles may open more doors to such people concerning the nature of the final eschatological conflict, including the role of the Sabbath as a social, as well as a moral, commandment. Both views, those of Robbin’s and of such Adventist authors as Gulley, Moore, and Stevens, remain possible. What should remain speculative are the views that Adventists advocate with any air of certitude.
Second, there is an internal ideological barrier among Adventists, including some of our young people. It is confusing to them that Adventists spend most the most effort engaging, in a positive way, with liberal, mainline churches and secular intellectuals who are often theistic evolutionists or atheists, simply because they purportedly agree with Adventist thinking on religious liberty issues. How privileged is one set of issues over another?
Why do Adventists not also engage more positively with the Religious Right on issues we have in common, such as recent creationism? Should we be so selective with whom we engage in scholarly dialogue? Spending time positively dialoging with people such as Robbins and Nash—and winsomely critiquing any weaknesses we think they may have—while also enlisting their sympathies in ideas that we may share, seems the more productive route. Simply dismissing their eschatological views on the particulars of the Roman church-state because they differ from our traditional emphasis on the Religious Right, while they are more wary of the Religious Left, is inadequate.
Third, in their efforts to fully secularize the country with a supposed complete separation of church and state, it must be recognized that some believe the secular and religious Left literally create the Religious Right. Do Adventists even know what a truly secularized nation—in which church and state are totally separated—would look like? Could it not be a totalitarian state just as easily? If secular liberals would not interfere in conservative Christianity, then things would remain more status quo; there would be no flag around which to rally the Religious Right. Thus, it would be wiser to support moderate political positions to delay any awakening of the “beast” of Revelation. So if Adventists wish to delay a Sunday Law, they should not appear to so openly support the political philosophy of progressivist secular liberals in their opposition to the Religious Right.
Supporting humanistic morality is a growing trend among the general populace, and is surprisingly compatible with the Left and Catholic social teachings. It is no accident that Pope Francis recently shared that atheists and agnostics can be saved, when he wrote that “the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.”76
The point is not whether or not Scripture supports the salvation of the unevangelized or those who have received an incorrect view of God and thus doubted His existence, but that the Pope, of all people, would contextualize this so openly and point toward the conscience as guide. God does not offer a “pass” for those who merely follow their own conscience.
Yet, this example, as well as many others—including the possible reconsideration of priests and marriage and de-emphasis on abortion and homosexuality—shows that the Catholic Church is now willing to connect with liberal progressive humanists and their views of morality. If the Left continues to redefine morality’s relationship to socio-political realities alongside an Emergent vision, it is impossible to predict how things may play out. What is clear is that a government that is proactive in social agendas is needed in such a worldview, which plays as much into predictions for the Roman church-state as a creation of Leftist ideas, as to one that is created by the Religious Right
A more neutral approach would be to ally more closely with those who truly do share general Christian beliefs, allowing opportunity to reach out to them the message of “justification by faith,” a message that Martin Luther accepted and for which Ellen White specifically endorsed Luther.78We would then be better positioned to be received as true heirs of the Reformation. Then we will be in more influential positions to introduce the Sabbath and sanctuary doctrines as the true new covenant experience, outside the restrictive stereotypes of any political-ideological identification.
It would serve Adventism well to articulate a less partisan and narrow vision of how end-time events will play out, and focus more on the philosophical aspects of the debate as they interrelate with theological issues. It serves our evangelistic purposes more effectively to explore different possibilities with a more open mind, keeping our distinctive issues at the forefront, but not letting our view of end-times replace a solid epistemology that analyzes the present honestly and without bias. This will allow us to form our response from what is really happening in an ever evolving world, not on what “could” or “will” happen—outside of what prophecy specifically makes clear. In this way, Adventists will be better prepared when things don’t turn out precisely the way we have predicted, and our message will be more open to acceptance by individuals of varying religious and political backgrounds and perspectives, which may open scholarly and evangelistic doors of opportunity never before anticipated.
Michael F. Younker is a Ph.D. student at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. Norman Gulley, longtime professor at Southern Adventist University and past president of the Adventist Theological Society, well represents a centrist Adventist perspective. He has written numerous articles and books that have been well-received during his academic career on a wide variety of theological and historical issues.
2. Marvin Moore, for many years the editor of the Signs of the Times, a mainstream magazine originally founded by James White, a cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is well acquainted with the contemporary issues Adventism is facing. He has also written numerous articles and books on a wide variety of religious and biblical topics, and has also served in pastoral ministry.
3. John V. Stevens has more than 40 years of experience working directly as an advisor with government officials from several countries on matters of religious liberty. Stevens served for 20 years at the Pacific Union Conference as the public affairs and religious liberty director. He has also authored several articles, including a number for Liberty, that promote religious freedom, and written a book focusing on prophecy and religious liberty in the United States.
4. Norman Gulley, “The Battle Against the Sabbath and its End-time Importance,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 5:2 (Autumn 1994):79-115.
5. Ibid., p. 81.
6. Norman Gulley, “The Christian Coalition and the End-Game,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 8:1-2 (1997), p. 120.
7. Ibid., p. 122.
8. Ibid., p. 121.
9. Ibid., p. 127.
11. Ibid., p. 128.
13. Ibid., p. 129.
14. Ibid., p. 132.
15. Ibid., p. 133.
16. Ibid., p. 134, citing Last Day Events, p. 228.
19. Ibid. (italics supplied.)
20. __________, “The Christian Coalition and the End-Game,” op. cit., p. 135.
21. Ibid., p. 121.
22. Marvin Moore, Could It Really Happen? Revelation 13 in the Light of History and Current Events (Nampa, Ida.: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2007).
23. Ibid., p. 98.
24. Ibid., p. 134.
25. Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:George_W_Bush_approval_ratings.svg. Websites in the endnotes were accessed February 25-28, 2014.
28. John V. Stevens, The Abortion Controversy: Will a Free America Survive? Will You? (Sun City, Ariz.: Founders Freedom Press, 2008), p. 197.
29. Ibid., p. 505.
30. Ibid., p. 456.
31. Steven H. Shiffrin, The Religious Left and Church-State Relations (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009), p. 1.
32. Michael Cromartie, “The Evangelical Kaleidoscope: A Survey of Recent Evangelical Political Engagement,” in Timothy J. Demy and Gary P. Steward, eds., Politics and Public Policy: A Christian Response (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 2000), p. 123.
35. Carl F. H. Henry, “Linking the Bible to Public Policy,” in Demy and Steward, eds., Politics and Public Policy: A Christian Response (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2000), p. 58.
37. Http://www.salon.com/2013/ 07/19/the_rise_of_the_religious_left.
39. Ian Linden, Liberation Theology: Coming of Age? (London: Catholic Institute for International Relations, 1997), p. 5.
41. Ivan Petrella, The Future of Liberation Theology: An Argument and Manifesto (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing, 2004), p. 4.
42. Humberto Belli, “Nicaragua: Field Test for Liberation Theology,” Pastoral Renewal (September 1984), p. 18.
43. Manuscript Releases (1990), vol. 4, pp. 160, 161; Mind, Character, and Personality (1977), vol. 2, pp. 625-627.
44. Eldin Villafañe, Beyond Cheap Grace: A Call to Radical Discipleship, Incarnation, and Justice (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2006), p. 2.
45. Ronald J. Sider, The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2008), pp. 104, 105, 136.
46. Jim Wallis, “Liberating and Conformity,” Sojourners (September 1976):3, 4.
49. Jürgen Moltmann, Sun of Righteousness, ARISE!: God’s Future for Humanity and the Earth (Minneapolis: First Fortress Press, 2010), p. 80.
51. Fernando Canale has authored an ongoing series of articles in Perspective Digest, of which the following article is an introduction: http://www.perspectivedigest.org/article/121/archives/19-1/a-closer-look-at-the-emerging-church.
52. David P. Gushee and Glen Harold Stassen, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003), p. 88.
53. Ibid., p. 87.
54. Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning(New York: Doubleday, 2008).
55. John W. Robbins, Freedom and Capitalism: Essays on Christian Politics and Economics (Unicoi, Tenn.: The Trinity Foundation, 2006).
56. John W. Robbins, Ecclesiastical Megalomania: The Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church(Unicoi, Tenn.: The Trinity Foundation, 1999; 2006).
57. John W. Robbins, Freedom and Capitalism, op. cit., pp. 217, 218.
58. Ibid., p. 459.
59. Ibid., p. 480.
61. Ibid., p. 486.
62. Ibid., pp. 497, 498.
63. John W. Robbins, Ecclesiastical Megalomania, op. cit., p. 78.
66. The Desire of Ages, p. 281.
67. Ibid., pp. 281, 282.
68. Ibid., p. 283.
71. Ibid., p. 288.
73. The Great Controversy, p. 455.
74. Ibid., p. 460.
75. “The Test of Loyalty,” The Signs of the Times 22:6 (February 13, 1896); “The Sabbath Test,” in Review and Herald75:33 (August 30, 1898).
77. “Martin Luther—His Character and Early Life,” The Signs of the Times 9:21 (May 31, 1883).