Some Notes on the work of Ruan Horn and professor J. Theron on the History of Adventism Critically judged through the lens of plurality


To use George Knight (by Horn and Theron) to speak about diversity is a big problem because he is one of those who encourage diversity to the extent of Scriptural misapplications. One example is his endorsement of Gerhardus Berkhouwer’s peccatum originale concept from Martin Luther uncritically. One can see it in his book The Pharisee’s Guide to Perfection.

Horn is citing Knight uncritically.

It is better to say that those who announce the crisis in Adventism are those who desires the crisis. Provonsha, Nderitu and Knight all three desires chaos and anarchy.

There were heretical break-aways from Adventism ever since its beginning, but those individuals and movements were dealt with by the Church and they did not survive.

For the true Adventist it is not a crisis. It is a crisis for the Liberal viewer. Adventists know what they believe and the 28 Fundamental Beliefs and principles of Hermeneutics are consistent with Miller’s 14 rules of Interpretation of Prophecy. A doctoral from Melbourne in 2011 revealed that nothing has changed as far as the understanding of interpretation is concerned in standard Adventism.

What then has changed?

Horn and Theron is correct that the First World experience changes due to what? Secularism.

Again one has to be careful not to make blank statements calling everyone in the USA secular.

Secular inroads can be seen at La Sierra University when they sanctioned the graduation of LGBTQH people in June 2023 with a Velvet graduation in their chapel.

That is not Adventism. That is deviant Adventism and clearly dealt with this very critically and correctly. And, mind you, biblically.

So is the correct authority of the Bible at work? Absolutely. When? 2023.

Horn talked about the Great Disappointment in 1844 and “later fragmentation in Adventism”. Fragmentation?

It is a matter of sheep and goats from the beginning. The weeds will grow together with the seedlings, said Christ, until the Second Coming.

Individuals, like Canright, like Kellogg, like Bates, like Waggoner, turned sour but that was not the Adventist church. It was away from the Adventist church.

Horn and Professor J. P. J. Theron wrote the article after R. Horn got his MTh in practical theology at the University of South Africa. In 2015 Horn got his DTh from the same institution.

Newman and Van Wyk’s remarks about the diversity of Adventism were expressed after the death of Gerhard Hasel. Organizations like ATS carried the legacy of what Hasel was fighting for forward and many other colleges did the same.

Reading Horn and Theron seems to be an over-emphasis of a crisis without a norm. Here is the point. Unless you have a norm from which you judge differences with the norm, you cannot talk about a crisis existing.

Unless you have an identity carved out from an authoritative rule of faith that becomes the MOU of all, you cannot talk about a crisis. If people deviate from the MOU of the rule of faith that was set up as consensus from the very beginning, then the problem is not the rule of faith but people who became lax, careless, and rebellious against the rule of faith.

Who is then wrong? The break-away ones or the clingers to the biblical rule. The rule of faith always has been the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy unfolding  the Bible or mirroring the same principles as the Bible. This was done with a Fundamentalistic lense and still is.

Those who operate with looseness of Fundamentalism and Biblicism are following the Baal Prophet James Barr who wrote a book against Fundamentalism.

(A). M. Nderitu’s thesis at UNISA was done with sociology and politics in mind. The lenses for analysis colors one’s perception.

The work of D. J. Newman written in Ministry of April 5, 1994 is done by someone who is critical of Adventism because after he was Editor of Ministry, he became Editor of Adventist Today.

The history of Adventist Today is very important. Raymond Cottrell started Adventist Today in 1978. Listen to this: Cottrell in his own words express that he is angry because Gordon Hyde in 1972/4 did not want to include his article in the Symposium on Hermeneutics because he wrote an article on “Errors in Ellen White use of the Bible”.

Point is, if you say, I want to get access to that article, you reveal your inside. I have been working with Ellen White for many years and I did not see one single deviation from the Bible.

Cottrell’s problem, and we talk about Adventist Today’s problem and we talk about J. David Newman, is that Cottrell was the first Seventh Day Adventist to become an Evangelical Society Member. And he was faithful…to them not to Adventism.

That is Adventist Today. Trying to bring Preterism in. Trying to beef up the Liberalism in the church. Make heroes from the Heretics in Adventism. Working on splitting issues not to analyze them and show their problems but to highlight them to increase the tension.

Presbyterians here in Korea had the same problem with the two Parks standing on biblical principles and Lee from 1960 breaking away to lead liberalism in Presbyterianism.

The issue is not plurality. It is not necessary to call for a toleration in plurality of views in Adventism on issues related to the Church Manual and issues realted tho the 28 Fundament Beliefs.

The problem with Horn and Theron is that they try to apple-shine (maybe) to the current plurality call of the government and milieu of South Africa opportunistically? Only they will know the truth of this statement.

I welcome scholarship from young Adventist co-students with me in South Africa, but then the following is needed: a correct ontology leads to a correct epistemology leads to a correct methodology and finally to a correct product. This was the philosophy of Christian Calvinist Philosopher Hendrik Stoker in his books Oorsprong and Rigting Volumes I and II.