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Gregory Matthews

Dr. Ronald Lawson Speaks

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Gregory Matthews

See:

http://spectrummagazine.org/article/2017/01/19/adventist-forum-grows-new-north-carolina-chapter

Dr. Lawson is a retired professor of history from Queens College in New York City.  His career has included a number of publications related to SDA history.  I remember him most for bringing to light previously unknown facts related to the SDA Church in Germany during the time of Hitler.  As to this, I believe that while his work may serve as a foundation, others should investigate this issue further as I believe that there is more to be learned.

I consider the following quote, taken from the above article, to be quite interesting:

Quote

At the Metro NY Adventist Forum, we, in fact, became an independent congregation with the blessing of Neal Wilson, then GC VP for North America. The group was founded in 1968 by Adventist graduate students at Columbia U. and the Juilliard School, seeking fellowship, the opportunity to discuss issues raised in their classes, and current puzzling church issues.

The initial idea was to become a church or a company attached to the conference, but the issue of which conference (at a time when they were very segregated) was inevitably raised for the membership was multi-racial. In 1968, the year Martin Luther King was assassinated, this was a serious problem for graduate students. So they wrote to Wilson asking to be affiliated at the Union level in order to avoid the racial choice. 

He spent a day with them, announced that the church did not have the flexibility to allow what they had suggested; instead, he suggested that they be an independent congregation that set out to maintain positive ties to the church.

End of quote.

 

For a GC VP to suggest that a local congregation be independent of the denomination is interesting and probably more complex that Dr. Lawson has reported.

 

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Gregory Matthews

Dr. Lawson is a person who is controversal in Adventism.  I respect him for the fact that he has fought to remain a part of this church and for his academic writings about this denomination.

He has established a website on which he intends to post his academic writings.  That website is not complete yet.  It may be accessed at: 

https://ronaldlawson.net/ 

It also contains links to other websites of his with some of his writings.

 

 

 

 

 

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GayatfootofCross

I've read at least 4 papers by him. And found him on social media awhile back and we have conversed.

:)

He is quite the researcher on  topics I'm particularly interested in.

'

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Bravus

I'll be working with Dr Lawson on posting his large trove of papers on Adventism on the site Gregory posted above.

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phkrause
25 minutes ago, Bravus said:

I'll be working with Dr Lawson on posting his large trove of papers on Adventism on the site Gregory posted above.

:cool1:

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Gregory Matthews

Many years ago, I read some very informative articles about certain issues that took place between certain elements of the SDA Church in Germany and Hitler.  I believe that they were written by Dr. Lawson.  I hope that they can be recovered and posted.

NOTE:  They may not be the ones that Dr. Lawson thinks that they are.

 

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The Wanderer
29 minutes ago, Gregory Matthews said:

Many years ago, I read some very informative articles about certain issues that took place between certain elements of the SDA Church in Germany and Hitler. 

I would be interested to read anything you could point me to on this. It is interesting I have been studying this very thing the last few weeks, but in connection to a slightly different subject area.

As for "Dr Lawson"; I do see a lot of "holes" in what he writes. But I am also learning that one has to choose their fights wisely.  I am pretty sure I will comment on this again in the future. It will hinge on available time and energy. 

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Gregory Matthews

Years ago,  I read two (2) articles that discussed the role  that a couple of SDA Local Conferences played in Germany, during the time of  Hitler.  As I remember, they were written by Dr. Lawson.  I have asked Dr. Lawson about those two articles and he has only been able to point me to articles in which only brief mention was made.

So, that leaves me with the idea that perhaps my memory is wrong and it was not Dr. Lawson who wrote those articles.  Or, perhaps, Dr. Lawson did not understand my question and those two articles are buried deep into his files.  I hope that this is true and that they can be discovered and posted.

As an interesting point:   Dr. Lawson has focused on the SDA denomination and written many articles, which have been published, on aspects of  the SDA denomination.  I have not agreed with everything that he has published, but, it  remains that he has contributed to understanding this denomination.

I will suggest, that the value of those two articles that I read lies in the fact that they give additional information as to the events that occurred which resulted in the split between the SDA denomination and the so-called Reform Movement.  The bottom line is:  In that event, both sides engaged in inappropriate activity and both sides were at fault.

It should bee noted:

1)  Following the end of WWII, the GC attempted to bring the two sides together and heal the split and that attempt failed.

2)  In recent times, the two sides in Germany, have acknowledged their respective faults and have reached some healing of the split.  However, in the U.S. that split remains and in fact the so-called Reform Movement has actually split into two groups.

 

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The Wanderer
2 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

The bottom line is:  In that event, both sides engaged in inappropriate activity

I guess thats one of the things that bothers me regarding this. We wont call it what it is/was. We prefer "modern" language such as "inappropriate," "complicity"  "faults" and the like. So far, my research does reveal a large number of "denominations that aided in the butchery and murder, including some of "our own."  I have no problem recognizing who did what, and it does not effect my opinion of the church at large now. My interest in this subject, and regarding exactly what the Adventist "complicity" was is related to more current themes and subject matter. I have found a fair bit of info on other "denominations" and their "complicity" but not a lot on our own.

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Gregory Matthews

The information that I reference is specific.  In addition I have information, which may or may not have been obtained from Dr. Lawsons articles which provides the context for what those local SDAs did in relating to Hitler.  That context is important and clearly shows that the Reform Movement had some responsibility for what happened.  It should be noted that this part of the story has not been told to the members today of the Reform Movement.  Both sides were guilty of wrong.  The result of their actions were:

1)  The members of the Reform Movement suffered much under Hitler.  Yes, they  brought it upon themselves, or at least initiated it.

2)  Certain SDA leaders took the SDA Church, in their area, in a wrong direction.

You are correct as  far as there being very little information available as to what the SDA Church did in relating to Hitler.  That it why I believe that those two articles that I read years ago are very important.  I hope that they can be recovered, fi Dr. Lawson did not write them.

 

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The Wanderer
1 hour ago, Gregory Matthews said:

You are correct as  far as there being very little information available as to what the SDA Church did in relating to Hitler.  That it why I believe that those two articles that I read years ago are very important.  I hope that they can be recovered, fi Dr. Lawson did not write them.

One of what I would call best sources for this subject I have found is, I think, from Andrwes University. It is a 13 page pdf file that one can download, if interested. There are numerous sources available, but I wont post anything of this nature until I check it out a little first to determine possible contexts involved. This article seems quite pertinent and treats the truth in a balanced and fair way, IMO

Quote

 

The Nazi State And The Adventist Church

The Christian Churches
There is a sad paradox that must be considered before delving into the second section of this short essay. The enacted racial legislation was supported by the majority of the population and that majority had one particular characteristic in common: “The Germany that Hitler led remained 95  percent  Christian  and  55  percent  Protestant”  (Ericksen  1999:22).

It  is staggering to consider these numbers in the general scheme of things. It was  Christians  who  voted  Hitler  into  power  and  it  was  the  same  Christians who praised his arrival in 1933 to the chancellery as a new beginning and  renewal  of  hope  for  Christianity  in  spite  of  his  racial  tirades.  It  was Christians who stood idly by as the rights of the Jewish minority that had contributed  so  much  to  German  culture  were  stripped  away  with  very  little or no protest by the Christian majority. DOWNLOAD or READ SOURCE

 

I remember, (rather dimly) a book about The Adventist reform Movement, which I think was printed by the BRI years ago. I cannot recall right now if that book deals with Adventists and their specific relationships with Nazi State Actors. I am also not sure if that book is still available; but I might have a copy in The Wander Archives.

There is a shorter article available at The Review, it is online and can be read at this time:
 

Quote

 

Adventist leaders in Germany, fearing the possible persecution and extinction of the church, pledged complete compliance to the military authorities and asked Adventist conscripts to obey combat orders even on Sabbath. In practice, many Adventist conscripts sought medical, supplies and administrative positions that kept them away from actual combat, conference presenters said. But the Adventist leaders’ public stance drove a wedge between church members. “It was eye-opening to me how quickly human beings adapt to circumstances and the demands of governments or society, renouncing to stand up for the values pertaining to the realm of Biblical thought,” said Daniela Gelbrich, lecturer of Old Testament at Friedensau university. “Life is complex and we cannot predict how we would decide in a similar context. This is where humility and grace are needed as well as the unfaltering courage to swim against the tide of external pressures.”

Johannes Hartlapp, lecturer of church history at the university, gave a presentation about the origin, faith, and ideology of the Reform Movement from a Seventh-day Adventist perspective, while Idel Suarez Jr., president of the General Conference of the International Missionary Society, and Woonsan Kang, the society’s second secretary, presented the Reform perspective on conscientious objection. READ MORE

 

As I said; this only caught my eye because I am researching the subject in relation to another matter that I will discuss on the forum at a later date when I am better prepared. Perhaps, Dr Lawson has insights on this that would be worth looking into.

 

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The Wanderer
4 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

As an interesting point:   Dr. Lawson has focused on the SDA denomination and written many articles, which have been published, on aspects of  the SDA denomination.  I have not agreed with everything that he has published, but, it  remains that he has contributed to understanding this denomination.

I would agree with that; but would definitely make exception in regards to "certain subjects" he has written about. :)

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Bravus

There is an on-going project to share Dr Lawson's work publicly on this web site: https://ronaldlawson.net/

One new article was posted yesterday, and there will be new ones available each Sabbath, as far as that's within my control.

There is a trove of fascinating work that he has produced over decades, and even his academic writing is clear and accessible.

This week's one is an encyclopedia entry, as is next week's, so they are relatively short and written for a broad audience.

Edited by Bravus
Realised I was repeating myself in this thread

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phkrause

Thanks for sharing Bravus. I knew Collen back in NYC, he was living at the New York Center, as it was called then. At that time I didn't know that he was homosexual! He even dedicated my daughter at our church. Its very sad for me to read about what's happen to him!! He definitely is in need of our prayers.

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Gregory Matthews

Bravus:

The correct spelling is:  Colin Cook.

Dr. Lawson has written on Colin Cook.  There is also much on the Internet about him.  This will include material that was published in official SDA magazines.  However, in my opinion,  anyone giving study to him, must include articles published in Westwood. 

Westwood is a weekly published in the Denver area.  It is an award winning, counter culture publication, that does investigative reporting.  I consider that the articles it published on Cook to have been critically important in ending the support that the SDA denomination provided Cook.   It must be noted that those articles were published many years ago.  So, it may not be easy to find them.

To get more personal:  The story of Colin Cook is a very sad one.  It is sad not only for him but for the many lives that he touched.  It is sad for the woman that he married and the family relationships that developed from that.  It is sad for the people who came to him for counseling.  It is was for the SDA denomination.  In all of the comments that may be posted in this forum, please let us be respectful and not make Cook the focus of anger.  He remains a human, loved by God.

 

 

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Bravus

Ah, thanks for the clarification, both of you. I've been very busy preparing the new papers and publishing them (we now have them scheduled and set up for the next several weeks, one per week) that I have read only some of the previously published papers. With the heads-up from you I did go back and read the paper on Colin Cook. It's a tragic story, and I do see him as the victim-become-abuser. If his faith had been compatible with his sexuality he could have been in an open, loving, consensual relationship and been a great service to people. The (in my view unnecessary) conflict led him into all manner of abuse of others. It's possible to condemn that abuse and the choices that led to it while still understanding and having compassion for the man.

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Bravus

...and perhaps if people do want to debate the church's attitude to sexuality and the problems with 'gay conversion' therapies (which have a vastly greater record of suicides than real 'successes') it would make sense to start a new thread outside this history forum?

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Bravus

I realised that I should probably provide the abstract of each week's new paper here when I announce that it has been published, just so people get a sense of whether it meets their interests. Here's the one for this week:

Quote


Seventh-day Adventism had urgently apocalyptic origins: as pre-millennialists, Adventists preached that the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world was imminent. Although the urgency of the belief has ­moderated with the passage of time, they continue to cling to the doctrine­ that the Second Coming will take place “soon,” and this remains at the­ center of their evangelistic thrust. Today, they are established in 205 of ­the 230 countries recognized by the United Nations. In recent decades they­ have doubled their world membership every 10-12 years; growth has been­ concentrated in the Developing World.



Direct link: https://ronaldlawson.net/2018/11/09/apocalypticism-in-seventh-day-adventism/

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Bravus

New paper this week. I found this one fascinating as I was reading through in the process of posting it. It's a related topic in a way to the previous couple of weeks, but this is a full paper rather than the shorter encyclopedia entries. The discussion of the smaller splinter groups in particular, toward the end, is very interesting.

https://ronaldlawson.net/2018/11/19/urgent-apocalypticism-in-adventism/

This is from Dr Lawson's new introduction to the paper, which was originally published 21 years ago:

October 22 this year (2018)1 was the 174th anniversary of what Adventists know as “The Great Disappointment.” It also means that Adventists have been proclaiming urgently that Jesus is returning “soon” for 174 years. After that many years, what does “soon” mean? How soon is “soon”? If the delay is the result of the need to complete the “pre-advent judgment” (previously known as “the Investigative Judgment”) this should surely make us wonder about the slow speed of God’s computer equipment compared to what we now have here on earth. If it is the result of the failure of all Christians to take the Gospel effectively to the “10-40 North Quadrant”, the huge sweep of population stretching from north Africa through the Middle East, Southern Asia, many of the former Soviet Republics, to China, Japan and much of Southeast Asia, then this suggests that, given our limited progress there, “soon” will be long indeed.

 

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