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Adventist Pilgrimage 1.12: "The Enigma of Last Generation Theology."

Episode Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Note: Transcript has been edited for clarity and readability. We don't apologize for any typos. Deal with it.


GREG HOWELL

Welcome everybody to the newest and latest edition of the Adventist pilgrimage podcast. We are getting things started today with a topic that frankly I've had my eye on for a long time. It's been something I've studied for quite awhile. And I think as me and Michael talked more and more about it, that it just keeps kind of coming up in a variety of different ways as we start studying a lot of our earlier Adventist history and it's theology. I think there's a lot of interesting stuff to it.


Michael's book, 1922, just came out recently here and some of the themes and ideas that he was working through in his research brought us back again to this topic. And so it's one of those things that we're going to kind of look at here. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it is last generation theology, folks. This idea has been pervasive in Adventism for quite a long time. Frankly, it comes back in waves [as] I've seen, just in my reading and how it gets emphasized. It's never really gone away though. And lots of folks in Adventism that have believed in and still believe in this idea, bring it up on a pretty consistent basis because it is kind of one of those overarching theologies. If you buy this thing it's something that's going to make your worldview much more distinct. So it's not something that folks who believe in it really get away from it. It informs a lot, but without going too much further on: Michael, you've done a lot of work on this. You even presented on this one, just a couple of months back, and one of the Sabbath schools online. Tell us a little bit from your perspective, what is the last generation theology?


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Yeah, Greg, we're really exploring a very relevant topic, I think, in Adventism because it's this, this infusion of this idea that somehow we have to be perfect in order for Christ to come.


And now there's a lot of variations of that. It's a term that's been kind of picked up and popularized in the nineties onward. I think George Knight actually is one of the first, if not the first, back in the nineties to really kind of coin this term. It's, it's not just a term itself. It's an idea. It's a theology, as you mentioned, it's a kind of an ethos and it's certainly not unique to Adventism. You go back all the way to the ancient Jews of the first century. They believe that they could make the Messiah come. If all the Jews could keep the Seventh-day Sabbath perfectly two consecutive Sabbaths in a row. And so there's this kind of notion that somehow by this special sanctification process and here's the thing, Greg, is last generation theology - this idea of the last generation - is true. There will be a last generation. And that's going to be really incredible. It's going to be special. And I hope by God's grace, you and I are part of that, right? But the challenges is that if we have all of the focus on ourselves, that that's where we're running into trouble.


What's, what's intriguing to me with this 1922 books, which we've chatted a little bit about, is that there was so much research I could have easily doubled it in size. I had to cut because of size parameters that Pacific Press gave me, which is fine, but I have a whole bunch of chapters that have been working on that kind of continue the story. And so maybe, I don't know, I might have to end up with like a trilogy of 1919, 1922, and, I don't know, maybe 1925 or something.


GREG HOWELL

I was going to say, yeah, you're going to have to continue the three-year jump and just go to '25.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Right, right. So this is what we're dealing with is this development of Adventist fundamentalism and the cool or the crazy thing about all of this research is that now you can see a direct link between some of these theological concepts that we call last generation theology that become really important in the story of Adventist history in the 20th century, the history of ideas and we see that that genesis. I kind of like the word "enigma" because it's kind of has these more mysterious origins, right? Where did this come from? The enigma of last generation theology which can be directly traced to the 1920s. I mean, you and I both been pastors; we've, we've had to deal with some of the challenges of last generation theology I'm sure, right?


GREG HOWELL

Absolutely. I can remember a couple of different folk who very clearly got into the idea that there was something we had to do to get the second coming to happen sooner. And I think it's, I think it's really part of, if I had to guess... The psychology of Adventism requires that we wrestle with the question: "Why is it still taking so long?" Right?


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Right.


GREG HOWELL

I mean George Knight says it the best. He says, "Adventism is biggest problem is time."


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Yes. The delay and the eschaton.


GREG HOWELL

Exactly. Because as long as it keeps going on and on and we keep preaching this soon coming savior it's going to have to come up. What's the holdup?


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

It's as if we need some kind of rational explanation for that holdup. But, you know, I keep coming back to this concept of "here is the patience of the saints." You know, that's a description of God's end-time people, too. You look throughout salvation history [and] there are these pivotal turning-point moments, but usually they never happen as fast as we would like them to happen: Noah and the Flood, that was a apocalyptic too, right? You have the intertestamental period waiting for the Messiah. And all the way for the destruction of Jerusalem. All of those things were, in their own way, apocalyptic. They represented the end of the world for those people at that time.


And a generation of believers who played a very significant role, you know? And so I don't want to lessen in any way the idea that God's people at the end of time do have a significant role because that is part and parcel... it's to the very core, it's the heart of Adventist identity and I think we should celebrate that. We should and it's absolutely essential because that's part of our job, Greg, is patiently waiting and proclaiming the news that Jesus is coming.


The problem is [that] in my pastoral experiences that some of the strongest advocates that I've met (and some have passed away now) of what we call last generation theology, were so focused on themselves being perfect that they had no assurance of salvation. They tended to be very focused on lifestyle behaviors, on dress reform, on health reform and the most common theme had something to do with 1888. It might have somehow identified with some of these reform groups, like the 1888 Message Study Committee.


It was sometime later that I finally realized that a big part of their theology is about all of this last generation theology, this kind of perfectionism. And we see it in a lot of reactions to I in the the 20th century. Desmond Ford grew up very influenced by Brinsmead when he was into last generation theology - this perfectionist hyper-perfectionism. And of course he reacts and flip flops to the other side where he's then very progressive and moves in a very, very different direction; very grace oriented. A big part of that is this reaction again, to what I would consider theological extremes. And so you kind of flip flop from one extreme to the other.


When I would meet with church members, I remember meeting some dear saints who had given their lives to the church; faithfully served. I remember one lady that was a Dorcas leader for years and years. And then I held her hand on her deathbed and just, "Oh pastor, I don't know that I could ever be good enough to be saved." And she was just really into this last generation theology. I held her hand and said, "It's not about you being good enough. It's Jesus is good enough. And you just need to trust Jesus." And then all of a sudden her brow, which was just so furrowed and pensive, just suddenly she had a smile of assurance.

She just needed to be reminded that it wasn't about her being perfect. She just needed to trust Jesus at that moment. I was so grateful that I was there at that home and I wish I could say that was an isolated incident, Greg, but I can think of in fact, sad to say, numerous times when I've had similar kinds of situations.


So something's wrong if we have church members - faithful, lifelong Adventists who have given themselves to the church - and they just have no assurance of salvation. I think a big part of it - not always - but often it seems in my experience, at least is been this concept of last generation theology.


And here's the kicker: In last generation theology, the focus is on you instead of Jesus. The kicker is there's never going to be a time we don't need Jesus. And even into all eternity.


GREG HOWELL

Exactly. That I'd say - I think you've highlighted it really well - is the core result of last generation theology is that you don't have that assurance and you better figure out what you're doing wrong because clearly this isn't happening and you're part of the problem. And that been the verbiage that I hear from a lot of folk in my churches and other circles.

They don't have that idea that their actions are just effecting themselves anymore. It is this wider picture, but with that comes a certain level of guilt, introspection, obsession over the lifestyle rules and regulations. It's a different way of seeing it.


Now, before we go too much further... I love where we're headed, but I want to help our listeners, too. This type of history that we're kind of doing here - and especially when we're talking about theology - specifically is a history of ideas or it is also terms sometimes "historical theology." It's kind of a treasure hunt. In fact, I find it to be one of the hardest things that we do in history is to try and track down how an idea or where an idea came from and started and evolved over time.


This idea is a hard one. You basically have to know it and then read a bunch of stuff and hear the echoes of it in somebody's word somewhere. It's not a simple version of history where we open up a biography and follow, oh, they went here, they went there and then they did this. It's much more of: How were they influenced and who said this around them that they then took and changed into something else? The history of ideas is a complicated one. I think that makes looking at the last generation theology a little more complicated as well, because a lot of the history happens in the head.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Yeah. Well let's look back. We've already talked a little bit about 1888 and I think you've been doing some diving into that. So where do these ideas come from? Is there a link with Jones and Wagner, Greg?


GREG HOWELL

Typically, yeah, last generation theology people have pointed towards some of these different quotes and ideas coming down from Jones and Waggoner. Waggoner himself is best known as connected again to that 1888 conference. He was a young co-editor of the Signs of the Times; a big figure in the church throughout the 1880s and the 1890s. And eventually he comes to this view of righteousness by faith that was kind of adopted and supported by Ellen White but not so much by some folks in a larger church.


Waggoner moved along towards the end of his time in the States to England as editor of the Present Truth magazine. And he was there for quite a while, 10 years I think it was from the look of things. He comes back for a General Conference session in 1897. And here's where folks have found some of his early statements to possibly start the last generation thinking. He says in one of his talks:

God has left the vindication of his character to his children. He has, as it were, risked His character with men.

Now that idea is one of the foundational concepts in last generation theology: That God in this particular back and forth with Satan needs to have some sort of justifiable vindication for his actions and his actions being: "Here is my law. Here are my commandments.

This is a requirement for all who follow me." And therefore Satan's response is: "Oh yeah. Well, you've got this whole planet that isn't following you. How you going to justify bringing them back to heaven? That's that's not going to look fair, right?" And so God has to vindicate his actions. That concept that he has somehow left the vindication up to humans is core to last generation theology because he keeps on going in there.


The next year, he was talking about the 144,000 and he says:

In these people, God sees the work that he designed to do for men. And he's willing that these shall be known everywhere as the proofs of his saving power. He's willing to be judged by these results and he puts his own seal upon them. His commandments are known to them as life everlasting and Christ, Christ dwells in them so that they have the faith of Jesus and they are his perfect representatives.

Again, that's coming from Present Truth (1898), and what's striking, I think, is the idea that he's bringing in here that God needs us somehow to prove to the universe that he is just, he's fair, and he's a loving creator. That kind of grows on a theme, right? The reason that we're here isn't to just accept and to know Jesus and to be saved, but we are actually participating in the greater cosmic struggle. That we are the representatives that make the rest of the universe go, "Ah, yes, God is fair. He is just."


So some of these ideas Waggoner brought in there are mentioned and they kind of provide a greater backdrop. By 1901 - and this is kind of the last big quote that I looked at - Waggoner seems to have developed his idea of vindicating the greater theme and he says:

Before probation ends there will be so complete in God that, in spite of their sinful flesh, they will live sinless lives. They will live sinless lives in mortal flesh because he who has demonstrated that he has power over all flesh lives in them lives a sinless life in sinful flesh, and a witness then, which no greater can be given. Then the end will come.

Now that's where I start to hear this extra piece of the second coming narrative. Not only do you live a perfect life and not only are you fully sanctified - a sinless life and sinful flesh - but that is what the end is dependent on. When Jesus sees that we have reached that state of sinless perfection, then he can come.So you kind of put that together with vindication. You put that together with some ideas about sinlessness and you've got the germs of a last generation theology.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

I find this very interesting because Jones and Waggoner... Ellen White even says if they were to lose their way it wouldn't negate the message that they had. But some people have taken this literalistic, almost quasi-inspiration approach that because Ellen White supported their theology, then they're almost inspired. Maybe not quite as much as Ellen White, but almost. And so then they kind of go back and reconstruct but it's interesting in the latter part of the 1890s, they're also starting to teach pantheism or panentheism this idea that God is in nature or in us. That kind of concept. They're obviously, theologically, going in some new directions. But if you believe that that they're sort of inspired, then you're going to kind of reconstruct their whole theology and I can see why now based on what you're sharing, Greg, why people start going down that path of, of this whole thing and, and that becomes really important, this connecting point.


Actually I'm going to argue... I want to build on what you're saying, but in the1920s, people are very interested in Jones and Wagner's theology again. Some people are arguing 40 years in the wilderness. Kind of this illusion to the to the Exodus account, right? You have Taylor Bunch who writes this book, The Exodus in Type and Antitype. So it's directly in line with 1888, but I I'm going to argue that it's directly tied and built upon these ideas that as they become popularized again in the 1920s with Adventist Fundamentalism. There's definitely a direct link in some way, but it's also complicated. It's not just like one kind of thing, right? It's complex. History is complex usually. So it's not this kind of monolithic, one thing happened and then suddenly everyone believed inlets generation theology.


I'm going to argue that there's a second connecting point that also reifies or helps to strengthen these ideas because nobody uses the term last generation theology in that way. Nobody says, "I believe in last generation theology." Waggoner didn't say that, but clearly the ideas are there. When I was preparing for my 1922 book, I re-read George Marsden's Fundamentalism and American Culture - his new third edition. There's a whole chapter on the Victorious Life Movement. And when I read that, slowing down and reading page by page through the Review and Signs, I had this "Aha!" moment. I was like, oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. There's 'victorious life' stuff everywhere. There was a victorious life editorial department in the Review and in the Signs. There's all this literature from the wider Fundamentalist movement that's very influenced by this wave of holiness teachings and, I know, Greg, you've been doing some work on the holiness with some of your professors. Tell us what that is for someone that may not be familiar.


GREG HOWELL

Sure. The Holiness Movement was... I would say it contains the early proto-Pentecostal view of Christianity. Now we look at Pentecostalism today and say, "Oh, you know, it kind of grew up in the early 20th century," but really a lot of their ideas and their thinking came through an earlier group of folk that we're teaching what's called "holiness." That's coming to us from Wesley and Methodism through a couple of different channels, but the Holiness Movement teaches that the true, full gospel is experienced by the christian through entire sanctification. Entire sanctification is not the work of a lifetime, says the Holiness Movement.

You are able to access sanctification now in the present in an instant. And through that victorious living of Jesus through you, you experience the full gospel. You are clearly are part and parcel of this experience and they kind of had four big testimonies. The phrase that gets thrown around is, "I know in whom I have believed. The Lord is my savior,

My sanctifier, my Healer, and my coming king." Those four ideas: savior, sanctifier, healer, and coming king - That's an element of the holiness movement that clearly is absorbed by the wider group of Christians in America, because a lot of it is popularized by early holiness teachers [like] Phoebe Palmer and her Wednesday afternoon prayer meetings that became really, really popular. I think if you look at the holiness movement's teachings of entire sanctification as a work of the now and not as a work of a lifetime then all of a sudden you've got this idea that we can be perfect and Jesus can make our lives sinless now and we can experience that altogether. To me, it's a blurring of the line between sanctification and glorification.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

A big part of their language is like the second blessing. That once you experience that second blessing you will achieve this holiness and that will then usher in... There are some that are a little bit apocalyptic, but Adventists obviously are strongly apocalyptic and adapt some of these ideas to an Adventist context, no doubt.


Another popular term that really startled me as I was going diving into the victorious life or the holiness or Keswick ideas and teachings is this idea of power for witnessing. And then I saw that I saw that and I was like, oh my goodness, A. F. Ballenger, who later will leave the church, that's the title of his book! You start looking into that and, oh my goodness, there's holiness stuff all over the place. Obviously it's having an impact on Adventist thinking and ideas at the turn of the century. To me it's most intriguing that there's obviously these very strong ties between Adventism and holiness.


Two other ways that, that we see it: The Holiness Movement is very good at talking about the role of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity. I think Gil Valentine has done some good work in some articles and research he's published that that directly tie the Holiness Movement and H. Camden Lacy, and his ideas about the Trinity and the Holy Spirit. He'll become a strong advocate of that in Adventism. As mediated, if you please, through H. Camden Lacey, that will have a strong impact in Adventism and eventually even Ellen White, too. She thinks very highly of H. Camden Lacy and his views.


The other one is Ed Allen at Union College and has been doing a lot of work on the student volunteer movement, which was very, very much coming out of that kind of Keswick/Holiness tradition: the idea of missions and student missions. These are, I think, very positive trajectories where you can see significant positive impact from this wider world of ideas and exchange of ideas as Adventism is wrestling and studying with its own identity.


GREG HOWELL

Right. I think that you're highlighting a couple of things here. The history of ideas tells us that an idea takes a very variety of forms and shapes and terminology over time, but that it also bounces between different groups who may not always find themselves to be comfortable partners. The idea here that we are absorbing holiness teachings from sources outside of Adventism, or that the 1920s Adventists were taking on victorious life from a larger cultural perspective in the Evangelical America - that could be disturbing to some folk. We are Adventists. We have a prophet. We read and teach and we understand - and yet we are part of that larger narrative in the country that kind of absorbed some of this idea into ourselves. That is one of the things that stands out here. Last generation theology feels unique and yet we're finding that it's not. And, "Ooh, you're telling us the world affects us and our theology, even?" That might be a little scary for some folk.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

It might be, but I think it's a good thing because God created us to exist and here we are, we exist within a very specific time and place. If we acknowledge that other people existed in their time in place, that should help us to better appreciate the cultural context and to appreciate the world in which they lived in through which they made a contribution to. So this doesn't lessen in anyway a distinctive and unique Adventist identity. All it does is it just says, "Hey, that Adventist identity is working out within a specific culture in a historical milieu." Just as it is today. I like that. I like what you said, Greg, because it should give us pause for a little bit of humility to say, well, I wonder, if when we get to heaven people are going to look back at our time and say, well, how, how were they influenced by their world of ideas and the socioeconomic and politics - all of those different things that happen around us. We need to make sure, in a sense of humility, that we allow our faith to transform those cultural assumptions and blinders rather than the other way around. That's not easy to do. It's only by God's grace we can do that. But with the lens of history, we can hopefully be a little bit more, hopefully a little bit more objective and trying to look at the past.


I want to come back to this Victorious Life Movement, because it's crazy how much these ideas were impacting Adventism. George Thompson, who was, I believe, at one point he was one of the field secretaries of the general conference, a major player in Adventism, in the late teens and twenties. He goes on the camp meeting circuit and he talks about how he's preaching the victorious life. I found a page which was actually used many times advertising Adventists literature. It's titled: "literature for the victorious life." And if you start looking at that literature, these authors and this terminology... start impacting Adventism and a very broad and profound kind of way. Probably some of the most significant advocates are Mead McGuire who writes a book called "The Life of Victory" and Matilda Andross who writes a couple of different books, like "The Life that Wins.


GREG HOWELL

You inspired me. I got a copy of that. It was an original copy; I grabbed one.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

You did? Sweet. I started reading that book and she using phrases like "let go and let God," which is classic terminology from theVictorious Life Movement. You look at another one of her books or booklets is called "The Life that Wins" [and shows] this boat being tossed in the ocean. So you have this idea of turmoil and you need the victorious life. You need the second blessing in order for you to experience perfection. So again, you just see these ideas are clearly about being perfect in order for basically an order for Christ to come.


There's two quotations that you start seeing being used - this kind of proof text approach. One is from "Christ Object Lessons" - I know you know the quote - the quote about Christ's character being perfectly reproduced... that classic quote is probably the most quoted or misquoted quotation Ellen White after her death in the 20th century, I suspect.


Then you have the a brief reference in "Great Controversy" about God's people living without a mediator. Now, if you read both of those chapters in their original and the context, not just the little snippet, but the whole context, you see that Ellen White is not talking about holiness as some kind of status that want to achieve by being good enough, she's talking about perfect surrender - that's a term she uses a lot - and character development. Her view of perfection and then what is being superimposed on Ellen White are two vastly different things. The same thing [is true] about the quote about God's people at the end of time. The point being made is these people God's people are so perfectly surrendered that they trust Jesus completely right through those end-time events. It's never their strength or their power that makes them able to survive the end times. I used to be so scared of the end times. How can I ever be good enough, right? No, it's still all Jesus. It's all Jesus. And you don't get that unless you actually read the context and you read the whole chapter there by Ellen White.


Those are startling and very sobering events at the end of time, but we have hope through Jesus and that's the beautiful thing there. Those specific quotations are being utilized very much so in the context of this Victorious Life Movement, this literature and the 1920s.

You see this direct link, this proof texting approach, this very rigid and literalistic way of reading inspired writings, especially Ellen White and combining that with ideas that definitely go back to Waggoner - but that are being re-exposed and re appropriated within an Adventist context. So really you have the birth, the genesis, the enigma of last generation theology through the Victorious Life Movement in the 1920s. There's a lot more work that needs to be done. I've written a couple chapters now it's going to be in my third volume. I'm not sure what that's going to look like yet, but it's taking shape. That's the great thing: You write a book and sometimes you write an extra book and you don't even mean to.


GREG HOWELL

That's a great problem to have, man. Most people in the scholastic world say, "Oops, I wrote another book. I didn't even mean to." That's not a problem.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Yeah. So anyways, I'm fleshing this out right now, but it's there. This is amazing. A lot of people point to M.L. Andreasen in the 1930s and '40s. And certainly he's a major player, but by the time he's teaching his ideas of last generation theology, he's just picking up on the obvious of what had been widely espoused and taught in Adventism in the 1920s, when he would have been a young pastor, just kind of getting started with this ministry. Certainly he becomes the most important purveyor of last generation theology in the 20th century, but of course that's about 10 to 15 years in the future. There's this kind of intermediary stage between the two, right? You can trace earlier seeds of it and then later, but Fundamentalism, Greg, is where it's at. It's where it all takes off.


GREG HOWELL

I think this is a theme. We've talked about this, honestly, since we met in Berkeley, how Fundamentalism has created the version of Adventism that we grew up in and are still wrestling with. I think that that's something that your research is really bringing out strongly, even - obviously here with this last generation stuff - but even in the wider picture, you just said it: We started reading the Bible like Fundamentalists. We started reading Ellen White, like Fundamentalists: a literalistic in errand word for word translated, transcribed from God himself view that created a new core theology within Adventism.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

A new Adventism.


GREG HOWELL

Yeah!


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Some people might even call it "historic Adventism" for lack of a better term. I've heard that term batted around. I don't like those kinds of labels, but what I found is I look at "historic Adventism," is that it isn't very historic. It's an aberration or an innovation of ideas that clearly can be historically traced to the early 20th century.


GREG HOWELL

If we can do that - and that's what I find fascinating here - if you're telling us that the vibrant life movements -


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Victorious.


GREG HOWELL

Sorry. Yeah. The Victorious Life Movement - that concept infused not even how we read the Bible, but also how we read Ellen White - that's a wider hermeneutic that we may not be able to acknowledge and frankly will bother a lot of people. "You mean, when I read Ellen White that I'm not just reading her and she's telling me the truth? Wait, there's other things in my head that are making me interpret her different than maybe she meant to be interpreted?" Whoa, whoa, whoa... Now you're hitting a very meta level of fear over my ability to even understand what I read.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

This, this brings up this wider point of how we interpret inspired writings matters. We all interpret inspired writings. We all interpret each other through our body language, through the words we use, inflection, and tone. All of those things are communication and God communicates to us through human vessels, but you know that that's the perspicuity of scripture, that term that goes back to Luther and the reformation, the clarity of scripture, that the message of salvation is so clear that none can miss not even child need may err. God allows his love and the message of redemption to pour forth so that we can see it and behold it. Our challenge is that the message of the gospel and our beautiful Adventist message that - you go back to the early pioneers that they studied the scriptures. I love this idea of present truth: this idea that they wrestle and studied and continued studying to remain faithful to scripture.


To the extent that we do that we are being faithful to the very ethos and the very earliest beginnings and the DNA of Adventism. And Jesus' soon return and you have to love Jesus and fall in love with Jesus to want him to come again. That's what makes me excited about being an Adventist is that I understand and see Jesus more clearly and want and need him more and more in my life as I surrender to him. The challenge is when we ourselves get in the way. That's the challenge of Fundamentalism. Not all the fundamentalism is necessarily bad. It's a historical movement, so we're historians, Greg, so we're just trying to we're just trying to look at all of it: the good, the bad and everything in between. Just like the Holiness of the Victorious Life Movement. There were some very positive elements, but some of these ideas, like second blessing and perfectionism, that kind of way of thinking as it became enmeshed within an Adventism way of thinking in the twenties - what I call Adventist Fundamentalism also became problematic. This is the problematic side of this is new way of thinking and new way of approaching inspired writings that will become an important part of the story of the 20th century in Adventist history and theology.


GREG HOWELL

Absolutely. I think your research is showing there's no way to escape this. The Fundamentalist movement became part of the Adventist movement. We don't have a way around that, but we can acknowledge it. And like you said, as historians, we look for those, those linkages and things that help us understand ourselves better. We shouldn't - and here's where I kind of think we can point out that we are part of a long line of disciples - we shouldn't be surprised that as Christians, we too have the tendency to misunderstand Jesus. If the disciples of his own time misunderstood his mission and his purpose for being here. God allowed them to think that he was going to be an earthly Messiah that was supposed to throw off Rome. Well, then we shouldn't be surprised that we can do the same.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

It should give us some humility, right?


GREG HOWELL

Therefore pause for reflection. We should also be willing to say, "Hey, maybe I need to keep learning about who Jesus is. Maybe I shouldn't assume that I know it and have it so solidly down that nobody can tell me differently." With last generation theology, Adventists at large have to maintain that humility. Otherwise we do run that risk of mistaking the Messiah when he shows up.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

It's all about Jesus. It is. It is. It's about Jesus and a half autism. Is that it's best when we keep our eyes focused on Jesus.


GREG HOWELL

It is. It is. It's about Jesus -


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

Adventism is at its best when we keep our eyes focused on Jesus.


GREG HOWELL

Amen. That's that's fantastic. Michael, your work is fantastic. I'm excited to see where we go with it, if there's going to be an ending to the trilogy, we need that. But also just this last generation stuff. This gets me all riled up and excited.


MICHAEL CAMPBELL

I love when we can collaborate. When you have your research and mine - it just comes together and dovetails so nicely, Greg.


GREG HOWELL

I do too. It makes a great conversation. Well, folks, thanks again sticking your heads into our discussion here and listening for a while. We appreciate that and we really do appreciate your feedback. If you ever have any comments or questions, we've got a couple of different avenues on the websites, Instagram, Facebook, and through Apple podcast is one of our big ones. We love to hear back from you. If you like these episodes and you like what you're hearing, make sure to give us a quick little review or a couple of those stars. They do help bump us up in those virtual AI brackets or however all this stuff works. We appreciate your feedback. Thanks again for listening to this episode of the Adventist Pilgrimage Podcast. Next month, we'll have some more tidbits, snippets, and pieces of history that may have been forgotten, but not forever. We are committed to never forgetting our Adventist heritage. Thanks again. Have a great day, everybody.




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