Pitting Truth Against Truth
Why has Seventh-day Adventism been so torn by conflict for the last fifty years, with Liberals and Conservatives trading attacks on each other? Why, on issue after issue, are we [ ]unable to resolve our disputes?
Why? Both Liberals and Conservatives recognize truth in the other but see in its emphasis a threat to truth it defends, thus treats it only as a perversion that must be refuted. Consequently, neither can objectively consider the need for a sharper focus on the other's principles as essential to the integrity and balance of truth. Instead, seeing in its own view the only appropriate balance, each intensifies confusion in the body by trying to enforce its own as the essence of truth.
So long as each elevates one principle of truth above the other, thus perverting the very principle defended, while diminishing the other, reconciliation is impossible.
Take salvation for example. To correct a legalistic lean, Liberals place almost exclusive focus on justification; while to combat resistance to law and obedience, Conservatives place primary emphasis on sanctification -- which Liberals don't even allow in the gospel! Liberals need to join Conservatives in placing high value upon the spiritual healing which sanctification offers; while Conservatives need greater emphasis upon grace and acceptance with God on the basis of Christ's sacrifice and perfect righteousness.
Instead, Liberals insist that conservative emphasis on sanctification means they believe people are saved by their own works! And Conservatives declare Liberal emphasis on justification [ ] means people are now free to sin! Each thus stimulates the other to more fiercely defend its own valued principle and more vehemently diminish and subordinate the other. Meanwhile, mutual denigration of opposing parties produces deep and often personal schisms within the churches. In mutually combatant modes, individuals within the two parties rarely have even a friendly chat with each other.