Recently I received an e-mail message from someone I have known for a very long time. He retired years ago, after having working during his entire career in the Adventist Church in a number of important assignments. He wrote me that, after careful consideration, he had decided to cancel his membership in the Adventist Church. He could not in all honesty remain a member of a church that ignores vital ethical norms, such as full gender equality.
Another message I received the other day was just as shocking. It was about a young woman who simply found it unbearable to remain in the Adventist Church. Having been brought up in a very conservative home and having grown up with a faith that she experienced primarily as a set of commands and interdictions, she became increasingly fed up with the many way Adventists around her regard other christians as the enemies, who will be the spiritual villains of he future. She did no longer want to be part of such a group.
About a week ago I saw this post on Facebook. Here is part of the text: ‘This is my last Sabbath as a Seventh Day Adventist. Come sunset tomorrow I am no longer an SDA. I love my SDA family and friends (and that won’t change). I know that those who care about me will continue to do so. I hope to continue healthy and rewarding connections with the people I have grown to love over my whole life as an SDA.To call this a difficult decision would be an understatement. I have been a fourth generation SDA. To disconnect feels like a surgical procedure. But I can no longer align myself to this denomination . . .’
About a thousans people ‘liked’ this message!
Three messages in just a few days. They convinced me even more than I already was that I am engaged in an important project. After having read and received many similar stories in the past few years, and particularly, in recent months, I decided early in the year to write a book that would target people (and especially Adventists) who struggle with doubts regarding their faith and their church.
Some have doubts about God and whether he truly cars for them. Others wonder whether some of the things the Adventist Church expects of its members are truly Bible-based and whether you must indeed believe all 28 Fundamental Beliefs to be considered a ‘true’ Adventist. Many deplore recent trends in the church and the manner in which the church’s leadership steers (or forces?) the world church in a particular direction. In the Western world in particular many have already left the church. For others that process has not been finalized, but they constantly ask themselves: Shall I remain or do I leave?
I recognize in myself in much of this doubt and deep disappointment about trends and events in my church. That is why I wanted to write an honest book in an attempt to provide support to many who are in doubt and uncertainty, and to suggest a few possible ways of dealing creatively and constructively with one’s doubts. The manuscript of the book is now almost ready. The (preliminary) title is: Facing Doubt. The subtitle is: A Book for (Adventist) Believers in the Margin. The book will first be published in English, but hopefully a Dutch version will follow.
I hope the English language edition will be available just after the summer. At that point the enormous challenge will be to promote the book, so that the target audience will know of its existence and will get the information as to where to order it. I hope many of my blog readers will assist me in getting the word out. I will utilize various channels, such as Amazon.com and other sites, and especially also the social media.
I will keep you posted!