Fulcrum7's Gerry Wagoner recently interviewed Dr. Brian Schwartz about the 2017 1888 National Conference.
Brian, thanks for giving us this interview
BS. You’re welcome.
When and where is the 1888 National Conference this year?
It is July 12–15, 2017. The location is Southern Adventist University.
When I joined the church in 1989, I didn’t even know that 1888 was a significant year in Adventist history. What is unique about the 1888 Message?
Its main contribution is a deeper understanding of righteousness by faith. When righteousness by faith is coupled to the sanctuary truths that we have been given, it results in the power of Jesus Christ to transform lives. It was referred to as a Most Precious Message for a reason.
How does the 1888 message differ from the original Advent message? Or does it?
It doesn’t contradict the original Advent Message, but adds color and depth to it. Take the righteousness of Christ for instance. Our church has always recognized our need for the righteousness of Christ; early advent believers had a great passion for Jesus. However over time, God’s people have a tendency to lose sight of the center of their faith. The 1888 Message was/is a call back to Jesus as the center of our faith. Thus the 1888 message stands on the shoulders of the 1844 message.
The 1888 Message also calls our people to renounce any rejection of the Spirit of Prophecy.
Does the 1888 Message differ from the LGT (Last Generation Theology) emphases?
I’m not an expert on LGT, but there are probably areas where we overlap. I find the 1888 Message to be more Christ-centered, and thus a better motivator.
Has the 1888 Message changed since 1888?
We have had the benefit of time and more study. That study has resulting in a maturing of our understanding and more time to develop what happened there. But has the Message changed since then? No. It is still the same enlightening and inspiring message.
How has it changed since 1988?
It has changed some. We have had meetings with church leaders since then, and that has given the Message a broader appeal. We have also become more practical in how the Message relates to our everyday life.
Did the Church reject the Most Precious Message in 1888?
I wouldn’t say it was rejected. Resisted is a more accurate term. Rejected carries a note of finality, and there is reason to believe that the 1888 Message on Righteousness by Faith will prevail in the end.
Why was it resisted?
It was resisted because of the call to repentance.
Repentance is not too popular in our world is it?
Repentance does two things for us: It calls us to come apart from the world; and repentance empowers us to serve through humility. Humility is an essential part of our Christian life.
How would you describe the church right now?
We are wandering in the wilderness, as did Israel of old.
If we are wandering in the wilderness, it seems like we will need water, a compass, and a good map. Where can we find those?
- The Compass is the word of God.
- The water is the Holy Spirit.
- The map is to know our history. If we know where we have come from, it’s easier to know where we are going. These three are the great needs in Adventism.
As someone who works with marriages, I have to ask. How has the 1888 message affected marriages?
It tends to strengthen marriages when husband and wife study it together and apply the principles of righteousness by faith to their lives. There have been a few cases where it separated husband and wife, regretfully. It depends on the spirit of the individuals.
Who are some of the speakers at the upcoming convention in Collegdale?
Alan Reinach is one. Also Fred Bischoff, Jerry Fineman, Bob Hunsaker and myself.
How can we tell the difference between false revival and the real thing?
In a false revival (and there have been several of them) the church loses something each time. It causes regression. In genuine revival, there is a turning from sin to Christ. That brings strength into the church, and into people’s lives. So false causes us to lose ground, and true revival moves us closer to God, and His kingdom.
Do you have any final words for us?
The 1888 Message has united historic Adventists and progressives. It tends to brush away differences that divide us.
Brian is a cardiologist in Dayton, Ohio. He and wife Lyndi are active in the Centerville SDA church, and long-time supporters of ASI. Brian also serves as the editor of Medical Evangelist, AMEN's journal.