Thursday, February 14, 2013

SDA Pastor Morris Venden Dies

Well-known, Beloved Adventist Preacher Morris Venden is Dead

Elder Morris L. Venden, the widely-known and much loved Seventh-day Adventist preacher, passed to his death on Sunday evening, February 10. He was 80 years of age.
Venden is best known for advocating a grace-oriented perspective as well as defending Adventist theology in a way that was acceptable to at least some evangelicals. 
A ministerial student at the time remembers that at the height of the controversy kicked up by theologian Desmond Ford, during a meeting of the theology faculty and students at Pacific Union College, “after a series of papers 20 to 30 pages [each] parsing the Greek and Hebrew,” Venden passed out a two-and-a-half-page paper and made this simple statement; “You must be born again. You must be born again. You must be born again. There was something wrong with your first birth so you must be born again.”

Pastor Vendon was for several years the senior pastor of the Keene University SDA Church where we were living at the time. I remember my father overjoyed at finding a preacher who held his own grace-oriented gospel. My father's friend, Morris, who spoke so slowly and sadly, like Winnie-the-Pooh's donkey Eeyore, gave Adventists a good dose of non-legalism in all his sermons

I didn't interact much with him as my pastor, but a few years later, after he had gone to another church and I was very active in the pro-life movement, I asked for his endorsement for non-political organization that went around to SDA schools and churches teaching about the development of the unborn child. 

He declined with a bit of a chuckle and smile. 

I remember always seeing so much sad in his eyes. 
RIP Pastor Venden.