Cognitive Ministries is an independent, supporting ministry of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. As such, this ministry supports without reservation the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Contrary to a certain groundswell of unregulated opinion in certain parts of the evangelical Christian world, if members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church can truthfully agree to the entirety of the Apostle’s Creed (with that all-important small ‘c’ in ‘catholic’), then we believe that the arguments being made by certain persons and organisations about the fact that Adventists are not true Christians – and/or that we are not Bible-believing are as dishonest and as unfounded as can be. There are huge doctrinal and ideological discrepancies in the Christian world amongst all those who claim to believe in the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and we will not be cowed or browbeaten by anyone or anything who wishes to undermine our sense of identity and mission.
Cognitive Ministries recognises that there are true and sincere disciples of Jesus Christ in other Christian denominations. We also recognise that were it not for the Biblical and theological work of the great Reformers, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church would not exist. Like many contemporary Protestants, there is no one Reformer with whom we would have agreed on everything, but we do seek to draw our fellow church members and our fellow Christians back to certain principles of Reformation theology.
Cognitive Ministries is very grateful for certain aspects of the work of Dr. Fernando Canale, whose formulation of the idea of the ‘multiple-sources-matrix’ in contradistinction to the sola-prima-tota-Scriptura method has enabled many thinking Adventists to understand the challenges posed to Christian theology in general and Adventist theology in particular. Although there are a number of gifted theological thinkers in the SDA Church who do espouse the very ‘multiple-sources-matrix’ that Dr. Canale has spoken against, Cognitive Ministries hereby asserts on its own terms (but in agreement with Dr Canale) that if the Bible is not the sole and the ultimate basis for Christian theology, then it is impossible to coherently assess precisely what extra-biblical elements would point towards truth, and which would not and remain consistent within the given theological method of choice. If these sorts of decisions are made by finite minds, then Cognitive Ministries sees no way in which theological projects in this vein could ever lead to actual spiritual renewal and ultimate conversion.
It is for reasons such as this that Cognitive Ministries is endeavouring to put out its own stall to the world and relate to all comers – but we do not plan to engage in the types of heinously cyclical polemical diatribes that are at present doing the rounds on the world-wide-web in Adventism. We are not afraid to engage with anyone and everyone. We have no fear of denunciation by anyone inside or outside the church. We do not intend to make personal attacks those who do not think as we do. We recognise that God has given all of us the right to free will, and our job is not to do the work of convincing or converting – it is to point towards the Truth (in all senses of the word) as the Holy Spirit leads us.
We do not support naturalistic evolution or theistic evolution, and we can certainly be called ‘Young-Earth Creationists’ if people choose to express themselves that way. We take science very seriously here at Cognitive Ministries – but at the same time we are not at all interested in scientific constructions which lack academic integrity, even if they agree with our overall conclusions. Truth is not to be ‘protected’ in the way that parents protect their babies – if it is truth, it will always withstand scrutiny. Bad science has no place in our work.
Bad theology and deficient philosophy are equally unwelcome here at Cognitive Ministries. We know that this will in fact create some naysayers against us in the ‘conservative’ Adventist world, but this does not qualify as a concern of any significance. Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant (and several others) are not our enemies. They could not be partners in ministry, but they are not our enemies. Even people like Bertrand Russell, A. J. Ayer and Julian Baggini whose view of God’s existence is opposite to our own are not people to make enemies out of. [And yes – that does indeed mean that Charles Darwin would not have been an enemy either – despite the entirely profound disagreements we would have had with him. He was a polite and seriously thoughtful man who may well have provided us a better standard of conversation than many ‘conservative’ Adventists can comprehend.] Philosophy is without the question the single least understood discipline in Bible-believing Adventism.
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church is unique with regard to its health message, and Cognitive Ministries is committed to supporting that health message (which promotes harmony and balance across the mental, physical and spiritual realms). There is no profound thought unless the mind is healthy, and supported by the brain and body (and spiritually nurtured. In this regard, cognitive functionality is a real necessity for divine revelation, but when the miracle-working power of Divinity itself punctuates a fractured and shattered mind-brain continuum of a lost and broken human being with a revelation of God – those moments are exceptions which prove the rule.
Cognitive Ministries believes in the literal return of Jesus Christ, and that evidence for this can be found in both Old and New Testaments.