Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sabbath vs. Sunday in the Bible

If you aren't familiar with what the Bible says about the Sabbath and about the first day of the week (Sunday) watch this little study.  If you know someone who is curious, they might enjoy it.

Ted Wilson Addresses German Adventists

After reading an article by Lothar E. Träder, a retired Adventist pastor and teacher in Germany, in which he decried Ted Wilson's series of sermons (five so far) preached to the German churches since he became the General Conference President, I was moved to comment.  It is immediately apparent, if you read the entire article, that Seventh-day Adventism in Germany is suffering the same trials as the church in the United States, Australia, and most likely around the world.  Namely, the widening gap between those who desire to embrace the world, and those who desire to surrender to Christ.

A few impressions after reading the article:

"So when Ekkehard Müller denounces German-speaking churches as being “deeply polarized”, many feel that such generalized statements are of little help and accuracy."

- Many of your own statements later in the article testify to the accuracy of Muller's that "German-speaking churches (like all Adventist churches) are 'deeply polarized'" (e.g. "They insist on a more rigid traditional form of Adventism, fighting against a more supposedly liberal brand of Adventism.")

"Don’t misunderstand me: the majority of the churches in Germany are theologically healthy, mission-oriented, living harmoniously their faith."

- Nothing could be further from the truth. This statement exemplifies the Laodicean state that our church is characterized by in the book of Revelation. We are NOT "theologically healthy, mission-oriented and living harmoniously our faith" any more than we are rich, increased in goods and have need of nothing.

"First, I noticed a dangerous version of endtime theology. He never ceased to emphasize the imminence of the Second Advent. Taking as a starting point the somewhat peculiar and overemphasized notion of the latter rain."

- It saddens me to hear someone in the Adventist church speak of an emphasis on the soon-coming of Jesus and the latter rain as a negative.

"What will happen if next year in all the pastors’ conventions around the globe ministers are called to preach this message, but the longed-for cosmic event will not materialize? Wouldn’t that create something like a second great disappointment among Adventists?"

- Would the world and church be better served by avoiding speaking of Christ's soon coming, thus affirming our Laodicean attitude? Nay, it is our mission to spread the message of His soon coming and that His judgment is already come!

"Deeply convinced in Mannheim that Christ’s return would be imminent, in Friedensau he dared to formulate that it is of little relevance whether Christ will return in five or fifty years."

- That one can look at these two points of Ted Wilson's sermons and conclude that "perhaps his visits to the places of the reformation had deeply impressed him" and that "Ted Wilson is a learner like all of us and perhaps he should come back to Germany more often to discuss issues with our fine theologians in Friedensau" shows just how deep the schism has become between the two groups in Adventism. Ted Wilson's theology has not changed, nor does his emphasis on the imminent return of Christ in one sermon and proclamation that it is of little relevance whether Christ returns in 5 years or 50 in the next present a conflict or evolution of belief.

We DO believe in the imminent return of Christ, and we ALSO believe that we are called to live the same life whether He comes in 5 years or 50. That is why the date of His return is of little relevance to the life of the believer...unless you believe that if we know Christ isn't coming for 50 years we can then "relax" and live a more worldly life, not spending so much time thinking about the things of heaven and spreading the Gospel?

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Lesson On Faith

As you may already be aware, Jones and Waggoner are the two young men who delivered the powerful message of Righteousness by Faith to the church at the 1888 General Conference in Minneapolis.  I was recommended a book of theirs entitled, Lessons on Faith.

In this post I'm going to do a quick summation of a sermon and a part of that book.

God, through the apostle Paul, says in Romans 1:17, "The just shall live by faith."

So here we see how those abiding in Christ ought to live...by faith.

Then we turn to Matthew 4:4 and find that Christ, quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, says, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God' "

When we look at these two truths together we must come to one of two conclusions. Either 1.) There are two different ways a follower of Christ may live, or 2.) These two verses are descriptions of the same way of living.

I'd propose that it's the latter, in which case we find that:

Living by faith is the same as living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

What a beautiful and biblical definition of faith: to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Let's look at a second example.

Matthew 8:5-8,10, "Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, 'Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.'

And Jesus said to him, 'I will come and heal him.'

The centurion answered and said, 'Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.'

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!' "

So here we find Christ Himself identifies what it is to have great faith. What is it that Christ was referring to about the centurion that was not just faith, but great faith?

The centurion said "But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed." The centurion believed that the word of Christ alone had the power to accomplish what it said would happen.

Together, these three passages lead to a solid conclusion about what it is to have faith: To live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God...to believe that word has the power to accomplish what it says it will.

This is why Bible promises are so powerful. This is why Christ upon His triumphal entry said, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out." (Luke 19:40) Because the word of God had declared that those shouts would be heard upon Christ's entry (Psalm 118:26) and if the people wouldn't have cried out, the very stones would have...because God's word declared it, and God's word has the power to accomplish what it says.

Isaiah 55:11, "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."


Well...I don't want this lesson to be too long-winded, so I'll stop right here.

God bless, and be faithful.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


The other night I was laying in bed thinking how crazy it is that during Christ's time, there was a sect of Jews, God's chosen people, who didn't believe in a resurrection. I mean, it is such a basic, foundational doctrine, yet the Sadducees denied it.

But there was, in those days, another group. A group who stood against these Sadducees and their false beliefs. A group of spiritual leaders. A group of pious men whose whole life was centered around God's law. In fact, so valuable did they hold God's law, that they even began to place hedges around the law to be absolutely sure they wouldn't get anywhere near breaking it. These devout men went far above and beyond God's original law. For example, they didn't only pay tithe of their income, but even gave tithe of their herb gardens! Of course, I am speaking of the Pharisees.

I think the church today has become a lot like the Pharisees of old. So caught up in arguing and defending doctrines that we lose sight of the One to whom all doctrines point.

How often today must God look down and say, "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." (Mark 7:6)

Paul speaks of these things in Romans 14 and 15, and 1 Corinthians 8 and 10. He says not to dispute over doubtful things. Don't let these little issues divide the body of Christ! In those days it was things like meat offered to idols, which days to observe and fast on, etc. Today we die on the mountains of Christian dress, jewelry, music, styles of worship, etc. I won't die on those mountains! If something is against someone's conscience, we ought not to push it. For if they violate their own conscience, they sin. "But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23)

Paul says, "Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." (1 Corinthians 10:32-33) "And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." (1 Corinthians 8:11-13) "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand." "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." (Romans 14:4,19) "We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves." (Romans 15:1)

We are not the Holy Spirit, it is not our job to convict. Sometime God uses us as a tool in His hand to reveal the truth, but we are never to compel obedience to it.

There's an old rhyme that says,
"A person convinced against their will,
is of the same opinion still."

Another old saying says,
"A person has to know that you care before they care what you know."

How true.

"Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, 'Follow Me'" - EGW

God bless you and keep you!

Friday, September 2, 2011

See With New Eyes

Please take a moment to check out this series by Ty Gibson which focuses on seeing the loving character of God.  It will enrich your Christian walk to no end!

In Jesus Christ the character of God is perfectly revealed to humanity.

See With New Eyes