Tuesday, September 20, 2011

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?

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting reading this article. We had a german family come to church a couple of weeks ago. They young sons (18 and 23) came into the bible study before church. We asked them alot of questions about how it was in germany with the SDA. They said that the growth was fair and steady BUT the liberal wing of SDA is the real growth. God can't be happy Todd. That is why we preach, let's get our act together BEFORE He comes to personally take the reins. Otherwise the Church wil never be acceptable to Him. Rob