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Query #86 for the Month

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March 2022

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Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 In the meantime, try this site.   

 

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Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


 

Query:

The Adventist church has been around since the 1840’s and has grown in size tremendously, but its real message doesn’t seem to be reaching the masses of the world.  Do you have any ideas on why this is?

 

 

Response:

In answer to your query:

When a movement first forms it is usually (at that point), because one or two individuals have a close connection with the Son of God, but as time goes by the “kings” start to show up and laws or creeds become necessary to keep them under control (for that is only what they recognise).  These (now 28) Fundamental Beliefs were required to show the standard to newcomers and outsiders and were usually couched in very spiritual terms.  Sadly, the practical application of them often leads to joining the church and not Christ, because they prepare for a monarchy, an “Almighty God”, and not a family with a “Father”.  Is this a great difference?  One is the bringing in of a new Life and living from thereon in a partnership with Christ, the other is joining a church and hoping for the chance of being chosen to be saved!

 

The “wedding ring” symbol of the Sabbath observance becomes a reality in the minds of those who live by observing it physically instead of the symbol it is meant to be.  This leads to the condition the church is in today.

 

From 1844-65 there were no written rules as to what church members could or could not believe.  Many leading men and women came from positions in the Protestant world that they had to change as they exchanged ideas based on Bible references amongst themselves. (Click here.)  Then some advanced the idea that they needed a creed (which in itself is not a bad thing), but it started as a background, then became a basis for teaching newcomers as a foundation, and finally it was made a necessary requisite for baptism! 

 

The church became formally organised in 1863 (click here) and soon started to expand with a leadership of about three men.  It was after a change of president of the General Conference of 1888 that it became necessary, and was advised by God through His messenger, that local supervision was now necessary for its well-being.  So divisions and local conferences were instituted.  (Click here.)  (And see note 1.)  That which was wrong in Moses’ times because they were within walking distance of each other (Exodus 18:13-24), now became just the right thing because of the distances and times it took to relay orders from the USA around the world.

 

Exodus 18:22

And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter [religious?] they shall bring unto you, but every small matter [civil?] they shall judge: so shall it be easier for yourself, and they shall bear the burden with you.   

 

This is a delicate subject to explore, but we have the firm word of the True Witness as to how He sees us today. No matter how we like to think, we cannot go past that!  The question was asked back in 1962, “Don’t these people realise that they are Laodiceans?” and that led to the present point.  So what is the condition of the Adventist system, and how long has it been like this?

 

     Revelation 3:

14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans [the Seventh-day Adventist church, 1844 - today] write; These things says the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning [Beginner] of the creation of God;

 

15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold [indifferent] or hot [enthusiastic.] 16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will [have to] spue you out of My mouth.

 

17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not [refuse to know] that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked [without the robe of righteousness]: 18 I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire [faith that works], that you may be rich; and white raiment [the robe], that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve [the guidance of the Holy Spirit], that you may see [and be saved.] 

 

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 

 

20 Behold, I stand at the door [of your hearts], and knock: if any man [or woman] hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him [or her], and will sup with him [or her], and he [she] with Me. 21 To him [her] that overcomes [their self] will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. 

 

22 He [or she] that has a [spiritual] ear, let him [her] hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 

 

So the questions are “why” and “how” did we get like this?

 

The first reason is the official church attitude towards those whom He has warned us to beware of and to warn.

 

    James 4:4

“You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. [And that includes their religions.]

 

God says of the professed Christian ones in the world (the Protestants):

 

    Revelation 3:

1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis [the time of the Reformation, 1517-1833] write; These things says He that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name [among men] that you live, and are [spiritually] dead [in My sight.]

 

[There were only a very few who accepted all the revived truths that led to the seventh-day Sabbath reality. 

Most followed their “mother’s” way and continued worshipping on the sun’s day and using force (physical and coercive) to gain their objective.]

2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.

 

If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief [in the 1833-44 movement], and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you [you won’t recognise Me.]

 

4 [However,] You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.

5 He that overcomes [his or her self], the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.

 

6 He that has a [spiritual] ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 

 

The second reason:

You may have noticed in the first quote that there are amongst the Laodiceans some who do invite Christ into their hearts (a close union).  The message of the need for repentance is not addressed to them but since they are only a minority it does apply to all the others. 

So how exactly do they differ?  And how should Adventists as a whole differ from Protestants?  The Spirit describes the Christian experience as a “marriage” in the following text.

        Romans 7:

1 Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law [the Ten Commandments] has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

 

2 [Then He changes the subject of the discussion!]  For [in the same manner] the woman which has a husband is bound by the law [of marriage] to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband [for the law of earthly marriage is also only until death.] 

 

3 So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall [rightly] be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. [Did you note what James, under Inspiration, called the professed Christians?  So it goes a long way back.]

 

4 Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law [of spiritual marriage] by the body [sacrifice] of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God. [Who was the first husband?  Satan, through the law of sin.  And how long should it last?] 

 

But what does the church teach?  It teaches that we live in a series of one-night stands with Christ and that it is a hard and temporary life.  How often have you heard that you have to be re-born (re-married) every morning?  But the law of marriage says, “till death do us part”.  One-night stands are by their very nature not legally binding and yet that is what most Laodiceans have been taught!  Scriptures which appear to say that are used to back it up, but for them to connect up with Christ while still retaining their “law of sin” is for aspiring Christians to practice spiritual adultery.  According to what we just read in Romans one or the other is the norm and therefore acceptable, but two at the same time is not! How often have you heard, “We have two natures” (i.e. two husbands)?

 

There is no need to labour this point today as you will have heard that particular teaching many times and ways.   But here is a summing-up by EGW’s grandson.

 

 

{Vol 3 BIO paras. 413.9 to 415.5,  EGW Vol 3, The Lonely Years, 1876-1891      

                by Arthur L White 1964}

 

Righteousness by Faith Defined

In answer to the question as to why, with the message of righteousness by faith being so important, did not Ellen White devote a book to the subject, it might be said that while it is the basis of salvation, it is a very simple matter and one that springs out here and there all through her articles and books. 

 

[Three well-balanced compilations of E. G. White materials set forth the precious truth of righteousness by faith as taught in her writings:

 

Christ Our Righteousness, Compiled by A. G. Daniells and published in 1928;

 

and two compilations issued by the Ellen G.  White Estate,

a fifty-page section, “Christ Our Righteousness,” in Selected Messages, Book 1, published in 1958,

                              and the 122-page Faith and Works, published in 1979.]

 

She summed it up in a testimony written May 1, 1895, addressed to the Battle Creek church: {3BIO 413.9} [Testimonies to Ministers, page 91.2]

 

The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to his people through Elders Waggoner and Jones.  His message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.  It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God.  Many had lost sight of Jesus.  They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.  All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent.  This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world.  It is the third angel’s message [not the 4th], which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure....  {3BIO 414.1}

 

The efficacy [the power] of the blood of Christ was to be presented to the people with freshness and power, that their faith might lay hold upon its merits....  {3BIO 414.2}

 

Unless he makes it his life business to behold the uplifted Saviour, and by faith to accept the merits which it is his privilege to claim [through marriage], the sinner can no more be saved than Peter could walk upon the water unless he kept his eyes fixed steadily upon Jesus. [It has to be continuous, not renewed.]  {3BIO 414.3}

 

Now it has been Satan’s determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus, and lead men to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect help from man.  For years the church has been looking to man, and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered.  Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel’s message, in clear, distinct lines. — Letter 57, 1895 (see also Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 91-93).  {3BIO 414.4}

 

A Personal and Frail Experience

The key phrase in the above quotation is “Unless he makes it his life business to behold the uplifted Saviour.”  First, it is a personal matter; only by individually beholding Jesus and laying claim upon the promised merits of a risen Saviour can the experience be enjoyed.  Second, the experience is one that must be renewed daily and maintained by keeping the eyes on Jesus. 

It can be had and enjoyed today, and lost tomorrow. [Yet God illustrates this condition with marriage which is permanent!!  Romans 7:1-4.] [1] 

 

A. W. Spalding put it well as he wrote of the 1888 experience: {3BIO 414.5}

 

Justification by faith, the foundation truth of salvation through Christ, is the most difficult of all truths to keep in the experience of the Christian.  It is easy of profession, but elusive in application [because that was his experience!] — Origin and History, vol.  2, p.  281.  {3BIO 415.1}

 

It is regarded by many as a “work”, when it should be seen as a “state of being”.

 

Ellen White, in one way or another, reminded those who listened to her discourses, and who read her books and articles, of the vital place this experience held in character building, in daily victorious living, and in salvation.  As noted, the Minneapolis experience did not become a fetish [2] with her.  In fact, the experience of living the life of righteousness by faith [3] may be had with no reference to or knowledge of the struggle at Minneapolis in 1888, with its animosities and bitterness [for love teaches its students.] {3BIO 415.2}

 

Nor need its precious elements, easily within the grasp of both the primitive believer and the most profound scholar, be lost for the lack of complicated formulas or definitions. [4] 

 

Ellen White hinted at this in a statement written in 1891.  {3BIO 415.3}

 

Many commit the error of trying to define minutely the fine points of distinction between justification [the wedding] and sanctification [the marriage].  Into the definitions of these two terms they often bring their own ideas and speculations.  Why try to be more minute than is Inspiration on the vital question of righteousness by faith?  Why try to work out every minute point, as if the salvation of the soul depended upon all having exactly your understanding of this matter?  All cannot see in the same line of vision. — Manuscript 21, 1891 (see also The SDA Bible Commentary, Ellen G.  White Comments, on Romans 3:24-28,p.  1072).  {3BIO 415.4}

 

The events of late 1888 and the few years that followed reveal the story of the fruitage of the momentous meeting held in Minneapolis.  {3BIO 415.5}

 

------------------------------

 

It is a normal question for young people to ask. “How will I know that I am in love?” and the answer is always, “You will KNOW when it happens” for it cannot be explained in human values. 

--------------------------------->

 

Comment:

Years ago, this article was mailed to me:

https://ancient-sda.com/articles_books/questions_about_sda_church.pdf

 

 

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.  Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. Recognition is not always given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Next query. To be discussed from 1st April 2022

 

Query: 

What happens during and after the 1,000 years?  It seems to be an awfully long time to judge people.  How many will an individual want to look at?

 

For contact:

mail to:  nonconformist@mail.com  or ron_pars@hotmail.com

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Note 1:              [Read it here]

Manuscript 26, 1903

(Oakland, California)

April 3, 1903 Re: The Work of the General Conference, paras 1-5). 

{Christian Leadership 26.1-3} [1985]

This manuscript is published in entirety in 14MR 279-280. [Try this link but it is NOT Manuscript 26.]

 

(The unacknowledged deletions from the manuscript are here in blue)

There is need of a most earnest, thorough work to be now carried forward in all our churches. We are now to understand whether all our printing plants and all our sanitariums are to be under the control of the General Conference. I answer, Nay.  It has been a necessity to organize union conferences, that the General Conference shall not exercise dictation over all the separate conferences.  The power vested in the Conference is not to be centered in one man, or two men, or six men; there is to be a council of men over the separate divisions. 18LtMs, Ms 26, 1903, para 1

 

The showing by the past leadership of the conference is not after God’s order.  There has been a work done of a character that has not been approved of God.  The result we have before us in the ruins where once stood that large printing plant, [The Review and Herald Office in Battle Creek] with its expensive facilities.... {ChL 26.1}  18LtMs, Ms 26, 1903, para 2

 

The divine statutes have been set aside. The time will soon come when God will vindicate His insulted authority. “The Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” [Isaiah 26:21.] “But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth?” [Malachi 3:2.]   18LtMs, Ms 26, 1903, para 3

 

In the work of God no kingly authority is to be exercised by any human being, or by two or three.  The representatives of the Conference, as it has been carried with authority for the last twenty years, shall be no longer justified in saying, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we.” The men in positions of trust have not been carrying the work wisely.  {ChL 26.2}  18LtMs, Ms 26, 1903, para 4

 

The Lord calls for wise men to preside over His work and to be faithful shepherds of His flock. He has a work to be done in every city. The General Conference has fallen into strange ways, and we have reason to marvel that judgment has not fallen, showing, “by terrible things in righteousness,” that God is not a man that He should lie. [Psalm 65:5 — Manuscript 26, 1903 (April 3, 1903 Re: The Work of the General Conference).  {ChL 26.3}   18LtMs, Ms 26, 1903, para 5

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{Letter 65, 1895, pp. 7, 8  To Bro Olsen}  (Read it here.)

(June 19, 1895). 

{Christian Leadership 29.2-3} [1985]

See Lt 122, 1895. This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1394-1407 Materials.

 

Did your devising in regard to the Gospel Primer meet the approval of God?  No; the principle upon which you acted was wrong.  Individual service is to be rendered to God, not to be controlled by man or by any set of men.  Movements have been made which mean much in their outworking. 

 

An example has been given by men who are serving where they should not be, which is leavening your Conferences.  The Presidents of Conferences are being imbued with a spirit to rule, to require men to bow to their judgment; if any refuse, the course pursued toward them is such as to fill heaven with indignation.  {ChL 29.2} 10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par 15

 

You might like to read about what happened at the 2018 General Conference, which was only an ADCOM meeting.

 

How can God move upon the churches to contribute their hard earned means to be handled by men who are self-sufficient, selfish, and so arrogant and overbearing that the frown of God is upon them?  Our institutions need cleansing as did the temple when Christ was upon the earth.  Man lords it over men’s consciences, man dictates to his fellow-men as God.  Everywhere throughout the field this spirit is leavening hearts with the same narrow and selfish purposes.  Reaction must come, and who shall then set things in order?  Jesus says, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” — Letter 65, 1895, pp.  7, 8 (June 19, 1895).  {ChL 29.3}10LtMs, Lt 65, 1895, par 16

 

-------------------------

 

 

 


 

[1] Modern man (even in the church) treats marriage as a worldly institution and not a divine one – a Christian mission.

[2] A fetish is an extremely strong devotion to something.

[3] This should be written, “righteousness, by faith” for it is a position, not a work.

[4] There is a contemporary book by Ty Gibson, entitled “An Endless Falling in love” which has a misleading title,

     for are falling (courting) and being in love (marriage), the same?