Look at this as it is a eye opening shock of cold water on those who are pushing the Willow Creek Model of 'Celebration SDA Churches' with its hidden 'Spiritual Formation':
"My Pilgrimage to U.S.A. Celebration Churches
By the late 1980s, Australian Adventist administrators, evangelists, and pastors were looking for an answer to the challenge of this post-Christian era. They wanted to know how to successfully grow their churches.
It was at this time that the "celebration movement" was introduced to the world church of Seventh-day Adventists. The church’s leading papers heralded the first celebration churches in Milwaukie, a suburb of Portland, Oregon; and Colton, California, U.S.A. This new type of church was believed to be the answer to our church growth problems, as hundreds were flocking to these celebration churches. I was one of the pastors who embarked upon this pilgrimage.
My first opportunity to observe the celebration church movement in detail was in June 1990. I was part of a group of 30 Australian pastors who were taken on a Church Growth Tour through the U.S.A. to learn how to grow churches. Two of the "growing" Adventist churches we visited were Milwaukee and Colton. With glowing enthusiasm their pastors told of the crowds of worshippers who were attending. Their excitement was contagious. We took notes, filed materials, and then attended some of their services.
I was in my 38th year of ministry, having been a departmental director and pastor/evangelist. Observing these celebration churches caused me concern as I saw their sacred worship services accompanied with lights and loud disco-type music of secular, worldly entertainment. The distinctive truths of the three angels’ messages and the Spirit of Prophecy had given way to a message of "love and acceptance." Church standards had suffered a similar fate, as members were encouraged to be "loving" and not "judgmental." However, many of those attracted to these services could not see the dangers. They expressed their joy that this new presentation of the Gospel had brought to them love, understanding, and a liberation from Adventist legalism.
With almost evangelistic zeal the members were urging other Adventists from surrounding churches to join them in this newfound experience. These churches were certainly growing, and rapidly. But it was largely "transfer growth" from other Adventist churches. While they were supposed to attract and convert "unchurched Harrys and Marys," few such "kingdom-growth" baptisms were taking place.
While some of us left those celebration churches with questions in our minds, none of us had any idea that both of these churches would later collapse, with the loss of hundreds of souls. The pastor of the Milwaukee church also would become so antagonistic to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its teachings that his soul-destroying influence would even extend to Australia. In fact, little did we realize then that one of our fellow ministers on this tour would on his return "plant" a celebration/contemporary church like those he was observing, and he too would suffer a similar fate, with the loss of the church and himself to the Adventist Church....
The Celebration Movement in the South Pacific Division
When the celebration movement was launched in the Seventh-day Adventist Church by the Milwaukie and Colton Adventist churches in America, some pragmatists in Australia and New Zealand were quick to follow them. Five church plants of this nature were attempted in the South Pacific Division, each of which adopted a celebration-type contemporary style of worship. They were: (1) Cherrybrook, Sydney, Greater Sydney Conference; (2) Cornerstone, North New Zealand Conference; (3) Fox Valley, Sydney, Greater Sydney Conference; (4) Riverside, Perth, West Australian Conference; and (5) Southside, Brisbane, South Queensland Conference.2
These five contemporary churches that were "planted" in the South Pacific Division initially experienced transfer growth from other Adventist churches, but had very little success in their style of evangelism in terms of kingdom growth. Tragically, four of these five churches are no longer in the sisterhood of Adventist churches. Like most of their American counterparts, they experienced a tragic loss of members as well as pastors.3
Besides the church "plants," some established Adventist churches also adopted aspects of the celebration church growth methods. The Church Growth leaders of the South Pacific Division specially promoted one such Sydney church (the Mt. Colah church), hoping to demonstrate the success of these pragmatic methods. However, official conference records reveal that this church only had 19 baptisms in its first nine years, and in the next five years only one baptism!4
This "model" pragmatic church now has such a small attendance that it is struggling to exist. In contrast to this celebration-type church, the neighboring "commissionist" (or traditional) church, Waitara, has so experienced real kingdom church growth that it has been asked to care for the "model" church.5 In fact, more of these celebration-type contemporary churches are in trouble, and conference leaders are becoming very embarrassed about them, having in the past enthusiastically promoted them....
A mistaken assumption of the contemporary church growth movement is that distinctive Seventh-day Adventist doctrines are a hindrance to church growth and must, therefore, be abandoned. And yet, the churches that have jumped on this bandwagon are not growing!"
I think everyone can see it....
JAMES, I WISH I COULD BE AS IN DEPTH AS YOU ARE. MY POINTS SEEM TO BE SHORT.
I used to be a fan of celebration churches. Great fellowship, its geared towards young people but it's not really focused on God. It's more about "self"
Yes, Gabriel, I agree with you that the focus in the celebration churches shifted the focus to self rather than God. With this shift in focus came a move away from the doctrines of the church which ended in the removing the SD from SDAism and I'm not sure that the A remained in any real sense.
I suppose it demonstrates that once you start to chip away at the doctrines you end up destroying the platform of truth.
MAYBE, BUT IT IS ALSO A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVES AND EXPECTATIONS. WE WENT TO HAWAII A BACK IN 2004. ANOTHER FAMILY FROM THE USA MET US THERE AND WE RENTED A HOUSE ETC.
ANYWAYS ON SABBATH WE WENT TO CHURCH. MY FRIEND'S MOM WAS WITH US AND SHE WAS UPSET WITH HOW PEOPLE WERE DRESSED AND THE "HAWAIIAN MUSIC" IN CHURCH.
MANY PEOPLE WERE IN SHORTS AND HAWAIIAN SHIRTS. THE HYMNS HAD A HAWAIIAN INFLUENCE. I GUESS SHE WAS EXPECTING THE SAME EXPERIENCE AS IN HER MIDWEST CHURCH.
Too many comments about the Sabbath Day. Do we realize it is not keeping the Sabbath that gets you in heaven. You could hate someone and keep the Sabbath and not make it in the Kingdom. There are people who have a Relationship who don't keep the Sabbath but will make to Heaven.
It is about Obedience to His will and to His way, it is about that Personal Relationship with God. With that you are led in Spirit and Truth and into a life of Obedience and Sacrifice to God. Fully Committed to His will and to His way.
That is true.
Correct, thank you In need of Prayer! Children of Israel spent 40 years in the Wilderness as well as other consequences later because they would not harken (listen to) to the VOICE OF THE LORD, THAT DOES NOT MEAN THE WRITTEN WORD ONLY, IT MEANS THE SPOKEN, STILL SMALL VOICE OF THE LORD.
God always wanted a relationship with people. When they heard His voice directly, the people feared, in a bad sense, not fear in the sense of respect, but actual gut-wrenching fear. They told Moses for him to tell them what God wanted them to do. They refused to listen and obey.
3 ¶ Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. 4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:"
The Hebrew for Hear in verse 3 and 4 is Shema (or Shama), it means to literally hear:
Strongs # 8085 "a primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell etc.): attentively, call (gather) together, carefuly, certainly, consent, consider, be content, declare, diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear(ken, tell) indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim(-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, surely, tell, understand, whoesoever (heareth), witness."
The Shema later in Jewish tradition referred to more than to hear and obey, but to a series of prayers recited in the morning and evening.
"Hear O Israel; The LORD our God is one LORD. (Deut. 6:4), the one means absolutely one, not three in one.
The Hebrews were set apart from all other nations because they only believed in ONE true GOD. Jesus never taught or believed he was God. Nowhere in scripture does it state that one must believe in the Trinity to be saved.
Jesus made a most important proclamation in Mark 12:28 about what is the first commandment;
"And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 32And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: 33And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 34And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.And no man after that durst ask him any question."
The Strong's # are included below of the same text, note that one in The Lord our God is one Lord is the word heis in Greek, Strong's # 1520: Heis:
'(including the neuter (etc.) hen); a primary numeral; one;--a(-n, -ny, certain), + abundantly, man, one (another), only, other, some."
28¶ And2532one1520of the scribes3588, 1122came4334, and having heard191them846reasoning together4802, and perceiving1492that3754he had answered611them846well2573, asked1905him846, Which4169is2076the first4413commandment1785of all3956? 293588And1161Jesus2424answeredhim846, 3754The first4413of all3956the commandments3588, 1785is, Hear191, O Israel2474; The Lord2962our2257God3588, 2316isoneLord2962: 30And2532thou shalt love25the Lord2962thyGod3588, 2316with1537all3650thy4675heart3588, 2588, and2532with1537all3650thy4675soul3588, 5590, and2532with1537all3650thy4675mind3588, 1271, and2532with1537all3650thy4675strength3588, 2479: this3778isthe first4413commandment1785. 313588And2532the second1208islike3664, namelythis846, Thou shalt love25thy4675neighbour4139as5613thyself4572. There is2076none3756other243commandment1785greater3187than these5130.3778 32And2532the scribe3588, 1122said2036unto him846, Well2573, Master1320, thou hast said20361909the truth225: for3754there is2076one1520God2316; and2532there is2076none3756other243but4133he846: 33358835883588And2532to love25him846with1537all3650the heart3588, 2588, and2532with1537all3650the understanding3588, 4907, and2532with1537all3650the soul3588, 5590, and2532with1537all3650the strength3588, 2479, and2532to love25hisneighbour4139as5613himself1438, is2076more4119than all3956whole burnt offerings3588, 3646and2532sacrifices3588, 2378. 34And2532when Jesus3588, 2424saw1492that3754he answered611discreetly3562, he said2036unto him846, Thou art1488not3756far3112fromthe kingdom3588, 932of God3588, 2316.And2532no man3762after that3765durst5111ask1905him846any question.846
The word Hear above in Greek is Rhema, to hear.
From Wikipedia "Rhema:"
Both Plato (c. 428–347 BC) and Aristotle (384–322 BC) used the terms logos, rhema and onoma. In Plato's usage, a logos (often translatable as a sentence) is a sequence in which verbs are mingled with nouns and every logos must have an onoma and rhema. For Plato, every logos was either true or false and in a logos, names included rhema which denotes actions and onoma a mark set on those who do the actions. Aristotle identified three components as central to the proposition: onoma, rhemaand logos. These terms are translated differently depending on the context of the discussion—grammar or logic, as in the table on the right. But it was only in the 12th century that grammarians began to think in terms of units we understand as subject and predicate.
In Christianity, rhema is used in Bible study to signify Jesus Christ's utterance. The Greek word rhema is useful to distinguish between two meanings of word. While both rhema and logos are translated into the English word, in the original Greek there was a substantial distinction.
Some modern usage distinguishes Rhema from Logos in Christian theology, with Rhema at times called "spoken word", referring to the revelation received by disciples when the Holy Spirit "speaks" to them. In this usage, "Logos" refers to Christ.
In this modern usage, Logos is the "Word of God" Jesus Christ, the subject from Genesis to Revelation. Rhema is the revealed word of God, as an utterance from God to the heart of the receiver via the Holy Spirit, as in John 14:26
Most churches only teach to pray, but not to listen for the "answer" of the still small voice. PastorT falsely accused In need of Prayer and me of being mentally ill for hearing the still small voice of the Lord. A pastor eh, not my kind of Pastor.
Pastor Paul D. Norcross is teaching thousands (over 11,000 now) of Pastors in Africa how to hear the voice of the Lord, as well as teach them about the manifestations of holy spirit (referring to the gift of God, thus lower case, not God the Father, the Creator).
He has great teachings on walking and listening to God at:
Another related issue is that the SDA teaches that the 10 commandments were not nailed to the cross and distinguish between the 10 commandments and the "ceremonial" law.
If Jesus did not nail the 10 commandments to the cross, in taking the sins of its disobedience to himself for our righteousness and justification and sanctification, then we are all not saved, no one, because no one but Jesus Christ could keep the law perfectly. The 10 commandments are part of the Law, being the summary of the most important principles (Laws). But all 613 laws include the 10 commandments, they are in the scriptures of the Old Testament as well as were on stone.
Jesus divided the scriptures as the Jews do, He is Jewish (Hebrew), into the Law, meaning the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible, the Prophets, and the writings (Psalms and Proverbs etc.).
If the 10 commandments are not covered by Jesus Christ for us, then we are still dead in trespasses and sins and no one is saved, which is ridiculous. Disobedience to one Law is disobedience to them all.
To pick and choose the laws to be "obeyed" and those to be ignored, is false, to pick and choose which Sabbaths are to be followed is also false. All Sabbaths were to be followed under the Law upon penalty of death. The Torah (Law) means instruction. God intended that His people think and understand why and have a relationship with Him.
Our duty is to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, a greater law and glory then the Old Testament.
Our duty is to hear God and obey Him. There is the written, spoken and revealed Word of The Lord.
Not every situation is covered in the written word, and every situation is unique to that exact instance. God wants us to hear Him to guide us, teach us, warn us, comfort us, etc. It is a relationship. What kind of an earthly Father would never talk to his children? What about God?
As regards the Sabbaths I have covered extensively elsewhere regarding what Paul said in Colossians chpater 2:
" 13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15Andhaving spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."
As Bullinger notes in The Companion Bible (KJV), page 1784; note on verse 14 above, "Sabbath days = sabbaths. See Leviticus 23 3, 7, 8, 21, 24, 27-32, 35, 36, 38, 39, John 20:1.
Companion Bible note on above verse page 1570 "1 The First Day of the Week=On the first (day) of the Sabbaths (pl.) Gr. Te mia ton sabbaton. The word "day" is rightly supplied, as mia is feminine, and so must agree with a feminine noun understood, while sabbaton is neuter.." Bullinger notes further of other uses confirming the same thing in Luke and Mark.
TO SEPARATE THE LAW, INCLUDING THE SABBATHS INTO PARTS AS REQUIRED TO BE OBEYED AND THOSE NOT TO BE OBEYED IS WRONG, DISINGENUOUS, OR IGNORANCE AND IS DEFINITLY TRADITIONS OF SDA, NOT BASED ON WHAT JESUS DID, IS TO FULFILL AND FINISH THE LAW, OUR SALVATION IS BY GRACE ONLY AS PAUL SAID BY REVELATION.
I am not saying go out and steal, kill and destroy, that would not be love.