I need to work on my literature for a spell so I am taking a break from blogging. Yet I did want to leave some words of encouragement for my brothers. First; growing up as an Adventist I was inundated with fear based messages. It seemed that every Sabbath someone was rallying the troops with their version of eschatology. People where often predicting the end, indicating that we would not see beyond the end of the decade. I remember having vivid dreams of the worlds destruction with my life hanging in the balance. In the third grade my teacher read us a novella titled "Now," which was a depiction of the end utilizing the SDA understanding of eschatology. I developed a pending sense of doom, and was trained to be in tune to the signs of the end. Yet; as I a matured into adulthood I noticed that many of my fears were unfounded. At one point I was sure that Ralph Reed and the Christian coalition were going to take over the government and implement the religious rule leading to the "Sunday Law." During this period of my life I began to contemplate the usefulness of fear and found that it wasn't doing much for my spiritual life. I wasn't actively involved in any ministry, and spent little time helping anyone. I did spend a lot of time talking and debating (still do unfortunately.) I also faced very little oppression for my faith, but was consumed with the potential that it may happen. So I began to shift my focus and concentrate on reading scripture unadulterated. I was impressed with the early SDA faith and their focus on the Bible as the only doctrine. It was then that began to learn the lessen that fear based Christianity is void of substance. Instead I embarked on social Christianity based on a foundational relationship with Christ. Slowly I understood that standing up for God's people which takes confidence in his word, is what characterizes a true connection with Christ.
In this world there are many who are down trodden, weary, and judged. Hearing their need and allowing Christ to use us to benefit them is what can conquer fear. When the first person decided to take a freedom ride, or to sit at a segregated counter, they understood how to serve and how to utilize faith to conquer fear. The moment we stand on the side of Christ we will face oppression, if there is none in our lives then we are not serving hm. Many wait for oppression in the future, and fail to realize that the Character of Christ is going to be rejected by the sinful world. The moment one stands up for the harlot, they will be hated as the harlot is. The moment one reaches out to the sinner, they will be judged as the sinner is. The moment a Christian validates a criminal, they will be judged by the world. Most of us fear this type of rejection, but as Christ has told us:If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.…
So I would like to encourage you with the words fear not. When we serve him, he will redeem us guaranteed. We can have faith in his words and joy in our salvation. Yes, we can be assured that we are saved if we are willing to surrender and improve. Yes, we fall, but we get up and do not face condemnation, but encouragement to continue with the journey. I encourage you to claim the promise and to focus on the task of serving him because there is a great work to do.
Herbert, thank you for this post, it does help me to understand where you are coming from - and I agree with a lot of what you have written.
Sadly, Adventism has been infected with "fire escape" religion as much as other churches and equally sadly the knock-on effect has been exactly as you describe: people start to lose their faith and their trust in God's Word. As EGW is often misused to reinforce SDA "fire escapes" so trust in Spirit of Prophecy also rapidly diminishes and when that domino falls others come tumbling down as well: the health message; dress reform; preparation for Christ's return, etc. right up to and including the seventh-day Sabbath.
The focus on getting our lives hid in Christ gets lost in preparing because of a supposed event rather than because of our love for Christ. There is a tendency to work towards a the event rather than being in Christ at all times.
The early SDA Church practised a form of social Christianity and thankfully there is a slow revival taking place in the Church and we are returning to being relevant to non-Christians.
Thank you for your encouragement John B.
Excellent thoughts there Leon! I heartily agree. You have made quite a journey and Christ has set you free from bondage and fear, which as you found out interferes with spiritual growth. It also inhibits confidence in God and His love for us.
I hate to say it Jason, but you and some other mockers and scoffers act LIKE the religious leaders did above in attacking Stephen when you and the others do in attacking those that you do not agree with (that doesn't mean that you killed anyone obviously), but I think you need to reconsider the love of God and its importance, as well as the importance of the one body of Christ, which is what you really are a member of as opposed to your strong identification with the SDA church. I think you need to take it to heart, and prayerfully seek God's love and manifest it more, for that is what people will see, before they ever look at your doctrines.