Author Topic: Getting Doctrinal  (Read 11059 times)

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M.A. Crawford

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Getting Doctrinal
« on: March 09, 2001, 06:37:00 AM »
Bro Batttler is desirous of beginning discussion on a new topic entitled "Getting Doctrinal" which, he says, will "detail in an uplifting way; how doctrines are central to the Gospel, and how every one of our SDA doctrines meet the litmus test of somehow expressing the theme of 'Christ and Him crucified.'"

M.A.  

M.A.

DavidTBattler

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Getting Doctrinal
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2001, 11:17:00 PM »
Have you ever hear someone say to you something like:

"Oh dear!  Now, we wouldn't want to get too doctrinal now; would we?  Only talk about Jesus," they say triumphantly.

I have heard it many times, in all church denominations.

To me, this mentality sounds an alarm, that cries out from the satanic delusions sweeping the world that

"It is time to seek the Lord, till He come, and rain righteousness upon you."  (Hos.10:12).

To begin this topic, I will let the Word speak briefly, alone.  I find this to be a very good approach to any topic, and you will see me use it a lot, in broaching new topics:

It is my intent that this thread serve as a beacon to the advent believers throughout the world, who are seeking Christ's righteousness, in order that they may be prepared to meet Him at His soon coming; and who want to labor effectively in imparting to others, a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

My studies have revealed that the Word has been awaiting "just such a time as this,"  (Esther 4:14)to address believers around the world thus:

"My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:"  ("Deuteronomy 32:2).

Who would like to "get doctrinal," with me now?    :)


------------------
"...We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved..."  (Acts 15:11).

Your brother in Christ

David T. Battler

[This message has been edited by DavidTBattler (edited 03-10-2001).]


Richard Myers

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Getting Doctrinal
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2001, 06:00:00 AM »
Happy Sabbth, all!  :)

Good subject, Brother David.  

"doctrine" (dak" trin) n. principle of belief; instruction; that which is taught.  
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." The words of Jesus.  Matthew 28:19,20

Richard  

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

M.A. Crawford

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Getting Doctrinal
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2001, 08:31:00 AM »
"It is my intent that this thread serve as a beacon to the advent believers throughout the world, who are seeking Christ's righteousness, in order that they may be prepared to meet Him at His soon coming; and who want to labor effectively in imparting to others, a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ."

As a result of the above quote, Bro. Battler, we are anxiously waiting for you to share with us your insights as to what you meant when you quoted someone as saying: "Oh dear! we wouldn't want to get too doctrinal now; would we? Only talk about Jesus...." Are you saying that when one's conversation begins to get "too doctrinal," that person is no longer talking about Jesus? Please enlighten.

M.A.

M.A.

DavidTBattler

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Getting Doctrinal
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2001, 12:28:00 AM »
Hello MA

I am saying that people are tending to shy away from what they call doctrines, as opposed to what they call "talking about Jesus."

For eg., a while ago, I was in a group of people who were discussing the 2300 day prophecy, and one of the individuals said disdainfully; "I think this is getting too doctrinal.  Lets just talk about Jesus."

I'm sure that those of us who know better would never swallow that, because we know that ALL doctrines talk about Jesus.

If they don't, then are they Christian?

I have been extremely busy for a while.  Please forgive my slowness in posting from time to time.

I have some good material I am preparing for this thread.    :)

------------------
"...We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved..."  (Acts 15:11).

Your brother in Christ

David T. Battler

[This message has been edited by DavidTBattler (edited 03-24-2001).]


DavidTBattler

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Getting Doctrinal
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2001, 12:48:00 AM »
Getting Doctrinal

Have you ever hear someone say to you something like:

"Oh dear! Now, we wouldn't want to get too doctrinal now; would we? Only talk about Jesus," they say triumphantly.

I have heard it many times, in all church denominations.

To me, this mentality sounds an alarm, that cries out for attention, from all such satanic delusions sweeping the world saying:

"It is time to seek the Lord, till He come, and rain righteousness upon you." (Hos.10:12).

My studies have revealed that the Word has been awaiting "just such a time as this," (Esther 4:14) to address believers around the world thus:

"My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:" ("Deuteronomy 32:2).

The Alarm Is Sounding

There seems to be a great momentum developing in Christian circles against what they  stoically term as “getting doctrinal.”  

The ecumenical movement, including some within our own ranks seems to shrink back in abject horror at the very mention of the Word “doctrine.”  They have essentially, made “doctrine out to be  a dirty word, and in the minds of many, “doctrine” has been placed at the top of the list, as the greatest barrier to “unity.”

“Only talk about Jesus,” is the triumphant call of millions.

The ecumenical movement has infiltrated our own ranks as well.  They can be heard echoing the chant: “If you get too doctrinal, : you’ll never get any converts to the church; you’ll never be able to experience true unity of the faith.”

And so the push is on: out with the doctrines, and on with “unity,” “brotherly love,” and “faith.”  Should the SDA Church join with the throngs, in this clarion call for doctrinal  “unity?”

If we were to join this world-wide call; would we then be answering the prayer of Jesus in John, chapter 17?

It will be the position of this study, that as SDA’s, we would be signing our own, spiritual death warrants, by joining the world in this grand delusion sweeping every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

A Few Questions To Be Asked

1/  Should our generation just continue to mindlessly drift on, especially our young people, while the coming generation can’t even address God as their loving Creator; just because the idea, (the doctrine),  of creation has been made out to confound us all: It has indeed been tampered with to the point where millions see it as unimportant.

2/  Should we just shrug our shoulders, when people refuse to believe that God is our Judge, just because the doctrine of the judgement has been perverted to say something like: “God will punish us forever, by burning us in hell for the rest of time, if we don’t obey Him.”

3/  Is it right that multitudes of people are deceived and saddened, just because of the thought, (doctrine), that while they are still stuck here on this rotten earth; their loved one has been arbitrarily separated from them, being whisked off to heaven, and now enjoying eternal bliss, or possibly even suffering eternal fire?!  What does this kind of false doctrine of the state of our beloved dead say about our Lord’s character?

4/  Many times, I have been in the middle of talking with someone – even in my own church, and at times the discussion would turn to some point of Bible prophecy, and as soon as a difference in understanding would arise, the cry always comes forth:  “We’d better not get too doctrinal here.  Let’s just talk about Jesus.”    And I am asking the question: “Is it possible to really talk about any doctrine, without talking about Jesus?”

As is often the case, the prophet of the Lord gives us some startling, yet assuring insight on this whole issue.  In Great Controversy, pg.45-46 we read:

“There is an alarming indifference, in regards to the doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith.  The opinion is gaining ground, that after all, these are not of vital importance.  This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories, and fatal delusions, which the faithful in ages past, imperiled their lives TO RESIST AND EXPOSE, ARE NOW REGARDED WITH FAVOR, by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ.”

Why Is Doctrine So Important?

People have forgotten how the purpose of a given doctrine, is NEVER to ensure our salvation; but to understand it more fully.

Why is this?

Because true, Christian principles, which all believers supposedly espouse, are really just ideas, or statements, about some aspect of God’s character.  Bible doctrines can be used as one of the evidences of Christian principles:

“...what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? “   (1 Cor.14:6).

Webster’s dictionary defines “doctrine” as “a principle accepted as authoritative.”  In other words, a Christian, Biblical doctrine, is supposed to reflect, a living principle about God Himself, that is 100% reliable, and trustworthy.    A Christian doctrine is indeed, “authoritative.”

Christian doctrines, are wonderful reflections on the Person of Jesus Christ, and our heavenly Father.  I think Jesus best sums up the importance of doctrines that follow this basic criteria:

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”  (Jo.17:3).  A doctrine that does not help one to do this, is either not Christian, or, it is not properly understood.   Perhaps, this one principle, would help explain many such fights over things like When did Christ first enter the Most Holy?

Christians must get doctrinal.  Christians who are truly doctrinal, in the Biblical way, are totally united, and of one mind.  (see 1 Cor.12:8-14, Isa.52:8, 1 Cor.3:8-9, Phil.2:1-8).

The Bible says “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; CONTINUE IN THEM, for in doing this; thou shalt BOTH save thyself, AND THEM THAT HEAR THEE.”  (1 Tim.4:6).  How is this verse different from what everyone is saying about “getting doctrinal?”  Why is it that anyone would be saved through a doctrine?

One thing is for sure.  There is obviously, from this and many other verses, a definite, strong relationship, between the Words “doctrine,” and “salvation.”  

As we previously mentioned, 1 Cor.14:6 tells us that “doctrine,” is one of several ways by which God Himself communicates with people.  God uses Christian doctrines, as one of the evidences of Christian principles, and let us recall: Christian principles ALWAYS relate to us Biblical facts about God’s character.  (Jo.17:3).  According to the Bible, and SOP, doctrines are literal, direct revelations from God, to people who are open to His Word.

Some appropriate caution now needs to be brought forth.  “Whosoever  transgresseth, and abideth not IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, hath not God.”  (2 Jo.9-11, 1 Jo.5:11-12).  Does this not directly oppose the world wide call for de-emphasizing doctrines?

There are three, main tests, that are surefire ways to see if a doctrine is truly Christian, or not:

1/  Is it based on the Bible only?  (Isa.8:20, Ps.119:105).  

2/  Is it strictly centering in, or reflective of, Christ, and Him crucified? (Gal.6:14)

3/  Is it a doctrine of true Godliness?  Does the doctrine challenge one to live a life that reflects their love for God, their fellow human beings, or, even for themselves, at times?
(Mat.22:37-40).

Galatians 6:14, in particular, is extremely crucial to determine if a doctrine is a Christian doctrine:  “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord...”

Now, if anything is, this verse, is most certainly doctrinal!  Christ crucified on the cross is a doctrine, just as are many other facets of His love to us. Ellen G White has something interesting to say about the doctrine of Christ, and Him crucified:

“There is one, great, central Truth, to be kept ever before the mind, in the searching of the Scriptures: “Christ, and Him crucified.  ALL OTHER TRUTHS, (doctrines), are invested with power and influence, corresponding to their relation to this theme!”  (Man.31, 1890).

How many of your beliefs are you NOW able to fully relate to this grand theme?

“CHRIST IN ALL THE DOCTRINES,” must be the Christian’s watchword.  After all; “What shall it profit you except [one] shall speak to you, either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or, by doctrine,”   (1 Cor.14:6) unless you can relate every doctrine you hold dear, to the central pillar of Christ and Him crucified?

As a Christian, you will be seen relating all of your doctrines to the Bible’s litmus test for "Christ in the doctrines;" and you will be able to tell people what every doctrine you believe, says about the person and character, of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or, God the Father.   :)

------------------
"...We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved..."  (Acts 15:11).

Your brother in Christ

David T. Battler


M.A. Crawford

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Getting Doctrinal
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2001, 07:42:00 AM »
Concerning church doctrines, Dr. George R. Knight, professor of church history at Andrews University has recorded in his book, entitled A Search For Identity: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs, the following research information:

"Chapter 5. What Is Christian in Adventism? (1886-1919)

"The early Seventh-day Adventists appreciated their identity. They loved their great pillar doctrines of the Second Advent, the Sabbath, the heavenly sanctuary, and the state of the dead....But in the process of emphasizing what was Adventist in Adventism they had largely lost sight of the Christian aspects of their theology. They would seriously face that issue in the late 1880s and the 1890s.

"A Setting for Disagreement

"During the late 1880s Seventh-day Adventism would face a new identity crisis. The best way into the topic is to recognize that Adventist theology consists of two types of related truth. The first category includes those doctrines Adventists share with other Christians, such as salvation by grace alone through faith, the importance of the Bible, and the historic role of Jesus as the world's Redeemer. The second doctrinal category includes the distinctive doctrines of Adventism....

"Since nineteenth-century Adventists lived in a largely Christian culture, they tended not to emphasize those beliefs they held in common with other Christians. After all, why preach saving grace to Baptists, who already believed it? The important thing, so the logic ran, was to preach the distinctively Adventist truths so that people would doctrinally convert to Seventh-day Adventism.

"Forty years of such evangelism led to a kind of separation between Adventism and basic Christianity. Thus Ellen White could write in relation to the 1888 General Conference session (held in Minneapolis, Minnesota) that Adventists needed to preach the 'message of the gospel of grace' so that 'the world should no longer say that Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, but do not teach or believe Christ' (TM 92). In short, by the late 1880s Adventism needed a course correction in its theology.

"Two relatively young preachers from California--Alonzo T. Jones and Ellet J. Waggoner--would trigger that adjustment. The young men came to prominence because of their teachings on the identification of the ten horns of Daniel 7 and the nature of the law in Galatians. General Conference President George I Butler and Review and Herald editor Uriah Smith vigorously opposed their theological innovations. The struggle that began in the mid-1880s climaxed at the General Conference session of 1888.

"The long-term significance of the 1888 meetings...had very little to do with either the identity of the law in Galatians or the ten horns but a great deal to do with a renewed Adventist emphasis on the plan of salvation. Waggoner, in fact utilized the podium at Minneapolis to move beyond the rather restricted Galatians issue and toward an exposition of righteousness by faith in Christ....

"The older men feared that the new emphases that Jones and Waggoner were bringing into the church would mute or even destroy Adventism's distinctive teachings....The question of What is Adventist in Adventism? found itself threatened by a question of What is Christian in Adventism?...

"The Minneapolis General Conference session proved to be one of the major turning points in the development of Seventh-day Adventist theology. At least four important theological isues flowed from the meetings: (1) a reexamination of the grounds for authority in settling theological and biblical issues, (2) a fuller understanding of righteousness by faith as it relates to the third angel's message, (3) significant developments in Adventism's position on the Trinity, the divine nature of Christ, and the personhood of the Holy spirit, and (4) explorations into the human nature of Christ...."

"Still a People of the Book? The Issue of Authority

"By the late 1880s the Seventh-day Adventist leaders seemed to have forgotten the radical, biblical, sola scriptura roots of the founders and their message. After 40 years of denominational existence some of the leadership were more than willing to use sources of doctrinal authority that the founders of their message would have rejected.

"Sensing the problem, Ellen White endeavored to uphold the centrality of biblical authority in Adventism in a letter she wrote in August 1888 to the delegates to the forthcoming General Conference session. 'Search the Scriptures carefully,' she penned, 'to see what is truth. The truth can lose nothing by close investigation. Let the word of God speak for itself, let it be its own interpreter....There is a most wonderful laziness that is indulged in by a large class of our ministers who are willing others [presumably Butler and Smith] should search the Scriptures for them; and they take the truth from their lips as a positive fact, but they do not know it to be Bible truth through their own individual research and by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God upon their hearts and minds....Many, many will be lost because they have not studied their Bibles upon their knees, with earnest prayer....The word of God is the great detector of error; to it...everything must be brought. The Bible must be our standard for every doctrine and practice' (EGW to Brethren, Aug. 5, 1888)."  

Let me pause here to say that this is a very interesting study (to me) into how the early pioneers came to develop and solidify the foundational pillar doctrines of the church. If there are no major objections from readers to our continuing to explore and investigate these developments, we will continue with our study.

M.A.    

M.A.

Richard Myers

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Getting Doctrinal
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2001, 09:07:00 PM »
By all means, Brother Crawford. May I add a thought as we go?  Ellen White had been calling for reform in the church continually up until the 1888 GC meeting. It was not something new in this respect. The difficulty was not so much a doctrinal matter or a turning from the Bible as the authority. The problem was a lack of conversion that extended to the leadership. The church was in a Laodicean condition. The problem was that there was no love sweet love in the church. The reason for the preaching of the law without love (Jesus) was that Jesus was absent from the heart of most who were preaching.

The message that came forth in 1888 was centered in Christ. It revealed His love and His power. The church was dry and dead and in need of the grace of Jesus in the heart. The same condition can be seen today. We need Jesus in our hearts. We may, and we must teach doctrine, but it will do no good without the Spirit of Christ, which is love.

I just want to keep the writings of Ellen White in their proper context, especially concerning the condition of the church in 1888. We have much light on this and it will benefit all as we look at this question of "doctrine" and "love".  :)  I am not sure where Elder Knight was coming from when he wrote this, but the church did not accept the teachings of righteousness by faith and continued in the Laodicean condition.

We might share some of the testimonies from this period as we go along. We then shall see what God saw and what He directed the prophet to write.  This seems to be in keeping with the topic.

Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Christian Soldier

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Getting Doctrinal
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2001, 10:26:00 PM »
Quote From MA's post above:

"The question of What is Adventist in Adventism? found itself threatened by a question of What is Christian in Adventism?..."

Just a quick note for now...I don't believe for a minute, that any SDA doctrine can be found to be un-Christian; that is, not centred in "Christ and Him crucified," as one of the posts above states.

I think there are always some sort of ongoing influences that seem to make certain doctrines as less palatable, but as Richard has alluded to the fact; I believe that any problems someone has with one of the doctrines, is usually, in reality, not a problem concerning the doctrines.  There is usually a problem with the person.

I think that some people don't really understand what doctrines are, or how they were/are intended to be used.  For eg., if I was to go to the bedside of a person, who was dying of cancer; what might happen, if I were to whisper in her ear, all about the Mark Of The Beast?

Or, how might things turn out, if I went into the home of an individual who had just lost two children in a terrible car crash, (true story), and I was planning on doing the lesson about the Mark Of The Beast; but I changed course, when I found out about this tragedy, and did a study on the state of the dead?  This really happened, and the lady's grief was turned to joy.

Not only do we need to know the doctrines; but we need to know how to use them as God intended.

Perhaps, this was some of the problem in 1888?  

“Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh Day Adventists, to take the place of the Truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracle  working power of the Lord.  But, the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and as God has signified through His Word, and the testimony of His Spirit;  He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith, to the fundamental principles, that are based upon unquestionable authority.”  (Counsels To Editors And Writers, 1946 ed., pg.52).

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"I urge you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions, and put obstacles in your way, that are contrary to the teaching you have learned."  (Rom.16:17).

Christian Soldier

"I urge you brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions, and put obstacles in your way, that are contrary to the teaching you have learned."  (Rom.16:17).

Christian Soldier


M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2001, 08:14:00 AM »
Dr. Knight, on page 94, continues by saying:

"In spite of such straightforward counsel, the Seventh-day Adventist traditionalists appealed to at least four forms of human authority to settle the biblical and theological issues troubling the denomination in 1888. The first centered on expert opinion, which both Smith and Butler attempted to use to resolve controverted points....

"A second area of human authority centered on authoritative position. Butler, as president of the denomination, particularily found himself susceptible to that temptation. Mrs. White, on the other hand opposed such a move. Soon after the 1888 meetings she would write that Butler 'thinks his position gives him such power that his voice is infallible' (EGW to MW, Nov. 4, 1888)....Ellen White pointed out in December 1888 that 'we should not consider that either Elder Butler of Elder Smith are the guardians of the doctrines for Seventh-day Adventists, and that no one may dare to express an idea that differs from theirs. My cry has been: Investigate the Scriptures for yourselves....No man is to be authority for us' (EGW to WMH, Dec. 9, 1888).

"A third invalid use of authority concerned a reliance on Adventist tradition to settle a point....

"Waggoner and Jones, of course, rejected the appeal to tradition. Ellen White stood in the reformers' corner. 'As a people,' she warned, 'we are certainly in great danger, if we are not constantly guarded, of considering our ideas, because long cherished, to be Bible doctrines and on every point infallible, and measuring everyone by the rule of our interpretation of Bible truth. This is our danger, and this would be the greatest evil that could ever come to us as a people' (MS 37, c. 1890).

"A final category of human authority the Smith-Butler group advocated in their attempt to maintain traditional Adventism was their desire for a voted creedlike statement that would set the pre-1888 theology in concrete. Jones, Waggoner, and Ellen White and her son Willie successfully withstood all such attempts.

"Beyond appeals to human authority, the Smith-Butler faction attempted to settle the theological and biblical issues by calling on the authority of Ellen White....

"Not only did Ellen White decline to settle the biblical issue, but she went so far as to infer to the delegates at the Minneapolis meetings on October 24, 1888, that it was providential that she had lost the testimony to J. H. Waggoner (E. J.'s father) in which she purportedly resolved the issue once and for all in the 1850s. 'God has a purpose in this. He wants us to go to the Bible and get the Scripture evidence' (MS 9, 1888).

"...she noted that it was providential that she could not find her testimony to J. H. Waggoner on the topic. Some would have misused it to keep people from exploring God's Word. Apparently Morrison's appeal to Sketches to proved his point did not impress her. We have no indication that she considered the matter settled by that method [J. H. Morrison's misuse of quotations from Mrs. White's Sketches From the Life of Paul], nor did she quote her own writings at Minneapolis to decide any of the theological, historical, or biblical issues. Her writings had their purpose, but as she saw it, they were not to take a superior position to the Bible by providing an infallible commentary on it.

"Waggoner, Jones, and the Whites stood in harmony on the proper use of authority in resloving theological issues. All held that the Bible was the only determiner of Christian belief. As a result, they were united against repeated attempts of the traditionalists to utilize anything else to settle biblical disputes.

"Ellen White especially insisted on the need for Bible study in dealing with theological controversies. On April 5, 1887, for example, she wrote that 'we want Bible evidence for every point we advance' (EGW to GIB and US, Apr. 5, 1887). A few months later she noted that 'the word of God is the great detector of error; to it we believe everything must be brought. The Bible must be our standard for every doctrine and practice.

"'...We are to receive no one's opinion without comparing it with the Scriptures. Here is divine authority which is supreme in matters of faith' (EGW to Brethren, Aug. 5, 1888).

To be continued.

M.A.

M.A.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2001, 07:48:00 AM »
"The question of What was Adventist in Adventism? found itself threatened by a question of What was Christian in Adventism?

"Just a quick note for now...I don't believe for a minute, that any SDA doctrine can be found to be un-Christian...."

Christian Soldier, the author did not make the statement for that purpose. The statement was made in reference to the following opening comment by Dr. Knight to Chapter 5 on page 90:

"The early Seventh-day Adventists appreciated their identity. They loved their great pillar doctrines of the Second Advent, the Sabbath, the heavenly sanctuary, and the state of the dead. And they saw the integrating focal point of their theology to be the chain of prophecy that ran from Revelation 11;19 through 14:20. They had no doubt that Adventism was a movement of prophecy. But in the process of emphasizing what was Adventist in Adventism they had largely lost sight of THE CHRISTIAN ASPECTS of their theology. They would seriously face that issue in the late 1880s and the 1890s" (Emphasis mine throughout, unless noted otherwise).

This is the reason the author made the statement you quoted, as we continue with his presentation.

"Another problematic aspect of the post-1888 years would be the development of some less than healthy practices in the use of Ellen White's writings, habits that many Adventists have carried into the present century. At the forefront of that problem was A. T. Jones. During the 1890s the influential Jones would provide Adventists with four false leads that contradicted the position of the founders and Ellen White herself on the authority and use of the modern gift of prophecy.

"The most basic error in Jones's adherence to Ellen White's writings in the 1890s was his position on their relationship to the Bible. At the 1893 General Conference session he used passages from her works as 'texts' to base some of his sermons on, a practice he approved of when 'preaching to our own people' but not when addressing non-Adventists. Four years later he would refer to Mrs. White's writings as the 'Word' (1893 GCB 39, 69, 358; 1897 GCB 30). Then in his 1894 Week of Prayer reading entitled 'The Gifts: Their Presence and Object' he set forth the idea that the only 'right use of the Testimonies' was to 'study the Bible THROUGH THEM' (Author's emphasis). By the time Jones finished he had set forth Ellen White as an 'infallible' commentary on the Bible and thereby subordinated the Bible to her writings (HM Extra, December 1894, 12). That, of course, was the very position she had rejected at Minneapolis.

"A second error that Jones imputed to Ellen White's writings was verbal inspiration, while a third was that her writings were INERRANT OR BEYOND FACTUAL ERROR. She rejected both positions as we shall see in chapter 6. In the early twentieth century, when faced with the facts that inspiration did not guarantee infallible information in every detail, Jones's faith in Mrs. White shattered, AND HE BECAME HER MOST VOCAL ENEMY.

"A final false lead that Jones left for succeeding generations of Adventists is the idea that the historical and literary contexts of statements are not important in understanding Ellen White's writings. As he put it, 'I never explain the Testimonies. I believe them' (J. H. Kellogg, 'Report on the Work of the Sanitarium, Dec. 28, 1905). While that sounds like simple faith, it actually provided him with an avenue to contradict her ideas. Jones had adopted a legalistic use of language that emphasized the exact words a person used, while it excluded any interpretation of what they may have meant in their liteary contexts. By that technique he could isolate words and sentences and make Ellen White and others say JUST THE OPPOSITE of what they intended (for more on A. T. Jones's misuse of Ellen White's writings, see From 1888 to Apostasy: The Case of A. T. Jones, 230-236).

"Mrs. White, as we might expect, diametrically opposed such a hermeneutic. She regularly admonished her readers to take TIME, PLACE, AND CONTEXTUAL FACTORS into consideration in interpreting her writings (see Reading Ellen White, 77-100)."

To be continued.

M.A.

M.A.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2001, 07:39:00 AM »
It is very interesting to observe how the early pioneers came into an understanding and adoption of the centrality of Jesus Christ in the plan of salvation, as we continue with the presentation.

"Uplift Jesus: Righteousness by Faith and the Third Angel's Message

"A second theological issue the denomination  had to deal with in the 1888 period was the plan of salvation. As Ellen White put it: 'The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This 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 [ADVENTISTS] HAD LOST SIGHT OF JESUS (Emphasis mine throughout). They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family....This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure' (TM 91, 92).

"That endorsement of Jones and Waggoner did not mean that Ellen White agreed with everything that the two reformers taught, even in the area of righteousness by faith. In early November 1888, for example, she told the delegates at Minneapolis that some things that Waggoner had presented on the law in Galatians 'do not harmonize with the understanding I have had on this subject.' Later in the same talk she claimed that 'some interpretations of Scripture, given by Dr. Waggoner, I do not regard as correct' (MS 15, 1888). W. C. White substantiated his mother's position. He wrote to his wife from Minneapolis that some had jumped to the conclusion 'that she endorses all his views.' He went on to note that 'I could prove all this to be f[alse]' (WCW to MW, Oct. 27, 1888)....

"Looking back at the 1888 meetings [Ellen White] penned in her diary that some feared that the church was 'carrying the subject of justification by faith altogether too far, and not dwelling enough on the law. She then complained that many Adventist ministers presented their 'subjects in an argumentative way, and SCARCELY MENTION... the saving power of the Redeemer.' They and their message were 'destitute of the saving blood of Jesus Christ.' 'Of all professed Christians, Seventh-day Adventists SHOULD BE FOREMOST in uplifting Christ before the world.' Adventists should preach both the law and the gospel--'blended, [they] will convict of sin.' 'God's law,' she asserted, 'while condemning sin, points to the gospel....In no discourse are they to be divorced.' Too many Adventists had not seen that 'Jesus Christ is the glory of the law.' She went on to note that one of the great lacks of Adventism was that too many Adventists had a 'correct theory [doctrinal understanding] of the truth,' but had not brought the attributes of Christ's loving character into their hearts and practical life (MS 21, 1891). In a similar vein, in November 1888, Ellen White wrote: 'My burden during the meeting was to present Jesus and His love before the brethren, for I saw marked evidences that many had not the spirit of Christ' (MS 24, 1888).

To be continued.

M.A.        

M.A.

Richard Myers

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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2001, 08:05:00 AM »
Yes, the law and Jesus are to be presented together. The law will condemn sin, and the Saviour will save us from sin.  :)

Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2001, 07:44:00 AM »
Let us continue.

"Uplift Jesus: The Trinity, full Divinity of Jesus, and Personhood of the Holy Spirit

"The discussion of the issue of salvation during the 1888 period heightened the awareness of some Adventists of the need to correct the denomination's views on the Godhead. Some gradually came to realize that the denominations's traditional position on the topic was inadequate. In short, Adventism needed an understanding of a Christ and a Holy Spirit able to meet the demands of its enriched grasp of the plan of salvation....

"By the beginning of the twentieth century inadequate and false teachings on the Holy Spirit would lead to two quite different problems in the church. On the one hand there sprang up the pentecostal-like Holy Flesh Movement. On the other was the pantheistic teachings of Waggoner and J. H. Kellogg. In response to those theological abberations there would be an attempt to clarify the biblical understanding of the Trinity and related doctrines. However, the new theological moves were far more than just a reaction to those turn-of-the-century problems. They were an outgrowth of the need for a more adequate understanding of the Godhead related to the new emphasis on the plan of salvation raised in 1888.

"Interestingly enough, it was not the theologians on either side of the 1888 controversy who would point Adventism back to a biblical view of the Godhead but Ellen White....

"While she never used the word 'Trinity' she did claim that 'there are three living persons of the heavenly trio...the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit' (Ev 615). In 1901 she wrote of 'the eternal heavenly dignitaries---God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit' (Ev 616). Again, she repeatedly referred to the Holy Spirit as the 'Third Person of the Godhead' (e.g., ibid. 617; DA 691)....

"Ellen White was also adament on the personhood of the Holy Spirit. She held that He was a 'divine person,' 'as much a person as God is a person' (Ev 617, 616). To her the Spirit was the 'Third Person of the Godhead' (DA 671).

"Mrs. White, as noted above, pointed Adventism in new directions with her statements on the Trinity, the full divinity of Christ, and the personhood of the Holy Spirit. They eventually encouraged other Adventists to explore the Bible on those topics...."

What impresses me mostly, as I continue to read the history of the early church, is how the Guiding Hand of the Lord was leading the early pioneers through the very delicate and dangerous "mine field" of error and confusion that the enemy had devised. My heart was touched in a special way as I realized how influential and popular ministers could have led this church astray (just like today), but IT WAS NOT TO BE because God in His Goodness and Mercy revealed to His faithful followers the Truth that leads to eternal life.

There is a lesson in all of this for us today. That lesson is: the Word of God is OUR ONLY SAFEGUARD against all of the confusion and erroneous theories that abound in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today. The Bible is our Instruction Book as to how we may unmistakenly get from this world to the Earth Made New. The theological wrangling and discourses of men will avail us nothing unless they are TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY based upon the unadulterated Word of God as It reads.

M.A.  

M.A.

DavidTBattler

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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2001, 10:20:00 PM »
Quote by MA

"I realized how influential and popular ministers could have led this church astray (just like today), but IT WAS NOT TO BE because God in His Goodness and Mercy revealed to His faithful followers the Truth that leads to eternal life."

I just had to say a loud AMEN! to this.   :)

------------------
"...We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved..."  (Acts 15:11).

Your brother in Christ

David T. Battler


DavidTBattler

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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2001, 06:54:00 AM »
As I mentioned in a previous post here, Christians will be seen relating all of their doctrines to the great, central Truth of “Christ and Him crucified.”

It is very sad indeed to see many false theories coming to light in God’s Remnant Church.

“False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God’s people…It is fearfully dangerous now to be unable to discern the Truth.”  (R&H, Oct.13, 1904).

“The time has come when we cannot depend upon the doctrine that comes to our ears, unless we see that it harmonizes with the Word of God.  There are dangerous hearsies THAT WILL BE PRESENTED AS BIBLE DOCTRINES, and we are to become aquainted with the Bible so that we may know how to meet them.  The faith OF EVERYONE, will [thus] pass through a trial of close criticism.”  (R&H, May 3rd, 1887).

There are many interesting and inspiring promises to meet this last day danger of heasies invading the ranks.  I look at my two sons, and think of this one.  Please add some promises to this one that have been important to you:

“At the eleventh hour…sacrificing men will step into the places made vacant by those who could not be fitted for a place in the heavenly temple…He will call upon the youth to fill up the places made vacant by deaths and apostacies.”  (Letter 98a, 1897).

“The faith that strengthened Habakkuk and all the holy and just in those days of deep trial, was the same faith that sustains God’s people today.  In the darkest hours, under circumstances the most forbidding, the Christian believer may keep his soul stayed upon the Source of all light and power.  

Day by day, through faith in God, his hope and courage may be renewed: “The just shall live BY HIS FAITH.”  In the service of God, there need be no despondency, no wavering, no fear.”  (PK 386, 387).

So how can we keep our doctrines from influences that would change them?

What are some promises "to him that overcometh?" that you could share with us here?

------------------
"...We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved..."  (Acts 15:11).

Your brother in Christ

David T. Battler

[This message has been edited by DavidTBattler (edited 05-04-2001).]


M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2001, 09:45:00 AM »
Dr George R. Knight, in his book entitled A Search For Identity, wrote on page 91:

"Since nineteenth-century Adventists lived in a largely Christian culture, they tended not to emphasize those beliefs they held in common with other Christians. After all why preach saving grace to Baptists, who already believed it? The important thing, so the logic ran, was to preach the distinctively Adventist truths so that people would doctrinally convert to Seventh-day Adventism."

But in the process of converting to Seventh-day Adventism, the all-important question is: would there be a corresponding conversion to Jesus Christ? The problem with this is many of us who are Seventh-day Adventists know that doctrines aren't going to mean very much where our soul salvation is concerned unless they point us to Jesus Christ and the Word of God as the means whereby we are saved. On the other hand, we cannot accurately judge what Adventist doctrines can and cannot do because we are not all led to Christ the same way. Nor is our understanding of these doctrines the same. Someone may clearly see the workings of Jesus Christ in the 2300 day prophecy, for example, whereas another may not. But that is not really our concern. Our primary responsibility is to SOW THE SEEDS of truth. IT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT who works upon the heart of an individual and leads him/her to Christ. We are unable to do this because ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT KNOWS OUR HEARTS and knows what we stand in need of individually. This is why we are to judge not, lest we be also judged (Matt. 7:1).

During this Third Quarter, I believe our Sabbath School Lessons are going to bring out and make clear how the "pillars of our faith" do indeed contain within them clear references to Jesus Christ and how He can save us from the "guttermost" to the "uttermost."

M.A.

M.A.

Richard Myers

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« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2001, 08:18:00 PM »
Brother Crawford, that is an interesting quote from Elder Knight, but hard to believe.  Since when did the church ever consider it more important to gather sheep from other churches than to find and save the lost? I would rather consider the light that the Bible gives and the light that we have from the Spirit of Prophecy regarding 1888. It seems that I am moving off topic and into a subject that would be more appropriate for a private forum.  Just a thought that I found hard to keep to myself.  :)

Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2001, 01:13:00 PM »
"'Oh dear! Now we wouldn't want to get too doctrinal now; would we? Only talk about Jesus,' they say triumphantly."

We are truly in the last days of this earth's history when we have begun to hear less and less from those in our churches who talk about Jesus with enthusiasm and excitement. What has happened? We know what has happened. As with Israel in this quarter's Sabbath School lessons, many in the church in leadership and followship capacities have become complacent with the spiritual "status quo" and are thereby too busy engaging in their day-to-day going about and enjoying all that life has to offer to be overly concerned with spiritual matters as they should.

As with the September 11th tragedy, most people do not see a need to call upon Jesus until there is a crisis. When there is a major disaster, we suddenly find people praying and calling upon the Name of Jesus who did not have the time to do either prior to.

In many (too many) Seventh-day Adventist churches, more often than not, we today do not hear the Word of God preached from the desk as we should. It is most unfortunate there are many people who are leaving this church because of the cold, lifeless sermons preached from many Adventist pulpits that are devoid of the HOLY GHOST POWER of saving grace. Why do these individuals not understand they shall have to answer to an angry God for being derelict in their duty? The only answer I can surmise is: THEY DON'T BELIEVE!!! Or, at least as they should. As I told an individual in another forum, I don't want to be within 100,000 light years of those who have robbed God of His precious ones with spiritless and lifeless sermons when He is seen coming in the clouds of His Glory.

Even more important than talking about Jesus, we need to do what He says. This is the major problem with those of us who profess to be Christians today. We proclaim loudly and with much verbosity how we love Jesus. But my Bible tells me Jesus says: "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). What I glean from this is Jesus is saying IT IS NOT POSSIBLE to truly love Him and not do the things He requires of us in His Word.

We have over 500 different denominations and religious cults on the face of the earth today because mankind has decided in these instances that it wants to serve God in a way of it's own devising. "Have it your way" may be fine at Burger King, but it will not work for those who are desirous of being saved. Where our salvation is concerned, IT MUST BE GOD'S WAY or no way at all. From the time of Adam down to the present, it appears that much of humankind has not learned that simple fact yet.

As we approach the Sabbath Hours here, may all have a Happy and Spirit-filled Sabbath.

M.A.    

M.A.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2001, 07:43:00 AM »
I am impressed to post at this time what might be considered by some as an unusual message. Let me explain.

Many years ago (some of the older members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church should remember), wherever members of the church went, many of them always had a tract to pass out as they socialized and interacted with various individuals with whom they came in contact. These dear ones, with faces that radiated with Heavenly joy, impressed me as having a GENUINE BURDEN for souls so much so until they were willing to take out the time to pass out a spirit-filled tract in shopping centers, malls, etc., and anywhere they came in contact with people. Back to the present.  

It has been in the back of my mind for quite some time to pass out Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides in various neighborhoods by placing a single guide in the mailbox of each home visited (just like old times!!). I made the notion a reality by recently ordering and receiving over thirty dollars worth of study guides to distribute sometime between today and January 1st.

The unusualness of the message is my request at this time for all who love and look for His appearing to JOIN WITH ME!!! Let us TRULY ring out the old year and ring in the new by inundating our various selected neighborhoods with WORDS OF LIFE by way of some spirit-filled tract, pamphlet, or brochure. Most churches should have something on this order to pass out (usually gathering dust in some storage room). This type of activity gives us an opportunity to witness for the Lord by permitting the tract to do the talking.

Again, let us TRULY ring out the old year and ring in the new with wonderful Words of life that just might make all the difference in the life of some man or woman, boy or girl.

M.A.  

M.A.