Further Study: Growing in Christ

Read Frank B. Holbrook, “The Great Controversy,” pp. 969-1008 in Raoul Dederen (ed.), Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology.

“The Bible is its own expositor. Scripture is to be compared with scripture. The student should learn to view the word as a whole, and to see the relation of its parts. He should gain a knowledge of its grand central theme, of God’s original purpose for the world, of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption. He should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for supremacy, and should learn to trace their working through the records of history and prophecy, to the great consummation. He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives; and how, whether he will or not, he is even now deciding upon which side of the controversy he will be found.”-Ellen G. White, Education, p. 190.

Discussion Questions

  1. In the quotation from the book Education given above, Ellen G. White writes that the great controversy enters into every phase of human experience. How true has this been in your own experience? Has your understanding of the great controversy motif been a source of strength or frustration as you cope with the issues of daily living in the world of sin and suffering?
  2. Some speak about a “delay” in the second coming of Christ. With the amount of injustice and senseless suffering in the world, it seems that every additional day of life on earth is one too many. Have the class members share their individual perspectives regarding the great controversy motif from the point of view of the so-called “delay.”
  3. How confident can we be about the final resolution of the conflict between good and evil? What gives you assurance that evil will be overcome in the end? What reasons do we have for believing that? How, for instance, does the prophecy of Daniel 2 help to give us assurance about the ultimate outcome?
  4. In class, go over your answers to the final question on Thursday. The answer is especially relevant because of our understanding of just who the persecutors are going to be in the last days. How, then, can we be sure we will be on the right side?


Further Study: Growing in Christ — 5 Comments

  1. This has come at a very important time where we the SDA Christians are mistaking the word of God by comparing it with unbiblical ideas, let us learn to compare bible with bible alone. The great Controversy is real, we better choose to be on God's side to gain favor in the eyes of God and receive everlasting life at the end.

    • Indeed, we must learn to prayerfully study the Bible texts. Our Lord will always have His Holy Spirit guide us.

  2. In simple language, to win over one's enemy, he must understand his nemesis' behavior. Then he should be equipped with God's protection and grace otherwise victory won't happen. And as Ellen G. White's puts it, "lowliness of the heart is the key that brings victory to the followers God." Would we need to say more?"

  3. This looks to be an interesting and helpful series on growing in Christ, but I have a question. How does the focus, this first week, on the Great Controversy theme, help us to understand Christ so we can "grow" in Him? I'm sure a lot of non-SDAs that follow this thread are wondering this. Also, I know a few "nonconformist" SDAs that would like a clear answer to this as well. There was a very good, I thought, article in this week's series that put the emphasis on "belief" (in Christ) as the essential element, as opposed to legalism. Now, there is a thought. Is Christ to be considered primarily an "antagonist" in a universal conflict where FORCE is the ultimate arbiter? Did not Christ illustrate the universal TRUTH that selfless action for others is the core of RIGHT-ACTION in the universe? Right action, in the Biblical sense, is to care for the rights and value of others above self and selfishness. This is a totally different paradigm from Great Controversy. Both views are valuable, but SDAs, as a rule, devolve to a Great Controversy view, which has the enormous potential to be misinterpreted. Good luck, but the sooner we can get to the sufficiency of Christ, the better it will be for all considered. Just a thought.

    • You can see some of the most important issues at the very beginning of the Great Controversy. Lucifer wants to 'ascend' even higher because he believes he has the right to do so, while Jesus chooses to 'descend' because we needed him to do so. Here we see the basic character of the leaders of the two sides. The way of God is to give yourself for the good of others, the way of Lucifer is to focus on what you can gain for yourself because you 'deserve' it, or it is unfair for someone else to have what you don't have. The Great Controversy not only gives us the knowledge of what happened, but more importantly it shows us the real issue: what is God like? For all Satan's lies about God, there remains the fact that while he seeks to destroy us with his lies, God gave his life to save us. If we don't understand that, then we will find it hard to grow in Christ. Lucifer, the pinnacle of creation, lost everything because he wanted to be God. Then he deceived Eve. Made in the image of God, she lost it in her quest to be 'like God'. She tried to gain what she had been freely given as a gift, and so lost the gift. In Christ, the gift of being made in the image of God, and having a right relationship with God, is freely given again. Perhaps one thing the Great Controversy should teach us is not to attempt to gain by our own efforts those things that God gives us as a free gift.


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