Read Raoul Dederen, “The Church,” pp. 538-581, in Raoul Dederen (ed.),
Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology; Ellen G. White, “‘Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me,’” pp. 361-364, in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers; “The Church the Light of the World,” pp. 455-467, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5.
“If a man is sanguine of his own powers and seeks to exercise dominion over his brethren, feeling that he is invested with authority to make his will the ruling power, the best and only safe course is to remove him, lest great harm be done, and he lose his own soul, and imperil the souls of others. . . . This disposition to lord it over God’s heritage will cause a reaction unless these men change their course. . . . A man’s position does not make him one jot or tittle greater in the sight of God; it is character alone that God values.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 362.
“The mission of the church of Christ is to save perishing sinners. It is to make known the love of God to men and to win them to Christ by the efficacy of that love. The truth for this time must be carried into the dark corners of the earth, and this work may begin at home.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 381.
- There is no question that the church, our church, has problems. Jesus explained it as such: “Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away’ ” (Matt. 13:24-25, NIV). Read the rest of the parable. How do we apply what Jesus said to our church, and how we deal with those who cause problems? Does this mean that there are no circumstances under which someone could be disfellowshiped? See, for instance, Titus 3:10-11 and Rom. 16:17.
- What do you say to someone who, believing the church is corrupt, decides to pull away from the body as a whole and go it alone?
- Our church affirms the notion of what has been called the “priesthood of all believers.” What does this idea include? What responsibilities does the idea carry for us?
- Discuss in class some of the potential threats to our unity as a church. What issues have caused division in the church in the past? What can we learn from the past that can help to prevent similar things in the future?