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Adventism Oozes Social Justice – Do you? — 20 Comments

  1. Marcos, In line with political comments and issues. An unbiased view from an article concerning Adventists may prove interesting. As limited as it is, it is as others see us. "All Your questions answered about Seventh Day Adventism and Ben Carson". For those that may not know, Ben Carson Was a a Seventh Day Adventist surgeon, that is a Presidential nominee for president of the USA in the upcoming elections.

    • Paul am I missing something here? Last I checked, Ben had cancelled his campaign and dropped out of the presidential race. Unless I am mistaken he is not running for president anymore and has not been since March of this year.

  2. Marcos, God bless you for sharing these nuggets! My sentiments exactly as a fellow Adventist. It's refreshing to hear once again that we have all that we need to be very effective in doing what Jesus did - being a servant to the needs of our neighbor and our neighborhoods. Your message needs to be shared! Keep sharing brother!

  3. Brother Torres! Thank you so much for your insightful, thought provoking, and motivating words! I truly believe the Holy Spirit motivated me to read your post this morning. Thank you for allowing God to use you to present how we can and should be "the salt of the earth!"

  4. I appreciate Mr. Torres' commentary about the state of affairs with the Body of Christ. For me, Seventh-day Adventism has always been about knowing and sharing the Good News that if I confess my horrible sins and woeful past, My High Priest in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary is faithful and just to forgive them, and Will cleanse me from all unrighteousness! Adventism, to me, is about the New Birth, freedom from the tyranny of sin, and the promise that Christ can make me a new creature.

    Adventism is about the blessed hope that my High Priest has moved from the Holy Place into the Most Holy Place where He is working to perfect a people. Those people Will demonstrate to Satan that despite everything evil and nefarious he can throw at them, they can join the Apostle Paul in proudly saying "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."

    That day is here. I've seen Christ perform miracles over and over again throughout the years. When conversion happens, and a heart of stone is broken and transformed to flesh, miracles happen and with assistance people begin to hate smoking, drinking and other practices - instantaneously! When a person hates sin, and what it did to our Lord and Savior, giving up evil practices is not a difficult choice. Our message of warning and of hope - our unique movement - still has the power and egis of the Godhead. And when we focus on the message, people will come from far and wide to hear it - including those within the ecumenical community whom we are encouraged to emulate. When its all said and done...It's The Message!

  5. Scathing, insightful and oh so painfully accurate. Thanx for the wake up call!

    BTW, any suggestions how to move toward some of those ways of helping others in a very small church, where most members barely make it for the Sabbath service. And those that are involved are already at their limits just doing the basics - teaching Sabbath school, creating/printing bulletins, leading prayer meetings, presenting sermons, etc and don't have time for the community activities along with their full time jobs. But the other members seem only willing to show up to services part of the time and are not interested in doing more?

    • A very tough question Steven. I think part part of the answer is to stop waiting for others and do something yourself. It doesnt have to be grand or dramatic, but something as small as learning how to identify victims of slave trafficking and having the right agency saved on your phone to call in case you spot something could make a world of difference for people. It would not demand an incredible amount of energy on your part but could save someones life. I use this as an example of course as there are many other ways in which we can do this, but I think we need to get out of the mentality that standing for justice requires us to get unrealistically busy. I say start small, and let a passion for justice drive where you go from there. As far as others go, often times what they need is a model to get them motivated but dont stress that too much. Some people will never get it and thats OK.

    • We have about 35 members, average 70 in attendance each Sabbath (No, those numbers aren't reversed). We gave up on nominating committee, not enough of us. Our pastor comes once a month, but we went 10 years without one. I think we have a good outreach now, baptised 3 last week, one the week before. We have had some rough times with only a handful of us to meet, now we are getting by. We discourage smoking on the property, but smokers are free to come to our service. We feed people. Literally, we have lunch every Sabbath for the homeless and less than well off. We encourage the members to stay and eat with them. People donate to our food program, it really costs us almost nothing out of the budget. All the kids get subsidized to church school if they want. So by reaching out we help to reach in as well.

      I believe any church can do these kind of service projects. Fix a bike day, simple car maintenance for elderly, leaf raking,etc. Give seeds or plant starts in spring, host a harvest party with pumpkin carving contest. Don't start with Daniel 2, start with something fun and meet the neighbors. We hosted a bonfire and smores for the neighborhood.

      Find a need in the community, work as a team and you will be surprised who shows up to help!

    • Steven, I believe that when the members decide to do ministry, the Holy Spirit will fill them with new energy and ideas to reach His people.

  6. I thank you, brother Torres, for your post. Quite insightful in some ways, quite unsettling in other ways. Although I am delighted to see somebody standing for the rights of the downtrodden, I cannot help wondering what you mean by "Racial tension lives on, not simply in *trivial rally’s packed with social rejects and inconsequential subcultures* but in the very fabric of our society." Most specifically, it might be helpful that you clarify the use of the phrase "social rejects and and inconsequential subcultures" all the more that the disciples in the time of Jesus might not have been considered "mainstream".

    I am not a millennial, and have lived quite a few years that have, for better or worse, informed my appreciation about the world and the church. I have had a variety of experiences in the church such as: the opportunity of feeling welcome, 100% embraced, although I am a minority, in the Logan SDA Church in Utah when I was a student at Utah State University, as well as a feeling of indifference at a church in California when I was a student in Fresno. I have also seen White brothers and sisters leaving a church in Massachusetts when minorities began to attend that church."Social acceptance" has yet to be practiced consistently across the board, let alone "social justice."

    It is true that the SDA church has been more forthcoming with respect to relationships, beginning with the 2005 Q4 quarterly titled "Ephesians, the Gospel of Relationships". However, in my 40+ years in the SDA church, I am not sure that there is a practice of "social justice". We are not the Quakers or the Seventh-Day Church of God, although I acknowledge that the church is a work in progress.

    • Hello Gerald! By "social rejects" and "inconsequential subcultures" I am referring to groups like the neo-nazis, white supremacists, and others like them who have always promulgated racial tension but have not been mainstream for many decades. However, recent events show that racial tension doesnt simply exist among those groups which are - by and large - on the fringes of society. Instead, we can now see that racial tensions continue to exist even in the very fabric of everyday life and culture. Hope that helps.

  7. Marcos, I'm in agreement with the majority of the points you make but when you talk about "...Adventists should stand for human rights and equality among all of humanity..." you do realize that in the current political climate, Transgender rights is at the top of the list. At face value I don't think many Adventists would be opposed to Transgender people being treated fairly with dignity and respect, but the minute Adventists start getting more vocal in the human rights arena, nobody should be surprised when secular human rights activists challenge us on things like gender neutral community restrooms in our church buildings or at the very least, allowing individuals to use the restroom of the gender they identify. If we're going to "talk the talk", we'll have to be willing to "walk the walk" and not just cherry-pick the human rights causes we're willing to stand up for.

    The other point I'd like to make is about your comment regarding Adventists and social justice. Adventists as a denomination will have to overcome our own issues with race before we can realistically advocate for racial justice in the public sphere. Like Gerald, I too have witnessed "white flight" in churches when more members of colour start to attend. We've got a lot of work to do regarding race relations in our own house before we start getting on a soap box talking to others about it.

  8. Thank you Marcos, for sharing the important areas of social justice which should be of great focus for the church. It is good to hear of the many good works being done at churches where people are blessing their communities with outreach. I think that church ministries like community services, cooking classes and vacation bible schools are more in the comfort zones for many in the churches. For one, they have been in the SDA church a long time and people are used to them.

  9. Thanks for your article.We do have a lot of praying and work to do both inside and outside our churches,but we must remain faithful to God and our responsibilities.RememberJesus was rejected by the Jewish leaders.

  10. Dear Brother Torres,

    I commend you for the boldness to address the topic of social justice from an Adventist perspective. While I agree with most of your points, there are some sweeping generalisations that I have reservations about. One such item is the fact that you say: "Many of our churches are dead.". While there may be an appearance of stagnation (being dead) in some churches, we cannot perceive with the human eye the workings of the Holy Spirit in those "dead" Churches.

    I would also be careful to quote or cite findings in some Christian or secular magazines that have as its main purpose the undermine Adventist doctrines.

    But on the whole your article makes for interesting reading and could prove to be educational for those who are not au fait with the concept of social justice seen from a Christian perspective.

    Brotherly greetings
    Moses Arendse

  11. Yes i feel the same way...this was a good read. However no mention of the racial tension that is within our own church. Thats an article i want to read. Hoping and praying we can attack that demon as well. Im from NY and didnt feel it so much growing up. But when i lived in Georgia for 3yrs, i felt every Sabbath. I attented the "Black Church" and across town was the "white church" 2 different services, camp meetings, even 2 differents school in the same town. And it came with a lot of unspoken rules if you get my drift.

    • Noooooo...neither church ever refused the other out right. It was more a case of politely declining invitations. I was AYS leader at the time, and had tried to get our group together with thee other kids for months.Many calls and emails later I was told to call a certain person, that person referred me another. A little over a yr later our lids did attend a youth conference in another state together.But really i was hoping for more inclusion from Pastors on down.I did see a facebook post recently showing their pastor preaching at my old church...so God is working it out!!!

  12. What Danna Dennis mentioned is so true, there's racial divide even in the core of our very own churches, when I go to some areas, there's the Spanish church, the Filipino church, the black church and the original church, and it is the same in other areas.

    Even in our very own hospitals there's politics or racial divisions between health workers in their promotions.

    I tried not to be involved but you can see and tell how one group are favored than the other. I guess that's why we are called the lukewarm church, we are neither hot and neither cold. Many of our leaders are involved in the business of running the hospitals, but our hospitals and churches are separate from each other. One SDA church maybe in dire need but the hospital nearby bearing the SDA name has it's own operating expenses and cannot help the church.

    Yes A lot of prayers and work are needed to shake us from our stupor. Unless we can remove the racial divide in our own churches we may remain stagnant, working in silos. Thank you though for this thought provoking blog. God see us all and gave each of us gifts and talents, may we be fair and use his gifts for his glory.

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