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Friday: Further Thought – Final Restoration of Unity — 5 Comments

  1. We have come to the end of the study on unity. And while the lesson series has concluded with a utopian view of Heaven, the rest of us have to live with the reality of next week, and indeed 2019. Have we come to the end of this week with all the divisive elements resolved? No. Are we all going to acquiesce to a legislated view of unity (conformity) as voted by the General Conference in session. Indications are that we are not. Do we still think that women's ordination is a big issue? If I look at the number of comments after "The Elephant in the Room" article, it still is a big issue.

    What then was the point of the last 3 months of lesson study?

    Here are a couple of points to consider:

    If we cannot resolve the issues then we need to learn to live with them. Do we know how to disagree with people but still love them? Can we disagree with others without casting aspersions on their spiritual integrity? Do we understand the process that others have gone through to reach their conclusions?

    If there is one topic missing from this series of lessons it is "Living with Division".

    I have quoted John 13:35 several times this quarter:

    By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

    This does not say anything about agreeing with one another. It is about tough love that survives disagreement. I accept the challenge of this verse. I need to read it every day.

    If you want some ideas to take with you from this series, think about these:

    1. Maybe we need to change our perspective. If we cannot agree on an issue, we should ask ourselves whether the issue is as important as we think it is? I look back on some of the issues that have caused problems in the past and thought what a stupid thing to argue about. Time has changed my perspective.

    2. In the same vein of perspective, have we confused detail with big picture stuff? Perhaps we are making mountains out of molehills.

    3. Is the division a semantic one? I have lived through more faith/works arguments than most people have had breakfasts. And for the most part they boil down to the notion that my interpretation of the faith/works issue is better than yours.

    4. The Conservative/Liberal divide is not a divide between the lost and saved. I have friends in both camps and believe that both are saved by the grace of God and the faith of Jesus. Our stereotyping is often very unhelpful.

    God bless us all as we move on to the study of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."

    • Great post Maurice.
      One thing I’ve realised is “we’re all entitled to our opinions” but not on everything. There are facts.
      I’m not entitled to my opinion on whether the light is green or red. Same as we’re not entitled to our opinions on whether Saturday is really Saturday.

      I agree on the chapter the lesson missed. Would have been most interesting discussion living with divisions

      • That is where agreed definitions come in useful, John. And while you and I are on the same side of the Samoan Sabbath issue, I can also appreciate the problem that occurs in the minds of some when the government insists that what once was Saturday is now Sunday. The question comes down to who is entitled to make that sort of "change of definition". And we need to remind ourselves that if the church has made the decision that you and I think should have been made, there would have been those who would disagree with that also. It is a tough call and while I have an opinion about the way it should have been decided, I try and put myself in the position of those who disagree with me. Compassion is always more important than condemnation.

        • Fortunately the Samoan government doesn’t see it that way at all. Our people state it that way but it’s incorrect. Saturday didn’t change to Sunday.
          The only calendar change is an Adventist one. And I can’t find one we’ve actually published except on the STM lesson quarterly which publishes 2 different dates on each day!
          As Jesus said, “the children of the mammon of unrighteousness are wiser in their day than the children of light.”


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