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Sunday: The Point at Issue — 18 Comments

  1. When I was a kid, Monday was laundry day. In spite of having a hot water system, my mother would light the fire under the copper and heat the water. The clothes and soap powder were put in the copper and the clothes stirred with a wooden paddle. Really dirty clothes were rubbed vigorously on a washing board. The clothes were then rinsed in cold water and put through a wringer before being put out to dry. It was a very labor-intensive process.

    Then my parent's bought a washing machine. The copper had to go because there wasn't enough room for both the washing machine and the copper. But the washing board remained. It took my mother some time before she abandoned some of her old washing implements. They were comfortingly familiar to her.

    We naturally like to maintain the status quo. It is comfortable! Clearly, Jewish Christians had accepted that Jesus had changed their perception of the Messiah, but it was hard to let go the centuries of practice that made them feel comfortable. And when Gentiles started to join the church, they wanted them to follow suit. And like a lot of us, when the status quo was challenged, they got aggressive about it.

    The challenge for us is to ask ourselves; What part of our belief system and religious practice as Seventh-day Adventists is status quo? I don't really know the answer to that one. I sat in Church yesterday and saw my grandson being baptized and I wondered for just a little while if he was being baptised into the same church that I was baptized into 60 years ago. Then I thought; silly question, he is being baptized into Christ! But it still wondered about what I was clinging on to. What does a grandad pass on to his grandchild to build his faith?

    • This comment put things so beautifully, and I understand. We are what we learn and we want everyone to be like us. Why can't we leave salvation as simple as Christ made it, He said if we CONFESS with our mouth the Lord Jesus and BELEIVE in our heart that GOD has raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved. Romans 10:9! That is our gift, He is our Saviour, all the things we sometimes want people to learn are works, but we are not Saved by works. I was told to remove all my jewelry and I loved my jewelry, but I removed it to be saved, then God gave me a realization, my salvation was not in removing the jewelry but in His Son, my Saviour, Jesus Christ, then I had to pray to listen to Him and be lead by the Spirit. It's a growth process...Not my action process. Sure some things need to go, but I need to let God move me that way. Let God be God and we will make it.

  2. 1868: The Fourteenth Amendment protects the right of all citizens to equal protection under the law but does not explicitly outlaw racial segregation. It took almost hundred years to establish in the books of the law equality for all citizens.

    Please do not argue racial discrimination of any kind in this post.

    A nation at its infancy had to work so hard to overcome its discriminatory nature.
    Contrast that with the Judaizers who have been taught from the time of Abraham to the time of Jesus.
    The natural reaction of the Judaizer would be I did all of this for nothing. We can see the same reaction of the older brother in the prodigal son story.

    The Judaizers could not experience the fullness of the freedom offered by Christ.

    How often we find ourselves in that situation?
    We want to enslave others into the miserable experience.

  3. Our grandchildren are reared by our children. Our belief system most times are the result of influence by the older generations. Sadly enough the escalating technologies are what is of interest now. Old, is not in style any longer. When Jesus was alive the older generations were commonly the head of the family, and consulted for all there decisions. Now the computer guides us. Sad commentary.

    • I hear what you are saying, Paul. When I was a kid the same arguments were used against radio (yes I predate TV in the country where I grew up) and TV. We like to blame the technology but it is only the carrier. The problem lies much deeper than the technology and while it is easy to blame technology we fail to look at the more serious problem of who is providing the message behind the technology.

      • I have to agree with both Paul and Maurice. Yes the issue is much deeper than technology. It has to do with humanity inclination to decide things on their own without consulting God (thru Elderly people). Yet, technology has been exponentially changing the way we learn, communicate and relate to people and to the world (comparing Radio with things like Artificial intelligence and Virtual reality is not a fair comparison)

  4. What are some of the traditions in the church in the 21st century the new converts grapple with that the 'older brothers'impose on them to become Christians?

  5. I am just wondering if the report from the Jerusalem Council nullified the health law of clean and unclean meats that are specified in Leviticus 11?
    Note that they ruled out strangled animals and those sacrificed to idols but never mentioned anything else.

  6. I became an SDA in 1965 at the age of 21. Up to that time I had been raised a Catholic. One of the Catholic legalistic things that took me many years to get rid of as a new SDA was making the sign of the cross (this is a thing of taking one's hand and starting at the forehead and saying "In the name of The Father" and then going to the heart area and saying "and of The Son," and ending with the opposite side of the heart and saying, "and of The Holy Ghost,") at the beginning and at the end of every prayer for asking God's blessing for getting up in the morning and for eating a meal and for retiring for the day to sleep, etc. And now, it has been over 50 years that I have been an SDA and I have come to see SDA things that can be very legalistic things that can get in the way of our faith relationship with Jesus such as the four times a year of making sure that we partake of the Communion Service to make sure that Our sins are washed away each year etc.

    • Pete, I think you saying communion can become a vain repetition if we are not worshiping with our hearts, just like Jesus said Matthew 6, that our prayers can become a vain depiction if our hearts are not into it. That is one of the reasons we don't do communion every week. We don't want it to be a vain repetition.

  7. William Earnhardt, Jesus instituted the "Communion Service," based on something he and his Father had already instituted as a once a year celebration, mainly the Passover. Yes, Catholicism then went on to do this every week as if they were doing something great by not doing it every day like the Jewish Priests had to do twice a day by slaying a lamb twice a day every day. Jesus never said for us to do it more often than once a year as per the Passover. Jesus just simply indicated to do this to remember his once for all sacrifice by. The Apostle Paul then went on to indicate that "As often as you do this you show Jesus death until he returns." But even Paul's words are no indication to do this more than once a year as per "The Passover Feast." So we SDA's are not doing all that much better in doing this four times a year.

    • Pete, it is my experience that nowadays churches do it less often than once a quarter, but often do it with a special Sabbath. I don't think we need to be prescriptive about frequency. But I do think we probably should spend more time on preparing for it.

    • Pete, not everyone is in attendance every week, so observing the Lord's supper 4 times annually makes it possible for everyone to observe it at least once.

    • Pete, you have raised a thought which actually makes sense. The Passover was celebrated once a year; it had a very special significance. How often did the early church celebrate 'communion' as we understand it today. We read that they 'broke bread' together, but that I understand to be sharing a meal, not Communion. Easter weekend used to be 'camp-meeting' weekend when I became an Adventist. What more fitting time to celebrate 'Communion' than the time Jesus did - Passover weekend. (I am aware that Easter and Passover do not always coincide, but the celebration of Christ's death and resurrection remains).

    • Pete, "As often as you do this" does not sound prescriptive in terms of a frequency. Indeed, it strikes me that he is saying "Whenever" or "Every time" you do this. Do what? "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup". So perhaps every time we take bread, or drink grape juice, be it a formal part of a communion service or otherwise, we should have in mind Christ's sacrifice. The communion service seems far removed from what it was then, seemingly the sharing of a simple meal.

  8. I agree with most of what you say here, Robert. I accept the process of progressive revelation and think that the witness of Peter was a powerful argument for where the Spirit was leading. The Judaizers had a point, but their failure to accept the change led to actions which were like Korah and his mates.

    I am not sure that every disagreement with Church decisions falls into that category though. The Holy Spirit works through the community of believers and that means that sometimes we have differences of opinion. Those differences must be worked through and sometimes that takes time. Too often we resort to pejorative language to condemn what others are thinking and that is where we become critical and bitter. The way we settle our differences is more important than the difference sometimes.

    • Maurice, this seems like a response to my comment, but not here.(?)

      Korah, and company, rebelled against a clear appointment of God, and their dissension was not merely a matter of opinion. Also, as in Acts 15, when the church takes a vote on a controversy and reaches a decision, the matter is settled and any further agitation is no different than Korah's rebellion. This is how God views it. It does not mean we must believe against our conviction, but we are no longer to work against the decision of the body. (In 5T you will find counsel on this that states what I have described above.) The lessons in scripture are there for us to learn from.


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