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When is it a Good Idea Not to Follow Bible Counsel? — 21 Comments

  1. Your question has some important ramifications, Ulalei.

    If we had to go privately to the person who made a public statement or a performed a public act before we could discuss the appropriateness of the statement or the action, it would effectively quell all discussion of the actions of leaders, and they would have free reign to do what they wished, largely unaffected by the convictions of the members who elected them to represent them.

    I don't believe that Christ's counsel to go privately to an individual can be applied to statements or actions that are already in the public domain. The principle appears to be to keep things private in the smallest possible circle and correct them there. And, as William points out, many misunderstandings would be solved by just going to a person in private, rather than talking about the person to someone else. I believe that if we practiced the rule that Christ gave us, we would have stronger relationships and congregations that, together, reflect the love of Christ.

    However, a public statement (such as a sermon, for instance) and/or action can be and should be discussed to test its correctness. We need to be like the Bereans who went home to study to test whether what Paul had said was really in line with God's revealed will.

    When we believe an action or statement by leadership is wrong, I believe we need to pray, to study and consult together to ensure that we are not the ones in the wrong. In a local situation, it would be most appropriate to go to the local leader privately, if we find ourselves in disagreement. But this is not possible when leaders on a higher level issue statements or implement actions. If there is agreement between a number of members regarding a public action, it is, indeed, appropriate to take it to the leadership--not necessarily one-on-one (though that is fine too), but possibly as a group.

    Concerns should be clearly stated, with appropriate reasons documented. (Some examples regarding the Samoan Sabbath dilemma are The Sabbath in the Pacific Around the Date Line and Arguments For Keeping Sunday as Sabbath in Samoa Examined) Then it seems to me that it is the duty of the leadership to examine the reasons given and to give a biblical response, recognizing that leaders can be wrong, as history has so abundantly demonstrated.

    Normally, good Christian leaders will avoid making major decisions without dialoguing with the membership. In the case of Samoa, the question is whether such a major decision as changing Sabbath keeping from Saturday to Sunday was appropriate for the leadership to make.

    As I understand it, the government announced in June of 2011 that a dateline realignment was to be implemented at the end of the year. I would think it would be reasonable to expect that this would be the signal for leaders and members to study and pray for God's will to be shown regarding how to respond to the situation in a God-honoring way.

    But I don't believe that ever happened.

    James warns us that "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1) That seems to indicate that leaders will be held responsible for their influence, whether good or bad.

    • What is the full story about Samoa? what thing would cause such a problem? and why would a whole church of caring people make such a change? I would like to pray for the situation but need to know what needs to be prayed for.

      [MODERATOR'S NOTE: There are imbedded links (colored text) in the above two comments that will explain the situation in detail, specifically http://sabbathissues.org/ ]

      • The short story is this: This past year Samoa decided to change their relationship to the International Date Line back to the way it was before the United States pressured them to be on the eastern side of the line. In response to that change the Samoan Mission leadership along with the South Pacific Union Conference put out the directive that the churches of Samoa were not to change in accordance with the government's decision. So when Samoa changed and placed themselves in the same time zone as New Zealand Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa found themselves worshipping on Sunday. It is really a mess of misunderstandings and convoluted reasoning and indirectly involves Tonga as well since they have been worshipping on Sunday for over 100 years without any other direction by the General Conference to do otherwise.

  2. God has given humanity the greatest part of His character "free choice", we must remember cross gives freedom to all......................... who will accept it. Bro you have forgiven, now you must accept choice is his................to accept or forsake. Read Matt. 7: 14 "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

  3. Dear Broken Hearted. I am praying for you. I have seen somethng similiar to this before. The issue for you right now is not the other woman. It is your husband. Go to him. If you dont get anywhere take a brother or sister. Next step would be the church and in your case also the conference officials. Sadly I know of a case where a pastor's wife had to do this, but she backed down after her husband scared her into believing that if he got caught he would lose his job and she would end up starving to death. Remember, Bible counsel is the only way to go. My prayers and heart go out to you. Please keep in touch with us so we know you are okay.

  4. Assuming that the "offender" is guilty of doing wrong, forgiveness from me to an offender is wonderful because it frees me to love that brother. But if the offender has not admitted to the offense, the forgiveness is not really received for what it is. And if the offender does not admit to the offense, then there is no repentance toward God either. If the offense is offensive to God (however small a sin), do I care enough to "work" with the person to help him come to Biblical understanding of the issues at stake? The issue is not closed until there is reconciliation between all parties involved.

    • But, as in Joseph ‘s case, he forgave his brothers before they asked forgiveness. No, it didn’t fix their hearts for him to forgive them for their sin against him, but it had Joseph’s heart clean and at peace. The Holy Spirit gets the job of convicting “the brothers of Joseph “ in our lives.

  5. Having been a SDA member for over 50 years, I have been aware of situations that call for removal of leadership positions due to executive determinations. The choice is not what we always might expect. The leadership is moved to another distant location to save face. I wonder if Matthew 5 has much, if any bearing on decisions such as this. There are some very strong admonishments in Matthew 5. Do we know when and how to apply these texts? I am sure there are also some texts about a splinter in the eye. In all my years, over 20 as head Deacon, I have never been involved in applying Matthew 5 for the reasons as mentioned.

      • William, Maybe I wasn't very clear, I apologize. Most of us have read the sermon on the mount more than once and it seems that Jesus had words that were applicable to a broad class of people. Those that were in attendance, were there mostly because of Jesus' notoriety, and wanted to be healed. A question that I have asked before, knowing that all scripture is inspired, is it also equally applicable to all? An obvious example is Texts that are applicable to one gender or another. Now that is an extreme I realize. What I wonder, does it matter how a text is applied or possibly misapplied?

        • A gender example would be where Fathers should not provoke their children to wrath (Eph. 6:4). Yet when you think about it, neither should Mothers be guilty of this. If we all would take the word of God and apply all of its counsel to our own selves, prayerfully and carefully, we would be humble and teachable enough to be able to handle these problems that concern the lives of others in a Christlike way. I have been a member for over 50 years also, Paul.

  6. Bible counsel from God and the mouth of Jesus Christ, is to be followed at all times, because it is Law - the authoritative expression of Almighty God.

    What has to be determined is at least the following:

    1. To whom is the counsel being addressed?
    2. What are the circumstances under which it is given?
    3. Is this to be universally applied, or is it specific to a particular person or set of events, for a certain time?
    4. What is the underlying lesson being taught, does it lead to character building?
    5. Even though it may not appear to be directed to me, is there something I can apply from this in my character building?
    6. Is the counsel to be taken literally or is its intent for figurative application?

    When the counsel concerns a principle, then that counsel is to be regarded by all mankind for all times. The method of application may vary depending on the circumstances. For example, circumcision is an everlasting command, however it now applies figuratively to the heart and not necessarily to external body parts.

    Jesus' counsel in Matthew 5 and Matthew 18 are to be universally followed. To disregard them, under any circumstances, is sin and a violation of the Word of the Lord. It is Law.

  7. As I understand, sin is a transgression of the Law. I also understand that God forgives as often as asked. Unless there is another source for forgiveness, we need to know. There definitely is counsel regarding the way of pointing out others sins. It has to do with being judgmental. An analytical evaluation can be helpful depending how it is applied. ... There is a text in 1Corinthians 15:50-58, that gives comfort for the future of all mankind. A time when our salvation is of utmost importance.

  8. Sometimes we put our educational qualification BEFORE the word... our Degrees PhD and MSc become our thus saith the lord instead of the WORD OF God.. Never should there be any time to Not consult first the word of God because it Is truly light years Far ahead of your qualifications or personal wisdom
    God says as the heavens are higher than the earth so is the wisdom of God higher than MAN'S Wisdom. You cannot set God aside and still have his wisdom or opinion work in your favor... You cannot sin and expect the rewards of righteousness
    Pride and Presumption are at the root of setting God's word aside

    • Let us not forget that there are men and women who have used their education to glorify God as well. Most of my Christian friends have PhDs and I have nothing but the highest respect for them. Our study of Galatians this morning was taken by a Bible Scholar who has spent years as an academic studying the Bible. He and I have had many illuminating discussions about the New Testament. I value his scholastic insights and only wish that I could have shared them with you in this discussion.

      What you have said about the place for God's word is true for anybody irrespective of their education.

  9. I like 'faithful are the wounds of a friend'. I know someone who, in saving someone from certain drowning, had to almost render him unconcious becuase the fear and panic risked them bot drowning! Gods Word applied may well be painful in terms of circumstance (none of us like to hear we're wrong) but in terms of context - the salvation of a soul, a friend may well hurt you but they'll also be there as you recover.

  10. Bible Counsel will always remain relevant within the gifted faith of the Lord Jesus Christ for it His faith that is given to us as His gift to us all. Learning to use His faith allows us to become as one with Him as He is One with our Heavenly Father along with the gift of the Holy Spirit to give to us to guide and to bless us with the ongoing developing understanding of the mind of our God and Heavenly Father,s divine principles that are contained within the Ten Commandments - and of which aids us here on the earth and continues on for never ending eternity.

  11. To God be the glory for this point you raise for discussion. Adventist does not want to hear the truth and does not want to take correction from God's word any more: 1. Issue of man should not wear what belong to woman neither should woman wear mans thing. This bible counsel from Deaut. 22:5 is no more welcome in the church any more. 2. Issue of harvest and camping as obsolete. 3. Issue of woman should not stand to speak in the church of God 1 Corin. 14 .
    4. Issue of woman should cover her head. 5. Issue of the Lord's Supper that should not be eaten at noon and the church has welcome.
    are these points not a counsel from God's word? It is high time we repent and be converted lest we miss the track.

    • Adeseko, we have also stopped the Biblical practice of stoning people for adultery, lying and blasphemy. And we ignore the rather draconian Biblical punishments for naughty children too. Do you want to bring those back?

      There is always a question of what is cultural and/or ceremonial in the Bible and what are the bigger issues that the Bible addresses. If you are drawing a line under the issues that you have stated in your comments then you need to explain why you stop there and do not include some of the other issues mentioned in the Bible.

      What are the big issues? The Bible is very clear that we ought to love God and show that love in how we treat others. In fact a reading of the Old Testament prophets make it clear that the big issues for Israel was that they were selfish and ignored the plight of the needy. Repenting and converting means changing our hearts, and ensuring that the good news of the Gospel shows no differentiation between races, gender of socioeconomic status.

      Here is something else to think about: Personally I have stopped worrying about what other people are wearing in church or who is speaking. My own experience has taught me that unless I am contributing myself in a positive way to the church experience, there is the real potential to turn people away from the church. The church experience in not about what others do, but how I reflect the love of Jesus into the people I come into contact with at church. Making women as well as men feel welcome in the presence of God is something that we can all contribute to.

      • Dear Maurice Ashton. The Remnant Church certainly has within it those of whom are not truly converted, that cannot be denied. Blessed of God our Heavenly Father His church will eventually conquer over the evil that it has been commissioned to carry out. Yes, the road will be tough and wrought with trials and tribulations but when remaining loyal to our blessed Saviour The Lord Jesus Christ we will with Him fulfill our Heavenly Father's plan of Salvation. The true love of our God cannot be overcome with evil when calling upon His Son to help us in finishing The Work!


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