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When We Think the Church is Wrong! — 56 Comments

  1. Thank you Morris. Always an insightful read. No matter the outcome the following Scripture reading is truth:
    Hebrews 14:10
    But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
    11 For it is written:

    “ As I live, says the LORD,
    Every knee shall bow to Me,
    And every tongue shall confess to God.”

    12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

    The point your make about fulfilling the mandate of preaching, sharing and living the Good News of God's Gospel manifest through His Son Jesus Christ and lead and directed through the power of the Holy Spirit, resonates loudest!

    I believe we can live, love and forgive no matter the differences of our humanness, applying the simple guide of living our testimony through the "Golden Rule"....Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you...

    I am pro-Woman's Ordination but it doesn't mean I love any less a sister or brother who isn't.

    Eyes on the prize...Eternal life and time well enough for the Lord to judge us according to our decisions and actions. After all, the one thing that distinguishes us as his individual and loved Child is "the power of choice", to act according to His leading and conviction on our heart.

    May the All-powerful loving Trinity be front and centre in our lives to consecrate our lives and accept Their will as there own....

  2. Thanx Maurice. The example left by Jesus & His disciples inspires me. It is clear that when Jesus was born in Bethelehem the Jewish Leadership had lost their mission hence God introduces Christ's birth outside è church. Thats why they always queried His Mesiahship. But amoung é bad leaders were é righteous Zecharia, Simion, Anna, Joseph & Mary, etc who did not decide to separate with the church. Now Jesus, our leader, appears on é scene knowing fully how wrong & evil è system was, He did not separate with them but it was His custom to be in church every Sabbath 2 correct é evil & show light from within. Hence after His ascention we see é disciple still working from within é church, Acts 2, then going out only 2 spread è gospel but still linked 2 é Church, Acts 15.

  3. I have this disturbing feeling that we're about to witness the shaking. I hope I'm wrong. I fear I'm not.

  4. Thanks Maurice for an insight write-up, I need help from fellow members, do we have any example in the bible where there was a voting solution for misunderstanding about a doctrine, which option was taken, the majority or the minority? suppose during our GC the majority wins and in the eyes of God are wrong, where will the church go? I am saying this because in the matters of God, not necessarily the majority will be correct, in most cases the majority were always wrong!!

    • Lubeja, the majority voted "Crucify him!". The majority voted to return to Egypt, to have a king, to worship Baal, to ignore Jeremiah's voice and pen, to bow to the Golden Image, and soon, to worship the beast. Just a few of the Bible examples.

      I read in the Bible that anything or anyone that we allow to stand above God is another god. We need to know His will, which is revealed in His word and we are promised the Holy Spirit if we are empty of self in everything. Our part is to be empty, God does the rest and will do it. I haven't imagined yet "what if". This is pointless until something actually takes place. I have hope that God's people will stand with Truth as we reach a solemn point in our history. We all must have a true knowledge of God for ourselves. There is no safety in anything else.

    • When Israel asked for an earthly king, God allowed it, but He still worked through Israel, fallen as she was. I know that He has not changed. But He has warned us that some of us will fall away. He will work through the church that remains. Therefore, watch and pray, and work and pray. Not much time remains. King Jesus is coming soon!

    • Thank you my dear friends. we cannot follow majority or minority but we can use bible to give us direction.only the place we can find correction is the BIBLE which is the word of God and is the origin of the church doctrines not voting. Nice day.

  5. I totally agree with your article Maurice. I sincerely hope that when the vote comes in, that the saints realize that they are followers of the Most High God and behave accordingly. Ellen White in her writings talked of entire conferences losing there way. Listening to some of these leaders who claim if the vote doesn't go there way, they will disregard the decision makes me wonder where is God in all of this. I have been praying for this session that the Holy Spirit will be present and touch the hearts of the delegates.

  6. How is unity more than agreement, when unity in Truth means one truth and not different flavors of it? We are either with the Lord or not. What others think or do is irrelevant to our unity to Jesus and all He is. All those in perfect unity with Him will be of one accord.

    The issue in focus is not like dietary matters or dress, though in both these cases there can be a real division when there is a clear departure from God's expressed will. The current issue is actually very divisive and the only solution is that all learn God's will and surrender theirs to it.

    To simply say we must just get along with our differences will not work with those who truly have come to know the will of God, and many examples from scripture will prove this. True unity does not exist when one body is going in opposite directions. Israel decided to just get along with their neighbors, and where did that lead them? The Medieval church decided to get along with those who differed with their peculiar views, and how did that go? Some will reply that this present issue is not so "clear-cut", but I would say it is with those who have learned God's will concerning it. (that should be a clue for those still deciding)

    On the matter of love for one another proving our discipleship, did Jesus love those He drove out of the temple? Did He love the men He rebuked sternly in Matt 23? Does Jesus love Laodicea? What can we learn from Jesus' applications of love?

    On the matter of circumcision, did it require different thinking or better understanding? Did the physical ceremony redeem the soul or simply reveal the faith? Was it required after the Messiah(was it new or old covenant, and what is the difference)? Clue: John 4:22-24.

    This present issue will bring every member to a choice, and this is how God will prove them that are His at this hour. What He will do following this only He knows. We do know this; those who are His follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

    My prayer, above even this vote, is that my will is in perfect alignment with God's will. This should be the fervent prayer of every individual who seeks eternal life with Him. We all must realize the Holy Spirit will not lead us to different conclusions. Fatal error to accept that notion.

    The debates have exhausted the subject and all that remains is my own decision. Upon what will I base it? (Ps 118:8,9)

    "Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Eph 5:17

  7. THE LORD said thru Ellen that when the brethren /church vote on an issue...we are to go with the decision of the brethren meaning THE LORD will not allow the church to be wrong on important issues.HE IS NOT LEADING ONE PERSON HERE OR THERE BUT A WHOLE CHURCH.we need members to get away from the Elijah mentality thinking only they are the only ones following when there are more than 7000 others following THE LORD too.

    • Steve, God will never force anyone or any group. Study the history of Israel.

      God only leads those who willingly follow Him. We must know His will for ourselves as we have been adequately warned that all but the "very elect" will be deceived.
      We cannot judge another, but we can know and obey the will of God perfectly if willing.

      • I don't want to debate with you or anybody else, but one of the problems is that there are too members who are combative,arguementive,and debative and spend too time and are not open to see what the holy spirit is trying to show because they have their minds made up on what they want. I've been an evangelist over 30 years and i see there is too much debating over minor points,too many wanting to lead the church and not enough soul winning. Brother you shared a point and so did i...now let's end this conversation and get back to what's really important....soulwinning...good day.

  8. Unity is about how we treat those who differ with us. We do not all have to have the same beliefs. I have worked for the church most of my life and most of that time has been working with people who think and discuss the big ideas within our church. We do not all think the same, nor do we all come to the same conclusions. However we do have a common belief in Jesus and his grace and that surpasses our disagreements.

    My concern in the current discussion is that we have such a relationship with Christ, that even when we find ourselves on the opposite sides of an issue such as this, we will still respect one another and be gracious. An issue only becomes divisive if we allow it to be.

    • Maurice, I believe our individual and collective focus should be in personally knowing and finding perfect harmony with the will of God, so nothing will remain among us that could turn one soul away from eternal life. There is no true unity with Christ while agreeing to disagree on an issue that divides(how can unity exist while divided?). The Holy Spirit cannot be leading both sides of this confrontation. I'm sure you have heard some of the opinions expressed on both sides. Can this exist in true unity? As long as we're nice this division is acceptable? (No one I know of is encouraging mistreating those who disagree)

      Perhaps I don't see it so indifferently (not the issue as much as the division) as others might. The issue seems almost less important than the fact it exists among theologians, committees, conferences, unions, divisions, etc. How will this affect our Gospel work of seeking the lost? What confidence will outsiders have as they see the "remnant church" with a similar collection of factions as in Jesus' day? Jesus was in perfect harmony with the Word and will of God, and thus His message had power while the constant presence of internal differences weakened the effect of the divided church of His day. We must have nothing less than Jesus' oneness with His Father to be His faithful witnesses today. This includes our treatment of others, but does not exclude knowing and upholding truth.

      I am reminded of William Miller's dream from Early Writings. Do you remember what followed the terrible influx of confusion in his dream? I believe we are on the brink of this being fulfilled and only those in complete agreement(unity) with God will remain. This must become our supreme focus, while being nice.

      • I have no argument with the notion of finding perfect harmony with the will of God. The issue is that persuasive people that I respect try to tell me that their particular view is the will of God. How do I decide who is right and who is wrong?

        I well remember a discussion on an entirely different issue some years ago where I was caught in the middle of a difference of interpretation and the two sides tried to persuade me that they were led by the Holy Spirit and that I should follow the action they suggested. In frustration I said to both sides; "Which Holy Spirit am I supposed to follow, the American one or the Australian one?" Ultimately I got on with the job of living and working for the salvation of the people I worked with and left the argument behind. The issue did not need to be divisive but the argument had the potential to become more divisive the longer it lasted.

        We have work to do and we need to get on with that work.

        • How do you decide who's right and who's wrong? How do you arrive at any Truth? What is the Standard? We simply follow the directions of scriptures such as Proverbs 2:1-5 and are promised to "understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God". When we know God, we will discern who is right and who is wrong. (Ps 32:8, John 8:32)

        • This non discussion has materialized into a full fledge discussion, and everyone that has contributed so far is seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is like a football game that both teams pray for God to aid them in a victory. I would wonder if God aids either team in a football game. The one thing that I have noticed missing in this discussion is the Motive. This to me is the prime question. This is a cultural issue. There is no record that I am aware of in the Bible, of an issue of leadership, due to cultural changes. Can the church remain the same? The same as what? It is past that notion already. Can the church survive? If God so deems, yes.

          • Paul, while some have called this a cultural issue, it seem to be an issue of faith. Faith in what? In God's leading thus far and whether or not His word is True.

            Surviving: The Bible reveals a faithful remnant which Michael will stand up to deliver while those seeking to destroy them will be destroyed.

            Isa 4 depicts God in their midst as a Refuge, and a covert from the coming storm.

        • Amen! I agree Bro. Maurice. There are precious souls waiting for us to bring them the precious Truths we share and we are spending our wheels with issues which God has authority over. Why don't we let God handle His business of ordination and do what He has asked each Christian to do "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of this world. Amen!" If we were about our Father's business, Jesus would have come and redeem us; but He's delay His coming because we're not ready (too busy handling issues) and there's thousands that must be warned and prepared for Christ's return. We have set aside God's Commission to wait tables. Wake up people!!! Jesus is about to come and we are wasting time at the tables with this issues.

          I love my brothers & sisters around the globe, but I am trying to prepare myself and my love ones and others to get ready and stay ready for Jesus. The mission of this Church is to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world for a witness and then the end shall come. Let's not waste any more precious time on issues, but use it for reaching precious souls for the Kingdom of our God. May God keep each of us until His Return is my prayer.

  9. I pray daily we will refrain from taking sides, rather choose God. You can be denominational without choosing sides. God would not want you to become undenominational. He set up the pattern for the Church in Acts we are about to study. God would want you to support the anointed doesn't mean you are taking sides. If you disagree don't stir up trouble. If you agree don't make an issue of it. One way or the other stay demoniational. We will do more service to the Master to spend our time preparing and praying for the Latter Rain, then spending our time with this. God will lead our church, have faith. And don't step in the way of God's leading. Stand firm on Gods side. Keep your eyes on Christ. Don't let anything distract you from Him.

    • Choosing Truth is taking a side when there is a division. God is not Author of both opposing opinions. Our work is to know which is true and follow it.

      Again, Isaiah 4 tells us what to do and where to stay. Zeph 2:3 tells us what to do as well. This involves choosing truth over false ideas of it, but not being argumentative about it. There is a choice required to know and follow truth.

      There are increasing calls for compromising with ideas God has not directed us to embrace, and while no one is to take a combative stance, truth must be followed at all cost. God will settle every conflict if allowed. We must be in perfect agreement with Him. The Gospel can only be effective when lived in our lives, meaning God is above all, and His truth our sure and steady guide. The rest must be left in His capable hands.

      While Jesus taught to love one another, it never comes at the expense of compromising Truth. "A man's enemies will be those of his own household" Jesus warned. As long as the opinions of men are held above God's word, there will be divisions over Truth. If we do the work given us to do, God will take care of the rest. Some battles are not ours to fight. (2 Chron 20)

      • Whatever the GC vote, this is my conviction based on study to date. I will stay in the Church whatever the GC vote but will always speak my position if I have to or am asked. I will also vote against any position contrary to my conviction.

        I will continue to encourage folk to study scripture, pray for God to guide them and to stay in obedience to His will as He has convicted them...also build up the personal relationship with Christ.

        I have no vested interest but the truth. I am an SDA today due to truth seeking under God. I have changed my position in the past as more light came my way prior to being an SDA and since then. The day God opens my eyes to see that women should be ordained I would accept it but as of now His revelation to me me is not so.

        I continue to love my brothers and sisters who feel otherwise persuaded.

  10. Dear brethren lets focus on what we desperately need from Christ,that is forgiveness of our sins and power to overcome sin in this day of atonement,lets cry to have our sins removed from the sanctuary.whether women are ordained or not is small compared to cherished sin in me.whether women are ordained or not is small to the desire of Christ to reproduce his character,thoughts,compassion,patience and agony for sin in each of us to be perfect for heaven.i will remain focused on that majoring on that which wont attend to my personal shortfalls and my unreadiness for his coming

  11. For me personally, whatever the issue, it comes down to the yielding of our will and allowing God's will completely overcome ours in order to serve Him by following His example to by and through His Grace touch someone else with the great good news of His Gospel. Whether woman, man or child, ordained or not ordained this I believe to be God's mandate for ALL in these last days.

    I have been recently struggling with the issue of how to be consistent with serving God in a purposeful and meaningful way. I believe the Holy Spirit has led me to EGW, Steps to Christ, Chapter 5 about Consecration. I would like to share the following excerpt that I have found helpful to me personally, to be a pragmatic and active servant of God, consistently:

    CHAPTER 5 Consecration

    God's promise is, "Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13.

    The whole heart must be yielded to God, or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored to His likeness. By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these: "Dead in trespasses and sins;" "the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint;" "no soundness in it." We are held fast in the snare of Satan, "taken captive by him at his will." Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 1:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:26. God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him.

    The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.

    The government of God is not, as Satan would make it appear, founded upon a blind submission, an unreasoning control. It appeals to the intellect and the conscience. "Come now, and let us reason together" is the Creator's invitation to the beings He has made. Isaiah 1:18. God does not force the will of His creatures. He cannot accept an homage that is not willingly and intelligently given. A mere forced submission would prevent all real development of mind or character; it would make man a mere automaton. Such is not the purpose of the Creator. He desires that man, the crowning work of His creative power, shall reach the highest possible development. He sets before us the height of blessing to which He desires to bring us through His grace. He invites us to give ourselves to Him, that He may work His will in us. It remains for us to choose whether we will be set free from the bondage of sin, to share the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

    In giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily give up all that would separate us from Him. Hence the Saviour says, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:33. Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. But these slavish bands must be broken. We cannot be half the Lord's and half the world's. We are not God's children unless we are such entirely.

    There are those who profess to serve God, while they rely upon their own efforts to obey His law, to form a right character, and secure salvation. Their hearts are not moved by any deep sense of the love of Christ, but they seek to perform the duties of the Christian life as that which God requires of them in order to gain heaven. Such religion is worth nothing. When Christ dwells in the heart, the soul will be so filled with His love, with the joy of communion with Him, that it will cleave to Him; and in the contemplation of Him, self will be forgotten. Love to Christ will be the spring of action. Those who feel the constraining love of God, do not ask how little may be given to meet the requirements of God; they do not ask for the lowest standard, but aim at perfect conformity to the will of their Redeemer. With earnest desire they yield all and manifest an interest proportionate to the value of the object which they seek. A profession of Christ without this deep love is mere talk, dry formality, and heavy drudgery.

  12. As a side note, there are such issues like 'same sex' marriage that are worthy of giving a corporate voice on rather than discrimination of woman's rights to be a disciple of Jesus as an ordained leader? I read today the US Supreme Court in a landmark ruling voted in favour of Gay Marriage. They said that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry nationwide. It is an entirely (but highly concerning) separate issue but it highlights the importance of our corporate and individual focus on yielding our will to God's to be enabled and willing for the Holy Spirit to use each one of us, to help spread the good news of His Gospel....to hasten Jesus 2nd Coming. In this context, to allow or not woman's ordination, seems an irrelevant and frivolous distraction from God's calling.

  13. Thank you all for your contributions.If we truly seeking God in sincererity and in truth, with the mission that is upon us as commissioned in Matt 28 vs 19-20, I still believe that among true christians that are going to be those that 'follow-the Lamb wherever it goeth" we still need to be united in Christ.If we recall in Acts 2 , the upper room experience, the bible records that the apostles were in one accord and the Holy Spirit fell on them.I agree with the writer who says where in the bible did we read that we should vote on issues of God and we get examples that went contrary to the will of God.My brethren I also get reminded that EGW wrote in one of her writings(forgotten the book) that if we think that the whole church is going to be revived, that will not happen!I think this is the time for an individual to do a self-retrospection and strengthen our relationship with God and pray for those that have different understanding of biblical issues from us, for in Ezek the bible says we are each other's keeper.my fear is that the next issue that we are going to vote for is to have gay officers in our churches because the concept of voting for biblical issues I believe is the strategy of the devil wanting to penetrate the church and we should not forget that God is not enticed by numbers!!e.g the story of Noah and of Lot and family.God is looking for people who seek Him in truth and in Spirit !May God help us in this walk !!

  14. I think the issue of unity is more complicated than what we think it is. There are weightier matters of the law and then there are lesser issues some which are barely worth discussing.

    On pillars and pivotal issues I will agree will Robert. Even with the Jerusalem council the decision was a compromise at best and as far as I know made solely for the sake of unity. It demanded Jews to be Jewish but loosened up quite a bit for the Gentiles so that it essentially split the church into two groups.

    Paul apparently thought that it was the best decision the church could make at the time, at least to him it was a decision that was moving in the right direction. In spite of that he fought to do away with circumcision on a solid biblical basis which the church now accepts. He didn’t argue over rituals as a matter of personal preference but only when a person is trying to earn Heaven by doing it. Paul, himself, was involved in a vow (Acts 18:18) and as Maurice pointed out was involved in ritual cleansing upon visiting the Jerusalem saints for the last time (Acts 21) which he did not argue over because to him they were not based on salvation by works. To me it is something like the difference between the tithe and free will offerings.

    I also don’t think agreement is always the best way to go. There are some issues we need to stand our ground on because our salvation hangs on the outcome. To me when it comes to things such as the doctrine of the Sabbath I will dig in but how I observe it is another matter which I think allows for a lot of variation.

    So how do I treat those who disagree with me? Just like I treat any nonbeliever, I can live around them and get along with them but will not join them just we are to live in the world but not be a part of it. But even that has leeway just as Paul thought it was ok for a spouse to stay married to a nonbeliever (1 Cor 7) under certain circumstances.

    • Tyler, I'm trying to understand why unity would be complicated. I know it is made complicated, but the reality is that all those who simply Follow the Lamb will be in perfect unity with all others who are following Him. This requires not running ahead of Him.

      Jesus initiated the first change of the "new testament" with the communion supper. This signaled the end of the old covenant of types made sure by the rending of the veil. It is now worshiping in "spirit and truth"(John 4:24), which circumcision would have no logical part of. I don't see any compromise except towards those who wished to continue to practice the ordinance, being slow to learn. Jesus always leads no faster than our weak faith will allow, though He will not linger where unbelief is holding any back. As you know, there were many things the disciples were not ready to hear which He gave later through the Holy Spirit as the unbelief slowly faded away in the advancing light of the truth.

      I agree that disagreeing does not mean to be disagreeable. Jesus never mistreated any who disagreed with Him, though He was sorely abused by them. He came only to save, and those following Him will have the same purpose always.

      • Robert, I think it all depends on how you wish to define unity. The psalmist says, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1 NKJV). On that I think we all can agree but just what do we mean by unity.

        There are only two places that the word is used in the New Testament and both are in Ephesians 4. In Paul's application he almost seems to contradict himself, "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph. 4:11-14 NKJV). Here we see what has been called diversity in unity where he calls for the unity of faith but not in everything for there are differences in jobs within the church.

        Further, in 1 Cor 12 he definitely says that we are all not the same and certainly do not have the same gifts. "If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?" (1 Cor. 12:17-19 NKJV). So, to me there is no such thing as perfect unity without defining it boundaries.

        You say that we should be unified under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and so we should but to what extent? The Spirit is the one that gives us the diversity in the first place so how is He enforcing what we call unity. As I think Ellen White would no doubt say the Spirit does not force us into any particular mould. We are not clones of one another - we are individuals with wide ranging differences. That is how God made us and no one is to enforce his will on others in order to force conformity – and that includes the Holy Spirit.

        As far as I am concerned when we speak of unity it is the unity in mission that we are to manifest. How we accomplish that mission is up to the individual as long as there is no conflict between parties. For instance Paul was refused entrance into Asia, not because there was no need of work there but because someone else was already there and for him to enter that area would have set up contention between work forces. Paul had his way of working and other people have theirs as he said in another place, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase" (1 Cor. 3:6 NKJV).

        Maurice's article is really not about unity as much as it is about what happens when that unity breaks down. How do we maintain some semblance of cohesiveness under those circumstances and I think to him that would be our love to one another that overlooks faults and tries to reconcile differences (2 Cor 5:18).

        • Tyler, the issue of unity is in our commission, which is defined by Truth. Truth will not vary according to inclination or preference, but will unite all in the same conclusions of obedience to God's directions on every matter which He has given us to follow. Diversity of gifts does not mean interpretations of truth that lead to opposing conclusions. You know that.

          This is not complicated and we should avoid clouding the issue. Self should be abased so Christ can be exalted in the life of every believer.

          "Although possessing different temperaments and dispositions, they will see eye to eye in all matters of religious belief. They will speak the same things; they will have the same judgment; they will be one in Christ Jesus..." Lift Him Up, 309

  15. This is just a reminder that the discussion here is about how we treat one another when we disagree with them. It is not a discussion on the question of ordination of women. There are many websites devoted to the issue where you can read and discuss the issue. Rather, I am concerned that when the vote is taken, some church members will take reactive action, rather than contemplating how a Christian should react in such circumstances.

    I agree that the issue of ordination is not trivial, but our reaction and response to the decision will be a measure of Christianity. The most significant test we face this coming week is how do we measure up against the standard: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    Please understand that comments about the issue or ordination are not appropriate in this context and will not be published. The discussion is really about restoring/developing/maintaining unity in the wake of a decision that will be divisive, whatever the outcome. You cannot change peoples minds by vote.

    My prayer is that whatever the decision at the GC session, we are each willing to study scripture with an open mind with one another, asking the Holy Spirit to lead us.

  16. Let us be clear the SDA church do not decide doctrine by a vote. Although some would like to make us think that is what is happening.
    The vote is organizational.

    • Shirley, the vote considered is to give freedom (or not) for differences in doctrine and practice. So yes, it is doctrinal, unless I am mistaken. Or are you saying that this issue is not a teaching to which we abide or not? If it is not a doctrine, then why all this discussion?

    • You are quite correct Shirley. This issue is not one of the 27/8 fundamentals of the Adventist Church. The GC session vote is about organizational practice. That does not make the issue less divisive, and we need to encourage one another to understand what the fundamental problem is.

      I am not a theologian and the real pain for me is that I have friends who are much more theologically knowledgeable than I am and have studied the issue carefully and for whom I have great respect for their Christianity, and I find them opposing one another in the issue. I cannot in all honesty say that friend A is being led by Satan and the friend B led by the Holy Spirit. Part of the reason that I wrote the original article is that I still want to be friends with both after the vote is taken. I am praying for peace that the work of God can go forward.

  17. I agree, but our discussion is how to handle disagreement in the Church. I wounder how Soloman would handle us. He had no problem handling two woman who disagreed on a personal issue. He had no problem organizing a nation. Lets see what he says.
    EVERY WISE woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1
    Now let's put us in the text.
    EVERY WISE church member builds Gods house, but the foolish ones tear it down with their own hands.

  18. Hi Maurice, you are right what is important is for each one to study for ourselves and be ready to give an answer for what we believe BUT to do it with gentleness and respect.

    1Pe 3:15 but honour in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and respect

  19. "We cannot purchase peace or unity by sacrificing the truth. The conflict may be long and painful, but at any cost we must hold fast to the Word of God" (HS 197).

  20. I hope that the Church is open to novelties, as well as the early Jews allowed Gentiles in Christianity. It is desirable that the Holy Spirit is on the board of the Church!

    Greetings from Brazil !

  21. If someone could clarify: why do people believe WE either lengthen or shorten the remaining time? First advent was when the fulness of time had come. And almost no one was looking for Him. Even Jesus does not know the time. Is there Biblical reference to mankind influencing the time? Thanks for your help and God bless!

      • 2 Peter does not explain hastening (how) at all. It does encourage us to not doubt the promise, no matter how long it takes. Revelation 7 explains the sealing of God\'s living saints. I pray I\'m not being stubborn. I don\'t perceive I am, I just really wanted to know the Biblical references for this notion of human beings impacting God\'s timetable. I also know that God actually will cut short the final times, as mercy to His suffering children.
        In closing, perhaps this idea came from Mrs White? Unless someone else has Biblical references? This does not shake my faith in any way. I wanted it settled, if possible, for testimony purposes. Praise Jesus that faith takes us where understanding cannot. Thank you, Mr Whiteman, for your kindness. It will be according to our Father\'s perfect will.

        • Maria, if you place both those scriptures together, the delay is the sealing of God's servants. Without the sealing, the four winds continue to hold "till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads". Also, in Mark 4 there is a parable where Jesus says: "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." (Mark 4:28,29)

          No one harvests until the crop is ready, fully matured. This is the sealing of God's servants, who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.

          Together, these passages teach that until God's people exercise faith unto righteousness, God must wait. By faith we become sanctified by the truth, and in this manner hasten the coming of the Lord. The number of members, the size of our instituions, how much we know, none of this matters without our robes being white from the blood of the lamb.

    • That's a fair question to ask, it is true when the fullness of time has come our Lord will come but we specifically have an obligation to settle before that(the fullness) can happens, e.g. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be PREACHED in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end come" Matt 24:14. so from this we can deduce that He hasn't come because we haven't been faithful to the commission given us. Also let us by no means also suppose that the Bridegroom delayeth, in the Parable in Matt 25 the bible(NKJV) in verse 5 says "He was delayed" . We therefore are the delayers ourselves.

  22. I like the notion that mission is God's idea of reconciling us to Himself. It's not as if we are searching for God. Adam and Eve, our first parents, by fleeing from the presence of God have bequeathed us with that spirit of running away from just about everything. We run away from our families, work, friends etc but God out of His infinite love chases for our own sake.

  23. I love my church. I love the truths that are so unique to us, and also the truths that we may share with others, although in may of them our church is blessed with greater insight. For these I am grateful for God's leading me to our church, and settling me in those truths we all hold dear.
    The issue being now decided in San Antonio is most certainly divisive, for those who allow it to be so. For me, to be honest, whatever decision is made, will have absolutely no effect on my relationship to the church, nor to my relationship with Jesus. Far more experienced and knowledgeable theologians than I have struggled, studied, torn the scriptures apart to find the Lord's will in this, and still they disagree. I have heard both sides of the argument, and have settled on one side, but not so much because of Biblical evidence, but rather just a simple gut feeling.
    And I will live with whatever result, because I have far more important issues to deal with in my life which affect me and my loved ones personally, and that have eternal consequences...and those issues are all summarized in one word...mission. All who are adamant that the Holy Spirit has led them in a certain direction in this, would do well to remember that those in the other camp are equally convinced of their stand. Time methinks for some grace. Time to show the love. Time to exercise that brotherly love which we believe we are called to. Time to reveal to the world that yes, we are God's remnant people, and despite disagreements, we still love one another with that same self sacrificial spirit that those with the mind of Christ must have. Time to show forth God's glory.

    • Brendan, I wonder what you mean by: "...not so much because of Biblical evidence, but rather just a simple gut feeling."

      Is that how we establish truth as a body of believers?

      I don't know personally of anyone saying they will no longer love their fellow members or split away. However, some having connections with others in conference and even union positions have said some are planing to separate if the vote goes against their position. Time will tell if they are serious.

      We need more than gut feelings don't we? I have had many "missionaries" visit my home who place a certain book above the Bible based on those same feelings. Over the years they have all had the same testimony of "feelings" guiding them into "truth", while departing from clear testimony of the Word of God. Scripture nowhere promotes feelings, only faith.

      • Mr. Whiteman is spot on in his comments about truth.
        My concern in all this is that as a body of bible believers we cannot agree on what the bible teaches on this subject which means Satan is at work and hence the reason for the discord.
        We are actually afraid to discuss what is truth on the matter and resort to how we will deal with our differences instead. This is a cop out.
        What did Jesus do? He had no respect for erroneous cultural issues.
        We have to remember that regardless of the vote we have a responsibility to speak truth even if it against the vote but still be kind, patient and long suffering to our brethren who are out of step with the truth.
        What is truth in this matter? What did Jesus do? What are the biblical principles? The apostles and Jesua dealt with cultural issues which impact on biblical doctrine so what did they do?
        Hard decisions are to be made but in love. Love suffers long...so we stay together and we who are spiritual restore our erring brothers and sisters in the faith.
        May God help us to submit to His revealed truth.

      • On all things, "truth" must be decided on Biblical evidence. I have no argument with that. My point on this current debate is that as I said, far more knowledgeable people than I with far more letters after their name attesting to their education in such matters have been debating this particular topic for decades and still have not come to any form of definitive answer. So I am wondering if this particular topic can be at all filed under that generic heading we call "truth"? If the scripture doesn't give any clear answer either way then is it something we should file away with such questions as 'what color tie goes with this suit" etc etc. Not truth, but simple subjective taste? I don't mean it to come across in a flippant manner; I just wanted to make my point clearly. So the "gut feeling" I have is more a personal preference rather than Biblical "truth", which thing in this matter seems to be rather elusive.

    • Thank you Brendan, I see you have been 'brought to book' because of your term 'gut feeling'. Perhaps we need to be more tolerant of each other's way of expressing a deep feeling. I personally shy away from anyone who says 'the Lord told me' or any such statements! My question to Robert would be - how can one describe the conviction one comes to after hearing so many arguments for and against the matter at hand? Some would say they are led by the Holy Spirit, others say "God told me so" and the other says - I have a 'gut feeling' To me they all mean the same because how does the Holy Spirit speak to us anyway? In dreams? in visions? or 'gut feeling' - a strong conviction?

      WWJD in a situation such as we are facing today? I am sure He would like to see that Unity which He prayed for in the upper room. Often God uses simple people - little old men and ladies such as Simeon and Anna to speak up when they see things which are not right in the appointed leaders. Alas, their words are seen as babblings and not to be taken seriously. Whatever the outcome of the vote, I know that God is in control - just as He was when the crowd shouted for Jesus' blood; the stoning of Stephen; the arrest of Paul; the martyrdom of the saints - they all served their purpose. It was God's will for Jesus to die - it was in His plan for Stephen to die; it was to take Paul to Rome that he was arrested; and the blood of the martyrs watered the growing church. If our church is to be shaken by a vote on women's ordination - then that is all in God's plan. I am sure He will not delay much longer - He will use those who choose who are unshaken and have a personal relationship with Him to carry on the good work through to the end.

      • Maureen, Brendan's own words; "...not so much because of Biblical evidence, but rather just a simple gut feeling" is the same basis of many who have departed from God's word to follow their feelings. The Holy Spirit does not speak or convict apart from scripture(Isa 8:20). Let's quote Paul here: "whatever is not of faith is sin."(Rom 14:23) Faith comes from God's word(Rom 10:17), not our feelings. Please understand the vital importance of how truth is established.

        No matter how "deep" the feelings, they are to be surrendered to the Word of God which is our rule of faith and source of all truth and doctrine. There is no other way to be established safely. We will deceive ourselves otherwise.

        If we cannot describe our conviction based on God's Word, we are in danger of having departed from it. It doesn't matter which side of the issue we stand on, it must be grounded in Truth, and as Jesus prayed: "Thy word is truth". Jesus was the Word made flesh. Remember also that the redeemed "follow the Lamb wherever He goes." And Jesus lived by "every word that proceeded from the mouth of God."

        I agree with you that God is in control of all who are grounded in His word, and the events soon to take place are how He will reveal the thoughts of many hearts, for good or evil. He is bringing the whole world to a decision, and will finish the judgment accordingly and come for His people soon.

    • Brendan, my dilemma in this is that it seems there are varied Holy Spirit that impresses differing will of God in understanding the Bible. If Christians are divided on the words of the Bible. Division is human mathematical method and if we are divided we shall fall. It is division in heaven that brought satan Lucifer to get thrown out of heaven. If we are Christians that is followers and workers of the Gospel then there is only one Holy Spirit that reveals the truth to us and the truth will set us free. We cannot walk both left and right. There are only two roads and we must choose one. To listen to the Spirit of God or human.

  24. God is in control. The Holy Spirit will be present to make the will of God known. Pray, pray, pray for unity, because unity is the driving force for power so that is what God wants. Because Satan is always seeking to divide. So let us pray for unity and that ,"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" Amen.

  25. Yes Jeanette, but more than merely praying for unity as God requires unity and cannot impart His Spirit without our individual unity with Him in Christ. Our prayers for unity avail nothing if we ourselves are set against His will for us in anything that we have received conviction upon. This is a matter of constant heart searching (Ps 139:23,24) and perfect trust revealed in the obedience of faith.

    Not only is removal of the filthy garment needed, but also being clothed in the "festal robes" Jesus offers us. (Zech 3:4 NASB)

    God can lead such a people because they follow Him. The name of Jesus only isn't enough without having His experience as well; always doing the will of His Father.

  26. I love this from Ellen White:

    "There is no need to doubt, to be fearful that the work will not succeed. God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the work, God will attend to that, and work to right every wrong. Let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely into port. -Selected Messages, 2:39


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