Thursday, November 25, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Meetings and breakout sessions Friday evening through Sunday morning
Worship service with Trinity Church on Sunday morning
Sunday lunch hosted by Trinity Church former Adventists
Ends Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Not just for those of us who left Adventism, but within the ranks of modern Christianity there is a contempt for religion. The enlightened individualistic Spirituality has divorced its spouse, Religion, because of its hypocrisy, greed, falseness and abuse of authority. Religion has earned itself such a bad reputation as to evoke hostility at the mere mention of its name.
Shun religion, embrace spirituality: that is the thrust of many Christians and interestingly enough, her theological enemy, the secular humanist. The Christian's fear of organized worship is happily in step with many secularists' hatred of religion and goals of keeping it "contained."
There seems to be this propulsion towards an internalized, private mystical spirituality that inspires no outward rites--a type of cleaving of the outward physical worship of the body and the inward transcendental worship; as if we can split our body and soul in two. Religion is the bad material, physical expression, while the non-physical is the authentic version of worship.
Yet, religion is simply the exterior demonstration, the communal expression of our hearts and minds. We are made both physical matter and spirit, worship of our God must be found in both body and soul.
Actually, you CAN be religious--even alone, at home by yourself in prayer and Bible study. Do you follow any type of form? Bible study, then prayer? Do you have any rituals involved in your personal worship? Do you habitually kneel or stand? Do you keep a prayer journal? Well, any habitual outward expression of worship is .... religious? So you might be religious and don't know it.
I can hear what you are thinking. It is organized dogma from GROUPS of people that is intrinsically wrong and prone to abuse, not your particular theological interpretations. It is practiced GROUP rituals, not your own physical worship expressions that are to blame for all the world's ills. Well, if you think that, you are not alone. Join the world in its skepticism, its suspicion of groups of people forming together to worship God and following a leader to pray and praise. Scary stuff.
The atheists would agree. Keep religion a private, personal matter. NO ORGANIZED RELIGION!
After all, when it is just Jesus and me, the doctrines remain pure. When it is just Jesus and me I don't have to compromise or submit. Personal individualized spirituality is perfect-- it feels good for there is nobody to disagree with you or hold you accountable--we are just floating little Christian islands. But is that Biblical?
Nope, a Christian individualized version of worship is not all that is needed. The Bible sets up a church community with teachers and pastors and evangelists--there are shepherds and sheep in the Kingdom of God. How can you be both shepherd and sheep when you only accept a personalized spirituality that is independent of organized others? Jesus tells us not just to go into the closet and pray, but to "not forsake the assembly." Worship is both private and communal, physical and spiritual.
I don't think religion is really the bad guy here. We don't hate corporate religious expression. What we actually hate is false Christian authority and we hate the abuse of true authority. False authority lies to us, leads us astray. Many former Adventists know the sting of false authority and how it can twist your mind and actions. Many other Christians have endured abuse under a true Church authority and have been left spiritually crippled for life.
Remember the severe chastising Christ gives to the Pharisees recorded in Matthew 23 when he calls them murders, white-washed tombs and hypocrites? Notice Jesus did not attack the system but the abuses of the system! Before taking the religious leaders to task He commands the people in verse three to obey them. The religious community and organization itself was set up by God.
Jesus did not come to condemn and abolish religion but to transform it from one covenant to a better one. He came to set up a kingdom with true authorities, not spiritual autonomy or anarchy. The Bible condemns self-made religion.
These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
His kingdom has done much for the world. The organized Christian religion has introduced orphanages, international laws, marriage of one man and one woman, the university system that we know of today and the largest charitable institutions known to mankind. When Christians organize and unite in both worship and in doing good works, we change the world. And that is just why the Devil is so intent on painting religion out as the bad guy.
Yes, much human atrocities have been done in the name of religion, but even more human atrocities have been done in the name of other human organizations. Sin is a human condition, not just a religious one.
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
The Bible puts religion in a good light. Stand firm agains the false kingdoms of religion and the abuses within the true kingdom, but remember the kingdom itself is religious in nature. The kingdom is God's bride and He is coming back and will find her spotless and pure. True religion is our way of reuniting or (re-ligamenting) with the Father.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The Nightfall of the Old Covenant
Hebrews 8: 13, "When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear."
Hebrews 10: 20, the New Covenant is given to us not by a stone but, "by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh."
This New Covenant is not to be patched onto the Old. (Mark 2: 22)
Those under the laws of the New Covenant are not obligated to keep the holy days of the Old Covenant. (Romans 14: 1-6, Colossians 2: 14-17 and Galatians 4: 10-11, 21)
Now, as a New Covenant Christian we are free to keep or discard a holy day. So the early Christians, even the Apostles themselves, began to worship on all days. However, because the work of all time, the work of our Salvation was fulfilled on Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection, they began to celebrate it. That was a fitting and honorable thing to do. There is nothing in scripture anywhere that would suggest something like this would be wrong. A celebration of the day of Christ’s conquering death and hades is worth a memorial!
There is no Biblical nor historical evidence (in the first two centuries) anywhere that suggests worshipping on Sunday was considered the Sabbath or was considered wrong. If worshipping on Sunday were wrong, why would the Apostles do it? Why would not the Apostle John in Ephesus, alive till the turn of the second century, chastise the early Christians for it? There is no shred of evidence anywhere that says Sunday was the fourth commandment seventh day. In fact, many Christians--the Jewish Christians--for centuries kept both Saturday and celebrated Sunday (Sabbath and The Lord’s Day) as well as the Passover and other Jewish holidays.
Early Christian debates were not about Sabbath versus Sunday but keeping the Jewish festivals (including Sabbath and Passover) or not keeping them. There was never at any time a debate about the celebration of Sunday and the Resurrection of our Lord.
The Dawn of the New Covenant
There was nothing in the life and death of Jesus that could save us. There was nothing in the law that could save us. Living the example of Jesus life could not save us. Attending worship every Sabbath from the beginning to the end of eternity can do nothing to save us.
There is only ONE extraordinary, immense and redemptive act upon which the salvation of ALL MANKIND depends. Only one act that man must rejoice in as the act that saved us from everlasting damnation and that is JESUS WAS RESURRECTED! (I Corinthians 15: 17, 18; Romans 1:4, John 2:18-21, Matthew 12:38-40.)
The Divine infinite and salvific resurrection! And Jesus wasn’t accidentally raised on Sunday. It didn’t just slip His mind and then afterwards, cringe an “uh oh, boy is this going to be a problem. I am going to have to depend upon the Seventh-day Adventists to straighten out the unfortunate incident of being raised on Sunday.... and explain the importance of Sabbath.”
NO from the foundation of the earth, the great mystery of Salvation was planned exactly. He chose and determined the great day of our Redemption to be on Sunday--the DAY OF THE LORD!!
The early church understood this great and mighty day, foretold from the beginning. Known as the eighth day, the first day in the eternal cycle of grace and mercy.
Death, where is thy sting?! Now the powers of hell were broken, the cosmos again could rejoice in the victory as on Sunday, the Lamb that was slain stood before the Great and Almighty Father and offered His blood for our salvation in the Heaven of Heavens (John 20:17, Revelation 1:18).
Sunday Jesus met with His disciples and ordained them, breathing upon them the Holy Spirit and pronouncing peace. (John 20:19-22)
Sunday, many dead arose and were seen. (Matthew 27:51-53)
Sunday, the first NEW COVENANT gospel was preached. (Luke 24:34)
Sunday, Jesus opened the minds of His disciples to understand the gospel. (Luke 24: 27, 45).
Sunday is when our Salvation was complete. It became the day at Pentecost when the tongue of fire ignited the church.
Adventists, we who celebrate Sunday wish you greetings as you drive to church on Sabbath. But for you who believe that worshipping and celebrating Sunday as the LORD’S day is somehow not biblical and even consider it an evil, please rethink your position. It is not Biblical.
It is good to celebrate the day the Lord was risen from the dead. Hallelujah!!
Note: This is for those who believe the New Testament scriptures are the infallible, Spirit-breathed, Word of God. Thank to Reverend D. M Canright and his book, Observance of Sunday in the First Centuries.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Adventists’ future teeters under the sunday law Sword of Damocles and therefore they have created the muscular arm of the General Conference called Religious Liberty to fend off the dreaded last-day blue laws. So, I find it a tragic twist of irony that Emperor Constantine gets a lot of bashing in Adventist textbooks and history. I would think Adventists would hail him a hero for championing religious rights for Christians.
What did this infamous Edict of Milan signed by the Emperor Constantine say that has all Adventist history flailing its hands in despair? What is it about this proclamation of religious tolerance that has Adventist teachers regurgitating generation after generation that it changed Sabbath into Sunday as the first legal code of “sunday worship.” It is the beginnings, say some Adventists, of a looming apocalyptic law that will coalesce all “apostate” Christianity into hunting them down, torturing and killing them?
Below it is copied in full:
Note: The Edict of Milan (Edictum Mediolanense), signed by Emperor Constantine and Licinius in AD 313 following what was the worst of all Christian persecutions under Emperor Diocletian.
When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I Licinius Augustus fortunately met near Mediolanurn (Milan), and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule. And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without molestation. We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. When you see that this has been granted to them by us, your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases ; this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion.
Moreover, in the case of the Christians especially we esteemed it best to order that if it happens anyone heretofore has bought from our treasury from anyone whatsoever, those places where they were previously accustomed to assemble, concerning which a certain decree had been made and a letter sent to you officially, the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception, Those, moreover, who have obtained the same by gift, are likewise to return them at once to the Christians. Besides, both those who have purchased and those who have secured them by gift, are to appeal to the vicar if they seek any recompense from our bounty, that they may be cared for through our clemency. All this property ought to be delivered at once to the community of the Christians through your intercession, and without delay. And since these Christians are known to have possessed not only those places in which they were accustomed to assemble, but also other property, namely the churches, belonging to them as a corporation and not as individuals, all these things which we have included under the above law, you will order to be restored, without any hesitation or controversy at all, to these Christians, that is to say to the corporations and their conventicles: providing, of course, that the above arrangements be followed so that those who return the same without payment, as we have said, may hope for an indemnity from our bounty. In all these circumstances you ought to tender your most efficacious intervention to the community of the Christians, that our command may be carried into effect as quickly as possible, whereby, moreover, through our clemency, public order may be secured. Let this be done so that, as we have said above, Divine favor towards us, which, under the most important circumstances we have already experienced, may, for all time, preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state. Moreover, in order that the statement of this decree of our good will may come to the notice of all, this rescript, published by your decree, shall be announced everywhere and brought to the knowledge of all, so that the decree of this, our benevolence, cannot be concealed. (From Lactantius, De Mort. Pers., ch. 48. opera, ed. 0. F. Fritzsche, II, p 288 sq. (Bibl Patr. Ecc. Lat. XI). Both texts translated in University of Pennsylvania. Dept. of History: Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European history, (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press [1897?-1907?]), Vol 4:, 1, pp. 28-30.)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
My dearest little sister,
Into the lovely dream that has been our lives
with all its sweet memories of an innocent childhood,
a curious tragedy has grown.
And all we can do is watch
as we drift upon our convictions,
the fog of fear thickening between us.
I heard a call from Heaven and my obedience felt like death,
because He took me from you, my dearest.
The sorrow drowns me at times
Yet upon this new shore of faith,
I find answers of diamonds and pearls, riches of knowledge and grace
beyond all fathomings.
I ache to share with you this Jesus,
this Jesus who melts my heart and
makes me love you more!
But therein lies the deep tragedy,
For the more my arms are held out to you,
In tender Christian unity,
I turn into a dark ghost of prophecy
spoken by a woman long ago.
My faith is deceived or
Ellen’s visions shatter.
I am fear, confusion and distrust.
I know my darling sister, every word of love smilingly spoken is a prayer,
hoping that I will return to your Christ and the safety of your Sabbath.
Who is this phantom prophetess of yours
who awakes from her grave to pit us against each other?
Oh, that her angel would have pointed its bad fortune towards
Marx or Caesar, Voltaire or Freud,
Perhaps the demon would no longer be me.
Our love for one another? Jesus’ charge is lost in the chaos
of suspicion, last day persecutions and great controversies.
It is lost to devotions and loyalty to God’s appointed,
Which is the utter irony,
For I have also discovered God’s appointed.
Our words halt in fear,
For the bubble is fragile,
Both are certain we know truth, we know God.
A prophecy that makes my obedience a falling star,
And my faith the villain
And my love, the final deception.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Adventists believe that the Apostle John was speaking of the Ten Commandments (a futurist, last-day event) when he spoke about the remnant as being those who keep the commandments of God. Though I would disagree, let us look at this text through the filters of the SDA church:
The prophecy says that the remnant are those who OBEY the commandments.
Does this actually point to the Adventist church? Notice that the church claims to preach all ten (as opposed, in their minds, to those who preach only nine). Let's again ignore the SDA erroneous perspective that other churches disregard one commandment, instead focusings on their claim. Adventists claim to preach/teach all ten, but that is NOT what the text says. It says the remnant KEEP/OBEY the commandments. Can the Adventist church really suggest that they alone--of ALL the different denominations are the remnant because they KEEP ALL TEN? That's a whole different ball game when you actually think about it. These remnant actually keep all ten.
So let's go over a few of the commandments and ask if the SDA church really keeps all ten (not looking at individuals, but as a corporate SDA body).
The first two are basically--"don't put any gods before God". As someone who does a LOT of talking about Adventism to non-SDAs, I can tell you--that the vast majority of those who do know what an Adventist is, immediately respond that they "worship on the Sabbath, have Ellen White as a prophetess and don't eat certain foods." These define Adventism--not Christ. From a perspective OUTSIDE the church, Adventists break this commandment by making the Sabbath and Ellen White gods, to a much lesser degree, their stomachs. (BREAK ONE and TWO)
Do Adventists really KEEP Sabbath as God intended? The vast majority do not. Look at how orthodox Jews keep Sabbath, it doesn't even resemble in any way Adventism. (BREAK THREE)
Do Adventists murder? Yes, it is very well known to those in Adventist leadership that some Adventist hospitals do abortions on demand. This is sanctified by church silence. (BREAK FOUR)
Do Adventists give false witness against their neighbor? Absolutely! It is part of their doctrine to wrongfully, unhistorically twist and purposefully slander their Protestant and Catholic family. They create animosity and distrust between the body of Christ because they distort Protestant and Catholic views, histories, their motivations.... ( BREAK FIVE).
My point is made without detailing other commandments.
I don't write these things to be particularly hard on Adventists, only to point out that they as a church CANNOT define themselves as the remnant based upon their idea that they teach people about the Jewish Sabbath. Teaching and obeying are two very different things. That is like saying those who teach adultery is wrong, but cheat on their wives are keeping the commandment.
NO CHURCH keeps the commandments, whether you say they are the two commandments of Christ (love God and your neighbor) or the ten. No church body can claim the remnanthood. And that is the point. WE ALL HAVE SINNED and fallen short of the Glory of God. It is Christ's grace and His atoning blood that makes us perfect and able to keep His commandments. ALL Christians in ALL denominations can make this claim available to them. It is surely not exclusive to Adventists!
So whether you fall at coveting, keeping the seventh-day holy, honoring your parents; maybe you have put something ahead of God in your life, breaking the first two commandments--this puts us each and every Christian (including Adventists) in the exact same boat whatever your denomination. We are all sinners, we have all broken the commandments. Sorry Adventists, you cannot claim any better. So, by virtue of this, none of us can be "the remnant." That's pretty bad news.
But the good news is that ALL of us-- EVERYONE who takes on the name of Christ can be the remnant (again, according to the remnant being a last-day prophecy) if we repent of our sins and accept the merciful grace of God! HE WILL MAKE US PERFECT!
Then, we will naturally, as we behold the Lamb, become more and more like Him--putting nothing ahead of our dearest Savior, resting in His perfect atoning Sabbath, honoring all the saints, cleaving to our Christian family and loving each other as He loved us. We will never think of tearing the unity of the body apart through adultery, murder, slandering other Christians or covetousness.
Let us become the true remnant.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Christianity--the word has defining characteristics. It is not just a word anyone can use to mean anything. Christianity has stood for a set of beliefs. We can read the doctrines of those who followed Jesus as Messiah by looking at the New Testament as well as historical documents. There we can discover just what being a Christian meant to Christians as well as what outsider thought of Christians--how outsiders defined them.
It is easy for a Christian to read the New Testament and see how the Jesus, Paul and the Apostles defined Christianity. Even though we may argue theology, there are some basics we all agree on. The first century Christians believed Jesus was the fulfillment of the Hebrew scripture Messiah, that Christians were to behave in a moral way and not eat meat sacrificed to idols and with the blood left in it. That is defining laws set forth by the first council of Christians in Jerusalem, recorded in the book of Acts.
The first century document, Didache also states clearly what the early Christians believe. This was written while the Apostles were still alive and was a recording of what they taught. The early Christians were defined by their love for each other, their morality, their Communion Service/The Lord’s Supper, their baptism and by their stand against abortion and infanticide. I encourage you to read the document. Here is the excerpt from the Didache:
Chapter 2. The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden. And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty...you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born.
For three hundred years the church would be debating the nature of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity and what books were considered “holy” and should be read in church. It would be three hundred years before the books of the Old and New Testaments would be finally decided upon and put together to form the first Bible. But there was something that was never debated, no heresy sprung from people who thought it was acceptable. From the moment there was the first Christian group, they were vocally pro-life.
When Seventh-day Adventists do not take a stand against abortion, it is not I who stands in judgment of them, it two-thousand years of Christianity. It is they who take themselves away from the very defining doctrines of Christianity.
Seventh-day Adventists point their finger back to Genesis to try and prove a ubiquitous sabbath command for the entire world. Yet if you follow that finger back you will not find a Sabbath commandment but a statement from God that he rested the seventh day. But if you look you WILL find a commandment. The very first commandment recorded in scripture and the first commandment for ALL humanity. God very first commandments to mankind was, “be fruitful and multiply.” God is pronouncing that HE is PRO-LIFE.
There is nowhere in scripture that suggests God would want us to kill our offspring. If fact He tells us that children are our reward, our blessing.
When Adventists do no state that they are pro-life, yet claim to be Christian, it is not anyone else condemning them but the very defining characteristics of Christianity. They have excluded themselves from the very heart and doctrine of what it means to follow Christ.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
There is a nightmarish horror in finding out your deepest values and beliefs are untrue.
For many, our righteousness was melodiously sung into our hearts as our mothers rocked and cradled us in her bosom. Our god was taught to us by sweet-faced and smiling teachers. Our values embedded into our characters through hours of zoned-out gazing at black and white television training us with laugh tracks. Those tender, trusting, innocent years of eagerly absorbing our environment and our instinctive confidence of what larger people told us.
Our eyes and ears, our taste and smells were sharpened and dulled according to what we were taught. The very way we perceive reality was sculpted and contoured around what those in authority told us. The meaning of words became uniquely imprinted upon our psyche. We became what we believed.
That is why, most people cannot absorb realities that contradict their own. Facts that don’t fit with our worldview are not just consciously dismissed---they never even reach deep enough in, they slide off our mental screen and are rejected because the unconscious sees them as a threat.
To accept that something we believe (theologically) is a lie, to look it straight in the eye and admit that we were wrong is equivalent to psychological suicide. It takes a willingness to accept the death of a piece of ourselves--a large piece. That is why very few people do it.
We must also add to that a Christian element. Many denominations teach that to even look at other theologies is equivalent to touching the forbidden apple. You will be deceived by Satan. As I have heard numerous times, “you will study your way out of the church.”
Scary. No, terrifying.....
So, many of us live or lived with cognitive dissonance. The world was warped and we were told that it would never actually be clear because of sin. We didn’t even know there were different glasses we could put on to make life a little less blurry.
We cling to our comforting lies. We escape into our little world of who we think God is or isn’t and we become more and more suspicious, sometimes even paranoid of those who think differently.
You see, living with the idea that you have to be right theologically (especially if you fear losing your relationship with Christ) restricts your ability to actually know Him.
Knowing Him is dangerous to theology. Knowing Him is shattering....